Thursday, December 27, 2012

More Geek to Speak

Continuing in the vein of learning vocabulary to better understand today's technology, here are some more tech terms to learn:

Bookmark: This marks a Web page so you can return to it quickly without having to remember the URL (Web address). Bookmarks are also called Favorites. There are other ways to save your favorite websites and make them accessible from any computer. Symbaloo is a free service that allows you to create tiles which act as links to websites you choose. Try it at Symbaloo to see it it works for you.

Case Sensitive: The ability of a program/application to recognize the difference between lowercase (small) and uppercase (CAPITAL) letters. Typing in a URL (Web address) or email address doesn't have to be case sensitive, but typing in a password absolutely must be.

Clipboard: A special memory area on the the computer that stores data temporarily. If you're copying a picture from one document and want to paste it to another document, the picture is stored temporarily on the Clipboard until you're ready to paste it. This way, your hard drive isn't clogged with data you don't need to store multiple times or forever.

Cookie: Don't confuse this with something deliciously edible. A computer cookie is a tiny piece of text that Web servers place on your hard drive to track information about your computer and surfing practices. You can disable cookies, clear cookies, and otherwise control them, but they're sometimes necessary to get where you want to go on the Web.

Cursor: A symbol that indicates the place on your screen where your next mouse click or keyboard stroke will occur. When you're typing text, the blinking line is where the letters start, so make sure it's in the right place.

Default: An automatic setting on computer hardware or software. You can usually manually change default settings. For example, your printer's default setting may be color, but if you want to save ink, you can change the default setting to black and white or grayscale.

OK, that's enough for this segment. More to come.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Learning Geek - the language of computers

People trying to catch up with the digital age quickly realize they need to learn more than just how to turn the device of their choice on. They need to learn a new language as well. Words that have perfectly good meanings in basic English suddenly mean something else with technology. And then there are the words that were made up specifically by and for tech people. So, just to keep things interesting and allow you sound like you know what you're doing even if you don't, some vocab to get you started....

Active window: the window that is currently selected and allows you to either type or click on things. A new window automatically becomes the active window. Same thing applies to new tabs (not to be confused with the Tab key on the keyboard).

Attachment: a file or picture linked to an email message. A caveat about attachments...make sure the person at the other end can open whatever you are adding as an attachment. If you are sending a document in an application the receiver doesn't have, they won't be able to open your file. If you're not sure, it's better to send the content within the email message itself. The formatting may not be as pretty, but at least it will save frustration, or worse, lack of interest, on the other end.

Back up: a verb meaning to copy important files from your hard drive to something like a CD, a DVD, an external hard drive, a flash drive or whatever new backup device comes in the future. Backing up documents and pictures saves heartache when/if your computer crashes. Now you can even back up to the Cloud, a fancy way of saying storage space on the Internet.

Backup: a noun meaning the copy of files you have saved to a portable storage device or the Cloud.

Bandwidth: a measurement of how much information can be transmitted at a time - the higher the bandwidth, the faster you can send and receive information. There is no such thing as too much bandwidth.

Broadband: High-speed Internet connection using coaxial cable or fiber optic cable. Short for broad bandwidth.

Stay tuned for more.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Computer Security is more than anti-virus software

Many people think anti-virus software is all it takes to keep their computers and private information safe. Believe it or not, the person sitting at the computer is often their own worst enemy when it comes to giving away secrets and assisting identity thieves. The U.S. government wants to help you with security and has created a website to assist. For their complete articles on security issues and how you can protect your equipment and your identity, go to http://onguardonline.gov/articles/0009-computer-security. They even help with tips for kids' safety online.

Don't forget the other half of computer security: back-up, back-up, back-up. If your computer crashed tomorrow, would it take away precious photos, financial information, old family recipes? It could, depending on whether the hard drive is damaged beyond repair. So buy some CDs, DVDs, and flash drives and back up your important stuff. For especially important stuff, make at least two copies and store one in a separate location. Earthquakes, fire, flood. Don't let a natural disaster catch you and your data unaware.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Magic Tablet

Well, we had a spirited meeting last night of the Computer Club, and try as we could to focus on our evening's topic, the discussion inevitably turned to iPads. What is it about the magical electronic tablet that makes everyone drool? Well, after initial discussion on some iPad issues, we did look at screencasting and what it can do. Though the group gamely looked on, the conversation quickly turned again to...wait for it...the iPad. Which is a good thing since the purpose of the Club is to have fun while discussing technologies.

So next month, the demo topic is security. Viruses, worms, malware, spyware, identity theft, file back-up - you name it and we'll try to give the best tips out there. And then, another member will have a brand new iPad and want to talk about it - just wait and see.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Highlighting on a iPad to Copy & Paste

Discussing the new iPad and all its lovely features, someone asked a very good question - without a mouse, how do you highlight, copy and paste with touch screens? As one heavily dependant on using a mouse, it gave me pause. Fortunately, so many people love to show and tell, it was fairly easy to come up with the answer. For for all you iPad users out there, here are a couple of brief but good explanations. Check out these links: Select, copy and paste depending on the app and Highlighting made easy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Screencasting

Please keep visiting our Tech Blog as we add screencast tutorials on a variety of topics. Last week we had a wonderful demonstration on how to use Facebook and it raised a good question - how do you create a Facebook account? Well, clearly we can't stand over your shoulder to take you through it step-by-step, but we can create a step-by-step tutorial, right here on this site, to show you exactly what to do. As new questions arise, we'll add tutorials that not only explain (that's soooo paper technology), but also show you exactly what to do. Please leave comments for tutorials you'd like to see in future.

Next Computer Club meeting features the iPad. If you've thought about investing and just need to know more before you buy, or you have one and want to use it like they do in the movies, come to the meeting on April 4 at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Computer Club is Up and Running

Ten intrepid techies or techie wannabes attended our first Computer Club Meeting on February 1, 2012 to plan for the direction of future meetings. March will feature using Facebook. Even if you've only read about Facebook in the news and you don't know what all the fuss is about, this is a worthwhile demonstration. Might even open some eyes and possibilities. Join us! It's fun, informative and next month there will be snacks.