Archive for the ‘Basic Computer Information’ Category

Facecrooks: A Site Every Facebook User Should Check Out

Facecrooks logoI love using Facebook. I enjoy sharing information with my friends on it. I like catching up with family and old chums. And yes, I even like to engage in some political and religious debates on it.

I use information from a website called Facecrooks to help me sort through the changes Facebook makes to user account functionality as well as the many scams that seem to get posted – and reposted – on Faceook.

The information provided by Facecrooks helps me discern if something is “too good to be true” or if a new Facebook setting may compromise my privacy levels. Check it out!

Facecrooks has a website at http://www.facecrooks.com and a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Facecrooks.

 

Helpful Computer Applications, Services and Websites

In my group and private computer classes, I share with my students options for different software applications and websites; most are free of  charge. Many of the applications are open source software (indicated by “FOSS” notation after application name). In this article, I am providing links to each resource, along with a brief description of  what the program does or what the website offers to the visitor. Enjoy!

A Few Words About Open Source Software

Free and open source software, also known as FOSS, grants users the opportunity to use, evaluate, change, study and even improve on an application by having access to the source code for the application. Some people think that the term “free” means that there are no costs involved with the software. In this case, “free” actually refers to the “freedom” to use, copy, re-use, change, improve and develop the software. It is said that in this instance “think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer.”  (For more on the topic of Free Software Definition, visit http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.)

There are many options for software for your computer. Rather than spending a lot of money for the highly advertised software products, consider open source software to get the job done. From web browsing to photo editing to word processing, the open source alternatives are just as robust as the “name brands” that we are so accustomed to hearing about and using. These applications are legitimate software products; many times, they work better than their commercial counter parts. Read on!

INTERNET AND EMAIL

WEB BROWSING: Web browsers are software applications used to view and read web pages.

Application Name: Mozilla Firefox (FOSS)
Homepage: http://getfirefox.com

Firefox is easily the most popular piece of open source software out there. It’s job is to replace Internet Explorer, if you are on Windows, or Safari, if you are on OSX (Apple). Firefox is a wonderful upgrade because in addition to running faster than most other browsers it is also secure.

Application Name: Google Chrome
Homepage: http://www.google.com/chrome

Chrome is a browser offered by Google. It is designed for efficiency, speed and safety. One thing I like about Chrome is that if one of my tabs freezes, the others remain untouched – which means I do not lose the information on my browsing session just because one page crashed.

EMAIL

Application Name: Gmail
Homepage: http://www.gmail.com

Gmail is a free email program that allows the user to access email online, on a mobile phone or within an email client (such as Thunderbird). This service is powered by Google and gives the user over 7 gigabytes of free storage. Once you set up a Gmail account, you can also use the account to access other Google services such as Calendar, Documents, Photos, Reader, YouTube and Blogger.

Application Name: Thunderbird (FOSS)
Homepage: http://www.mozillamessaging.com/en-US/thunderbird/

Thunderbird is an email program from Mozilla, the same folks that brought us the Firefox internet browser. Download the program to your computer, input your email settings and you’re good to go. Thunderbird can also be used for instant messaging and social network messages.

 

OFFICE PRODUCTS: Word processors, Spreadsheets, Databases, Presentations, PDF Creators

OFFICE SUITES

Application Name: OpenOffice (FOSS)
Homepage: http://www.openoffice.org

To pick up the latest copy of Microsoft office odds are you are looking at spending a couple hundred dollars. OpenOffice is a full featured office suit, it contains a Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Drawing, and many more programs. It opens and saves files in all the standard .doc, .ppt, .xls, formats so it is full compatible with all MS Office files.

Application Name: LibreOffice (FOSS)
Homepage: http://www.libreoffice.org

LibreOffice is another open source office suite. Like OpenOffice, it is available for Windows, Macintosh and Linux computers. It offers a Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation and Database program. It allows for saving files in formats compatible with all MS Office files.

