Category Archives: Operating Systems

Why You Should Learn Excel!

Click on the YouTube video below to listen to the song that was created by University of Texas Professor Clint Tuttle and get an entertaining, enlightening serenade on why you should learn Microsoft Excel.

According to a 2015 U.S. News & World Report article, “If you want a better job, master Excel.”

Middle-skill Jobs—those jobs that require more than a high school diploma, but less than a bachelor’s degree—are considered the jobs that have long been associated with middle income wage earners. For example, jobs such as office and administrative assistants as well as managerial positions in industry, communications, retail, healthcare, and other major sectors want their employees to be proficient in spreadsheets—Excel.

In fact the demand for digital proficiency for these middle-skill jobs has only grown over time and will continue to grow. You can read more about these jobs by clicking this link to read the 2015 report (PDF file) prepared by Capital One Financial Corporation and Burning Glass Technologies.

Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy Professor Tuttle’s musical message—it’s the truth, folks!

GET DIGITALLY PREPARED TODAY by taking an Excel class or other Microsoft Office productivity software classes—Word, PowerPoint, Access, and Publisher—through Richland College’s BOSS Program. The Microsoft Office 2016 version and Windows 10 will be offered this coming fall!

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exams.

DYK–if you take a DCCCD class, you are eligible for a free download of the latest Microsoft Office 365 version? You can use your MS Office software on up to 5 devices!

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information on BOSS class offerings, please call 972-238-6215 or email Angela Nino at anino@dcccd.edu.


Megabytes, Gigabytes, Terabytes . . . Really?

10-06-2014 final 187440476These terms are usually used in the world of computing to describe disk space, or data storage space, and system memory. For instance, just a few years ago we were describing hard drive space using the term Megabytes. Today, Gigabytes and Terabytes are the most common terms being used to describe the size of a hard drive.

But what are they? According to the IBM Dictionary of computing, when used to describe disk storage capacity, a megabyte is 1,000,000 bytes in decimal notation. But when the term megabyte is used for real and virtual storage, 2 to the 20th power or 1,048,576 bytes is the appropriate notation. According to the Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary, a megabyte means either 1,000,000 bytes or 1,048,576 bytes.

When referring to a megabyte for disk storage, the hard drive manufacturers use the standard that a megabyte is 1,000,000 bytes. This means that when you buy a 250 Gigabyte hard drive you will get a total of 250,000,000,000 bytes of available storage.

This is where it gets confusing because Windows uses the 1,048,576 byte rule so when you look at the Windows drive properties a 250 Gigabyte drive will only yield 232 Gigabytes of available storage space, a 750GB drive only shows 698GB and a One Terabyte hard drive will report a capacity of 931 Gigabytes. Anybody confused yet?

Both of these standards are correct depending on what type of storage you are referring.

Processor or Virtual Storage
1 Bit = Binary Digit
8 Bits = 1 Byte
1024 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte
1024 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte
1024 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte
1024 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte
1024 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte
1024 Petabytes = 1 Exabyte

Disk Storage
1 Bit = Binary Digit
8 Bits = 1 Byte
1000 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte
1000 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte
1000 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte
1000 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte
1000 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte
1000 Petabytes = 1 Exabyte

How about a little more detail?

Bit
A Bit is the smallest unit of data that a computer uses. It can be used to represent two states of information, such as Yes or No.

Byte
A Byte is equal to 8 Bits. A Byte can represent 256 states of information, for example, numbers or a combination of numbers and letters. 1 Byte could be equal to one character. 10 Bytes could be equal to a word. 100 Bytes would equal an average sentence.

Kilobyte
A Kilobyte is approximately 1,000 Bytes, actually 1,024 Bytes depending on which definition is used. 1 Kilobyte would be equal to this paragraph you are reading, whereas 100 Kilobytes would equal an entire page.

Megabyte
A Megabyte is approximately 1,000 Kilobytes. In the early days of computing, a Megabyte was considered to be a large amount of data. These days with a 500 Gigabyte hard drive on a computer being common, a Megabyte doesn’t seem like much anymore. One of those old 3-1/2 inch floppy disks can hold 1.44 Megabytes or the equivalent of a small book. 100 Megabytes might hold a couple volumes of Encyclopedias. 600 Megabytes is about the amount of data that will fit on a CD-ROM disk.

