SMA OnLine News Magazine a free community-run nonprofit public service, written FOR and BY the expatriate residents, in our attempt to meet needs not being met elsewhere
new computer users
This page is for ANSWERS to FAQs (frequently asked questions) regarding computers, most often asked by new computer users. First, some definitions for you to understand (the questions (and answers) follow after the definitions:
address (see also URL below) - if you type in something that is too complex (and wrong) (for instance www.janitor.com/clothing/pants/grey) and you don't find the web-page you were looking for at that level, try to back into it by deleting first the /grey and if that is not sufficient, delete the /pants, etc. until, at worst, you are at the original top web-site and that may be the place where they give you instructions for the pants (grey or otherwise). Another idea you can use is when you don't remember the entire URL (see below) of a web-site's name but you have used it previously on that computer, type in as much as you can remember starting with http:// or www. and if you are close to correct with the initial letters, an "autocomplete" setting on your browser will probably give you the rest. For example: http://sm on my computer will auto-complete as http://smaonline.ds4a.com/index-paper.htm
back and forward - these two buttons, generally at the upper left corner of your screen are used for moving back (also forward) to a previous page that you had seen before in that browser session. Continual clicking on the back button will bring you further and further back. Of course, there may also be click-links (see below) that may bring you to such pages more quickly.
bookmarks (similar to favorites) - Netscape and Mozilla call them bookmarks, and MS Internet Explorer (MSIE) calls them favorites, but all they both are are URLs (see below). When you find a web-site that you like and you would like to return often, all you have to do is make that web-site a bookmark (or favorite) by clicking on Bookmarks and then "bookmark this page" or something to that effect (depending on your browser- MSIE would refer to them as favorites). That way you don't have to remember long convoluted URLs to get to a site. MSIE also has a way to get that URL on your desktop (which is your computer screen) by clicking on File, then Send, then Shortcut to Desktop (see File below).
browsers - the most used is MS Internet Explorer and next most used are Mozilla and Netscape. We recommend the free Netscape 7.1 (see FAQs for more information). But you can certainly use either of those three, plus Opera, and so many others successfully. All of them enable you to get to any web-site and to surf the internet at your convenience.
click-links such as FAQs (frequently asked questions) are always underlined on all web-sites. By clicking on them, you are whisked away to the place that they are linked to. Depending on your own browser and the options selected (see options below), the color of the click-link changes after it is used.
commands - these are the (pull-down or toolbar) menu choices that you find on all PCs.
desktop - the initial screen on your computer, generally the first screen you see when you turn it on. This is a good place to keep icons that, with just a click, bring you to a program or a web-page that you want to use often. See bookmarks above for the way MS Internet Explorer allows you to create an icon to put on your desktop
favorites - see bookmarks above
file - on the tool bar, this is the first click which leads to NEW > Window (which opens a 2nd - or 3rd - etc window so that you can look at more than one window at a time or switch back and forth if necessary - using Alt+Tab as described in computer tips "shortcuts") and SAVE AS or SAVE PAGE AS (which is a good way to save something that you want to refer to again - just give it a folder and name that will jog your memory. MSIE also has SEND > Shortcut to Desktop (which means you can create an icon for your desktop that allows you to retrieve this page at your convenience). There are other commands, but you will find them less useful now as a beginner.
learning curve - when I first studied computers, back in 1961, they were relatively new and difficult. When PCs came into being in 1982, they were still difficult. I know that they seem that way to you new people today, but don't let them scare you. Whatever you learn makes the next step easier to learn. Experiment with your computer. They are really sturdy machines and hard to damage. Play with the software and find out what each command (that's the name of each menu item like File, Save, Insert, Send, etc) does for you. There are very few commands that can hurt you when you use them incorrectly. The only ones I can think of are File Save (but only if you save something new over something old that you might have wanted to keep) so instead you should have used File Save As (with a new name similar to the old), Erase, Delete, and when you change any Option, just be careful that you know what you changed it from, in case you wish to go back to the original option choice.
options selected (your browser may have different options checked off than an identical possibility on someone else's computer). The options (also called preferences) effect the look and feel of your particular browser. We suggest that you, if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, go through the entire list of options with someone knowledgeable so that you can pick the options that work best for you and your personality and your surfing usage.
popups - you can generally get rid of pop-ups by using software recommended in computer tips but you can also get rid of them by clicking the "x" in the upper right corner as soon as they appear on your screen.
redirection URLs - these are the http:\\ addresses that YOU can use to get to sites (including ours). What do they do for us (and you)? They enable us to change web-site hosts without having to inform all of you. You just keep on using the URL we gave you and don't have to go to the trouble of learning a new URL. Why do we change web-site hosts from time to time? Because we find a better host (faster loading, less advertisements, etc. etc.).
search engines - most search engines (google being one of the current best) will allow you to find almost anything on the internet. The important thing to remember is HOW to search. If it is a one-word subject, no problem, but the best way to find (for instance) New York Yankees is to type it like this ---> "New York Yankees" because if you leave out the quote marks, you will wind up with every instance of "New Haven" and "the Duke of York" not to mention the play "Damn Yankees". Like with everything else on a computer, I suggest you experiment and don't be afraid to read the directions that are nearby almost everything you might encounter.
surfing annoyances - these include intruders trying to get into your system illegally, pop-up and banner ads, viruses, and other problems for you. Don Gussin was good enough to provide help for these problems. See his and others solutions for you at computer tips
tool bar - generally at the top of your browser page. Many commands but most important to a new user is STOP (this will stop a page from loading and wasting your time if you selected it in error), REFRESH or RELOAD (in an ever changing climate, for instance, watch stock prices, this will update your information at your request) and others like FILE (see above), FAVORITES or BOOKMARKS (see above), VIEW (text size or zoom - see FAQs regarding this), TOOLS > Internet Options in MSIE or EDIT > Preferences in Netscape (see options above) and HELP (which just may be useful reading for you). There are other commands, but you will find them less useful now as a beginner.
URLs (same as web-site addresses) - these generally start with http://www. and continue with the web-site name and end with .com or .org or .edu, etc. Each URL is the name and address of that you put on your surfing envelope (compared to old fashioned mail) to get you delivered to their web-site. See also redirection URLs above
Questions submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org will be answered if they are of general interest and then published on this web-page or you may use our message board by clicking on http://members5.ravelly.com/smaonlinenews/
Question: How to I get around to see different pages in your web-site?
Answer: We offer many ways. The opening page, the HEADLINES, page, lists the newest article on each page AND at the left of each article is an underlined click-link to that page. For those who want to see what is on every page (everything, in total), look at our table of contents page which lists everything (old and new) on that page. But for those who know this web-site pretty well, you can always go to the navigator page and merely click on the title of that page (note that the titles are in alpha order at the left of that page, and in a semi-sort of hierarchy order on the right, and a third method, below the first two, presents a listing of the web-site pages in an order matching our methodically recommended usage of certain pages (i.e., breaking news and local events, etc. may be reviewed daily, while longer articles like fiction, nonfiction, and historical pieces can be read at your leisure over longer periods of time, and then there are also in between recommendations for weekly and monthly reviews). And, of course, you can always click on any web-page name (generally an underlined name) that appears anywhere on this entire site and find yourself transported magically to that page. Remember, as we said above, you can always use BACK or FORWARD to go back to where you were, etc.
Objectives of this page: to answer the FAQs of the newest of the new computer users.