PC Questions and Answers

I received this email from “Helen” earlier today, and I wasn’t really sure where to being dispensing advice – since it seems she’s starting at ground zero. It was a bit overwhelming, so I thought you might be able to pick your favorite question(s) from her list and answer with your own opinion(s). You should know that the original message came in ALL CAPS, so I had to do some converting to make this more presentable:

Chris, I am emailing you because I happened to run across your website as I was doing some research and trying to get some current information on what the best video equipment to buy is, if you want to do a web show via youtube, webcasting or even to incorporate a video window and video show on my website, if I had a website. LOL! I am a pretty smart gal, but the problem is I am not computer savvy or technologically advanced at all! I have pretty much no idea what I’m doing on a PC. I simply roll the dice every time I turn this beast on and hope nothing goes wrong or I don’t click the wrong button and everything goes haywire.

To add insult to injury, I am deaf, so this makes it especially hard when I’m trying to communicate with someone in person. I am 46 years old and was actually born with perfect hearing, and had perfect hearing throughout my entire life until 2001. I went completely deaf in 2001 after unknowingly taking a medication which had been given to me by my doctor. I am able speak really good because losing my hearing did not in any way affect my speech. I just can’t hear. I lost my hearing about 7 years ago. I was 39 years old when I lost my hearing, so I could hear fantastic up until that time. Let’s put it this way. If your doctor ever wants to put you on a medication, make for darn sure you know exactly what the side-effects are, because it could cost you something very precious in your life. When this happened, I didn’t just lose my hearing, I lost everything that was most important to me in my life. So be very careful what you put into your mouth.

I can communicate perfect while I’m online because it’s all done by typing and keystrokes. I also manage pretty well when I’m on the telephone also, because I have a TTY machine, along with the assistance of a tyy operator, who does all the translating for me. The tyy operator tells me everything the other person is saying, and then it is displayed on a small monitor on my TTY machine.

One of my dreams is to actually find someone who has invented voice regognition software that I can easily install in 2 small laptops, so I can communicate directly with people in person. All the other person has to do is speak/talk into one laptop, then it automatically reads/diplays out on the other laptop’s montior, much the same way a TTY machine does – minus the TTY operator! LOL! I live in a completely isolated world, never really genuine part of, or belonging to/in the deaf world or the hearing world. It’s a very lonely existence, and if I could remedy that in some small, but very effective way, it would change my entire world; my direction; my options; my ability; and my purpose in life. It would restore 95% of the life I once knew, minus the music I loved.

It’s pretty much impossible for someone like me to become self educated on PCs, the web, browers, tech instructions or support, and everything else that is going in the computer world, because you must be able to hear what they are talking about or explaining. I really feel left out and unable to enjoy all this great, new, advanced technology now availbale when I can’t even hear anything. There are no computer deaf schools, so I am basically on my own. Everything I have found out so far, I have done so on my own. They say PCs are now so simple for everyone to use that a five year-old can operate one. They claim all you have to do is turn it on and click! Yes, it’s pretty easy… until you experience your first pc problem. Then something that was supposed to be so easy, becomes really complicated, really fast! LOL! I’ve had many problems come up where my PC would freeze, my processor would stop working, my printer spooler quit on me, my index file went missing all of a sudden after I uninstalled a program, continual error messages, unlimited problems with aol interent service, PC running super slow, problems getting a connection on line, and many other types of problems. I’ve had to buy five different PCs in the past two years because I could not fix the problems, and of course the problems did not crop up until after the warranty lapsed. I think these PC companies rig their machines to start having problems after the warranty period is expired, because this has happened to every single PC I’ve owned. And once it starts having problems, it goes from bad to worse, and of course I don’t have anyone around to help me fix whatever the problems are.

You seem to be very PC savvy, techincally advanced, very educated and well informed, and that is why I am contacting you in the hope that you can, and will help me. There are things that I long to accomplish and do on the computer, but I do not even have a basic understanding or how it all works, and what is what. I know very little about PCs; Just enough to get by. I really want to be as computer smart and advanced as you.

Can you recommend where or how I should start?

