April 2008, V7#4: Computer Wednesday, Dec 31 2008 

Today’s browsers are great to help with general searches. Many places and software even load extra search toolbars into your browsers. But, for genealogy searches, don’t stop with that. Become a student of search engines: Find out how you can narrow your search with different engines. Find at least one “engine” that searches more than one. Not used to doing computer searches? Go to ask.com – there you can use a regular sentence to search without being penalized for using words like “and” and “the”. Also consider trying clusty.com – this search engine places your returns by subject. In this way, if you were to look for “Homer Simpson” all the cartoon stuff would be sorted out for you.

March 2008, V7#3: Computer Tuesday, Dec 30 2008 

In MS Word, some files look different “on the page” in the computer. What causes this?

It’s called page view. Yes, you can set your program to show you the pages in different ways. It’s easy once you know how. Look down the screen to near the start button – where there are several “lines” of gray “stuff” before you see the bottom edge of the document. At the top left of all of this gray are 4 buttons before the side-to-side scroll bar starts. The page view with the dotted line to show page break is called “normal” and it is that far left button (depressed) – the arrow below is pointing to these buttons:
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To see how the other 3 views work, position a file where you can see the page break and just left click each button in turn. Besides normal view, I sometimes like print view which is the third button from the left, as it shows me virtual sheets of paper with the correct margins and page number too. – CAC

February 2008, V7#2: Computer Tuesday, Dec 30 2008 

Not sure about Microsoft Windows Vista? Still? Look into your local technical school, public school computer club, public library, etc. If no one offers a basic or how to course, suggest any service provider do so. There is always a learning curve, but generally, there are valuable improvements in new roll outs.

December 2007, V6#12: Computer Tuesday, Dec 30 2008 

Not sure if files written in MS Office 2007 are compatible? The truth is that they are with a bit of work on your part. If you are running an older version of a program and try to open the 2007 file, it will prompt you do download a conversion program. If you are online, follow all directions – including downloading other updates first. Your computer can then convert the 2007 file to something your computer can work with. Word of warning though, if the file contains features that became available in 2007, your converted file won’t have them.

October 2007, V6#10: Computer Tuesday, Dec 30 2008 

Consider joining (or starting) a computer support group. Genealogy, history, book, writing, etc. – they all have clubs, classes, and get-togethers – consider one that can help you with computers!

August 2007, V6#8: Computer Tuesday, Dec 30 2008 

Always having trouble with your computer? Have you checked to see if there is a computer support group you can join locally? Our society has lots of different groups for lots of different interests and to solve problems. If there is not one in your area, look at banding together friends and family who have difficulties and successes. Not everyone will have the same problems, or the same successes. While you may always be asking your group questions, you might find yourself the “go to” person for general problems in a program you always work in.

“It takes a village…”

June 2007, V6#6: Computer Tuesday, Dec 30 2008 

Don’t be bullied into Windows Vista. Every new version of a program (or operating system) means change. Unfortunately, you will have to make a plan to eventually use the new system, but it doesn’t have to be today. On your “to do” list, research Vista online, check out a library book, schedule a “study date” with a friend who already has it (offer to bring the snacks), attend lectures or even an evening Vo-Tech class on the subject. Even if you need a new computer, you may be able to put it off until you’ve had a chance to make friends with the new Windows.

March 2007, V6#3: Computer Tuesday, Dec 30 2008 

(part 4)

Economical suggestion for purchase: Look to closeouts or ask staff members if they have any of the older versions available, at a discount, in stores. Alternately, you can usually buy older versions of software reasonably through eBay. Just be sure that the software is XP/Vista compatible – and through eBay comes with any books, etc.

February 2007, V6#2: Computer Tuesday, Dec 30 2008 

What software to use? (part 3)

Especially if you have some experience with Microsoft software, one might consider buying Microsoft Office (instead of single particular program), which will include Word, a spreadsheet/database program, usually a webpage program, and sometimes Publisher. This is a long range planning consideration – especially if you are looking toward being a life-long author. Not every book project will be well suited to a single program. Transcriptions, and columnar data works very well in Excel. This data can be sorted, rearranged and selectively inserted into a Word manuscript – all without having to retype.

January 2007, V6#1: Computer Tuesday, Dec 30 2008 

What software to use? (part 2)

If you are looking for a “desktop typewriter”, almost any word processing software will do. If you have a Microsoft Window based system, you have WordPad. This is a very basic program, but if you aren’t interested in any bells and whistles (such as spell check, etc.), it is fairly easy to learn and operate. If you don’t have a MS Windows based system, or want to look at something else, there are many shareware programs available at little or no cost.

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