Computers And Education – The Information Revolution

September 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Computer Tips, Featured

As long ago as a couple of decades, the major reason for a family to purchase a computer was to help with the children’s education. Whether it was because the computer could be used to type and print essays, or due to the specific programs that could be bought and used to aid the understanding of mathematics, history and other subjects, this was a way for children to learn.

As time has gone on, and with the particular aid of the Internet, computers have continued to be a major part of the education of children, to the point where pretty much every school in the Western world has a computer room where the children can research work online, and every university has an online infrastructure for the same reason.

This does not just extend to the use of education based sites, although there are many good examples of these sites available to those who need them. It also takes in sites like Wikipedia and various newspaper sites, which allow students to read information which will be of great benefit in the process of learning how knowledge is applied.

As the Internet is a place where there is little regulation, it is of course a concern for many adults that their children may, in studying for school, find themselves on sites that are undesirable due to content such as pornography, hate material or unprotected chat sites. However, good filtering software is one way to prevent this.

How Computers Have Linked The World

September 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Computer Information, Featured

It is very tricky to talk for a long time about computers without mentioning the Internet. The “web” has gone from being a small acorn a couple of decades ago to being arguably the tallest oak in any forest right now – and given the importance of the Internet in a number of fields, it does not seem likely that it will be surpassed in terms of influence any time soon.

The Internet has changed our lives. There is so much that we know, think and see today that has either been caused by the online world, or has been heavily influenced by it. When the Iranian authorities were suspected of fixing the Presidential elections of 2009, the story emerged very quickly and demonstrations were arranged using the Internet – in some cases using technical wizardry to get around the restrictions placed by the Iranian government.

That is one example, and a particularly special one at that. However, the linking of the world via the Internet has been demonstrated in many other ways, and is exemplified repeatedly every single day. Many of us will have purchased an item from overseas using eBay or another such site, in a way which was simply impossible before the Internet really grew legs.

Many of us, too, will have an interest in – for example – a sports team that plays on the other side of the world. Once upon a time, you would have needed to wait a day or two or had a contact on the other side of the world to keep you updated with the team’s performance. It is now possible to watch games live and read reports on the Internet, and be up to date immediately as a result.

Computer Addiction – A Genuine Problem?

September 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Computer Tips

From parents who are worried about the amount of time their kids spend in front of a monitor to the individual who says they don’t know if they could live without their PC, there are many people in the world who some would accuse of being addicted to their computers. How genuine this “addiction” is seems to be a matter of opinion. Certainly, there is no physical reason why computers might be addictive. But then, addictions are not solely physical in nature.

Often, it is not the computer that is at the source of the problem. What tends to be more of a concern is the specific programs on the computer, one or more of which may exert a powerful hold over the user. People have been reported as suffering addictions to computer games, to internet chat rooms and online pornography. In these cases, it seems that the computer is not the addiction but is an “enabler” to it.

If someone is spending too much time on their computer, then it is not necessarily the case that they have an addiction, although they may be over-reliant on it. There are many stories about executives who become almost inseparable from their laptops because they feel like they are always at work – some who will even bring their laptop on honeymoon with them. This is not a desirable state of affairs, but it does happen.

If you fear that you are addicted to your computer, then you need to switch it off, get up and do something else for a day. If you are still concerned, do the same the next day and see if the feeling grows or diminishes. It may be that you are not addicted, but are habitually linked to it.

Customised Computers – The Way Forward?

September 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Computer Information, Featured

Buying a new computer is something that can be extremely simple or grossly complicated depending on how you want to go about it. When you buy your first computer, your best bet may be to go for one that is “boxed and ready”, and simply needs to be taken out of the box and plugged in, or set up with minimal fuss before you can use it properly.

If you have been using computers for some time, however, you are more likely to know what you like and dislike in a PC, and may be able to make a more educated decision. You can choose a certain amount of data storage, a particular sound or graphics card, a monitor that is larger or smaller, flat screen or otherwise, as well as many other specifications.

The latter way may be more complicated, but it may also save you some money if you do it in an intelligent way. When you know exactly what you want – and some time working with computers tends to teach you this – you will be better able to make the choices that save you money and give you a computer that works exactly the way you want it to.

A lot also depends on how you are planning to use the computer. If you will merely be using it to go online and use a word processing program, then there is often little need to mess with what is already available, but if you have specific uses in mind for the machine, you can modify to your heart’s content to make sure you get the best machine.

Ahead Of The Curve Or Behind The Times?

September 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Computer Information

Technology can make fools of us all. If you are too slow to pick up on a trend, you will be missing out, or so you’re led to believe. However, jumping on the bandwagon too early can result in costly and embarrassing mistakes – there are attics all over the world that contain pieces of technology whose time “was coming”, and then passed without ever being “now”.

Early adoption of a piece of technology can pay off for you. If you have got to grips with a new system while all around you are just planning to purchase it, then you can exploit what you know and gain from it. There are always people ahead of the curve, who make big money and then watch as countless others try to replicate their success.

But every piece of computer equipment has a cost. When you buy something to make your computing experience more intuitive, faster or more profitable, you are banking on it being successful. So you had better hope there is nothing in development that will pull the rug out from underneath you. If there is, you may have wasted your money.

A new computer is a purchase that needs to be considered. You have to think about what is currently available, what is around the corner and what is already pretty much dead. Early adopting can be a mistake if the thing you are adopting never becomes the thing everyone wants. It is important to use good judgement in choosing your purchases.

Cheaper, Faster, Smaller, Better?

