Plain Text

One of the themes you will find in this blog is the use of plain text to create notes, articles, documents, and other information files. Plain text is simple, portable, and durable.  Almost every application has the capability to import and use plain text. The publisher of an application that uses a proprietary format can change that format at any time. Let's look at the example of Microsoft Word. For the 2007 version of Word, Microsoft changed the format of the created documents to one based on XML. The change is an improvement, but older versions of Word cannot open the new format without additional software. In other words, the new format is not forward compatible. Right now, the additional software to work around the incompatibilities is readily available. But consider the situation 10 years from now. As this  article from Macworld magazine  says, sometimes you can't even open your older documents. You never have to worry about that situation with plain text. Or the situati

PC or Mac?

One of the first decisions you have to make in home computer use is: shall I use a Microsoft Windows PC or an Apple Macintosh (Mac)? If you go to the Internet via a search engine to ask this question, be prepared to enter a "holy war" in which proponents of each type of computer will passionately bombard you with reasons why one is better than the other. I'm going to try to stay objective and factual in this post to give you information to help you decide for yourself. I am a 30-year Windows user. In 2017, I bought a MacBook Pro. This article is basically my personal experience with that purchase.  My journey to the Mac started with an iPad. The volunteer organization at which I teach had begun in 2013 to offer courses about using an iPad. I mentioned to my wife that I probably should get one to keep up with what we were teaching. I was half-kidding. But when my birthday rolled around, she presented me with an iPad Air 2. I was impressed with its performance, smooth scrol

How My System Evolved

In the introductory post (What is Everyday Computer User?, 2020-11-10), I noted that I have been using home computers since 1977. I also worked with computers in my job as an environmental engineer. The programs I used on the job were specified by my company and were different from the ones I used at home. As a result, I gained wide experience with office programs (Lotus, Symphony, Excel, Word, Power Point, dBase, Access, Wordperfect, etc.).  At home, my initial focus was games on the Atari 800 (Star Raiders, Chess, Frogger, Galaxian, Centipede, etc.). Much to my surprise, I found out that I really was not that interested in games. I began to use my home computer to access information on the Internet and on bulletin boards such as CompuServe.  Accessing information from home in the 1980s taught you patience. Connection was limited to telephone lines with low (by today's standards) speed modems. For example, my first modem was a 300 baud (bits/second or bps) device connected to the

What is Everyday Computer User?

 A blog that talks about how I use computers. I'm a computer user. Not a programmer, not a hardware buff, not a hacker. I use computers to keep track of things in my life and to get things done.  I've been using computers for a long time. I got my first personal computer for home in 1977 when I was 32 years old. Over the years, I have learned a lot about computers and how to use them. Learned a little programming, how to do my own website, how to edit photographs, in other words, lots of things. Over the years I've gained knowledge about different programs (those things we now call apps) and different techniques. Now that I'm retired, I focus on using my computer to keep notes, keep up with what's going on the world, maintain all my finances, manage my family photos, and make sure I know what I need to do tomorrow. The basic purpose of this blog is to relate some of my knowledge to those that may be struggling to develop a system of working and record-keeping for th