You may wish to sign-up for one of free courses, get to know the benefits and learn how. Everyone is a beginner so you won’t be out of place and there is nothing to lose.
1. Know what you want to achieve.
The possibilities are:- email, cheap calls and video call to other computers, social networks (facebook, twitter etc), help and interest forums, information, education, online shopping/banking, download music, entertainment, game play and creating your own blog like this one.
If you’re not sure, then try computer use at a library, community centre or internet café. Don’t be put of if it’s hard at first, it gets easier with practice or one of our free courses (find out more from our Menu above)
2. Know what you need.
For simple uses and Internet use, the following specifications will be sufficient:
A minimum of 1 Gigahertz of processor speed. More if you intend sophisticated game play or video editing or want a quick computer.
- A minimum of 512 Megabytes of Ready Access Memory (RAM). More if you intend game play or such things as photo/video editing or want better speed. 1Gigabyte or the ability to upgrade the memory is advisable.
- About 40 Gygabytes of Disk Space. But, you will need more if you intend to store a lot of photo’s, video or music.
- An Ethernet port (socket) which will connect to a router (provided by your Internet Service Provider – ISP). The router is then connected to a telephone landline. Some routers can connect using a USB port and are also capable of a wireless connection, if your PC has that ability.
- For a PC, some form of Internet Security.
Consider carefully before being tempted to upgrade any software. Particularly if it is an operating system or large application like Microsoft Office. Modern software requires higher specification hardware. Otherwise it will run slowly and may be a nuisance in other ways. In short, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
A portable laptop (or modern tablet) or a Desktop computer?
Laptops are useful but usually more expensive and less durable. Desktop PC’s are usually easier to upgrade.
An Apple Mac type or PC type?
Apple Mac’s are usually more expensive. They are particularly good for graphics and almost invulnerable to viruses and other malware. The available software includes Pages (a Word Processor) and Numbers (a Spreadsheet) but not a database application.
However, one can download Open Office.org for free. This is a complete, although rudimentary, office suite of applications.
PC’s are more common but require the purchase of Internet Security Software to ward of malware (malicious software attacks; viruses etc). They are almost always based upon Microsoft operating systems and there are a greater range of compatible applications available.
Open Office is also available free for PC’s
Usually, unless there is reason to do otherwise, people start out with a PC. These are most common in work environments and there is that advantage in learning their use.