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Understanding the Basics of Computers, Issue #013
October 31, 2009

Ezine issue 13

Understanding the Basics of Computers

Your source for computer tips and tricks for the beginner computer user

October 31, 2009 Issue 12

Holidays are approaching quickly so I thought I would make this issue about some of the fun things you can do on your computer. For all of my readers in the Denver metro area, please consider my one-on-one training. The cost is $40.00 for a 1 hour session. All lessons are project based and if you don't feel like you learned everything you anticipated I will work with you free until you understand. Please contact me if you are local to the Denver metro area and interested in a personalized training session. I am also working on making the web pages easier to find things so look for changes at and let me know what you think. If you have any suggestions for the website please email me at and let me know what you think or what you would like me to add.

In this issue:

  • Buying music online
  • Listen to the Radio on line
  • Personalize your PC and Phone

Buying music online

You can purchase music in a couple different ways online. Your first option is to purchase music by individual song or album. You can usually get these for under a dollar. Some of the benefits of doing it this way are the music is yours to keep, you have an instant savings, and you can pay as you go. Some of the downfalls to this way of buying music is it can cost you more in the long run and songs only come one at a time. Some of the vendors you can purchase this type of music from are Wal-mart music downloads, Puretracks, or Music Giants. The second way you can purchase music online is to get a subscription. You would usually pay between $10.00 and $15.00 per month. You have unlimited access to songs. The downfall to this is that when the subscription expires you no longer have access to the songs and it will cost extra if you want to copy them to your media player. You can subscribe to purchase music in this way at URGE, Napster, f.y.e., or Download zone.

Windows Media Player comes free with the windows operating system. Or you can download it here

Open Windows Media player On the top menu bar, click the arrow located just below the URGE tab. Choose Browse All Online Stores.

The Choice of Online Stores window opens. Under the Categories menu, located on the left-hand side of the screen, select Music.

Click the appropriate logo to select a vendor.

Click the Library tab itself next if a list of songs/albums doesn't immediately appear.

Congratulations-this music is now yours to archive and appreciate. Just select the desired tune or record with your mouse and press play, or double-click to listen.

If you're using a subscription service: Just double-click the track to begin streaming the highlighted song, or select Download or Buy to purchase and enjoy as above.

Listen to the Radio on line

Listening to the radio online can save you from packing around several cd's and media players. All you need to do to turn your computer into a radio is download a media player like Microsoft Media Player or QuickTime. In the Microsoft Media Player if you click on Media Guide and select radio. You can then click the genres of music you would like and select a radio station. Click Listen and you can listen to your favorite music right on your computer.

The Web is also a great place to search for music. Drop by and pick from dozens of genres and wild indie radio stations featuring exotica, drum and bass, trip hop, and jazz.

Or listen to your own favorite radio station anywhere in the house on your computer. Most major music stations now have Web sites where you can access their music and broadcasts in real time

Of course, once you start listening to the radio online you may want other peripherals to enhance the experience. To get the most out of the stations you select, consider hooking up a good set of speakers to your computer.

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Personalize your PC and Phone

In this section I want to share some fun things you can do to personalize your computer or cell phone. Have fun trying these things

Each folder on your desktop or in My Documents is represented by an icon. You can easily replace them with icons that you have downloaded. Here's how:

    Windows Vista
  • Right-click the folder or shortcut that needs a new icon, and then click Properties.
  • Do one of the following:
  • To change the icon for a shortcut, click the Shortcut tab.
  • To change the icon for a folder, click the Customize tab.
  • Click Change Icon, and then choose the new icon that you want to use.
    Windows XP
  • Right-click the folder that you want to change, and go to Properties.
  • Select the Customize tab.
  • Under Folder Icons, click Change Icon. You can select from the list of Windows icons that come with your operating system or choose an icon that you have downloaded.
  • To do the latter, go to Browse, and locate the folder that contains your downloaded icons.
  • Click the icon that you want, click Open, and then click OK.
  • This will bring you back to the Site Images Properties box. From here, click Apply, and then click OK.

Convey your emotions with emoticons

The next time you're instant messaging, insert an emoticon-a graphic that expresses the way that you really feel. Don't just pick the standard happy face when a bolt of lightning, a hug, or a wilted rose better reflects your mood. There's a comprehensive list on ways to create these emoticons with your keyboard on Windows Live Messenger.

Quick tip: Add new emoticons to illustrate your Windows Live Messenger conversations. Create personalized emoticons from your own images to add to your instant messaging conversations. Here's how:

  • To download emoticons, open Windows Live Messenger.
  • Click the Tools menu, and choose Emoticons.
  • Click Create.
  • Select Find Image, and navigate to the folder where you saved your downloaded images (any image you have will work).
  • Enter a keyboard shortcut/code (make one up) for this particular emoticon.
  • Click OK.

Get artsy with new clip art

Jazz up your next presentation, recipe book, or child's school project with clip art graphics, which run the gamut from computer symbols to holiday images. Try Microsoft Office Online, Classroom Clipart, and Clipart Connection for a variety of images.

Find an almost endless selection of fonts

Is your writing style formal, or is it sassy? If it's the latter, choose the Art Deco-styled ITC Arecibo, a trendy release available on Jazzy fonts, including dingbats, can also be found on Font Freak and

Quick tip: Install new fonts on your computer.

    Windows XP
  • Enhance your written documents with exciting new fonts. Here's how:

  • To install a new font, download the desired font, and save it on your computer.
  • Click the Start menu, and then click Control Panel. Double-click Fonts, go to the File menu, and then click Install New Font.
  • Navigate to the location where you saved the downloaded or unzipped font (double-click to unzip a file).
  • In the List of Fonts box, click the font that you want to add, and then click OK.
    Windows Vista
  • Open Fonts: Click the Start button, click Control Panel, click Appearance and Personalization, and then click Fonts.
  • Click File, and then click Install New Font.
  • If you don't see the File menu, press ALT.
  • In the Add Fonts dialog box, under Drives, click the drive where the font that you want to install is located.
  • Under Folders, double-click the folder containing the fonts that you want to add.
  • Under List of fonts, click the font that you want to add, and then click Install.

Call me to hear my funky ringtone

Get in touch with your inner musician, whether it's Britney Spears or Lil' Wayne. For free and paid ringtones, visit Jamster,, Lavalife Mobile, or Phonezoo.

Article written by Doug O'Neill and adapted from an original piece from Microsoft Home Magazine.

I hope this issue of Understanding the Basics of Computers was helpful. If you have any suggestions for next months issue or comments on this issue please let me know.

Keep learning about your computer,
Jennifer Anderson

P.S. If you would like to purchase ad space in my e-zine please mail me with Ad in the subject line.

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