The Computers & You Archive

For some years we published a newsletter approximately monthly. Those articles that are still relevant you will find here.
01/2004 - Size Does Matter

To quickly in crease or de crease the size of text in Microsoft Of fice Prod ucts: Word, PowerPoint, FrontPage, Pub lisher, and Ex cel, se lect the text you want to resize. Then, to in crease the font size, press CTRL+SHIFT+>. To decrease the font size, press CTRL+SHIFT+<.

03/2004 - My CD/DVD door won't open
You have a CD in your cd player and push the eject button to open the CD door and the door doesn't open. What do you do?

CD rom drives have a manual override where you can open the door manually.

Do not try to pull the door open.Take a paper clip, unfold it, and stick the point into the little circular hole on the front of the cd player door. The further you stick the paper clip in the more the door will open and you can take out your cd.
11/2004 - RAM vs Hard Drive

Perhaps the most mis un der stand con cept amongst computer users is the difference be tween RAM and Hard Drive space. Knowing the difference becomes very important when trying to figure out why the latest and greatest "must have" soft\ware won't work on your computer. It also helps you figure out what needs to be done so it will work.

Hard Drive
The Hard Drive (also called "Storage" or "Disk Space") is usually measured in Gigabytes (GB). Think of your hard drive as a big filing cabinet. Every time you add a file or install a program you take up space in the filing cabinet. The larger the filing cabinet, the more files you can fit.

Once "saved," the file is on the hard drive regardless of whether you turn the computer off. The information stays there. And, later, you can erase your file and free up that space.

RAM (also called "Memory") is usually measured in Megabytes (or MB). RAM comes in the form of computer chips. These chips plug into special connectors in your computer. The purpose of these chips is to provide fast storage for the computer to use.

When the computer loads your file from your hard drive where does that information go? It makes a copy of the information from the hard drive and places it in RAM.Why? For speed. Information in RAM is stored based on electrical signals. So to change information simply requires sending a different electrical signal to the chip.

This happens very quickly. Let's say you are typing a document in Word. Every key you press on the keyboard be comes part of your document. You don't realize it but, every letter you press has to be remembered by the computer. It accomplishes this by saving those keys in RAM.

It happens so quickly, you don't even notice it. So it's fast. But what happens when you turn off your computer? All the in for mation is lost since the electrical signals storing the information have been turned off.

So, as you can see, they are both necessary forms of storage and serve different purposes. Generally, a computer has far more Hard Drive storage than RAM. A typical computer one might purchase to day might have 2gig of RAM, and 500 GB of Hard Drive storage.


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