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TitlePersonal Computing Demystified
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LanguageEnglish
File Size7.5 MB
Total Pages354
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Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part One: Personal Computers
	Chapter 1 Processing Information: Inside the PC
		Going Digital: Bits and Bytes
		The System Unit
		The Motherboard
		The Processor
		Memory
			RAM: Random Access Memory
			Cache: High-Speed Memory
			Flash Memory: Nonvolatile Memory
		Adding Peripheral Devices: Ports and Jacks
			The USB Port
			FireWire or 1394 Port
			The Keyboard and Mouse Ports
			Monitor/Video Port
			Game/MIDI Port
			Serial and Parallel Ports
			Ethernet Port
			Audio Jacks
			Internet Access Port
			The Evolution of Interface Technology
		Expansion Cards: Add-on Capabilities
	Chapter 2 Storing Information: Disks, Discs, and Flash
		The File: The Basic Unit of Storage
		Fixed and Removable Disk Storage
		The Hard Disk
		The Floppy Disk
		CD and DVD Disc Drives and Media
			Popular CD and DVD Disc Drives
			Measuring Disc Drive Performance
		Flash Memory for Permanent Storage
		The Best Mix of Storage Options
	Chapter 3 Getting Information In: Input
		The Mouse
			Mouse Technologies
			Operating the Mouse
			Mouse Properties
			Other Types of Mice
		The Keyboard
			Do You Need to Learn Keyboarding Skills?
			Keyboard Technologies
			The Keyboard Layout
		The Headset with Microphone
			Speech Recognition
			Headset Technology
		The Scanner
			Scanner Applications
			Scanner Technology
		The Desktop Video Camera
	Chapter 4 Getting Information Out: Output
		The Monitor
			Types of Monitors
			Monitor Technology
			Graphics Adapters
			Monitor Operation
			Dual Monitors
			The Multimedia Monitor
		The Projector
		The Printer
			Types of Printers
			All-in-One Multifunction Devices: Print, Scan, Copy, and Fax
			Printer Technology and Features
		The Audio System
			Speaker System
			Sound Card Technology
Part Two: Windows and File Management
	Chapter 5 Working with Windows
		Startup/Shut Down
			System Startup: The Boot Procedure
			System Shut Down
		Windows Overview
			The Window
			Help
			The Desktop
			Icons
		The Windows Application
			Running an Application
			Parts of an Application Window
			Resizing and Repositioning an Application Window
			Viewing an Application Window
			Switching Between Windows
		The Dialog Box
		Wizards
		The Windows Clipboard: Copy, Cut, and Paste
		Keyboard Shortcuts
		Customizing Windows
	Chapter 6 Working with Files
		Types of Files
		What to Do with a File
		Windows Explorer: File Management
			The Explorer Command Interface
			Viewing Files and Folders
		Organizing Files into Folders
			Personal Folders: My Documents
			Shared Documents
			The Path
			Folder Options
		Common File Management Activities
			Open
			Save/Save As
			Copy and Cut
			Rename
			Paste
			Delete and Restore
			Zip and Unzip
			Search
			Undo
Part Three: Buying and Using a PC
	Chapter 7 Buying Issues and Considerations
		When to Buy?
		The PC Investment
		Things to Think about Before Buying a PC
			How Much to Spend?
			Which PC: Desktop or Notebook?
			Which Platform?
			Who Will Use the PC and How Will It Be Used?
			Will the New PC Be Part of a Home Network?
		Things to Think about when Buying a PC
			What Software Is Preinstalled on the PC?
			What Type of Hardware/Software Support Services Are Available?
			Is There a Need to Synchronize with Handheld Devices?
			How Soon Will the Hardware/Software Become Obsolete?
	Chapter 8 What and Where to Buy
		Hey Larry! What Computer Do I Buy?
		What Do You Get when You Purchase a New PC?
		General Categories of Personal Computers
			Entry-Level PCs
			The Performance PC
			Sweet-Spot PCs
		Customizing a PC
			Upgrade RAM for Improved Performance
			Buy an Extended Warranty for Peace of Mind
			Upgrade the Hard Disk for More Storage Capacity
			Upgrade the DVD-ROM Drive to a Rewritable Drive
			Upgrade the Sound Card for Superior Audio
			Upgrade the Graphics (Video) Card for Enhanced Viewing
		What Input/Output Peripheral Devices Do You Need?
			1. Upgrading Prepackaged I/O Devices: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, and Speakers
			2. Printer or All-in-One Multifunction Device
			3. Headset with Mike
			4. Scanner
			5. Desktop Video Camera or Webcam
			6. Game Controllers
		What Special Hardware Do You Need for Internet Access and Home Networking?
		Where to Buy Hardware and Software
			Bricks-and-Mortar PC Retailers with Comprehensive Service Centers
			Bricks-and-Mortar PC Retailers with Upgrade Service Centers
			Bricks-and-Mortar PC Retailers Without Service Centers
			Direct Marketers
			Online and Telephone-Order Retailers
			Retailers of Pre-owned Computers
			Online Auctions
		Build Your Own PC
		Which PC Manufacturer Is Best for You?
	Chapter 9 Supplies, Services, and Accessories
		The Total Cost of Ownership
		PC Supplies
			Printer Supplies
			Storage Media Supplies
		Subscription Services: Internet Access and Internet Protection
			Internet Service
			Virus Protection Service
		PC Accessories
			Power Protection
			Accessories for Notebook PCs
			Miscellaneous PC Accessories
	Chapter 10 Installation, Maintenance, and Troubleshooting
		System Setup and Installation
			Set Up Your Workspace
			Unpacking
			Hardware Setup
			Installing Software
			Uninstalling Software
			Testing Your New PC
		Maintaining a PC System
			Protecting Your PC and Your Files
			Hardware Maintenance
			Software Maintenance
		Troubleshooting
			DOA and Lemons
			The Universal Solution to Most PC Problems
			Vendor/Manufacturer Troubleshooting Assistance
			System Restore: Undo System Changes
		Migrating to a New PC
		What to Do with Old PCs
Part Four: The Internet
	Chapter 11 Internet Basics: Going Online
		What Is the Internet?
		What Do You Need to Go Online?
			Single-User Hardware for Internet Access
			The Internet Services: ISPs
			American Online: AOL
		Internet Access: Setup and Installation
		Internet Basics
			Sending/Receiving Information on the Internet: Packet Switching
			Information Organization on the Internet
			The URL: Internet Addresses
			Web Sites and Hyperlinks
			Web Pages and HTML
			Browser Basics: Retrieving and Viewing Internet Content
		Finding What You Want on the Internet
		Marking What You Find: Favorites
	Chapter 12 Internet Applications: Cruising the Internet
		The World Wide Web
		File Transfer Protocol: FTP
		Communicating with People via the Internet
			E-Mail
			Instant Messaging
			Chat
			Mailing Lists
			Newsgroups
			Blogs and Blogging
			Internet Telephony, or VoIP
		Webcasting
		The Personal Home Page
	Chapter 13 Internet Security: Protecting Your PC
		The Firewall
		Internet Threats
			Computer Viruses
			Spyware
			Adware
			Cookies
		Spam and Spim
		Transaction Security on the Internet
Part Five: What You Can Do On a PC
	Chapter 14 Building a Software Portfolio
		PC Software in Perspective
			Imperfect PC Software
			PC Software Trends
			Software Choices
		Your Software Portfolio
			The Tier 1 Software Portfolio
			The Tier 2 Software Portfolio
			The Tier 3 Software Portfolio
		Tips for Growing Your Software Portfolio
		Software Licensing and Activation
	Chapter 15 Personal Computing Applications Galore
		System Software
		Internet/Web Software
		General Productivity Software: The Office Suite
		Home Applications Software
		Education and Training Software
		Reference Software
	Chapter 16 Working with Digital Media
		The Multimedia Experience
		Capturing the Elements of Multimedia: Images and Sound
			Digital Cameras: Digital Photography
			Digital Camcorders
			Scanners
			The Microphone
		Graphics Software: Creating and Working with Images
			Paint and Draw Software
			Image Editing
			Drag-and-Drop
			Image Viewer and Management
		Multimedia Software
			Presentation
			Video Editing
		Viewing and Playing Digital Media
		Burning Your Own CDs and DVDs
	Chapter 17 PC-Based Gaming
		Introduction to Gaming
			The Upside of Gaming
			The Downside of Gaming
			PC-Based Gaming vs. Console-Based Gaming
		Gaming Genres
			Action
			Adventure
			Strategy
			Role Playing Game
			Simulation
			Sports
			Racing
			Puzzle
		Game Ratings
		Buying Gaming Software
			Check It Out First
			System Requirements
			Finding and Purchasing Games
			Software Updates, Mods, and Expansions
		Gaming Hardware and Hardware Considerations
			Gaming Controllers
			Critical Hardware Components for Gaming
		Playing the Game
			Singleplayer Locally Installed Games
			Multiplayer Locally Installed Games
			Browser-Based Games on the Internet
		Gaming in Perspective
Part Six: At Home: Networking and Telecommuting
	Chapter 18 Building a Home Network
		Networks and Networking
		What Can You Do with Home Networking?
		Home Networking Technologies
			Connectivity: The Transmission Media
			Connectivity: The Hardware
			The Network Adapter
			The Access Point
			The Residential/Home Gateway
		Making Home Networking Decisions
		Steps to Installing a Home Network
	Chapter 19 Working @ Home
		The Trend Toward Working at Home
			Arguments for Working at Home
			Arguments Against Working at Home
		Is Telework for You?
		The Workplace
		The Tools of Telework
		Backup and Recovery
		Working Smart
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

PERSONAL COMPUTING
DEMYSTIFIED

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CHAPTER 9 Supplies, Services, and Accessories
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Cable, DSL, and satellite modems do not actually modulate and demodulate sig-

nals. Tradition resulted in the term modem being added as a tag-along descriptor.

Broadband modems deal exclusively with digital signals, so analog/digital conver-

sion is not needed.

DSL

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) service is delivered over POTS lines at 1 to 9 Mbps. The

upstream rate is similar to cable-modem. DSL requires a special DSL modem. DSL can

share an existing telephone line such that voice conversations and digital transmission

can occur at the same time. Cable-modem was first and has three times the number of

subscribers, but DSL is gaining ground as it is made available to new markets.

Satellite

Not everyone has access to cable or DSL broadband service, even people living in

some metropolitan areas. However, satellite service is available to anyone in America

with a southern exposure to the sky and the necessary equipment, a digital satellite

dish and a satellite modem. Digital satellite access offers downstream speeds of 400

Kbps to 1.5 Mbps and upstream rates of 56 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps.

Satellite’s big advantage is that it is universally available; however, it has several

disadvantages. I used satellite for three years, but because it was my only broadband

option. I paid almost twice what my friends across town were paying for DSL or ca-

ble-modem. Satellite has a built-in latency of about a quarter of a second because of

the time it takes the signal to travel to the satellite and back (about 47,000 miles).

This latency usually is not a problem, but it can cause problems for real-time interac-

tion, such as in online multiplayer gaming. Also, it was frustrating to lose my signal

when the cloud cover was dense or during thunderstorms.

These Internet access options, along with the required hardware, are discussed

further in Chapter 11, “Internet Basics: Going Online.”

Virus Protection Service
A computer virus can cause anything from a minor inconvenience to major devasta-

tion. Computer viruses are passed from a computer system to other systems, including

PCs, over the Internet and via interchangeable storage media. Our best protection

against malicious people who create viruses is the antivirus program, but it is only as

good as its list of virus definitions. Many new computer systems come with an

antivirus program installed, such as Norton AntiVirus (Symantec Corporation) or

VirusScan (McAfee Security). If yours doesn’t have antivirus protection, I would

recommend that you get it at your earliest convenience, preferably at the time you buy

your PC.

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Antivirus software vendors offer a virus protection subscription service that

allows you to download protection for recent viruses, including the virus du jour.

Antivirus software and protection service can cost from $25 to $50 (software

included) a year and must be renewed annually. Chapter 13, “Internet Security: Pro-

tecting Your PC,” contains more information on viruses and antivirus software.

PC Accessories
We accessorize everything else, so it stands to reason that we would do the same with

our personal computers. Most accessories would be considered optional, but a few,

such as power protection, are essential.

Power Protection
I would not plug in a PC without first providing it with minimal protection from AC

power disturbances, such as “dirty” power (sags and surges in power output), brown-

outs (low power), or power outages. Power surges, in particular, are a serious problem

for PCs. At least a hundred people have told me about losing major electrical compo-

nents, including the motherboard and processor, as a result of electrical storms.

Dirty power can be delivered directly from your power company or it can surface

when your PC shares a circuit with a power-hungry appliance, such as a toaster oven

or a washing machine. Dirty power and brownouts can cause errors in data transmis-

sion, disk read/write operations, and program execution.

There are several levels of protection against electric problems delivered over AC

power lines, TV cables, or telephone lines that connect to PCs. The relatively inex-

pensive surge suppressor ($30 to $50), considered the most basic level of protection,

will protect your system from most lightning hits and other electrical aberrations.

The surge suppressor (see Figure 9-1), sometimes called a power strip, is placed in

line with your PC system’s power supply so that it can absorb the shock of voltage

spikes and surges. Having lost several system components, I learned the hard way

that having just any type of surge suppressor does not guarantee protection against

serious surges in electrical current. You must have a good one. The better surge pro-

tectors are more likely to thwart a damaging electrical surge over both your power

source and the phone line that links to your modem. The quality of surge suppressors

is proportional to cost, with those on the low end being virtually useless. Surge

suppressors are rated in joules, the energy they can absorb. Five hundred joules is ba-

sic protection and 1000-plus joules is superior protection. I plug a printer, speaker

system, scanner, one monitor, and webcam into a surge protector.

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