Law Of The Land

Bluffer's Guide To Technology

  • Backups: Copies of your text, graphic and musical files, databases, etc., that are similar to a carbon copy of work done on a typewriter, or Xerox-type copies. You should back up your files onto a floppy disk or removable cartridge on a regular basis to safeguard against system crashes, power outages, fire, theft and so on. Try to store backup disks with vital, irreplaceable files in a separate place, far from your computer, such as in your briefcase or a safe deposit box, or in a fireproof box.
  • MHz: Megahertz is the speed rating of a com-puter system. Right now, an 80 MHz machine is adequate, but if you can afford something rated at 133 or faster, get it. A computer rated at 300 MHz will blow your hat off! Speed isn't so important if you're mostly doing word processing, but graphic software and large databases require more speed.
  • CD-ROM drive: A CD player that has a pro-gram, an encyclopedia and/or music (all of these combined are considered "multimedia"), etc. It's a "ROM" storage device because it's "Read Only"--you can't "write" to it or change it. But some are fully interactive, and by cooperating with your computer, they give the feeling of being customizable.
  • Scanner: A device that lets you funnel photos, newspaper clippings and other materials into your computer. Vital for photographic manipulation and storage, scanners are also useful for storing things you need but don't want to keep in paper form. In the case of scanned text, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software will let you word-process most articles, letters and other text files you've scanned.
  • Software programs: These are like movie scripts. They are endless lines of code that tell the computer, for example, "If the user presses the Control Key and the `F' key at the same time, activate the `Find' function," allowing the user to find a key word, a file title, a name or anything else stored on the hard drive, floppy disks or removable cartridge.
  • Inkjet printer: Black-and-white and/or color, these printers use primary color cartridges, plus black. Some brands produce awesome results. Cheaper ones are very good, but the more expensive ones produce incredibly high-resolution type and graphics. They produce professional-looking documents and compete well with laser printers.
  • Laser printer: Also available in black-and-white and/or color. A very precise technology and, as with inkjet printers, the more expensive ones produce incredibly high-resolution type and graphics.
  • Modem: Connects a computer to a telephone line to access e-mail, send computer-generated faxes, surf the Internet or auto-dial phone calls.
  • E-mail: Text and other files sent or received over a modem. It's very fast and very convenient.

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