I would also love to have a little political talk show to discuss politics and news – something I’m very, very good at.

Anyway, if you would be kind enough to help me just a little bit, to become a better educated member if the computer world, I would deeply appreciate it. And if you could give me some information on what the best video equipment, camera equipment, lighting, sound, etc, is that I should buy to go on youtube, I would also appreciate it. I want set up a little studio and go on youtube, but I have no idea what the best video/camera equpiment, lighting or sound equipment, extra computer equipemnt, software, etc., Is, or where to get it. I also have no idea how to get on youtube or facebook either.

I am so computer ignorant, that I don’t even know what the difference is between a web browser, java script, firefox, adobe flash, and an internet provider?? I can’t even get some type of my own files, or files i’ve downloaded from the internet or other sources to open because a message window will pop up and tell me I don’t have a compatiable program to open it. I have no idea what that means or how to recify or resolve the problem. I am on aol, so isn’t aol my web browser??

You see, I told you, I am computer illiterate. LOL!

I know that you must be extremely popular and exteremly busy, but any bit of time, recommendations, referrals, or help you could give me, would be extremely appreciated.

These are just a few of the things on my wish list, which I would like to know; Know how to do; And would like to accomplish on my pc, such as:

1. Learning how to properly use, operate, and trouble-shoot my pc, browsers, software, hard drives, etc., Including all the definitions, meanings, and terminologies relating to and about computers.

2. Learning how to build or install, and operate my own website, and who I need to contact to get on the “WWW”? Who’s in charge and oversee’s the entire “WWW”?

3. I would like to know what I need to do and what I need to buy, in order to do webcasting, and what equipment I would need to buy for webcasting? Who do I contact to get a channel on the internet?

4. Learn how to establish an eBay, YouTube, Facebook, and a Twitter account. Once I have these accounts, I would like to learn how to install their programs and properly operate them.

5. I would like to know what the best computers, monitors, keyboards, accessories, video add-ons, software, security, ISPs, etc., are, and where to buy them.

6. I would like to know what the best software is and who the best software companies are, if someone wants to air thier own show on YouTube and webcasting? I would also like to know what equipement is need for that, where to buy it, and how to operate it?

7. What are really good, high tech websites for staying up-to-date on all current computer issues and Internet news?

Chris, I don’t know what a server, Web browser, processor, or anything else is, in a computer, or how it all works together. I don’t even know how to text message from a computer or do much of anything using my PC. How do you get people’s text addresses if you want to send them a message?

In closing, I want to thank you for your time and any help, recommendations, and suggestions you can offer me, and looking forward to hearing from soon.

11 thoughts on “PC Questions and Answers”

  1. Pingback: Matt Smith Tech
  2. Hey Chris great post so long didnt have enought time to read it! I have a website to BTW . With your amazing wordpress theme wicketpixie!
    The Mac Wizard

  3. Wow. That question is so all-encompassing, that I don’t know where to start. Let’s see; I’ll choose…

    “I know that you must be extremely popular and exteremly busy, but any bit of time, recommendations, referrals, or help you could give me, would be extremely appreciated.”

    Let me just speak up and say that Chris isn’t busy at all. Quite to the contrary. You can go to http;//live.pirillo.com anytime and see him just sitting there in front of his three massive monitors – which, seriously Chris, Have to be compensating for something – doing, God knows what. Presumably his thumbs twiddle incessantly.


    “2. Learning how to build or install, and operate my own website, and who I need to contact to get on the “WWW”? Who’s in charge and oversee’s the entire “WWW”?”

    Nobody is in charge of the “WWW”. That’s its single biggest strength – unless you are a Maoist.

    For a quick and easy (and free) first step onto the Internet, I’d recommend WordPress. As your skilz gain phatness, you can grab a custom domain name from GoDaddy and pay WordPress a measly $10 per year to have it used as your WordPress site. That way http://helensworld.wordpress.com becomes http://helensworld.com (already taken by a squatter, but you get the point.)

    Another option is a political blog site like Townhall.com. Where you can get a political blog set up among a sea of others. Also free.

