So That's How You Do That!!

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Bits, bytes, megabytes and gigabytes

  • A byte is 8 bits as shown here.
  • 0 00000000
  • 1 00000001
  • 2 00000010
  • 3 00000011
  • 127 01111111
  • 255 11111111
  • It only takes 7 bits to send text so NEWS and MAIL messages are sent as 7 bit data and re-constructed into 8 bit bytes.
  • A megabyte is a million bytes; MB; 1,000,000 (1,048,576)
  • A gigabyte is billion bytes; GB; 1,000,000,000 (1,073,741,824)
  • A terabyte is a trillion bytes; TB; 1,000,000,000,000 (1,099,511,627,776)
  • A googolbyte is 10 followed by 100 zeros.

One thing that I was going to say about this got overlooked in the meeting. I wanted to describe the difference between the two types of memory in a computer; memory (RAM) and hard drive. After all, they are both "memory".

Think of an office situation; you start work by taking something out of your file cabinet and placing it on your desk. Think of the FILE CABINET as your hard drive (disk drive). It's where you store stuff that you're not using. It's safe and secure and will be there in the morning when you come back. Once on the DESK (RAM or RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY) however, you can work on it and modify it but the changes won't be saved unless you put them back in the file cabinet. A hard drive stores data until it is erased or over written; it comes today in gigabytes, usually 20 or more. RAM stores data only as long as the computer is on; it comes in megabytes and 128 to 256 megabytes are popular sizes. More memory (RAM) can speed your computer but beyond 128 the speed increase is not great.

Left Click, Double Click, Right Click Left Click, Double Click: The philosophy dates from when only the left mouse was active: one click selects; a double click activates. On the desktop or in a list of files and folders one click selects the file or folder and the edit menu defines what you can do with it. A double click runs the program indicated by the icon or opens the program associated with the file or opens the folder.

Right Click: A right click is for INFORMATION ONLY. Where appropriate, a right click pops up a menu of choices that you select and activate with a left click. Get in the habit of right-clicking on items to immediately see what actions are possible. You may be surprised at what you can do. It beats left click, click on the EDIT menu and selecting an action. For instance, if you right click a picture in an email it will ask how you want to save the picture.

Full Screen, Restore, Minimize In the upper right corner of most screens operating under Windows there's a dash, either overlapping squares or a single square and an X. The dash reduces the program screen to an icon and places it in the system tray; the overlapping squares reduce the size of the program (or file) screen to a previously set smaller size that can be adjusted at will; multiple reduced file screens may be viewed in the TILE or CASCADE mode and items dragged between them; the X closes the program (or file).

Left Drag, Right Drag You can open multiple folders and drag files between them. Did you move it or copy it? The philosophy is that if it's a move between sub-directories or a sub and it's parent, the drag is a MOVE; between unrelated directories, it's a copy. But why remember all that–RIGHT drag and a menu pops up asking what you want to do. Don't be a slave to Bill Gates-make up your own mind!!!

Toolbars

Toolbars can appear on the Desktop or on Internet Explorer (IE). What toolsbars are available on other Browsers (such as Opera and Netscape) I don't know.

Quick Launch (Desktop): drag items to it and one click launches them.

Links (Both): The FAVORITES menu has a folder called LINKS. It can be made to appear as a toolbar in either or both IE and the DESKTOP. S

Standard (IE): STANDARD BUTTONS include HOME, FAVORITES etc.

Address (Both); The ADDRESS toolbar is where to type in the URL (address) of the Internet site you want to visit. It's there in IE and can also be added to the DESKTOP so you can enter URLs there to save a step. Doing so will open your Browser (IE) if it's not already open.

Radio (IE): Available in earlier IEs it will not be present if you upgraded to IE 5. There is a way to get it back. In IE 6 there is no RADIO toolbar but there is a BUTTON on the STANDARD toolbar called MEDIA. Click there and then select RADIO and search for the station you want. It's world wide so you can listen to news in Japanese or Latvian if you want to..

Edit Undo, Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, Select All: It's helpful to remember a few shortcuts; they're also listed on the EDIT menu: CUT is CTL-X; COPY is CTL-C and PASTE is CTL-V.

Send To Click on SEND TO and see a list of places you can send a file. You can add places to the list. There's a folder called SEND TO and it's in the Windows folder on Windows up through ME and in the DOCUMENT and SETTINGS folder under your name in XP. Right click in the folder or select FILE, NEW and then SHORTCUT and browse for the location you want to send the file to.

I Didn't Know I Could Do That

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Net2phone, PhoneFree. Dialpad Net2phone (www.net2phone.com) has 2 cents a minute rate for calls from a computer to a phone.

Phonefree (www.phonefree.com) has software that allows gree calls between computers anywhere in the world.

Dialpad (www.dialpad.com) has a 1.7 cent a minute rate for calls from a computer to a phone.

Video Phone. Intel PC Camera (and others) allow you to contact any other PC and have a video conference. Intel Create and Share and Microsoft NetMeeting.

Pagoo, Buzme, Callwave, etc. Cruising the net and listening to the net radio keep your phone tied up. If you want to hear who's calling so you decide whether to take the call or call back, try one of these programs.Go to www.pagoo.com, www.buzme.com, or www.callwave.com.

Pagoo has a 30 day free trial and costs $5.95 a month. It includes "Caller ID and and acts as Call Waiting when you are on line.

Stupid Stuff Intel Video Camera. Pop bubbles and play basketball. Lots of fun.

Internet Clock: Keep your computer time accurate. Windows XP has it built in; others can go here: www.boulder.nist.gov/timefreq/service/its.htm. In XP RIGHT Click on the time on the toolbar, click on ADJUST TIME and DATE and click the INTERNET TIME tab.

Live Sports; Audio, Simulation Try the major sports leagues to find sites that broadcast sports: www.mlb.com, www.nba.com. Www.nfl.com and pick a team that you want to follow.

Multiple Windows: You can work on many things at once by opening multiple windows. You can move items between windows.

Multiple Browsers: Open as many browser windows as your memory will allow. Great for comparing data from different sites. See windows tiling and cascading above.

Play music CDs: Put a music CD in and play iy while you work. Use earphones if necessary.

Computer Art: Fractal images are created by mathematical iterations and can produce from truly pretty images. You can start here: http://spanky.triumf.ca/www/fractint/fractint.html. This is a free program but it's a DOS and not a Windows program. Search Google for FRACTALS to find some nice Windows programs.

Burn, Baby, Burn

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Who makes Software: Adaptec (now Roxio), Ahead (Nero), Windows XP

Start Program What do you want to do? Create a data disk, music disk, appendable disk? Select files and drag or click ADD Depending on the program there is a folder and file list where you can select the files you want to add to the CD and drag them or select and click on add to move them to the writing queue. Most show how much space they will use.

Click on TEST and BURN: Most programs perform a trial burn to assure everything will work. Use the trial until you have confidence it will burn a disk ok. It can help prevent the dreaded "Buffer Under Run Error". If you get that make sure nothing is running in the background and slow down the write speed.

Tip1: Shut down all other programs including virus scanners.

Tip 2: Practice with a CD RW disk. See if it can be read by another CD Drive.

Tip3: If you need to read CD RW disks on another machine, try several disk manufacturers to find a disk that works.

Drag and Drop. HP DLA pretends to do this. So does Windows XP. You can too. In DLA you can drag files to the D: drive (your burner drive) and drop them as you would any drive but they are actually saved on your hard drive for later writing to disk. You can create a temporary file and drag and drop files to it and then burn what's in the file. See SEND TO above for a way to make it simple. Right click it every so often to see how many megabytes it has.