Why I am a fan…

OK, so now you have the basics on maintaining your desktop computer and/or laptop.  Now it’s time to demystify the Windows operating system.  This should be fun, especially now that Windows XP ™ is no longer supported by Microsoft.  Here, in central West Virginia, XP still had (and still has) a large group of users.  The reason was simple, it worked (works).  Many of the people I help with computer repair use their PC and/or laptop to perform simple, family oriented tasks; they keep up with extended family via Facebook™, reluctantly send the occasional email, and shop for items on EBay™, Amazon™ or Walmart™.   Laptops and PCs do not play a significant role in their daily lives; they were purchased primarily for their children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews to “keep up” educationally.

That scenario is now changing-and rapidly.  Mobile devices are now prevalent and the extended family members who have moved to more urban areas have embraced the technology.  So now, grandma, grandpa, the favorite aunt and/or uncle must now communicate electronically if they want the latest picture, report card or to book reservations to visit for the holidays.  Talk about frustrating!

So, let’s get to the task at hand, how to embrace the latest version of the Windows operating System?  Simple really, just pull out your mobile phone and compare. Windows 8™ has the “look and feel” of most mobile devices!  There is a heavy reliance on icons to get the user to the application (app) he/she wants to access.    Whenever I complete an upgrade to Windows 8, I ask the new user to give me a list of their favorite applications and I place them prominently on the Start Screen.  I then take 15-45 minutes (depending on their proficiency with their mobile device) to demonstrate the navigation similarities between their mobile phone and their upgraded computer.  It works.  More importantly, I often strengthen a relationship.

Well, that’s it for these 90 minutes….Tomorrow, I will discuss key strokes and how they further simplify the use of computers…

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It’s now tomorrow…

It took some time for me to get back to blogging.  Real life got in the way the past few months…but I am back….

To continue with my theme “Computing for the Rest of Us”, I want to continue discussing computing issues unique to rural communities.  One of the benefits of living in a small, rural community is the slower pace and lifestyle.  Basically, I find the stress level much lower than what I experienced while living and working in Silicon Valley and the Boston I-495 loop.  Example, I now walk to most of my  appointments, to go shopping and to visits friends.  I like to say this about about the small community I now call home…”stress here, is self inflicted”.   But, when it comes to computing, there are some challenges….That’s what I will be discussing…

The first thing I would like to focus on is this: “a jack of all trades is a master of none”.  How does this apply to computing?  Simple, just like your automobile, four-wheeler and/or lawn mower a computer must be maintained, serviced and sometimes repaired.  Sure, learning how to maintain and repair a computer is not rocket science, but there is a learning curve.  So, I suggest the following to all my friends, colleagues and online acquaintances residing in remote, rural locations: (1) learn the basics of computer maintenance  and (2) either learn the basics of computer repair or pay someone to repair your computer.   Now more on these points…

Point one, maintenance:  I always loved the old Fram oil filter commercial, “pay me now, or pay me later”.  It usually was accompanied with a seasoned mechanic standing over an automobile with the hood raised and steam coming from everywhere.  The commercial had a very simple theme, regular maintenance for your car and you would not have to experience an expensive repair later.  The same applies to computers; regular maintenance will extend the life of your desktop, laptop or tablet.  For desktops and laptops, invest in a can of compressed air.  The primary culprits for destroying computers are dust and heat!  Keeping the air vents on your desktop computer or laptop clear and free of dust goes a long way in extending it’s life.  Dust clogs the air vents and fans, causing the heat inside the computer to rise.  Heat causes the central processing unit (cpu) to work harder, shortening its lifespan.  It also places additional wear on the fan(s) and power supply.

Point two: repair:  Working on a computer without a basic knowledge of computer architecture is a recipe for disaster!  Most desktops, laptops and tablets share a common architecture/design which is actually elegantly simple.  Rather than go into a detailed discussion of computer architecture, remember this; no computer, tablet or smart phone can operate without a motherboard, central processing unit, memory (RAM), and the means to communicate with external devices and applications.  The key to extending the life and usefulness of your device is to find that person in your community who has a decent, working knowledge of computers and let him/her work or your device….

I made a promise to myself and my significant other that I would not spend more than 90 minutes each day on this blog.  My 90 minutes are up for today…we will continue this topic tomorrow…

 

 

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