INTRODUCTION

This page provides more introductory blurb on the website that’s a home for FREE down-to-earth online details on how to live happily with personal computers and the Internet. The tutorial is ideal for those virtually new to the subject, including freelance operators, sole traders and professional people who, for various understandable reasons, never needed to indulge before now (It also serves as a good starting point, or index if you will, when searching for more advanced or specific details on these very wide-ranging subjects). Importantly, normal intelligence and a desire to learn are the only prerequisites, but conscious attempts have been made by the author to avoid blas√™ assumptions concerning the reader’s prior technical knowledge of the subject and ‘nerd’ buzzwords. It’s therefore initially very basic, but its ultimate aims are to:

Retain the interest of its readers.

Allow its readers to quickly navigate to (initially basic) details on any topic.

Quickly take readers to the stage where they will see everything in its correct perspective.

Show readers how to find more in-depth details as and when necessary across the whole spectrum of PC usage and maintenance, internet surfing and even website creation.

It has been created because the author believes that the subject has been made unnecessarily daunting to many people by virtue of its exponentially increasing complexity and power, combined with the difficulty finding customer support, tutorials or references that don’t disappoint you in one or more of the following ways:

Forcing you to jam your phone in your neck (or at least to man a phone set for hands-free) for the standard hour most ‘after-sales support’ teams are cynically told to keep you waiting (and then to bill you at a premium rate for the call – do me a favour, please!).

When you finally get through to a real person, you spend most of your time looking for some nebulous password that you were given 11 months ago and hadn’t needed until now (familiar?), then only to hit a brick wall, after which you need a degree in IT to know what the next question is, let alone the answer (familiar?).

Swamping you with masses of well-meaning but badly-written and largely incoherent details.

Assuming you have PhDs in IT, Electronics and the Physical Sciences (OK that’s my cynical side indulging itself now, but they at least make the occasional assumption that’s enough to leave you wondering if you’ve missed something!).

There won’t be one frozen issue of the tutorial; it will be added to and amended dynamically, ie continuously changed as and when the author has the time, or when there are other quality contributions worthy of immediate inclusion (all contributions that are included will be given due acknowledgements), but the keyword here is ‘quality’, not ‘width’, to finish (if it ever does) with a worthy effort.

The Glossary and Index pages that can be looked at via the menu relate, respectively, to general Internet terms and terms/abbreviations use in this website (not to a complete encyclopaedia on PCs and the Internet, because my intention is only to lead you in gently at the top so that, if and when you want or need to go there, you can confidently study the subject to deeper levels).

This website works fine in MS Internet Explorer 6, but some JavaScript scripts don’t work on my PC in even the latest versions of Netscape and Opera.

Also, it will look OK at PC screen settings in pixels of 1024 x 768 (good eyesight needed, especially on a 15″ monitor) or 800 x 600 (most normal) or even 640 x 480 (on older systems and possibly a good idea on a 15″ monitor and your eyesight isn’t 100%) and a 16-bit colour setting is suggested (If you want, select Start>Control Panel>Display>Settings to access and change the parameters called ‘Screen Resolution’ and ‘Color Quality’). I’m not familiar with the mac (some users of which may be interested in this website), but I know that consideration is necessary for the smaller font size presented on the screen compared with that on a PC (for a given coded size, eg ’10’ or ’12’).

I’m an engineer and a project manager, who’s spent considerable time as a professional PC user, writing books and designing websites, so I’ve learned ‘how to string two sentences together’, where to put commas and full-stops, and a few survival tricks. Besides taking full advantage of the vast number of free quality things out there (‘begging, stealing and borrowing’ code and scripts, harnessing the efforts of others), I’ve not actually done any ‘original programming’ myself, but I’ve learned enough to be able to recognise, adapt, change and use good code.

There you see, I’m not a spotty nerd. I ask for only one thing and that’s for some sort of (constructive) feedback. So far, I’ve received several encouraging e-mails; thanks so much – I’ll keep the site going for now, just for you.

Wad some power the gift to gie us,
To see ourselves as others see us!
(Robert Burns)

Links are also appreciated.

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