Introduction to computers

Making friends with computers

Note that this book provides the manual for our two basic courses and is is designed primarily for people who wish to upgrade their knowledge of computers and obtain skills that can be used in the workplace. A variant of this course is Computing for seniors which is specifically designed to cover the needs of a particular age group which is approaching computers and the Internet for the first time.

The 2012 edition has been completely revised and now includes eight topics and five appendixes with supplementary learning material.


Making friends with computers

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The first thing you do when you buy a new car is to learn how to drive it. So it is with computers. There is only so much you can learn by pointing and clicking. Whether you are a PC or a Mac user, this course will give you the confidence to drive and maintain your computer in top condition.

Beyond the basics, you will learn how to look after your computer, the ‘tuning’ you need to perform periodically to keep it in top condition and free applications that will allow you to get the most from your investment.

This is a practical book written by a trainer who uses both PCs and Macs and is familiar with both systems. Readers will be given step-by-step guidance on how to set up and maintain their chosen system and be shown how to use of the various basic applications that come with the operating system or which are freely available over the Internet.

Topics include

  • Desktops, laptops and hand-held devices, what is new, what is hot and what is coming
  • how to look after your computer and keep it in top condition
  • how to customise your computer so that it works the way you want it to
  • various free applications for word processing, drawing, imaging and others that you can use
  • how to create and manage files that you create
  • the differences between e-mail and web mail and how to choose which is best for you
  • all about safety on the Internet, simple steps you can take to protect yourself against malware
  • how to surf the web safely and the most popular Internet applications people use
  • how computing has gone mobile and what’s in store over the next five years.

Topics in brief

Understanding the  basics

PC or Mac? Desktop, laptop or tablet?

The parts of a computer; connecting it all together; stand-by, sleep and hibernation modes; using your keyboard and mouse; the importance of posture; typing tutorials

File and folder management

Finding your way round the desktop, your system tray, start menu, pinning programs and files, taking out the trash, Windows Explorer, Finder on Mac, shortcuts and aliases

Accessories and the Control Panel

Understanding the Accessories items and how they can help you work, using your Control Panel, setting system and program preferences.

Working with documents and images

Application program basics, using Office 2010, Adobe Acrobat; Using Word and WordPad, menus and ribbons, Dealing with image files, importing files from your camera, using Picture Manager to edit images, scanning images, screen captures. Bonus topic: playing games on your computer.

Getting started with the Internet

The Internet and the World Wide Web, ways of accessing the Internet, browsing the Internet, understanding your browser and browser settings, searching the Internet, useful websites, safety on the net.

The Internet as a medium for communication

Email and webmail, setting up a Google account and profile, using Gmail, Google Images, Maos, Calendar and YouTube; Yahoo Messenger; Skype and the ways you can use it to communicate worldwide for free.

Enjoy the world of social networking

How social networking can enrich your life and the dangers of too much networking, a look at top sites you may want to join.

Good housekeeping

Using the Properties Palette, cleaning up your drives, error checking, defragmentation and why it is important, backing up and trouble shooting; For Mac users – Find my Mac; Prorecting your computer from malware.

All this and much more…

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