PDF CREATORS

If you can print a document, then you can create a PDF (portable document format). When a PDF is created, the formatting of the document is saved. Formatting refers to the font style, font size, graphics and color. When a document is saved as a PDF, all of the formatting is preserved.  Below are two different PDF programs which are free for home users. Once installed on your system, they will show up as one of your printers.

Application Name: PrimoPDF
Homepage: http://www.primopdf.com

PrimoPDF offers a one-click, drag-and-drop interface that is very easy to use. Download the home user version for free, or upgrade to the NitroPDF Professional version for a fee.

Application Name: CutePDF
Homepage: http://www.cutepdf.com/

The freeware version of CutePDF allows the user to create PDF files from any printable document. There is a professional version available for a fee.

UTILITIES: Anti-virus, Anti-malware, Cleaners, Compression (Zip Files)

ANTI-VIRUS

Application Name: Avast
Homepage: http://avast.com/eng/download-avast-home.html

Many of us are aware that the quickest way to a non-functioning Windows system is to catch a virus or two. Avast is one of the best anti-virus programs out there. It provides real time protection with minimal resource usage. It is free for home use so long as you are willing to register each year for a new key (which is a short and easy process).

 

ANTI-MALWARE

Application Name: Spy Bot Search & Destroy
Homepage: http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html

The Windows system is riddled with holes and exploits just waiting to make your life in front of the computer that much harder. In addition to having an awesome name, Spy Bot Search & Destroy is the best program out there for hunting down malware that has found its way into your unsuspecting system. The only slight draw back to this one is that it is NOT real time protection, meaning you need to remember to run the update for it and scan your system each week.

Application Name: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free
Homepage: http://www.malwarebytes.org/products/malwarebytes_free

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free clears out malware infections. You must run the program manually at least once week. There is a paid version which you can buy and it can be scheduled to run at certain times. My tech recommends that if you use Microsoft Security Essentials then you also run the paid version of Malwarebytes.

 

ANTI-VIRUS/ANTI-MALWARE PACKAGE

Application Name: Microsoft Security Essentials
Homepage: http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/

Microsoft’s new anti-virus and anti-malware bundle is free and protects your computer from viruses, spyware and other malicious programs.

OPTIMIZATION AND CLEANING

Application Name: CCleaner
Homepage: http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner

CCleaner removes temporary files from your Windows system. It helps clean up the “crap” on your computer. This program was originally called “Crap Cleaner.” ;-) The program is free for home users.

COMPRESSION (ZIP FILES)

Application Name: 7zip (FOSS)
Homepage: http://7-zip.com

Compressing files is useful when you are trying to to send a large amount of files to someone or simply for storing files that are not often used. 7-zip contains a custom archiving format, .7z, that is much more efficient than the standard .zip. In addition to having this custom format it also can compress into the more universally standard .zip in a more timely manner than the built in Windows compression software or commercial software such as WinZip.

 

MESSAGING

Application Name: Pidgin (FOSS)
Homepage: http://www.pidgin.im/

Pidgin is a full featured instant messaging client similar to Trillian. It can connect to a wide range of networks, from AIM to Facebook, to Yahoo and MSN. It contains a logging feature that can be easily toggled on and off, along with a pile of other useful and fun plugins.

PHOTO EDITING

Application Name: Gimp (FOSS)
Homepage: http://gimp.org/

Gimp is a tool for manipulating images on the computer. In contains essentially all of the features used in Adobe Photoshop. If you are already familiar with the Photoshop interface (or GUI) there is also a plugin for Gimp called “Gimpshop” that makes the Gimps GUI mirror that of Photoshop.

Application Name: Picasa
Homepage: http://picasa.google.com/

Picasa is one of my favorite  photo applications. It can be used to view, edit and share your photographs. You can also create online photo albums quite easily. You will need a Google/Gmail account to use the online features.

