GET THE MOST OUT OF Y

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浜様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様融 GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR NEW PC 藩様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様様夕 I have been programming for twenty years on all sorts of computers, but the PC is my favorite. I've seen it all (almost), and done it all (almost) and I'd like to take this opportunity to help those of you who have just purchased your first PC. I am going to give you a few do's and don'ts - feel free to disagree, but at least I'll give you some interesting ideas to think about. First of all, if you have not yet purchased a PC, please follow the following RULES OF PC PURCHASE: 1. If you can, buy at least a 286 or 386. (Why? Because the older 8086 PC's are just TOO SLOW!) 2. Get the biggest hard disk you can afford. (Why? Because they fill up with good software much faster than you would expect.) 3. Get a color monitor, preferably VGA. (Why? Because I like color, of course, and have three monochrome monitors sitting unused in my closet!) 4. Make sure one of your floppies is 5 1/4 inch size (that's the standard size). Now that you have your PC up and running, here are the things to do: 1. FOCUS YOUR INTERESTS. Try to figure out why you got a PC and what you want to do with it. Are you interested in writing, music, art, programming or what. Come on, you must be interested in something! A PC can be used for virtually anything. It is even good for teaching your child to read (Reader Rabbit, Amy's Primer). Focus, focus, focus. 2. USE A SURGE SUPPRESSOR. Go ahead, I know you are almost broke after buying that 220 Megabyte hard disk, but GET A SURGE SUPPRESSOR BEFORE YOU TURN IT ON! The very first night I put together my first PC, there was a huge thunder and lightning storm. My house wiring took a direct hit while my $3500 investment was on for the very first time! A surge suppressor saved my bacon by turning off automatically. After 30 minutes it mysteriously went back on by itself, and my PC was undamaged. 3. TRY DESKTOP PUBLISHING & A WORD PROCESSOR. Remember using a typewriter? One tiny mistake and you had to retype the whole page! Now, with any simple word processor, you can correct your errors before you print the first copy. And if you write a lot of letters, it's great to have an automatic file of all the letters you wrote on your hard disk, complete with addresses. Desktop publishing is also a terrific advance, and with inexpensive products like Publish It! or First Publisher, it is also easy to get started. Perhaps you have an idea for your own newsletter? 4.TRY LOTUS 123 OR ANOTHER SIMILAR SPREADSHEET. The PC became so incredibly popular because of Lotus (and Word Processing). Though I personally am bored to tears by spreadsheets, fifty million users can't be wrong, so give it a try. 5.TRY THE BASIC INTERPRETER YOU GOT WITH YOUR MACHINE. Basic, or the GWBASIC you probably got free with your clone, is an easy and surprisingly powerful language (GW stands for Gee Whiz!). Even if you plan to buy most of your software, you will understand your PC much better if you write a few simple BASIC programs of your own. If you find you like BASIC, you may eventually want to move up to QuickBasic or Turbo Basic, which run about $69.95 and allow you to compile your Basic Programs to true EXE files, just like the professional programs you buy. 6.LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT DOS. The Disk Operating System you got with your machine is also a powerful language, and you should run, not walk, to your nearest bookstore and buy the slimmest book you can find about DOS. 7.GET A HARD DISK & LEARN TO ORGANIZE IT. If you already have a PC without a Hard Disk, you have already experienced the incredible frustration of computing from only one or two floppies. Get a Hard Disk, 40 Megabyte minimum. It shouldn't cost much more than $300. Right now, there is a mail-order bargain on the Seagate 65 Meg RLL Drive. You will need an RLL Controller, but the disk is only $260 and built like a tank. (See Computer Shopper). 8. GET THE NORTON UTILITIES. This bag of tricks and techniques will more than pay for itself with Quick Unerase, which will allow you to easily recover those files you deleted by mistake. 9. BACKUP IRREPLACEABLE FILES TO FLOPPY DISKS. If you are writing the great American Novel, copy your work once a week to a floppy and stash it in a safe place. It only takes a second, and imagine how you would feel if the only copy on your hard disk somehow became unreadable. I leave the question of full hard disk backups completely up to you. If you have a lot of important files on your hard disk it may be advisable, even if it takes 60 or more floppies. Fastback Plus or DSBackup can ease the task. I don't personally backup, but I have three machines (one 386, one 286 and one old 8086) and each has copies of my most important files. They are all surge protected, and the chance of three simultaneuos hard disk disasters is only 1 in 47,000,000. (Approximately). 10. BUY A DOZEN SHAREWARE PROGRAMS FOR $1.99 EACH, AND REGISTER AT LEAST ONE. Shareware is an interesting and inexpensive way to experience a broad range of software. It is a unique marketing concept - try before you buy. You will help keep it alive, and more good shareware coming, if you register the shareware you like and continue to use. You will absolutely need a simple ASCII Editor to use your PC properly. Without a simple editor, even changing your AUTOEXEC.BAT file is a real chore. QEDIT is nice. Put PROMPT $P $G in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file RIGHT NOW if it isn't already there. It identifies directory names when you change directories. 