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Thursday, April 15, 2021

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I've noticed a trend happening where I'm from, Doaktown, New Brunswick, Canada. A lot of people, be they individuals or families, are moving out west for work. Can't blame them really, New Brunswicks' economy is pretty bad and jobs are scarce. But this is nothing new, this has been going on for years. 

What is new is the fact that a lot of older people who've never used computers are now literately forced to buy themselves new computers (Pcs, laptops or tablets) if they wish to stay in touch with their loved ones. Facebook, Skype, emails, texts, whatever. Some do just fine and are comfortable from the get go while others take a little more time and face a bit of a struggle as this is fairly new and have not been introduced to these concepts before. 

Unfortunately, this causes a problem for the latter group. Many of them unknowingly become exposed to all the well know badness of the Internet ( viruses, maleware, spyware, bloatware, PUP(potentialy unwanted programs)) and on and on. The sales persons selling the computer to this demographic, although not necessarily bad or uncaring people, don't think it's their responsibility to advise or educate these new buyers as to the potential perils they may be confronted with. They want a sale, period. So the new user goes home, plugs in, and starts surfing. Within a few minutes, BANG! Their infected with one thing or another. Computer seems to slow down to a crawl, numerous pop ups and inappropriate content starts to appear, it soon becomes overwhelming and frustrating to the point where the user no longer wants to use the computer and feels that they have wasted hundreds of dollars on this "piece of crap". So what just happened?

Read more: Warning

Microsoft Security Essentials No Longer


It came as a great disapppintment to learn that the highly praised and regarded Microsoft Security Essentials (Microsofts' anti-virus, anti-malware program) has fallen so far behind other softwares in this catagory that it is no longer being recommended as the free alternative for home PC users. Recent testing of Microsoft Security Essentials indicate the software is performing well below industry standards and as such, I will no longer be recommending it to my clients. At this time, I will be recommending Avast! to my clients as a free alternative for home PC users. Stay safe!

Related article from How-To Geek

Computer Basics

Way back many moons ago when I first started learning about computers, one of my instructors said, "Computers are basically stupid." and he was right. They'll only do what humans program them to do. Their benefit is that they can do certain tasks and calculations very quickly and repeatedly for extended periods of time without coffee breaks or sleep or food. They just need electricity to power them on and continue to run.

The behind the scene programming is probably the most important aspect of computing. Where all the magic happens. Programming comes in many flavors and each has its own purpose. Programming generally has two types associated with it; Compiled or Interpreted. Here's a good explanation that I quoted from here.

"With a compiled language, code you enter is reduced to a set of machine-specific instructions before being saved as an executable file. With interpreted languages, the code is saved in the same format that you entered. Compiled programs generally run faster than interpreted ones because interpreted programs must be reduced to machine instructions at runtime. However, with an interpreted language you can do things that cannot be done in a compiled language. For example, interpreted programs can modify themselves by adding or changing functions at runtime. It is also usually easier to develop applications in an interpreted environment because you don't have to recompile your application each time you want to test a small section."

Enough said for now about programming. Let's get into the machines themselves which is really the purpose of this article. Hardware!

Read more: Computer basics

Troubleshooting Computer Repairs

Like so many others before you, you are faced to face with the aggravating and sometimes confusing task of figuring out what is wrong with your computer. Why isn't the darn thing booting? What are those annoying beeping sounds? Why is it freezing up all the time? How come I can't see anything on the monitor? And why won't my kids ever listen to me?

I feel your pain, I really do. So as today (August 02) is my birthday, I thought I'd share a little gift with you. It's nothing too big or expensive but may be useful to you as you begin your journey into the abyss. Welcome to the dark side!

Here are some flowchart diagrams that will at least give you a place to start.

Read more: Troubleshooting computer repairs

Programming Made Easy. Uhm... Made Easier!

Interested in learning an internet programming language? Are you just starting out or you consider yourself a beginner? Yes you could spend a bunch of time reading books and spending a bunch of money on them, and I'm not saying that this literature doesn't have it's place and value in learning to program, but...!

Most people I believe learn better with a hands on approach. If you happen to be this kind of person, have I got great news for you, and you can keep your money in your wallet where it belongs :-).

Functions and Variables   Codecademy

Read more: Great Programming for Beginners Site

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