 

ART PROGRAMS

Application Name: Tux Paint (FOSS)
Homepage: http://www.tuxpaint.org/

If you have children in your life who like to draw, or maybe the child in you would like to draw, check out Tux Paint. It is a very easy-to-use program that allows for creating images. I have found that kids young and old like playing with this program.

Application Name: MyPaint (FOSS)
Homepage: http://mypaint.intilinux.com/

MyPaint is a more robust drawing program. It is simple to install and use. It can make more detailed drawings than Tux Paint.

Application Name: InkScape (FOSS)
Homepage: http://www.inkscape.org/

InkScape is a vector based drawing program. It is comparable to Adobe’s Illustrator program.

Product Name: Picassohead
Homepage: http://www.picassohead.com

PicassoHead is a fun art site that uses a combination of predesigned shapes, along with your imagination, to create Picasso-inspired images. Once your picture is finished, you can email yourself a link to the completed project and the project goes into the online gallery. This is a fun site for kids of all ages!

Read more about this site in my article here: http://karenzhoogland.org/2010/07/12/picasso-this/

WEB DESIGN

Application Name: KompoZer
Homepage: http://kompozer.net/

KompoZer is a webdesign program that rivals Dreamweaver. This is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. If you can use a word processor (such as OpenOffice Writer), you can use KompoZer to create a website.

Application Name: Aptana Studio 3
Homepage: http://www.aptana.com/products/studio3

Aptana Studio 3 is a suite that can be used to create and test your website. The program is an open source tool.

BLOGGING

Application Name: Blogger
Homepage: https://www.blogger.com/start

Another popular offering from Google is Blogger. Anyone can easily set up and maintain a blog using this free online application. The only thing you need to get started is a Gmail address. If you use Picasa, you can also upload your photos right from Picasa into your Blog.

Application Name: WordPress (FOSS)
Homepage: http://wordpress.com/

WordPress offers another option for blogging. If offers a few more choices than Blogger, along with a different variety of templates for your site. This software also allows you to set up your site without the blog function; it is a quick way to get a good-looking website online quickly, with little expense. As with Blogger, this is advertiser supporter. If you have your own hosting service, you can download the WordPress software from http://wordpress.org, install it on your server and then run it without advertising. WordPress is my preferred blogging software; this blog is a WordPress blog.

FILE STORAGE AND SHARING

Application Name: DropBox
Homepage: https://www.dropbox.com/referrals/NTE0MTMwMTA1OQ?src=global9

DropBox is a free online storage service that allows you to store up to 2 gigabytes of data. You can download their software to your computer and it installs a “virtual folder” to your drive. You can save files here and then access them anywhere you have an internet connection. If you are on a public computer, you can to to the website, log in and download or upload files. If you send invitations to the friends to sign up for the service, you will get more free space. You can also do a paid account for larger storage space.

Read my article about DropBox here: http://karenzhoogland.org/2011/02/10/who-needs-a-flash-drive-when-you-have-dropbox/

ONLINE MUSIC

Application Name: Pandora
Homepage: http://www.pandora.com

Pandora Sign UpPandora is a music service that creates music stations based on your tastes. The service offers two different accounts. You can choose the free service, which includes 30 hours of music per month; this is advertiser supported. The fee-based service currently costs $36 for a full year; it is ad-free and also allows you to download the Pandora One application on your computer or mobile device, rather than running the program in your web browser.

Read my article about Pandora here: http://karenzhoogland.org/2011/02/26/pandora-my-musical-friend/

ONLINE TUTORIALS AND OTHER HELPFUL SITES

TUTORIALS

Product Name: InPictures – Online computer tutorials in pictures
Homepage: http://inpics.net/

This site offers tutorials in several programs, including the OpenOffice suite and Microsoft Office suite. The lessons are offered in slide format, with explicit pictures.

Product Name: GCF Learn Free
Homepage: http://www.gcflearnfree.org/

Site offers tutorials in basic computers, internet, Microsoft Office, Excel, Facebook, Math, Reading and more.

