Fact Sheet 1: Computer Basics
old computing acronym GIGO - Garbage In, Garbage Out - is very appropriate still
today, and rule one is always to not expect the computer to do something you
haven't told it to do.
said, the things computers can do these days are incredibly varied, and can open
up a whole world of information to you - there used to be a time when a computer
could only repeat back the things you told it, but now computers can tell you
things you have never heard of. Most home users will want to begin with things
like writing a few letters, looking at CD-ROMs or DVDs and perhaps connecting to
the Internet, all tasks well within the capabilities of the average modern
if you don't want to look at CDs or surf the 'net, a computer can do many things
for you. If you do something as simple as run a small club and have to send out
the same letter to a few dozen different people each month a computer with basic
word processing will allow you to personalise each letter and keep a database of
members. Think of the computer in this case as a glorified typewriter with
unlimited correctional facilities.
you have children, you'll find a wealth of educational and informational
software available on CD-ROMs which will bring the world of learning to life
with video and sound, rather than just lying flat on the page of a book.
you have a hobby of any kind, the Internet will provide the chance to contact
like-minded people with whom you can share ideas and chat about your mutual
if you run a business, a computer will offer solutions to many of your problems
- contacting customers and suppliers, working out your finances, keeping the
bank manager happy, producing documentation - the list goes on.
now, the only thing prohibiting many people from engaging in all these exciting
activities has been the cost, but now you can buy a decent computer which will
give you access to all these activities for the price of a decent new television
and video - £500 will get you on the way, £1,000 will add bells and whistles
and £1,500 will buy you a state-of-the-art machine. Soon, we'll be able to buy
boxes which will sit on top of our televisions and which will allow us to surf
the Internet and send and receive e-mail, and they'll only cost a couple of
you really need one? The answer is almost certainly 'Yes'. We all got along just
fine before television, before cars, even before electricity came along. But
would you want to go back to how it was before?