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Computing f. beginners 1
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  Computing for beginners 1

The first step to take, is to buy a computer. Because you're reading this text, it can be assumed that you already have one. Whatever the case may be, I would like like to offer you a tip anyway, it may be helpful when buying your next computer. There are certain times, when computers are possibly cheaper, e.g., at the beginning, or at the end of the school-holidays. Shortly before Christmas they are probably more expensive, whereas after Christmas you may be able to get a bargain price.

In my case, the price alone is not the deciding factor. I prefer the clearly more expensive laptops, however, I do have the freedom to be able to work anywhere. On the other hand, laptops seem to be somewhat more prone to breaking down, which is why, I'm happy to say, my supplier handles guarantee cases without any problems. I remove, e.g., a malfunctioning CD-drive, send it in and get a new one back. The function of the computer is not really restricted during this time.

I can't say much about the required performance of the computer. Should it not primarily be used as a gaming machine, then anything in the mid-price-range is mostly sufficient. Don't think that if the processsor is twice as fast, that the machine will also be twice as fast. Most of the time the computer just sits around waiting for a command, e.g., right now, while you're reading this text. Compare the price increase with the performance increase. Try to stay under the limit where the price sky-rockets, for a relatively insignificant increase in performance.

What ever you do, don't be mislead by anyone who bombards you with technical terms which you don't understand. Ask questions, this way you'll be able to see, that some specialist blurb is only an excuse for ignorance. Thus, e.g., an affordable 64-bit-computer only makes sense if one is using the suitable software. I can't say much about the internal structure of a processor, so rather pay attention that there is sufficient working RAM and please, don't involve me in discussions, whether an Intel, or an AMD is the better buy.

The problems start, when you have finally got the computer. After users all over the world have 'tuned' their computers until nothing works properly any more, the manufacturers have decided to prevent them from doing so. It is worthwhile, if an accumulation of problems arises when installing software, to take the sometimes rocky road and install yourself as supervisor. As such, one is mostly more successful than before, indeed, this mode should only be chosen, if really necessary.

You may well give yourself a pat on the back, if your computer, equipped with all the software packages, is still alive and well. You can celebrate, if you have achieved a notable increase in the working speed and if the noise is still within limits. Pay attention to situations where the computer starts working independently. Stop the action and if necessary, run an additional virus-check.

Despite messages to the contrary from Microsoft, one should know a little more about the organisation on the HD. I am still not happy with my personal folders or directories, I understand better the structure of a HD centrally from the C-drive. Of course I don't save anything directly on the C-drive, which by the way, is not as easy as it sounds. I create at least one directory, and possibly include further sub-directories. As you can imagine, I spend quite some time with the organisation of my HD ...

With the increasing amount of memory available, it is becomming more and more difficult to keep some sort of order. Imagine this, takes up, with at the moment, 15.000 pages and almost 30.000 pictures, less than 6 Gbyte of memory. Thereby, e.g., a laptop with 750 Gbyte of memory is nothing special any more. Earlier computers would have been brought to their knees with directories holding 100.000 files. Nowadays, it takes hardly a blink of an eye, and all the files are listed.

At the risk of losing your fun, with the amount of possibilities now available, a certain amount of discipline is necessary. Try to ensure that the periphery devices for your system are always functional. I know people whose printer is regularly out of commission just then when it's needed. The same goes for the CD-drive. They then have got into the habit of developing unbelievable strategies, instead of having it repaired straight away or replacing it.

I work with the Windows operating system, this however, means nothing at all. Also as far as the OS is concerned there are crusaders in favour of the one or the other, in my opinion, this is all humbug. The situation is similar to that of the motor mechanic. One remains loyal, or at least, returns to the make of car on which one gathers his/her first experience. Whether you are a Mac- a Linux or a Windows-fan, you can carry on reading. What's important, is that you have at least, an approximate idea of what an OS is.

The OS holds the whole thing together. Thus the software can be OS-independent. Indeed, before it is delivered to the customer, it is put through a compiler (another program) which makes it executable on the various systems. Take care when installing, that the CD carries the correct software for your particular operating-system. Should you be satisfied with your system, and don't urgently need the features offered in a newer OS, there's no reason to change or update.

In all events, your software should be equipped with an office-package. This can also be the, substantially cheaper, Open-Office. Regardless of the manufacturer, one should become familiar with the basic functions, because there is hardly a situation where one doesn't need the office-package. The disadvantage is the amount of functions and hidden features, which can however, nearly always be found by browsing the Internet. While we're on the subject, the use of a web-browser, either Microsoft, Google, Opera, Mozilla or any other one, is nowadays, a condition for any number of computer activities.

We're not talking about the menu-navigation. It is much more important to be able to find the information which is needed, which is why browsers are frequently mistaken for search-machines. Pin-pointing is particularly important here. Never enter a search-word and then stubbornly read the first 250 entries. If you have not found what you're looking for after after three or four pages, vary your search-word or expression. Take note, when you're reading, of which direction the the search-engine is going. Try, by skillful choice, to keep the engine on course.. 06/11

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