Product Name: Geekgirls Plain English Computing
Homepage: http://www.geekgirls.com/

Site offers several tutorials for different operating systems: Windows XP (which is what we use in the BAC Lab), Windows Vista and Windows 7.  These tutorials provide nice refreshers to some of the topics we covered in class, such as copying files, moving files, saving, creating folders, etc.

DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL HELP

Product: Ninite
Homepage: http://ninite.com

Ninite is a website where you can select, download and install most of the applications listed in this article. As the site says, it is the “easiest and fastest way to update or install software.”

OPEN SOURCE ALTERNATIVES

If you are interested in more open source programs, visit http://osalt.com.

NOTES AND CREDITS

Some of information in this article was adapted from an article written by my son, Jeff Hoogland, on his blog, Thoughts on Technology. You may read the original article here: http://jeffhoogland.blogspot.com/2009/10/computer-Application Names-everyone-should.html. If you would like to read more at Jeff’s blog, visit http://jeffhoogland.blogspot.com/.

I did write about some of the programs mentioned here last year in my blog post titled “Open Source Computer Applications.” You may read that post here: http://karenzhoogland.org/2010/05/26/open-source-computer-applications/.

Thanks for reading. If you have other computer programs or websites that you think I should add to this article, please share!

Until next time,
~Karen

Who needs a flash drive when you have Dropbox?

A few months ago, I started using a snappy little application called Dropbox. This service provides an online folder where I can store and share files. I can access the files in my Dropbox account from  my desktop, my laptop, my netbook and from any other computer connected to the internet. I have also installed a Dropbox app on my HTC Evo Shift smartphone.

dropbox logoSince I teach many computer classes and work with many private students at various locations, this little tool has become quite useful. I can create and share files with any of my students and clients, without having to rely on emailing files. It has made for simpler collaboration, as well as peace of mind knowing my files are backed up.

So far, I am using the free account. This account offers up to 2 gigabytes of storage apace. As a bonus, if you refer friends to the service and they sign up, you will be gifted with more space on your Dropbox account.

If you are using Dropbox on your own computer, I highly recommend installing their application on your system. It will make the file sharing seamless because the Dropbox folder will look like just another folder on your computer. When I make a file on my desktop computer, I store it in my Dropbox folder. Later, if I am working on my laptop, I can access the same file that I created on my desktop. If I happen to be at a client’s office, I can login to my account at Dropbox.com and access any pertinent information through the web interface.

Using Dropbox has allowed me to give up my addiction for flash drives. And really, who needs a flash drive when you have Dropbox?

Try Dropbox by going here: http://db.tt/86l92b0. If you use this link, it will also give me a bit more storage on my own Dropbox.

Enjoy!

~Karen

It’s Not Too Late and You’re Not Too Old!

“You will never be able to leave that dog alone with your pet rabbit,” said the Veterinarian. She had spoken those words to me on the day my husband and I adopted a 3-year-old greyhound we named, Rosie.

Not only was our veterinarian wrong, she was VERY wrong. Within a year, I was able to leave Rosie alone with my pet rabbit, Billy. Why am I writing about my pets on my computer blog? The short story illustrates the point that you can teach an old dog new tricks! It is never too late, and one is never too old, to learn something new!

I often receive calls from adults who have received a new electronics device and are convinced they are either too old to learn something new or that it is too late for them to bother learning how to operate this new equipment. Just as I taught my old dog, Rosie, to learn to live in harmony with Billy Bunny, anyone can be taught how to use that new digital camera or laptop. The key to discovering all that your new toy can do might be as easy as spending some time with your device and the manual. Or, you may prefer to review online tutorials, take a group class or private lesson to grasp all that your device can do for you.

Check out some of the online tutorials below. If you still need help, contact me to set up some private or group lessons!

Digital Camera Tutorials:

Laptop and Desktop Tutorials:

Have fun learning a few new tricks!

