Wayne A. English
So, you’re favorite student needs a computer. The good news is that you don’t need a high end machine. An entry level computer will be fine and don’t forget to plan for after school activities like music and movies. The cost will be in the range of $500 to $700 for computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, extra print cartridges, printer cable, and headphones. Don’t forget paper for the printer, blank DVDs, a DVD case.
Much of the hardware and software listed here will be included on any new or late model computer. So, don’t let the through of shopping for all this only-a-nerd-could-love stuff throw you. As to software, much is available at no cost and what you must purchase, such as a antivirus software, is not terrible expensive.
Hardware: A desktop computer will cost less than a laptop. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Should you buy a laptop, consider a full size keyboard and mouse for ease of use. They are easily connected with an inexpensive adapter. And don’t forget a carrying case.
Spyware, Adware, Viruses, and Windows Update
Spyware is a program(s) that are placed on your computer, without your permission from the Web. They will do various things such as: reporting on your habits, where you go, and what you do. Some, not all free downloads, come with spyware. An excellent spyware hunter-killer is Spybot Search and Destroy. You can download it free of charge at, http://www.spybot.info/en/index.html.
Adware will call advertising to your computer and worse. It is not good to have on your PC. Some adware will dial a long distance phone number without your permission and you will be billed for exorbitant phone charges. An excellent adware hunter-killer is Ad-Aware® by Lavasoft. Download it free of charge at http://www.lavasoftusa.com/.
Viruses are malicious programs that will do bad things to your computer. We recommend Norton or McAfee Antivirus products. These products require you to pay a yearly fee. They are worth the price. Be sure to update them daily via the Web.
Windows Update. Microsoft offers updates for security and other needs. To connect to the Microsoft update website go to http://v4.windowsupdate.microsoft.com/en/thanks.asp or follow the steps below if you are using Windows XP:
This site will tell you what updates you need to consider for download. Check here daily for the latest security updates. Microsotf does not charge for this service. Check here daily for security updates.
The Web and Email
The World Wide Web and email have become an integral part of computing, in fact, without the Web and email a computer is nowhere as effective as it can be. Their prices range from $10 to $40 per month. You can also find free CD-ROMs at the post office ane elsewhere that will give you many hours of free access through AOL, that’s America On Line. On the high end you can have a 3megabyte per second, (3MBps), connection using your cable TV connection and a cable modem. This technology is very fast and only needed if you download large files or want your telephone back because our student is online all the time. This is a serious consideration if you need the phone free to take important calls. Or you can have a second phone line installed just for the computer.
For your student’s email needs you can obtain a free email account that can be accessed from anywhere via the Web. For free email, see Yahoo at, http://www.yahoo.com/, click on Mail, or for the Microsoft Network’s free email, http://www.msn.com/, click on Hotmail. Other providers can be found with a Google search.
There you have it, a well equipped computer, email, Web access, and software that any student will love.