  4. Much like Chris, I too am a bit overwhelmed as where to start addressing questions — not that I am incapable of answering, but am distracted by my initial response: why doesn’t this community construct an easy-to-navigate, comprehensive Wiki of computer knowledge? More than ever, being able to use a computer is as important a skill as reading and composition; being that there is no greater tool than global informational connectivity.

    Those who are unfamiliar or even intimidated by computers and the internet would greatly benefit from a Wiki created and moderated by geeks. Tech term definitions, tutorials, virus/malware protection, hardware advice, and other vital information, presented in an easy-to-understand format would be invaluable for novice users. Moreover, this encyclopedic implement could expand to include more intermediate and advance computing, podcasting, even programming information, developing into a one-stop center for tech knowledge [much like the community is now, just designed to be more inclusive of the computer novice].

    If we’re able to teach people how to save money on a new computer by fixing their current one, send emails to friends and family, connect to social networks, protect themselves from fraud and vicious programs, and utilize the internet as a creative outlet, the effort is unquestionably justified.

    -Jeremy M.

  5. Hey guys, I’m not leaving any answers to ?’s or thoughts on them but i do know sign language would gladly offer any help i could with on this situation if she knows it herself

  6. Wow, you sound exactly like I did several years ago. I too did not know anything about computers at all. As well, my computer would always be going nuts and slowing down and would eventually stop working. The way I started to learn everything was to start using my computer more often and using the web for help. Google is a terrific site for answer all your questions, as well as Yahoo Answers (answers.yahoo.com). If I can’t find a question I have on my mind using Google, I usually go to Yahoo Answers and look for the question, or ask it myself. But Google and Yahoo Answers still didn’t answer my question of why my PC would start breaking down a month after I bought it. So thats when I decided to get a Mac. At first I thought it would take me forever trying to learn how to use it, but I caught on really quick. It was so simple, and so smooth that I couldn’t believe it. Of course, it didn’t come cheap though, as most of us know that Apple charges a hefty amount for their machines, but It was a well worth investment. I still have and use my first Mac that I got and that was 3 years ago, and its still going strong today. If you do decide to get a Mac, then I would recommend getting a refurbished one (Google, if you don’t understand what refurbished means). You save a lot money, and your basically getting a new machine. I ordered a refurbished iMac a month ago and you wouldn’t be able to tell if it had been used. Thats all I have to say for now, trying to answer your question is like trying to teach someone a whole new language! I could go on forever!

  7. I know this may seem trite or possibly even evangelistic, but what platform (as in computer and operating sytem) you start with will make a big difference as to the kind of effort required to get to any level of competence i nwhat you are trying to achieve.
    I have been using PCs, UNIX systems and Macs since each of these existed (exception: UNIX only since ’96), and I can assure you that if you go with a Mac, a fairly new, reasonably powerful Mac (MacBook Pro, which is a laptop – teh greatest affordable laptop in existence), a lot of teh rest will fall into place for an intelligent person like yourself.
    Forgive me for stopping at this, but that is really all I have to say. I really don’t want to start a flame war, but I think anyone who has used both PCs and Macs a significant amount of time willnot in good conscience disagree that you will have less barriers if you choose Mac.
    After that, read whatever comes up of interest, double click things that look like they might lead somewhere you want to go, and the connected universe will be your oyster. I do not gaurantee it – I just know it to be true.
    And you will encounter a lot of helpfull people who love their Macs. That I can absolutely gaurantee.

  8. I wonder if a couple of books along the lines of ‘Internet for Dummies’ and ‘Webcams for Dummies’ might be a good start for Helen. I’ve not tried them, but these sorts of books tend to be a good way of learning the basics of a subject, which would make reading sites such as this seem much less daunting as she would have an understanding of the jargon involved.

  9. it is more or a question I have a laptop that ia purchased recently. I was told that I had to go to this websight and find pcp port to snap it into the side of the laptop so I can download music do you understand this question i hope so

  10. I purchased my daughter a gateway NV54 laptop from homeshoppingnetwork in the summer and was promised a copy of windows 7 when it came out but I cant find out how to get the free upgrade to windows 7?Ive written to them with no answer.please help?

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