~Karen

No Question is Silly, Silly!

In my teaching adventures, I see that adult students have a different take from children on learning all things computer. For many of my adult students, they seem to feel very much how the woman looks in the photo to the left: pulling their hair out in frustration! Learning about computers really doesn’t require pulling your hair out. Really, it does not!

Think about how you learn other new ideas and tasks. Do you learn best by watching someone first? Are you more likely to pick up a new thing by reading a book? Perhaps you like the old tried-and-sometimes-true method of doing it until you get stumped. The first key to learning anything new is to understand your learning style.

For myself, I like to see how something is done. Then, I like to see it done a second time so I can jot down some notes. And while my twenty-something sons may giggle and snicker over the use of the Pen and Paper Version 1.0, for many people, the art of physically writing down step-by-step directions is what helps keep the instructions in mind.

After I have watched someone complete the task and taken notes. I like to try it on my own. This is the true test of just how well I have done with my note-taking. Many times, I find that I was not thorough enough with my notes. I find myself wondering what my cryptic messages really mean. This is where asking questions becomes most important. I try to remind myself that no question is ever silly. That’s right. Even if I have asked it a number of times, it is never a silly question if I struggle to find the answer.

Remember this on your journey to learn about computers – or any new topic. Figure out your learning style (it is often a combination of two or more). Seek out online tutorials – both video and textual. (Geekgirl’s Plain-English Computing is one of my favorites for online tutorials.)  Find local classes at libraries, community centers and colleges. And remember, no questions is ever too silly!

~Karen

Picasso This!

I truly enjoy teaching a variety of computer classes, both in group and private tutoring settings.

I recently had my youth students create their own Picasso-style images on the computer. As I was searching for some examples and inspiration, I found a snappy little website called Picasso Head (see www.picassohead.com). To the left is one of my “creations.”

The website uses Flash technology to allow the visitor to create her own Picasso style image using a few different tools. First, a head is chosen, and then the parts of the face.

Color may be applied to the various items in the drawing. The parts may also be scaled, rotated and mirrored.

The site even offers “abstracts” to add in to your image. Once the piece is finished, the artist can email the link to the artwork. A link is emailed; when clicked it takes the reader to the PicassoHead.com gallery to view the image.

The screen shot to the right gives an idea of the tools available on the site.

This website was a fun way to introduce the children to Picasso style artwork, while also giving them an opportunity to exercise their own creativity.

Picasso Head is the creation of RF Innovation Studios (http://www.rfistudios.com).

Open Source Computer Applications

The following information was adapted from an article written by Jeff Hoogland on his blog, Thoughts on Technology. He has given permission for me to use his work here. (You may read the original article, Computer Applications Everyone Should Know About,  here:
http://jeffhoogland.blogspot.com/2009/10/computer-applications-everyone-should.html)

Throughout my adult computer classes, I have discussed several options for different software applications which you may download and use free of charge. My son, Jeff gathered many of those resources in his article; I am sharing a couple of more that may be of interest to you and your family members.

There are many options for software for your computer. Rather than spending a lot of money for the highly advertised software products, consider open source software to get the job done. From web browsing to photo editing to word processing, the open source alternatives are just as robust as the “name brands” that we are so accustomed to hearing about and using. Jeff not only shared links to the particular products, he also wrote a good description of each product. Read on!

As Jeff stated in his article: “All of these are legitimate pieces of software that I have found often times work better than their commercial counter parts.”

Web Browsing 
Application: Mozilla Firefox
Homepage: http://getfirefox.com

Many of us have at least heard of this one. It is easily the most popular piece of open source software out there. It’s job is to replace Internet Explorer, if you are on Windows, or Safari, if you are on OSX (Apple). Firefox is a wonderful upgrade because in addition to running faster than most other browsers it is also the most secure. This means less viruses and Mal-ware for all you Windows users out there.

