Let’s begin learning about computers.

February 18, 2010

I love to teach people about computers, one of the things I try to get people to learn first is the names of the computer parts. One thing that irritates support specialists more than anything else is talking to someone about problems with the customers “modem” and what the customer meant was the actual computer itself. I’ll give you an example of what I mean.

Customer: I’m having a problem with my modem.

Tech: I assume it’s an external modem? It’s outside the computer?

Customer: Yes it won’t turn work.

Tech: Okay, is it plugged in?

Customer: Yes

Tech: What happens when you try to dial-up the Internet does it give you an error?

Customer: What do you mean dial-up? I have cable Internet.

You can see how this would confuse the tech and cause frustration for the customer. So lets begin by learning the parts of the computer so that you can impress your friends and help smooth the process of diagnosing your computer problem the next time you have to call customer support.

First, almost everyone knows what the mouse is. 

Almost everyone gets keyboard correct.

Now the next couple of parts is where most “newbies” get a little confused.

This is a monitor, it can also be called the screen, this is not the computer unless it’s an all in one where everything is built into the monitor. Like this…

Now comes the heart of the computer system.

The CPU, or desktop, or tower, or computer. There are other parts that make up this part of the system. Most of what you’ll hear talked about on the CPU are the ports in the back of the computer where you plug in the monitor and mouse and keyboard. You also may use the CD-Rom drive from time to time. The computer pictured has a floppy drive that is pretty much obsolete. Many computers now have usb and audio output and input ports on the front for easy access. USB ports are where you may plug your digital camera, or other such device.

Pretty simple stuff huh? Well, I promise you when you call the parts if the computer by it’s correct name, you’ll make some computer tech that’s trying to help, you very appreciative.


Simple Courtesy

October 14, 2009

I remember once, riding in the truck with my father and I noticed he would often wave to people as we met them on the highway, I thought at the time, “Wow, dad must really know a lot of people.” One day after seeing him wave and noticing the gentleman return his gesture, I finally asked, “Dad, did you know that guy?” My father shook his head and said, “Just being friendly.” My father then, was a man who only spoke when something needed to be said, at least to me he was, but with those words “Just being friendly”, and his actions he taught me so much about simple, common, courtesy. I watched as I grew up, my father would open doors for strangers, male and female alike. He would often give up his seat for people, especially when a lady entered a room where he was sitting. He never made me follow suit, he never told me I had to do as he did. I just watched and I learned. As a young man I mimicked my fathers actions, I opened doors for people, it didn’t matter how old they were, whether they were male of female, the act of opening a door for someone became kind of habit. To this day I generally offer my seat to a lady nearby or when a lady enters the room. I remember once I was walking into a store, I saw a lady in the glass reflection behind me so when I opened the door, I stood to the side and offered to let her enter before me. She stopped and smiled at me and patted me on the shoulder and said, “Your parents raised you right.” I smiled at her and said “Yes Ma’am, they did.”

Whatever happened to those simple acts of courtesy? I don’t notice more people doing it, in fact I notice it less. I still wave to people when I pass them in my car, but I notice few are returned. Most of the time I get more waves returned from men than I do women. Maybe we are too busy being wrapped up in ourselves to notice simple gestures of friendship or courtesy. Maybe it’s the times, but it seems few have remembered the lessons learned as children or maybe they were never taught. My parents taught me kindness and courtesy, and they didn’t have to beat it into me, they didn’t have to threaten me with bodily injury to get me to show courtesy, they simply led by example. It seems fewer and fewer people are willing to do that, lead by example, now they just follow the herd. Each of us are going along, as if in a cattle chute on our way to our destinations to conduct our business, never giving our neighbor a second thought, or a first thought for that matter.

The other day I was in a shopping center with my wife picking up a few necessities. My wife needed some hair spray. We found the aisle we were looking for and in the aisle was a woman, who was busy studying some products on the shelf and her daughter who looked to be about 10 or 12 years old. The daughter was pushing the shopping cart or rather she was standing behind it with her hands on the handle, fidgeting about in the middle of the aisle. My wife had somehow managed to make it down the aisle near the hair sprays she was looking for. I, somehow, got caught at the head of the aisle standing in front of the woman and her child. I was waiting for them to notice me and move over so I could join my wife down the aisle. I stood right in front of them. The daughter looked at me several times, but never moved. The mother would never even acknowledge my mere existence nor asked the child to move over for me. I even spoke over them and toward my wife, “Honey, did you find what you were looking for?” The moment that they would offer to move over so I could pass never came, so I said “Oh, excuse me.” and made my way down another clear aisle and then back up to join my wife. Yes, it was a simple thing for me to go around to where my wife was, but that’s not the point. I joined my wife, we looked at each other and both shrugged our shoulders at the incident. I said, “There is just no more simple courtesy in the world.”

My list of essential programs every computer should probably have.

September 23, 2009

These are my personal favorites and I do not mean to imply that any of these programs are a be all end all, so if you think of a better program please make a suggestion.
Most, if not all, of these are, or have freeware or open source versions.