September 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Computer Tips

When people spend money, they want to get something that means their spending was worthwhile. For every purchase that is made, a standard is set – if your friend has got a computer that does certain things, for a certain price, then you have your benchmark – you want something at least as good, ideally better. You want it for at most the same price, but ideally cheaper.

The more that people purchase an item, the greater the incentive for companies to look at how they can make it better, and with computers this is especially clear. The more time passes, the greater the leaps have to be, and the more prices will drop for computers that have become, in most people’s eyes, obsolete.

A decade ago, most of us would have been happy with a computer that could connect to the Internet and would allow us to download moderately. As time has passed, it has become important to get more for your money. Broadband is considered essential, ideally at a high speed, and it is simply unthinkable to look at a computer that cannot stream video without buffering.

In addition to this we want fast downloading, easy modification, more peripherals and ideally we would like it in a range of colors. If you buy a computer that is less technologically advanced than your neighbor’s, then you have committed a rookie mistake and will have to either buy another one immediately or make sure you don’t make the same mistake next time. Getting the best is important.

Is It A Computer? Is It A Phone? Wait, It Is Both… And More!

September 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

The development of technology over the years has been a source of wonder to many people, and during our lifetimes we will all see developments which will have us saying “I really never thought I would see the day…”. For people who remember a time when taking your computer to the car would have required multiple trips, the innovation of phones that act like computers is one such development.

Although the modern smart phones are still more phone than computer, the fact is that they are capable of more than the average desktop PC was even ten years ago. You can capture photographs and video footage, download music files, make phone calls (admittedly, this seems like a side-benefit with most smart phones) and use the Internet as well as many other capabilities.

The absence of a hard drive is all that seems to separate these phones from computers, but the memory that can be stored on the phone itself seems to render a hard drive unnecessary. It is not at all uncommon for Twitter users to see posts from friends who spotted something while on the move and took a photograph which they posted to the site. This would have been unthinkable up until recently.

Such is the technology that these phones even have touch-screen keyboards so that, instead of the old numerical keyboard with letters as a secondary function, you can type your text messages or emails as you would when using a laptop or a PC. It is a computer in all the typical senses, and it fits in your pocket. Many of us never thought we’d see the day.

The Rise Of The Laptop Computer

September 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

One of the main elements of technological advance is that over time, any platform will be made smaller. As we had the telephone, now we have the mobile or cell phone. As we had the gramophone, so we invented the record player and eventually the compact disc. And inevitably, while computers started out being so large as to fill entire rooms, so they became smaller.

Eventually, this led to the invention of the laptop computer – which happened in a very basic form as long ago as 1968. That form of the technology was notably different from the laptops we recognize today in many ways, but it set the wheels in motion for what we use in this day and age. What we see today is a refinement of the first laptop computer.

The real story with laptop computers in the last decade or so is in how they have become more prevalent and more powerful. As recently as the last decade, a laptop computer would not have been a purchase that any but the affluent could have considered. Now, they are so prevalent as to be in most homes in the Western world.

Due to their smaller size, laptop computers can be taken anywhere so long as you have enough battery life. This smaller size does mean a trade-off in terms of memory, and the most powerful laptop is still markedly less powerful than a high-end desktop PC – but as the technology improves, the gap keeps narrowing and laptops are now used for more than just the basics.

Computing And Language – A Marriage Made In Hell?

September 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

About twenty years ago, “computing language” meant one thing, and was something only comprehensible to trained programmers. Yet today, it is much more likely to refer to a type of slang that is used among online communities. This has brought mixed results, some of which may be good and others very, very bad.

Some people will be familiar with “Leetspeak” or “l33t”, or indeed “1337”, which is a specialized terminology made op from characters other than letters – and therefore cannot actually be “spoken”. It is most familiarly used among hackers, gamers, or people seeking to be seen as pertaining to those fields, and to the untrained eye is nonsensical and irritating.

The use of “text speak”, or more commonly “txt spk” is also partially a result of the development of the Internet. Usually achieved by dropping vowels from words (although not every vowel) as well as the introduction of digits and emoticons made from punctuation marks, it results in sentences like “Gr8! So u r in2 txt spk? Me 2! :)”. Those who wish to be taken seriously avoid it.

Lolspeak, most commonly seen on the Lolcats website, is a mutation of text speak and takes its name partly from the text speak abbreviation “lol” (laughing out loud). It combines text speak with the deliberate use of an infantile form of speech – indeed, the Lolcats site is alternatively known as “I Can Has Cheezburgr?”. To novices, these dialects are all highly confusing

The Simplification Of Personal Computers

September 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Once upon a time, anyone who knew how to do anything with a computer beyond switching it on would have habitually been referred to as a “geek”. Certainly, if you spent any more than an hour a day using a computer for anything other than work, you would have been considered uncool. However, recently the use of computers has become something that more people do than not.

The very idea of something like Facebook ten or fifteen years ago would have set alarm bells ringing among the cool kids. Computer users socializing was like dogs rollerblading – not normal, unsettling to look at and something to be discouraged. But as computers have got cheaper and easier to use, social networking is now all the rage.

The boundary between “geek” and “chic” has narrowed in many cases to a point where it doesn’t exist. Indeed, the idea of “geek chic” has really taken off, and it is not even an issue for many kids who have grown up in an age where the Internet is fairly widespread. Now it is those who do not use computers that are considered a little bit odd.

Like any social change, there can be debate as to whether this has had overall desirable results. Certainly, someone who works in computers or just considers them a hobby need not cringe every time they are asked what they are into. With any kind of mass use, a phenomenon can attract undesirable activity and publicity, but on balance most people seem happy with the diversification it has brought.

Next Page »