Office Suite 
Application: OpenOffice
Homepage: http://openoffice.org

To pick up the latest copy of Microsoft office odds are you are looking at spending a couple hundred dollars. OpenOffice is a full featured office suit, it contains a Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation (PowerPoint), Drawing, and much more. It opens and saves files in all the standard .doc, .ppt, .xls, formats so it is full compatible with all MS office files.

Anti-virus
Application: Avast
Homepage: http://avast.com/eng/download-avast-home.html

Many of us are aware that the quickest way to a non-functioning Windows system is to catch a virus or two. Avast is one of the best anti-virus programs out there. It provides real time protection with minimal resource usage. It is free for home use so long as you are willing to register each year for a new key (which is a short and easy process).

Anti-Malware
Application: Spy Bot Search & Destroy
Homepage: http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html

The Windows system is riddled with holes and exploits just waiting to make your life in front of the computer that much harder. In addition to having an awesome name, Spy Bot S&D is the best program out there for hunting down malware that has found it’s way into your unsuspecting system. The only slight draw back to this one is that it is NOT real time protection, meaning you need to remember to run the update for it and scan your system each week.

Archiving
Application: 7zip
Homepage: http://7-zip.com

Compressing files is useful when you are trying to to send a large amount of files to someone or simply for storing files that are not often used. 7-zip contains a custom archiving format, .7z, that is much more efficient than the standard .zip. In addition to having this custom format it also can compress into the more universally standard .zip in a more timely manner than the built in Windows compression software or commercial software such as WinZip.

Instant Messaging 
Application: Pidgin
Homepage: http://www.pidgin.im/

Pidgin is a full featured instant messaging client similar to Trillian. It can connect to a wide range of networks, from AIM to Facebook, to Yahoo and MSN. It contains a logging feature that can be easily toggled on and off, along with a pile of other useful and fun plugins.

Photo Editing 
Application: Gimp
Homepage: http://gimp.org/

Gimp is a tool for manipulating images on the computer. In contains essentially all of the features the commercial soft Adobe Photoshop does. If you are already familiar with the Photoshop GUI there is also a plugin for Gimp called “Gimpshop” that makes Gimps GUI mirror that of Photoshop’s.Here is where Jeff’s listing of applications end. I have added a few of my favorites for you to explore, beginning with products offered by Google.

Photo Editing 
Application: Picasa
Homepage: http://picasa.google.com/

Picasa is one of my favorite applications. It can be used to view, edit and share your
photographs. You can also create online photo albums quite easily.

Blogging 

Application: Blogger
Homepage: https://www.blogger.com/start

Another popular offering from Google is Blogger. Anyone can easily set up and use a blog using this free online application. The only thing you need to get started is an email address. If you use Picasa, you can also upload your photos right from Picasa into your Blog. Jeff’s blog is powered by Blogger, as are the two that I own.

Drawing

Application: Tux Paint
Homepage: http://www.tuxpaint.org/

If you have children in your life who like to draw, or maybe the child in you would like to draw, check out Tux Paint. It is a very easy-to-use program that allows for creating images. I have found that kids young and old like playing with this program.

Drawing 
Application: MyPaint
Homepage: http://mypaint.intilinux.com/

MyPaint is a more robust drawing program. It is simple to install and use. It can make more detailed drawings than Tux Paint.

Vector Graphics
Application: InkScape
Homepage: http://www.inkscape.org/

InkScape is a vector based drawing program. It is comparable to Adobe’s Illustrator program.

Web Design 
Application: KompoZer
Homepage: http://kompozer.net/

KompoZer is a webdesign program that rivals Dreamweaver. This is WYSIWYG (what you see is
what you get) editor. If you can use a word processor (such as Word or OpenOffice Writer),
you can use KompoZer to create a website.

If you are interested in more open source programs, visit http://osalt.com. If you would like to read more articles from Jeff, visit his blog at http://jeffhoogland.blogspot.com/.

