Back to Back Issues Page
Understanding the Basics of Computers, Issue #007
April 30, 2009

Ezine issue 07

Understanding the Basics of Computers

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

April 30, 2009 Issue 07

School is almost out for the kids and summer is about to begin, I can't wait. Things have been a bit crazy for me this month and unfortunately the website has been set on the back burner. But that is temporary and I should have more time this month so check often. I am also working on launching an advertising campaign to do onsite training for in home tutorials for the cost of $40.00 an hour. If you are in the Denver area and interested in a one-on-one class please contact me. 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:

  • Setting up a webmail account
  • Computer jargon
  • New Technology – Office 2007 2nd Service Pack Update

Setting up a web mail account

I am going to go over how to set up a web mail account in Google. This will give you a gmail account. I love using Google it has great features and in the next section of this newsletter we will go into more detail about those features.

  • To start creating your gmail web mail account go to
  • At the top of the page click on Gmail.
  • On the right side click on Create an Account
  • Fill out the online form and click check availability to make sure the email address you chose is not already taken. Then click I accept. Create my account.

It is that simple. Now that you have an account set up all you need to send and receive email is go to .com and sign in with your email address and your password.

Now that you have signed up for a free gmail account it opens up a ton of features you have access to through

This is the part I like. Google has done a great job with giving you whatever you need to stay organized and get information all in one spot.

  • Type in your browser.
  • Then click sign on
  • You will be able to choose a theme for the background of your igoogle page.
  • On your igoogle page you can add so many things that you would like to see every time you sign in. Click the Add stuff link and browse through the items. Just click Add item under the things you would like to view. Once you are finished click back to you will see all of the new features on your page. You can move all of the sections by placing your mouse over the box until the cursor is a cross with arrows then click and drag the box to where you want it.

Play with the feature on igoogle I think you will be very happy with all the different things you can do. You can have a calendar, to do list, a section for you gmail account, instant messenger, and so much more. Have fun with this one.

Computer Jargon

I think learning a few of the computer terms will help you understand things a little better when trying to learn to use your computer. I am just going to give you the basics.

  • back slash - The \ character. On most computer keyboards the back slash key is located near the top-right corner of the main section of the keyboard, although this is not always the case.
  • bandwidth - The amount of data that can be transmitted over a network connection at any one time.
  • boot - To start up a computer.
  • CD-R- Compact Disc Recordable. A drive that can create and read CD-ROMs and audio CDs. Also refers to the writeable compact disc media you place in a CD-R drive
  • CD-ROM - Compact Disc Read-Only Memory. A data version of the familiar audio CD. It has a fairly high capacity and is frequently used for program installations. The 'read-only' means that while you can read information from the CD_ROMs you cannot write information to them.
  • CD-RW - Compact Disc Rewriteable. A type of CD that lets you write to it in multiple sessions (unlike a CD-R disc which can be written to only once).
  • CPU - The brains of your computer. The CPU handles all operations of your computer, assisted by other computer chips.
  • Clipboard - A special temporary stroage space in memory.
  • Desktop - The full screen display where all Windows activities takes place. It is just like the regular desktop you work on.
  • Download - To copy information from a remote computer to your computer. When you connect to the Web, You're constantly downloading Web pages and files to your computer system
  • DSL - Digital Subscriber Line. A technology that supports high-speed data connections.
  • File - A collection of related information stored on a computer. Each document you create is stored in a file with its own filename so you can identify it.
  • GIF - Stands for graphic interchange format. A graphic file format used extensively on the internet becuse it uses less space and downloads in less time.
  • hard disk - A high-capacity, long-term storage medium.
  • Hyperlink - An element in a document that links to another place either in the same document or a different document. This is what you click on the internet.
  • icon - A small on-screen picture which represents something: a program, a folder, a data file, a command shortcut.
  • JPG - Pronounced jay-peg. A graphics file format which can compress graphics to a fraction of their size.
  • link - A dynamic reference to another document. Clicking a link will connect you to the destination document.
  • log off or log out - To finish a session on a computer system or network
  • Memory - Temporary storage area for programs and data while your computer is switched on. Anything stored in RAM is lost when the power is turned off. Don't confuse memory with storage.
  • menu - A list of options from which you can choose. You open a menu by clicking its title with the mouse; then you select an option by moving the mouse pointer to the desired option and then clicking.
  • network - Two or more computers linked together.
  • offline - Disconnected from a computer communications system
  • online - Connected to a computer communications system.
  • operating system - A collection of programs which, together, manage all the basic functions of a computer. The operating system runs other programs (such as a word processor or graphics editor), manages the storage of your own documents, and coordinates the functions of the computer itself and all the devices connected to the computer.
  • Plug and Play - The ability to configure a new device automatically.
  • scroll - To move a document in a window so you can see any portion of it. You can scroll up and down or side to side using scrollbars to the right and bottom of the window.
  • search engine - A program that searches pages on the Internet for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents containing the keywords.
  • Shortcut - A pointer to a file. Creating a shortcut allows you to quickly access a program or document no matter where it is actually stored.
  • Software - A generica term for computer programs
  • Spam - Electronic junk mail
  • Surf - To move from place to place on the Internet, usually using a web browser.
  • Taskbar - The long horizontal bar at the bottom of the Windows Desktop whick you use to access programs and manage your desktop.
  • toolbar - Icons grouped together within a program, usually in a strip across the top of the window.
  • unzip - To decompress a file that has been compressed using a program such as WinZip.
  • URL - Uniform Resource Locator, the address used to identify documents and other resources on the Internet.
  • USB - Stands for universal serial bus. A type of connector that you are able to connect up to 127 different devices to your computer
  • Virus - A computer program designed to replicate itself. Many computer viruses are just annoying but some are harmful and can either damage information and programs on your computer or cause your computer to malfunction.
  • Web browser - A software application used to locate and display Web pages.

New Technology – Office 2007 Service Pack update

Microsoft is came out with a second service pack for Office 2007. This update will help performance and fix some of the stability issues. "Users should notice the improved performance and stability of Outlook, better charting functionality in Excel, and more control over the appearance of SmartArt graphics," Microsoft group product manager Jane Liles said in an article posted on Microsoft's Web site.

To download the updates open Word 2007 and click the Office icon at the top left corner. When the menu appears click the Word Options button at the bottom. The Word Options window will open and select Resources button. The first option is Check for updates. Click that button and follow the directions in the windows that pop up. If you have any questions please email me.

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.

Back to Back Issues Page