Baffled by IT jargon? Help is out there

Are you confused about your bytes and RAMs, your memory and pixels, soundcards and USBs? Well help is out there! Not all of us are as IT savvy as we’d like to be and can be left a bit baffled by so called computer-speak, if that is the case for you then an IT online course may be the perfect thing.

There are many IT courses available that can help with things like improving your ability on using specific programs or just general beginners course that can help starting right from the basics of setting up your computer and carrying out daily tasks such as checking for emails and browsing the internet.

It’s worth looking around online and comparing prices of the courses as they can vary quite a lot depending on course content and how advanced the course is.

Some large technology stores are also offering help and advice with things in store if it’s just a simple thing that you need to know and this is often provided free of charge.

Another option is to use a search engine to ask questions about terminology you are unsure of for example ‘what is RAM’.

The key point is that to learn more about IT you just need to ask and maybe do a bit of study too!


Using IT in schools

When working in a school environment, it is essential that the IT system used is as reliable as possible. The consequences of a breakdown whilst you are delivering a lesson is disruption and frustration. Although sometimes a breakdown is unavoidable, there are several steps that can be taken to minimise the unwanted disruption. Firstly, always have a back-up plan in case of a complete failure i.e. a power cut. Paper copies of work sheets or prompts mean that you could still give out work for the pupils to complete. Secondly, try out PowerPoints and other resources beforehand to check they work. Another point to consider is to make sure you have saved multiple copies of any files you want to share with your pupils as memory sticks have been known to become corrupted and therefore unable to be accessed. Although IT adds another dimension to teaching and learning, it is always wise to consider these points when planning to use it.

IT back up

Backing up your files and documents is vital when using any sort of technology. All technology is prone to problems and you may find that you lose everything in an instance if your device develops a fault or even by human error.

When backing up a device, make sure that the device you are backing up to is firstly large enough to accommodate the files and documents and that it is reliable. You may even wish to back everything up to two different devices, so should the one fail you have it on another device too.

Portable hard drives are easy to use and provide fast, efficient storage solutions. They are easy to carry around so you can even back up when on the move. 1TB portable storage droves start from £65 upwards.

If backing up to the cloud, ensure that the data you are saving is not confidential, and that if it is, that it is secure.

Replacing a laptop screen

Laptops can be vital to our day to day working life and also are often used on a daily basis at home. Many people now have laptops instead of PC’s which allows them to save space and also take it with them where ever they go.

Although laptops can be very handy they are often not the most resilient of technology and can quite easily be damaged.

Screens on laptops are often one of the components that gets damaged due to the laptop being dropped or stood on. This can make the laptop unusable especially if it has cracked or shattered through the middle of the screen.

If you take your laptop to a professional computer repairs specialist then you can expect to pay upwards of £60 for a new screen but did you know often it is quite easy to repair it yourself.

You can buy a new screen off Ebay or Amazon often for as little as £15 – £25 and just by watching a quick tutorial on YouTube, can have the screen replaced within minutes.



Choosing the best anti virus

There are lots of different options available to you when it comes to choosing the best anti-virus for your PC or Laptop. Some computers come with a free anti-virus for the first year. Often this is Norton, but after the first year you will either need to renew or you will need to buy a different anti virus. There are some free anti virus software available that is really good, such as Avast but this will only offer basic protection. If you are after something that is a little more comprehensive then you should upgrade to the full version. AVG also offer a good paid for anti virus program that is easy to install and update.

When choosing anti virus software of course you do need to consider the price but mostly the protection it offers you. Some will scan emails, any external devices or drivers that are plugged in as well as scanning web pages and downloads.


Be wary of third party software

All too often, when we install some new software on or PC or laptop it also tries to install a number of other things too. I often have it when installing an anti-virus, it will then try and change my default browser and also asks me to install clan up tools. Sometimes these boxes are already pre-selected meaning if you just wiz through the install you can install and make changes without even realising you have done it.

Whenever you are downloading software from the internet you need to be very careful and be sure that it is genuine. Unfortunately software that is downloaded from the internet can contain viruses which can be extremely hard to remove from your PC/ Laptop once on.

If in doubt then take it to a professional PC repair shop and ask them to install the software for you, there will most likely be a cost but often it is worth it to avoid the hassle.


Is your computer running slow?

Have you found that your computer has recently started running slow? If so, this could be for a number of reasons. If you have recently upgraded to Windows 10 then you may be lacking in memory to allow it to run along with any other programs you need. Windows 10 uses 2 GB of RAM for the 64 bit version meaning laptops that only have 2 GB of RAM will then have to reply on the hard disk drive space to run other programs.

If you have an anti virus installed on your PC the likely hood is that this will be running all the time and may take up another huge chunk of the RAM. You cannot do without this software but you may suffer with slow speeds and your computer locking up from time to time.

You do not have to run Windows 10, but if you want to then I would strongly recommend upgrading your RAM memory to as much as possibly to speed everything up.


Buying a new laptop

If you are looking for a new laptop then you may find that you often get asked what spec you are looking for. Ideally the seller is trying to find out what is most important to you in terms of the technology in the laptop and what it is going to be used most for. If for example you want a laptop for gaming then a good quality dedicated graphics card is vital along with a fast processor. If you want the laptop for doing work on the go such as on a train, or as a passenger in a car then you will probably be looking for something with a long  battery life that is light and easily portable.

Before buying a laptop write down a list of what you want to use it most for then work out what sort of spec you need. You ca then easily compare similar models to find out which one is most suited to you and also within your budget.


Need more memory in your computer?

If your PC is running slow then you may need to upgrade your RAM memory in order to get it to work efficiently. There is nothing more frustrating than having to wait ages for your PC to boot up or to do a simple task such as saving a document, but this is often the case especially in cheaper PC’s and laptops.

Many low cost laptops and PC’s have very little RAM memory to keep the costs low but with software getting more advanced and requiring more memory to run, it can be a constant battle.

Upgrading memory can be fairly easy if you know what you are doing, but if you don’t then I would strongly recommend taking it to a PC repair specialist that will be able to do it for you as you can very easily damage other components. Your PC / Laptop will only be able to take a certain amount of RAM memory so be sure to check this first prior to buying.

Design software

Designers use a number of different software applications to create logos, print work and website visuals. Some designers swear by MACs for design work but with Windows PC’s now offering compatibility with the majority of popular design software it may not be as essential.

One of the most popular design packages is created by Adobe. Adobe offer many design software applications such as InDesign, PhotoShop and Illustrator.

You can chose to buy this software outright or recently Adobe have create a cloud version that can be rented on a monthly basis. Adobe CS 6 is the latest complete suite available to buy and costs in the region of a thousand pounds, but Adobe are no longer updating this version so you will have to opt for the cloud version if you want the latest software. The entire suite costs about £45 per month to rent on the creative cloud option.


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