And the Password is…

As you spend time online, you may also find that you have to spend time dreaming up passwords while creating accounts at various sites. I am always amazed by people who tell me that they use the exact same password for everything from their Facebook accounts to their bank accounts to their home wireless networks. I am further amazed when folks tell me they use such “tricky” passwords as their home address numbers, their last name or even “123456.”

Take a few moments to create a clever, easy to remember password, which is also somewhat secure. You should use a combination of letters and numerals in your password. Take a word that you easily remember and then switch things up a bit to make it a  real password.

For example, perhaps you want to use the name of your dog as a password, combined with his birthday. Take the dog’s name, Snoopy, and his birthday, February 14, 2002 and turn it into any number of passwords:

  • Sn00pyFeb14 – replace the “o’s” with zero’s
  • Snoopy2002 – Uppercase “S” and add on the year
  • SnOoPyFeB14 – Alternate uppercase and lowercase letters

You get the idea – use a variety of uppercase and lowercase letters, combined with at least one number. You should also make your password at least 8 characters long; better yet, create one that is up to 14 characters.

If you are still stumped at creating a password, you might want to try some of the password generators that are out there, such as MakePassword (http://maord.com/) or Security Guide for Windows (http://www.pctools.com/guides/password/)

Computers, Office, Windows: Where to Start?

One of my computer students shared a humorous email with me the other day. It was a rewrite of the old Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First” skit. 

The author, Tom King, plays on words, such as windows, office, and word, which have come to take on new meaning as personal computers have gained popularity. I could truly relate to this piece and enjoyed it so much that I wrote to the author, Tom King, to request permission to share it here. If you choose to pass it on, please be sure to give Mr. King the appropriate credit.

If you have an amusing (or frustrating) computer story, please share it! 

Happy Computing!
~Karen


COSTELLO CALLS TO BUY A COMPUTER FROM ABBOTT

ABBOTT: Super Duper Computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks. I’m setting up an office in my den and I’m thinking about buying a computer.
ABBOTT: Mac?
COSTELLO: No, the name’s Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don’t own a computer. I want to buy one.
ABBOTT: Mac?
COSTELLO: I told you, my name’s Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don’t know. What will I see when I look in the windows?
ABBOTT: Wallpaper.
COSTELLO: What if I don’t like wallpaper?
ABBOTT: Just change it.
COSTELLO: Isn’t that expensive?
ABBOTT: No, it’s free with Windows.
COSTELLO: I have to buy the Windows to get the wallpaper.
ABBOTT: It’s free if you buy the computer.
COSTELLO: They give you windows for your office if you buy a computer.
ABBOTT: Certainly!
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software for Windows?
COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What have you got?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommend something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?
ABBOTT: Yes.
COSTELLO: For my office?
ABBOTT: Yes.
COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!
ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, lets just say I’m sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?
ABBOTT: Word.
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue “W”.
COSTELLO: I’m going to click your blue “w” if you don’t start with some straight answers. OK, forget that. Can I watch movies on the Internet?
ABBOTT: Yes, you want Real.
COSTELLO: Sure I may want to watch a real one, maybe a cartoon. What I watch is none of your business. Just tell me what I need!
ABBOTT: Real.
COSTELLO: Well, I don’t want a fake one!
ABBOTT: Of course.
COSTELLO: So what do I get?
ABBOTT: Real Player.
COSTELLO: Yes, I want a Real Player.
ABBOTT: And you’ll have one
COSTELLO: A Real Player?
ABBOTT: Certainly.
COSTELLO: OK, I’m at my computer and I want to watch a movie. What do I do?
ABBOTT: You click the blue “r”.
COSTELLO: I click the blue what?
ABBOTT: The blue “r”.
COSTELLO: The blue “r” what?
ABBOTT: Just the blue “r”
COSTELLO: The blue “r” what?
ABBOTT: The blue “r” nothing.
COSTELLO: If the blue “r” nothing, how do I watch the movie?
ABBOTT: You click the blue “r”
COSTELLO: Is that different from the blue w?
ABBOTT: The blue “r” is the Real Player and the blue “W” is Word.
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: But there’s three words in “office for windows”!
ABBOTT: No, just one. But it’s the most popular Word in the world.
COSTELLO: What is?
ABBOTT: Word.
COSTELLO: Word?
ABBOTT: Yes, but to be fair, there aren’t many other Words left. Word pretty much wiped out all the other Words out there.
COSTELLO: Word?
ABBOTT: Woooord, dude!
COSTELLO: I don’t know what you’re talking about! What about bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: That’s right. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer
COSTELLO: What’s bundled with my computer?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?
ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn’t it illegal to copy money?
ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy money.
COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?
ABBOTT: Why not? THEY OWN IT!

