FINDING MAGAZINES AND PERIODICALS
It’s a changing world out there and not always for the better. Have you ever noticed that new does not always mean improved? Just more complicated.
There used to be three reliable computer magazines that I often checked: Smart Computing (for beginners), PC World, and PC Magazine. The last two had a nice range of articles for every level, from beginners to experienced computer users. None now exist as either as hard copy or online magazines. If you own a Mac, however, you are in luck. Mac World still exists in a paper format.
If anyone reading this knows of a good, current computer magazine for beginners, or at least for non-techies, please let me know. It can be online or on paper.
When looking at any website for the first time, you should always do three things.
1. Read the “About” section first.
2. Check for FAQs (frequently asked questions).
3. Look for tabs near the top of the home page that have a small v next to them. This denotes a down arrow that may or may not be filled in. Clicking on the arrow gives you a drop down menu. The selections offered will provide additional information.
Following these steps will keep you from wasting time on the wrong site and completely missing the perfect one.
I have found the websites that follow to be useful. Please read the descriptions accompanying each one. In them I give you additional tips for using the site and others like them.
Computer Newbies Help (Forum)
This site is a forum. Forums are places where you can ask questions. Often these have people who work for the forum both doing the monitoring and answering queries. Other times questions are only answered by whoever happens to be visiting the site. You will find other forums on your own. You will discover which best meets your needs and who are the best responders. The nice thing about this particular forum is that is expressly designed for newbies. Computer Newbies Help does not have an “About” section, but it does have FAQ’s. Make sure you check your section of interest for the date of the latest posting. Some of these will be as up-to-date as today. One hasn’t been posted to since 2011.
Kim Komando (Radio) Show (Up-to-Date Tech News and Advice)
Kim’s radio show has been around for years. The website is definitely worth a close look. At first there appears to be no place to ask a question or to access a topic. Near the top you will see a line of tabs: The words “The Show”, “Read” and “Watch” each have that v (down arrow) I mentioned above. Here you will find information about the show, forums and topics. Kim’s radio show and the home page of her website help direct you to some of the current topics of interest. You may have to dig a bit to find your topic of interest.
eHow — the how to do just about anything site
This is one of the first “how to” sites I ever used and it is always worth a visit. The people who use it are the ones who provide the How tos. The entries are usually well written and easy to follow. (Ignore the ads that usually appear in the middle of the instructions.) Make sure you check the date the instructions were posted. If you need information on how to do something in Windows 8.1 and the post is dated 2012, it’s going to be dealing with the wrong version of Windows.
Basic Computer Knowledge Questions from eHow
eHow covers a lot more topics than just computers. The above is a shortcut to a subsection to their computer section. It specifically covers basic questions about computers.
How To Solve the 10 Most Common Tech Support Problems Yourself
These suggestions are still good, solid tips. But check the url (web address) directly above. You will see that it is from PC World. Since this magazine no longer exists. The advice given here is good general advice. But the older this piece gets, the larger the chances that the recommended websites for the fixes may not work.
Top 10 Computer Repair Forums and Message Boards from Computer Technician (if you are feeling brave)
This is an interesting listing of forums. I just wish the piece were dated. The only date I see is the copyright date of the site at the bottom of the screen – 2014.
Top 10 Safe Computing Tips from MIT (if you are not feeling quite so brave)
MIT may sound a little scary to a neophyte. Don’t let it deter you. These are good, basic rules of the road and will help keep the information on your computer safe. Another entry that is not dated, however.
Windows Basics for All Topics (for Windows 7)
Nicely set up by topic. When you pull up an article though, the print is on the small side. To make print larger on your computer screen, hold down the Ctrl key (usually on the lower left hand corner of your keyboard) and tap the + key (usually upper right). To make it smaller again, do the same only with the – key.
The next two sites are from the perspective of the person on the other side, the person who is trying to help you. Reading this may help you to figure out exactly what you need to ask and how you need to ask it.
How to Help Someone Who is Computer Illiterate with a Computer Issue
How to Help Someone Use a Computer from UCLA
ONE SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE
Technology for Genealogy Interest Group – Facebook
Some things are worth getting a Facebook Account for and this is one of them. Not only do you get a lot of tips, but you can ask a question. The answers come from people who have already had and solved the same problem you are having.
I do have a tip about using a site like this. I have never completely trusted social networking, so I have never used my name as a sign in. I chose something relevant instead. I decided on several monikers I would wanted to use and then tried to match it to a gmail account. If you decide on one screen name for everything, people are likely to get to know you and recognize you by that. It may take you some extra time. But it’s worth it.
vea/9 September 2014
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