Gigabyte
A Gigabyte is approximately 1,000 Megabytes. A Gigabyte is still a very common term used these days when referring to disk space or drive storage. 1 Gigabyte of data is almost twice the amount of data that a CD-ROM can hold. But it’s about one thousand times the capacity of a 3-1/2 floppy disk. 1 Gigabyte could hold the contents of about 10 yards of books on a shelf. 100 Gigabytes could hold the entire library floor of academic journals.

Terabyte
A Terabyte is approximately one trillion bytes, or 1,000 Gigabytes. There was a time that I never thought I would see a 1 Terabyte hard drive, now one and two terabyte drives are the normal specs for many new computers. To put it in some perspective, a Terabyte could hold about 3.6 million 300 Kilobyte images or maybe about 300 hours of good quality video. A Terabyte could hold 1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Ten Terabytes could hold the printed collection of the Library of Congress. That’s a lot of data.

Petabyte
A Petabyte is approximately 1,000 Terabytes or one million Gigabytes. It’s hard to visualize what a Petabyte could hold. 1 Petabyte could hold approximately 20 million 4-door filing cabinets full of text. It could hold 500 billion pages of standard printed text. It would take about 500 million floppy disks to store the same amount of data.

Exabyte
An Exabyte is approximately 1,000 Petabytes. Another way to look at it is that an Exabyte is approximately one quintillion bytes or one billion Gigabytes. There is not much to compare to an Exabyte. It has been said that 5 Exabytes would be equal to all of the words ever spoken by mankind.

Source: http://www.whatsabyte.com/

_________________________________________________________________________
For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, aedwords@dcccd.edu 972-238-6382.

 

 


Speaking Is Believing! Use Windows 10 Cortana to Help Your “Old School” Computer with Work Tasks!

That’s right—the tech geeks have proclaimed that you can use Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant system found in Windows 10 with your “old school” computer to help you navigate and search the Internet, open some applications, make appointments, and remind you of to-do lists by simply plugging in a microphone.

According to Sean Hollister who reviewed Cortana for Gizmodo and who tried a number of microphone scenarios, Cortana seems to be able to recognize and perform voice-activated requests very handily. Marc Chiappetta who writes for Forbes, was impressed with the speed at which Cortana was able to perform requested tasks, although he does provide a wish list of improvements. One improvement he would like to see is for Cortana to be able to handle compound questions—Example: “What is the time and temperature in Chicago?”

 

Attention SmartPhone Users! Although Cortana has been available on Windows phones for a while, you’ll be happy to know that Cortana is coming to iPhones and Androids later this year—yeah! It will be nice to compare Cortana to Siri and Google Now—you be the judge.

 

If you want to upgrade or develop skills that can help you in today’s job market, consider enrolling in the Business Office Systems & Support program at Richland College. You will have a wide selection of courses (offered online and face-to-face) from which to choose. These courses range from basic keyboarding, computer literacy, business communications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (includes preparation for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam**), office procedures, etc. These courses can all lead you towards a college-credit certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu at 972-238-6215.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a FREE version of Microsoft Office 2013 Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.

 


How to Create a Shutdown/Restart Icon in Windows

Windows 8Windows 8/8.1 make you perform several actions to turn your computer off, and they are not easy to find. To get to the power button, you must pull out the Charms menu (bottom, right side of screen), click the Power button and the select Shutdown or Restart. If you are on the Windows 8 desktop, you may also shut down by using the ALT + F4 shortcut keys.

