Tag Archives | computer

Image by Farzad Nazifi, unsplash.com

Image by Farzad Nazifi, unsplash.com

As most people would readily concur, computers have become critical components of our everyday living. As such, they are widely acclaimed for providing an unparalleled level of convenience and efficiency in terms of undertaking a wide variety of tasks – both in our professional and personal lives. However, many individuals have yet to fully grasp even the most basic computing skills. This includes sending and receiving emails, internet browsing, basic computer security best practices, and the list goes on. Should you fall into this category, below are the top 5 computer skills everyone should master.

1. Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts have been specifically put in place to enhance the overall computer usage experience. They allow computer users to accomplish numerous, essential computing tasks in a stress-free and time-efficient manner. You’re not required to memorize all the keyboard shortcuts, rather, only those which can be indispensable to various frequent tasks. This includes “Ctrl + C”, which initiates the copy function, “Ctrl + V” which triggers the paste function, and “Ctrl + X” for the cut function. The lesser-known “Ctrl + backspace” allows you to delete the whole previous word as opposed to just single characters.

2. Internet basics

Search engines are synonymous with the internet due to the many advantages they present. Hence, you will have to master the basics of advanced search, like identifying the various Boolean operators. This includes the connectors ‘+’, ‘AND’, ‘OR’ and even ‘NOT’. You will also need to learn how to identify mediocre resources at just a single glance.

At the same time, you will have to master how to utilize web browsers more efficiently in order to fully tap into the powerful potential of the internet. Some of the basic web browser skills you can master include opening links in new browser windows, using bookmarks, and clearing browser caches.

3. Computer security best practices

You don’t need to be a fully fledged IT expert to be able to comprehend the basics of protecting your PC and software from external attacks. This naturally includes knowing how to enable your PC’s firewall and also how to effectively use antivirus applications. Both of which can be able to offer some invaluable protection from viruses and malware that may try to take advantage of vulnerabilities in your system. You will also need to master how to formulate strong and secure passwords to prevent malicious individuals from gaining access to critical files or applications in your system.

4. Sending and receiving emails

Email has effectually replaced the conventional mailing system as the communication medium of choice for many individuals and even business organizations. As such, it is always an excellent idea to learn how to send and receive emails the right way, while taking advantage of the wide range of functionalities these applications come with. This includes mass mailing, URL insertion, and adding attachments.

5. Touch typing

Touch typing is a critical computer skill you should make an effort to master, even if you are not a professional typist. This particular skill lets you rely on your motor reflexes rather than your sight. It lets you place your concentration on your PC’s screen rather than the keyboard as with most other typing techniques.

As you proceed to master touch typing, you will eventually find that your typing speed and accuracy have greatly improved. This in turn will improve your overall efficiency and productivity in the various computing tasks you undertake, whether in your professional or personal pursuits.

Finally, learning touch typing will also impart you with typing best practices such as ideal posture and finger placement. This will assist you in avoiding injury, particularly when you are engaged in protracted typing sessions.

This article was contributed by guest author Adam Fort.

Image by Sean MacEntee, Flickr

Image by Sean MacEntee, Flickr

Choosing a laptop to use for school may not be the easy decision you think it is. There are many options, but when it comes down to it, you’ll be looking at two versions: a Mac or a PC. My goal is to show you the pros and cons of both to help you make your decision. Remember that even though Mac and PC computers run on different operating systems, they are made up of the same parts, and in most cases, either one will be able to satisfy your education requirements.

The Advantages

The Mac The PC
Battery life
Generally superior and long-lasting

Comes with installed, easy-to-use software for movie and music editing

Operating System
Easy-to-use, configurable operating system

More secure infrastructure when surfing the web

Arguably sleek models

Gigantic marketplace for all kinds of software

Customize it to fit your style with the flexible Windows system

Entertainment station
Double as an entertainment station (watch movies, play games) as well as a work station

Competition between PC manufacturers means more reasonable prices

The Disadvantages

The Mac
The PC
Least expensive laptop (11-inch MacBook Air) starts at $999

Incompatible with many third party programs, although this is slowly changing

Cannot be customized outside of what the operating system allows

More difficult to learn to use, although slowly changing with the advent of Windows 8.1

Battery life
Varies computer to computer, from frustratingly low to comfortably high

Some hardware is prone to overheating because of how they are built and the various manufacturers

Viruses, malware, adware
Ensure safe web surfing with a good anti-virus program

The facts are laid out. Still unsure? Your choice can be made easier by looking at what you need, while making sure you’re getting the things you want.

  • Prioritize your needs
  • If you’re in a media program, you may need to edit movies or music. A Mac might be a better choice for you, since the Operating System comes packaged with professional, easy-to-use software.

  • Be wary of price
  • If you’re going to be using your computer for mainly word processing and web surfing, your best bet would be to go with a PC notebook. Models start as low as $400, and they can give you all the tools necessary to complete your schoolwork.

  • Take into account all uses of the computer
  • Will you be using your computer outside of school-related activities? If you plan to also use it for entertainment at home, look for a computer with higher specifications that meets your needs.

In the end, the choice resides with you and your preference. Both Mac and PC computers have advantages and disadvantages. Study the charts above, list out your priorities, see what’s on sale, and go into a couple of stores to test them out. I’m sure you’ll find the perfect one to fit your needs – and you’ll enjoy the hunt!

Check out this article on more things to consider when searching for a laptop.