11. TRY SOME ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE PROGRAMS TO PEEK INTO THE FUTURE OF COMPUTING. You have probably heard about Expert Systems, that follow rules-of-thumb to give advice like a human expert, but through Shareware you can also try one yourself. Other areas are Natural Language Programs, that respond to your english language sentences, and Neural Networks that mimic the thought process of the human brain. Many can be experienced at low cost through shareware, or though the miracle of Modems and Bulletin Boards. Or you could select one of the three very special packages we'll introduce you to at the end of this Tutorial. Each package is usually $99.95, but is offered here for only $59.95. 12. AFTER YOU ARE FAIRLY COMFORTABLE WITH DOS, TRY WINDOWS 3.0. Windows 3.0 is a GUI or Graphical User Interface. It requires the use of a Mouse, because you operate Windows by pointing and clicking with the Mouse. It also requires a serious 286 or 386 computer with VGA and plenty of hard disk space. Windows alone wants about 5 Meg of your hard drive geography. Although most of what you want to do on a computer does not require Windows, you should eventually try it, because it probably represents the future of PC Computing. THINGS YOU SHOULD TRY TO AVOID DON'T: Move your PC without very good reason. It can destroy the programs on your hard disk. Get any weird programs that mess with your hard disk if you havn't had a problem! Make millions of directories within directories. Keep your hard disk almost full. Worry about OS/2 - it is a dead issue for home users. Leave your machine on all the time. Worry if you can't learn to program in C, Lisp or Prolog. Write COBOL on a PC. Worry much about Viruses. They are dying down now. Load your machine so full of TSR's at start-up that it gets confused. Open your computer unless you absolutely have to. Upgrade to a 386 if you have a fast 286. Upgrade at all - buy another machine. Two is nice. Try to to turn your PC into a MAC - buy a MAC. Don't overload your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. Don't type FORMAT C: unless you really mean it! A QUICK INTRO TO DOS FOR BEGINNERS ONLY DOS stands for Disk Operating System. It started ten years ago at Version 1.0 and then matured with 3.1 and 3.3. It gives your machine the primitive intelligence required to run programs (Applications), and organize a hard drive. DOS 4.1 is current as of the beginning of 1991, but a Beta-test Version of DOS 5.0 is already available to industry insiders. It is recommended. DOS is a brilliant engineering accomplishment by Microsoft. Over the years, hundreds of very bright programmers have contributed to it. DOS is built around the concept of a Hard Drive divided into file folders called Directories. C:\ is the root. C:\DOS > is a direcory OFF the ROOT. (You could think of branches off a tree, and yes, there are often directories within directories.) Try to avoid copying files to your root. Instead, make a new Directory (file folder) with a meaningful name (MONEY, TEMP, WORK, NEW, LOTUS, WORD, etc) and change to that Directory. Then copy your files into that Directory. The exact commands are given below, and you will keep your Hard Drive neat and tidy. Most used Commands: (you press the ENTER KEY after you type any one of these commands. Practice on a formatted floppy, not your hard drive.) DIR produces a directory list of files and programs on the disk, example DIR A:, or just DIR DIR/P pauses when the screen is full for long Directories DIR/W (Directory Wide) puts the Directory list in several columns across the screen COPY copies a file or program to a new name, new directory or new disk, example COPY *.* C: (If you have a new disk in A: and want to copy ALL the programs on the disk to C: you would type this at the A:> prompt.) CD changes from one directory to another. CD\ changes back to the root CD\MYDIR, then to change back: CD\ MD makes a new directory example MD MYDIR TYPE displays the contents of an ASCII file on the screen TYPE ORDER.FRM PRINT prints a file on the printer PRINT ORDER.FRM or COPY ORDER.FRM LPT1 Note: there really is an ORDER.FRM on this disk, so you can try this command later on the MoneyMaker Disk! Pressing the Shift/Print Screen Keys causes the current screen to be printed DEL deletes a file....be careful DEL BADPGM.EXE RD removes an empty directory RD MYDIR Using different disk drives: to switch to another drive, type the letter of the drive followed by a colon File Extensions: File names are made up of three parts: a name, a period, and an extension, example LOTUS.EXE name: up to eight characters extension: up to three characters Some extensions are reserved names: EXE, COM, BAT an EXE or COM file is a program ready to run just by typing the first part of the name (and pressing ENTER) a BAT file consists of DOS Language statements, and most BAT files are used to start COM or EXE programs The AUTOEXEC.BAT File runs automatically whenever you boot or start your PC. if you get hopelessly confused, just BOOT! (turn your computer OFF and back ON, or press CTRL-ALT-DEL simultaneously). LIST.COM, included on this disk, should be installed in the Root Directory of your PC. It is better than the type command. To use it, just type LIST followed by the text file name you want to read. When you EXIT the Main Menu from AITUTOR, try typing LIST CATALOG.TXT to read a selection from our AI Catalog. Serious DOS mistakes: typing FORMAT C: (erases your whole C: Drive) not backing up critical files to floppy disks typing DEL *.* in your ROOT (deletes all root files) pouring coffee in your keyboard. (keyboards prefer water). (C) 1991 Thinking Software, Inc.

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E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank