Computer Essentials

August 5, 2010

Ok, I admit it; I’m a computer nerd.  I have been since Junior High School.  Let me tell you, back then you had to be a computer nerd, computers did not even have screens; it was all paper tapes and printouts.  Being the “old school” nerd that I am does have its advantages.  I have watched trends and gizmos come and watched them go.

In 1977, things changed thanks to Radio Shack; they offered a “home computer” with a monitor.  I remember people driving up from Jacksonville, some 60 plus miles away, just to see a TRS-80 (with the optional disk drive) that could operate with the floppy-disk removed.  Back then, a computer with a hard disk was a dream, so everything had to fit into the system’s 4K of RAM or you had to keep the floppy in the drive.  There was an external hard disk drive with a whopping 5 megabytes of storage available for about $1,500.  It was as large as modern tower, but as the computer itself cost only $500, it was beyond the reach of most kids.  It’s no wonder my lovable first computer gained the nickname of Trash-80.  After fixing mine for the 100th time, I gave it the nickname “boat anchor.”

As computers entered the mainstream of life, they became easier to use.  Still, people turned to nerds, like me, to advise them on what works best and how to deal with their particular problems.  Today, computers have power we dared not dream of back in the 70s, but I am still asked, almost daily, to help someone with some sort of issue.  Today’s problems are more likely an issue of a system getting a virus, spyware, or bit at malware than anything else.  Next, come the people that fail to understand you cannot use software that’s 10-years old on a system of today and expect it function perfectly.  Lastly, are questions like “What software do I need?”  By answering this last question, 90% of the problems of the other issues never happen in the first place.

Here is my advice for keeping a computer running well:

  • Keep you operating system up to date – regardless of which system you use (Windows, Mac OS, or Linux) install updates and patches when they are available.  No software is perfect, as problems are fixed, you only benefit from taking advantage of the fix.  Besides, most hackers gain access to systems that have not taken advantage of fixes for known security issues.  Don’t give hackers the edge.
  • Use antivirus software – There are many popular software packages to choose from.  Norton’s and McAfee offer good packages for a fee, but there are plenty of free packages available that do the job too.  I’m currently using Microsoft’s Security Essentials, but am equally satisfied with Avast and AVG.  Avast and AVG offer free service, but it is somewhat limited.  If you are willing to pay, they do have upgraded packages that offer robust protection like Norton’s and McAfee.  Here are their respective links:

Regardless of the protection you decide on, always keep it updated.  Also, if you change from one protection to another, make sure only one is running; have two, or more, running will defiantly slow your system down to a crawl.

  • Spybot – Another utility that enhances any utility suite.  While utility suites offer a wide range of vital services and are good at keeping spyware off a computer, no program is perfect.  This is where Spybot comes in.  It simply seeks out spyware and destroys it.  I run it about once a week.  It is free but they are always looking for support.  It is available http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download
  • Browsers – Windows comes with Internet Explorer.  It works fine as long as you keep it updated, if you use Linux or Mac OS, Mozilla Firefox or Google’s Chrome work great too.  Firefox is also available for Windows and allows the user to customize it is ways other browsers do not.  I use it and recommend it.  Here are the links for the various browsers:

Of course, this is just a small list from the available software for computers.  Regardless of your choice, make sure you understand how to use it and what it does.  Far too often software is downloaded to fix a problem and ends up creating a bigger one through misuse.

The best advice is to learn your computer and what it needs to keep running safely.  The more you learn, the happier you will be with your system.  Most important, keep your virus software current and never open email attachments from people you do not know and trust. No software can keep the criminals out if you invite them in.  Oh, another thing, we might gripe about it now and then but ask your friendly neighborhood computer nerd before you do something.  It is better in the long run.



  1. Hi, thanks for your ideal info, can I make a copy to my blog?

    I’m starting to play with make money online and a website with following keywords:
    best forex trading platform,
    future forex trading,
    forex trading for dummies,
    forex trading advice,
    forex trading indicator,
    forex trading programs

    what should i do to make my site be spread to many audiences to start earing?


    • Not sure about earning with a blog, that is not what I do with mine. Best of luck to you with that.

  2. Also See slow PC.


  3. another program we frequently use here is ComboFix 🙂

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