Want to create an icon on your desktop to shutdown/restart your computer? It’s easy; simply follow the steps given below:

Navigate to the desktop (Windows key + D)
Right click on the desktop and select New | Shortcut
Enter: shutdown /s /t 0 (a zero) in the location box and click Next
Enter a name for the shortcut and click Finish
Right click the shortcut on your desktop and select Pin to Start
Go the Start and drag the shutdown icon to a prominent place

If you want the icon on your taskbar, right click on the icon and select Pin to Taskbar

For a Restart button repeat the previous steps using shutdown /r /t 0 in the location box

If you want to change the icon displayed for the shortcut, complete the following steps:

Right click on the shortcut and select Properties
Click Change Icon (If you receive a Change Icon warning, simply click OK)
Select an Icon; Click OK twice to close the Change Icon and Properties windows

You do not have to be a computer wizard to create these icons; they can save time and frustration especially if you have difficulty finding the Shutdown and Restart commands in Windows 8. Try it!

______________________________________________________________________

For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.


Windows 10 is Coming!

As is always true in the world of computer technology, change is coming very soon. Microsoft will announce and make available sometime later this year its newest version of Windows—Windows 10. Users of Windows 7 or Windows 8 or 8.1 will be able to get Windows 10 FREE. This is a first from Microsoft and is a step toward regaining user support. Many loyal Windows users were disappointed in Windows 8.

Exciting news about Windows 10 includes the return of the Start menu. Microsoft has also redesigned its browser, Internet Explorer, and given it a new name—Microsoft Edge.

Included below are two links: One will take you to a short article on CNet.com, which includes a list of things you need to know about Windows 10. The second link will take you to a list of FAQ’s on Windows 10 posted on Microsoft’s Web site.

What You Need to Know about Windows 10 (from CNET.com)

Microsoft’s FAQs Regarding Windows 10

Enjoy learning about what is coming next for users of Microsoft Windows!


Making the Windows 8.1 Start Menu Your Own by Dean Keith

Windows 8The current version of Windows 8.1 enables more features to help the user bridge the difference between Applications running on the Desktop and Apps running in full screen mode. The addition of the Close and Minimize buttons to the tile Apps screens and enabling tile Apps to be pinned to the Taskbar that now appears when using an App improves the experience for the user.

Historically, I have tried to find the best place to easily access Applications, Websites, or specific files. Should they be pinned to the Taskbar, which only supports Applications and Apps? How do I organize my desktop to see links to Websites or specific files using shortcut icons? The Start Menu in Windows 8.1 provides an excellent way to resolve those questions.

Start Menu Basics
Right clicking in the Start Menu activates the Name Groups option. All tiles on the Start Menu can be separated into Groups. Scrolling the mouse wheel moves you right and left through the groups. Holding the Ctrl key down and then scrolling down with the mouse wheel minimizes the groups. This allows you to select a group and move it to a different position relative to the other groups. This Microsoft video will help you see these options to set up your Start Menu. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/start-screen-tutorial

Start Menu Advanced
As the video shows when in Windows Explorer, you can right click a Folder and choose Pin to Start to add it to the Start Menu. From there, it can added to a group. Now, you have Applications, Apps and Folders pinned to your Start Menu in groups. No matter what you are doing, pressing the Windows Key provides easy access to frequently used actions.

Adding Files and Websites
Unless you are using Internet Explorer (choose Add site to Apps in the Menu Bar – Tools drop down list) there is not a way to do create an icon for websites on the Start Menu from other browsers. Follow these steps to create that Shortcut Icon from any browser:

1. Copy the URL for the website for which you want to create a Shortcut Icon.
2. Press the Windows Key and Right Click on any icon in the Start Menu.
3. Choose – Open file location.
4. You want to be in the Start Menu folder in Windows Explorer. You may need to go up one or two levels in Windows Explorer. Use the Address Bar in Windows Explorer to select Start Menu.
5. You may need to change the Permissions in the Security Tab for the Folder’s Properties to Allow you to Modify the folder.
6. Right Click in an empty area of the folder or use the New Item drop down in the Home Tab to create a New Shortcut.
7. Paste the Website URL in the field and continue with the Wizard to setup the Shortcut Icon.
8. Press the Windows Key and go to the list of all applications (the down arrow in the lower left corner of the Start Menu).
9. Change the sort option of the list to “by date installed.”
10. Right click the Shortcut Icon you created and choose Pin to Start.
11. Go back up to the Start Menu or just press the Windows Key again.
12. Then move the icon on the Start Menu to the appropriate group.

