Laptops & Tablets For Seniors For Dummies
Welcoming you to the world of laptops and tablets, this Cheat Sheet is designed for mature people like you — folks who are relatively new to using a computer and want to discover the basics of buying a laptop, working with software, and getting on the Internet. These articles include a wealth of laptop information, including some of the major items to consider when purchasing a laptop. You also receive tips for more efficient searching (whether it’s the Internet or your laptop’s hard drive). Finally, you’re presented with ten useful websites for various online activities.
Knowing What to Look for When Purchasing a Laptop
If you’ve never owned a laptop and now face purchasing one for the first time, deciding what to get can be a somewhat daunting experience. There are lots of technical terms to figure out, various pieces of hardware (the physical pieces of your laptop, such as the monitor and keyboard) to become familiar with, and software (the brains of the computer that help you create documents and play games, for example) that you need to understand.
When you’re purchasing your laptop, check for the following features:
Memory: Your laptop should have at least 2 gigabyte (GB) of RAM.
Processor speed: Look for a minimum of 2.3 GHz processor speed.
Size/weight: If you’re planning on traveling with your laptop often, a lighter weight laptop, tablet, or netbook might be better.
Price: Set a budget that you're comfortable with — you can get pretty inexpensive laptops that work for most folks these days.
Keyboard/Mouse: Make sure the keyboard and mouse built into your laptop feel comfortable to you.
Monitor: Laptops come with different size monitors. A 15-inch monitor is comfortable for most people, but if you do work with higher-end images or watch videos, consider a larger monitor, but be aware that the larger the monitor, the larger and heftier the laptop.
Input ports and drives: Laptops might come with a built-in CD or DVD drive, USB ports for connecting peripherals and USB sticks, and ports to connect to scanners and printers.
Wireless capability: To connect to some wireless devices and networks, you need a laptop with wireless capability.
Included software: Some laptops come with utility programs such as antivirus software or productivity software such as Microsoft Works.
Manufacturer support: Check the warranty and technical support available.
Graphics and sound cards: If you want to use multimedia or game software, ask for more sophisticated sound and video features in your laptop.
Tips for Efficient Searching
Whether you’re searching your laptop for a file or the Internet for a document or website, here are some tips that can help you get appropriate results faster. (However, note that some search engines use slightly different approaches.)
Avoid search terms that are too general. The term golden retriever would get you more specific results than dog, for example.
By default, if you type two keywords such as Vacation Italy, search engines generally look first for sites that contain both words.
Most search engines generally don’t take into account words such as and, or, and a.
Some search engines, such as Ask.com, allow you to type in questions as sentences rather than using keywords.
If you want to find an exact phrase, such as To be or not to be, put it in quotes.
Look for advanced search features that let you look for content by criteria such as the type of content, date it was last modified, or source of content (such as educational or government websites).
Using Windows Shortcuts for Common Tasks
Shortcuts are handy little keystroke combinations (and they can also be icons) that you can utilize for quick access to items you use on a frequent basis. This is especially useful for laptop users who may have to get to what they need quickly in order to save on battery power. Use these Windows keystroke shortcuts to handle common tasks, such as cutting and pasting text, quickly and easily.
|Key or Keystroke Combination||Effect|
|Ctrl+X||Cuts the selected text or object|
|Ctrl+C||Copies the selected text or object|
|Ctrl+V||Pastes copied or cut text or object|
|F2||Opens the selected item (folder or file) for renaming|
|Ctrl+Z||Undoes the previous action|
|Alt+Tab||Displays a list of currently open applications|
|Prt Scr||Prints a copy of current screen to the Windows Clipboard|
|Windows Logo||Displays the Start menu|
Finding Useful Websites for Various Online Activities
Many people buy a laptop mainly to tap into the wonderful opportunities the Internet offers. You can use the Internet to check stock quotes, play interactive games with others, and file your taxes, for example.
For seniors especially, the Internet can provide wonderful ways to keep in touch with family and friends located around the country or on the other side of the world via e-mail or instant messaging. You can share photos of your grandchildren or connect with others who share your hobbies or interests.
As you begin to use your laptop, you might find the following sites to be good starting points for various types of online activities.
|www.fool.com||Financial news and advice|
|www.tucows.com||Shareware download site|
|www.britannica.com||Online encyclopedia (fee based)|
|www.consumerreports.org||Consumer advice and comparisons|
|www.eons.com||Senior-oriented social networking site|
|www.doityourself.com||Do-it-yourself home projects|
|www.movies.com||Information on current movies and stars|