1.1 The Practical User: How Becoming Computer SavvyBeneﬁts You
What does being computer savvy mean, and what are its
There is no doubt now that for most of us information technology is becoming like a second skin—an extension of our intellects and even emotions, creating almost a parallel universe of “digital selves.” Perhaps you have been using computers a long time and in a multitude of ways, or perhaps not. Either way, this book hopes to deliver important practical rewards by helping you become “computer streetwise”—that is, computer savvy. Being computer savvy means knowing what computers can do and what they can’t, knowing how they can beneﬁt you and how they can harm you, knowing when you can solve computer problems and when you have to call for help.
Among the practical payoffs are the following:
1) YOU WILL KNOW HOW TO MAKE BETTER BUYING DECISIONS
No matter how much computer prices come down, you will always have to make judgments about quality and usefulness when buying equipment and software. In fact, we start you off right in this chapter by identifying the constituent parts of a computer system, what they do, and how much they cost. 2) YOU WILL KNOW HOW TO FIX ORDINARY COMPUTER PROBLEMS
Whether it’s replacing a printer cartridge, obtaining a software improvement (“patch”), or pulling photos from your digital camera or camera cellphone, we hope this will give you the confidence to deal with the continual challenges that arise with computers—and know when and how to call for help. 3) YOU WILL KNOW HOW TO UPGRADE YOUR EQUIPMENT& INTEGRATE IT WITH NEW PRODUCTS New gadgetry and software are constantly being developed. A knowledgeable user learns under what conditions to upgrade, how to do so, and when to start over by buying a new machine. 4) YOU WILL KNOW HOW TO UPGRADE YOUR EQUIPMENT & INTEGRATE IT WITH NEW PRODUCTS New gadgetry and software are constantly being developed. A knowledgeable user learns under what conditions to upgrade, how to do so, and when to start over by buying a new machine. 5) YOU WILL KNOW HOW TO USE THE INTERNET MOST EFFECTIVELY The sea of data that exists on the internet and other online sources is so great that finding what’s best or what’s really needed can be a hugely time-consuming activity. We hope to show you the most workable ways to approach this problem. 6) YOU WILL KNOW HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST ONLINE VILLAINS The online world poses real risks to your time, your privacy, your finances, and your peace of mind—spammers, hackers, virus senders, identity thieves, and companies and agencies constructing giant databases of personal profiles. 7) YOU WILL KNOW WHAT KINDS OF COMPUTER USES CAN ADVANCE YOUR CAREER Even top executives now use computers, as do people in careers ranging from police work to politics, from medicine to music, from retail to recreation. We hope you will come away from this book with ideas about how the technology can benefit you in whatever work you choose.
1.2 Information Technology & Your Life: The Future Now
What is information technology, and how does it affect education, health, money, leisure, government, and careers? This is about computers, of course. But not just about computers. It is also about the way computers communicate with one another. When computer and communications technologies are combined, the result is information technology, or “infotech.”
Information technology (IT) is a general term that describes any technology that helps to produce, manipulate, store, communicate, and/or disseminate information. IT merges computing with high-speed communications links carrying data, sound, and video. Examples of information technology include personal computers but also new forms of telephones, televisions, appliances, and various handheld devices.
The Two Parts of IT: Computers & Communications
COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY You have...