To create a Shortcut Icon for a specific file:

1. Press the Windows Key and Right Click on any icon in the Start Menu.
2. Choose – Open file location.
3. You want to be in the Start Menu folder in Windows Explorer.
4. You may need to change the Permissions in the Security Tab for the Folder’s Properties to Allow you Modify the folder.
5. Right Click in an empty area of the folder or use the New Item drop down in the Home Tab to create a New Shortcut.
6. Choose Browse to navigate to the file for which you want to create a Shortcut Icon, press OK and continue with the Wizard to setup the shortcut.
7. Press the Windows Key and go the list of all applications (the down arrow in the lower left corner of the Start Menu).
8. Change the sort of the list to “by date installed.”
9. Right click the Shortcut Icon you created and choose Pin to Start.
10. Go back up to the Start Menu or just press the Windows Key again.
11. Then move the icon on the Start Menu to the appropriate group.

Change the Icon’s Image
The default icon image is usually boring. Right Click on the icon in the Start Menu folder in Windows Explorer. You can access this folder by Right Clicking on the icon in the Start Menu and choosing Open File Location. Once in the folder, Right Click on the icon and choose Properties in the drop down list. In the Shortcut Tab, (or Web Document Tab for Internet Shortcuts) choose Change Icon and select a new icon image from the list. You can paste this file location into the “Look for icons in this file:” field if you get a location without many icons displayed. %SystemRoot%\system32\SHELL32.dll

An alternative involves searching the Internet for .ico files for an image you would prefer. For example, search for “Facebook ico files” to find a website that allows the .ico file to be downloaded. http://www.iconspedia.com/ appears to be safe. Download the .ico file and save it in a location you can easily find. I save mine in My Pictures folder. When in the Change Icon dialog box, Browse to that location to choose the .ico file you downloaded.

Have fun setting up your Start Menu. I have found it very easy to access anything and open it without having the go to the Desktop by minimizing open windows. It may even replace your need to pin applications or apps to the Taskbar.

Dean Keith is one of our Adjunct Faculty in the BOSS department.  He teaches Emeritus and credit courses and also does computer consulting and technical support in the Dallas Area.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________
For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu, 972-238-6215.


Have Fun with the Aero Feature in Windows 7

Using an Aero desktop theme will enhance your windows with a translucent glass design, subtle window animations and new window colors. To set your computer to use an Aero theme, right click a blank area of your desktop and left click Personalization near the bottom of the shortcut menu.

Select one of the seven Aero themes listed under “Change the visuals and sounds on your computer.”

Changing to an Aero theme will provide other options unique to the Areo theme. One of these options is a cool feature called Areo 3D Flip–a window switching mechanism which cascades windows with a 3D effect.

To use Areo 3D Flip, hold down the Windows logo key (between CTRL and ALT on a standard keyboard) and press the Tab key. Continue holding the Windows logo key and press Tab to cycle through the open windows. If you wish to display the window at the top of the 3D stack on your screen, simply release the Windows logo key.

It’s an easy, fun feature to use, and you just might impress your colleagues, friends, and family members with your Windows 7 knowledge!

______________________________________________________________________

For more information on the Business Office Systems and

Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu

972-238-6215.


Microsoft Introduces Windows 8

What would happen if you powered up your computer and the desktop looked like this?

Windows 8

 

If you are getting ready to purchase a new windows computer, be aware that you will most likely be getting a computer equipped with a new operating system, Windows 8.  The new operating system is flashy and resembles the screen on your Android or iPhone. 

Mike Williams writes on techradar.computing, ” Windows 8 has undergone a major redesign which sees the Start menu scrapped, the desktop demoted, and years of interface conventions thrown away.”  Click here to read what he says you will have to “relearn” to use Windows 8.

PC World also offers what they refer to as, “Windows 8:  The official review.”  Click here to see the PC World review of Windows 8.

It is still possible to purchase a new computer with Windows 7 rather than Windows 8; however, you will probably have to order the computer with specs for Windows 7 as the operating system.  Be an educated buyer before you purchase a new computer; do some research on Windows 8 and decide which operating system you prefer.

______________________________________________________________________

For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.