A FEW DAYS LATER . . .

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?
ABBOTT: Click on “START”..
COSTELLO: Now don’t you start that again….
ABBOTT: But I thought you wanted to “STOP”
COSTELLO: That’s right. This thing has been on for 3 days and I can’t find the “STOP” button.
ABBOTT: Click on “START”
COSTELLO: I don’t wanna start!
ABBOTT: But you have to click on “START”.
COSTELLO: Why do I have to click on “START”?
ABBOTT: So you can stop…..
COSTELLO: So I have to click on “START” to “STOP”
ABBOTT: That’s so you can log off.
COSTELLO: I click “START” and then I log off.
ABBOTT: That’s right, you log off.
COSTELLO: I log off
ABBOTT: That’s right, now go ahead and log off.
COSTELLO; What if I don’t have a log. I DON’T EVEN HAVE A FIREPLACE!!!!!
ABBOTT: No, you don’t need a log. You just want to get out of Windows
COSTELLO: Which one?
ABBOTT: Which what?
COSTELLO: Which Window?
ABBOTT: The only Windows you’ve got.
COSTELLO: So it doesn’t matter which Windows?
ABBOTT: You just want to get out of Windows.

(sound of wood and metal scraping followed by breaking glass)

ABBOTT: Lou, what was that?
COSTELLO: Oh, I threw it out the front windows! You said it didn’t matter and the front windows were closer than the back ones….

Written by Tom King, (c) 2004, Flint, TX.
Shared with permission. Visit Tom’s blog, Just One Man’s Opinion, for more witty postings.

Just One Mans Opinion: COSTELLO CALLS TO BUY A COMPUTER FROM ABBOTT

If I have Windows, does that mean I have an Office (Suite)?

When I purchased my first computer, back in the last century, it came preinstalled with quite a lot of useful software applications. Of course, it had an operating system (or OS). That OS was Windows 95. Over the past 13 years, there have been many new versions of the Windows Operating System, with the most recent being Windows 7. (All new versions were supposed to have done away with all the “issues” of previous versions of the OS, but that is a topic for another article!)

That old Packard Bell computer, from 1997, came with two office suites (Microsoft Works and Corel), a money program, encyclopedia, graphics program and numerous games. In recent years, however, new computers come with the operating system and demo versions of the most used software applications. Traditionally, the demo versions of the applications are usable for a specified period of time, and often with limited functionality.

This is something to consider if you are in the market for a new desktop or laptop computer: your purchase will likely include a recent rendition of the Windows operating system, but it will be up to you to install (and purchase) software applications that will make your new hardware useful. An office suite, such as Microsoft Office, must be purchased by the end user (you!). Or, as an alternative, you can download the free, and just as powerful, OpenOffice software suite.

OpenOffice is a fully functional office suite which is available for all operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.). It is an open source software application and there is no charge to download or use the product, although donations are appreciated. You can read more about OpenOffice, and download it for your computer, here: http://www.openoffice.org.

After you install the program, head back to the OpenOffice site to explore the many tutorials, lessons and templates available for this program. Here is the page for the tutorials: http://www.tutorialsforopenoffice.org. I will write more about those in future posts.

Happy computing!
~Karen

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