Program Name Rating
Antispyware 5 stars is max
Adaware * * *
Malware Bytes * * * * *
Spybot Search and Destroy * * * *
Avast Home Version * * * * *
AVG Free * * *
ThreatFire * * *
Audio Editor
Audacity * * * * *
uTorrent * * * * *
Mozilla Sunbird * * * *
Rainlendar * * * * *
CD Tools
CD Burner XP Pro * * * *
Cdex * * * * *
InfraRecorder * * * * *
Computer Maintenance
Ccleaner * * * *
CodeStuff Starter * * * * *
CTFMon Remover * * *
IE Privacy Keeper * * *
My Defrag * *
UltraDefrag * * *
Pop Peeper * * * * *
Thunderbird * * * * *
File Management
FreeCommander * * * * *
Gimp * * *
IrfanView * * * * *
Paint.Net * * * *
PhotoFiltre * * * * *
ShotGenius * * *
Instant Messenger
Pidgin * * * * *
Internet Browser
FireFox * * * * *
K-Melon * * *
SRWare Iron * * * *
Media Players
1 by 1 Directory Player * * * * *
Divx * * *
Flash Movie Player * * *
Media Player Classic – Home Cinema * * * * *
SMPlayer * * * *
VLC Media Player * * * * *
Winamp * * *
Abiword * * * *
Foxit Reader * * * *
Open Office * * * * *
Sumatra * * * * *
Adobe Air * * *
Adobe Flash Player * * *
Adobe Reader * *
Adobe Shockwave Player * * *
DirectX * * *
Dot net Framework * * *
IE 7 Pro * * *
Java * * * *
Quicktime Alternative * * * * *
Real Player Alternative * * * * *
Windows Media Player for Firefox * * * *
TweetDeck * * * * *
Twhirl * * * *
7-Zip * * * * *
FileHippo Update Checker * * *
Secunia Personal Software Inspector * * * *
Update Notifier * * * *
Volumouse * * * * *
Weather Pulse * * * *

A Time for Choosing.

March 8, 2009

This speech given by Ronald Reagan on October 27, 1964 could just as easily be given on the steps of our nations capital today.

Via American Rhetoric

From the California State of Mind.

February 19, 2009

Yesterday evening as I was driving home from work, I heard a report on my satellite radio that California has a 45 Billion dollar deficit, but that it also had public land that was sitting atop one of the county’s largest deposits of oil and natural gas that could recover approximately 50 Billion dollars.

In this report I heard one of California’s enviro-twits say, and I’m paraphrasing here; “Anything used for recovering oil or natural gas is not going into renewables.” Well, my immediate reaction was, well stupid, with a 45 Billion dollar deficit, what do you have going towards renewables now? I couldn’t believe my ears, was this woman this stupid or is she just hoping that Californians are. Ah, enviro-nuts logic fails to impress me at every turn.

In my opinion, until we have a viable, sustainable, alternative to fossil fuels we need to recover what we can so we aren’t dependent upon foreign sources. Who knows, in the process of recovering fossil fuels and coming up with viable alternatives we might actually find a decent middle ground. After all, the light bulb wasn’t invented in a single day.

Disgust doesn’t cover it.

February 6, 2009

I made the mistake of reading this story when I found it on Drudge Report.


I read that in disbelief that it was happening here in the United States of America. It was hard to believe that I wasn’t reading about a mother in China having her baby stripped from her body. No, this story was right from Tampa, Florida.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Eighteen and pregnant, Sycloria Williams went to an abortion clinic outside Miami and paid $1,200 for Dr. Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique to terminate her 23-week pregnancy.

Three days later, she sat in a reclining chair, medicated to dilate her cervix and otherwise get her ready for the procedure.

Only Renelique didn’t arrive in time. According to Williams and the Florida Department of Health, she went into labor and delivered a live baby girl.

23 weeks into her pregnancy this young woman decides for personal and selfish reasons she can’t handle a baby. Instead of putting it up for adoption for another loving couple to take she decides to abort. Read this blog entry from SisterToldjah to see what a baby at a pregnancy in the 21st week looks like, this child survived.


Sadly it isn’t the case for the Tampa baby, what happened when the child was delivered shocked me to my core. Disdain and hate are too mild to describe what I feel for the people that took part in this action. Disgust doesn’t even begin to cover it.

One of the clinic’s owners, who has no medical license, cut the infant’s umbilical cord. Williams says the woman placed the baby in a plastic biohazard bag and threw it out.

I thought of my own children. I would not, nor could I trade the lives of my children for anything in the universe. My son a U.S. Navy sailor, my daughter young, intelligent and aspiring to be a photographer or artist. I am so proud of them words cannot describe. The love I feel for my children could fill the oceans of several planets.

As I sit and write these next lines it’s through tears of frustration and anger. How can people let these kinds of acts take place? Barack Obama, during his campaign was asked about this practice and although he didn’t tacitly support it he didn’t readily denounce it either. To “pro choice” proponents a child isn’t a child until the mother wants it. From this point on I will no longer use the words Pro Choice. These people that support the right to abortions are simply and undeniably “Pro Abortion”, “Pro Murder” and I have such a dislike for them now. Don’t preach to me about the rights of the mother, what of the rights of the unborn? Don’t they have the right to breath air, go to school, get their first skinned knee, their first crush, get their drivers license, go to a dance for God sakes? Doesn’t a baby have the right to experience life as we do? Why can’t we say if you don’t want the baby then place it for adoption? Can’t science figure out a way, if a mother doesn’t want to carry a baby, can’t we “move” the baby from one womb to a surrogate?

Even as I write this, I realize, it’s all in vain. Tomorrow morning someone else will decide they don’t want a baby and it will be done again. It’s not going to change, if anything it’s going to become more accepted. People have gotten numb. The world is crazy, so why shouldn’t we just go along for the ride? Does this make me cynical, yeah I think it does, but what else can I be, hopeful isn’t…it just isn’t there.

Been out a while.

December 10, 2008

Well I’ve been out of sorts lately had to go to the doctor and get poked and prodded and lectured. Yes, I know I should take my blood pressure medication, so now I will.

Got to work today and the power was out, so I had to wait on the power company to come out and restore it. I get a phone call from our main office and they want me to go to my bosses office and check on a fax machine, they said it wouldn’t pick up. I tell them that the power is out here and she asks; “It won’t work without power?”, I tell her not unless they’ve made magical fax machines that work without being plugged into the wall. I’m a computer technician not a miracle worker.