Monday, September 21, 2015

Technology Tune-up by Bob Bean - Back to school

This is an ongoing series of articles related to today’s technology, computers and Internet use, as well as standard safety and security practices. Remember, use common sense and follow your instincts. Any changes that you make to your computer are ultimately your responsibility.

Welcome one and all, to the most acclaimed and profound technology article that you may ever read. The talk of the towns, where the rubber hits the road, and the cat’s meow… It’s Technology Tune-Up Time! Whether you are technologically minded, or techno challenged, you my friend have come to the right place. This is the place where we take the complicated world of technology, and break it down into every day terms that all of us can understand. 

It is once again that time of year when school is, or will soon be back in session. The daily homework and mandatory school projects will begin. This brings me to my point of purpose. The point is to offer some useful suggestions, all for the purpose of making a student’s time spent on school studies more productive. So, with that in mind, let’s look at some things that may help a student to get a bit closer to where they want to be, in less time, and with less aggravation.

Let’s start with first things first. How’s your computer running? A student can only be as productive as their computer is responsive. There are many things that can contribute to a computer being sluggish and difficult. From a technician’s stand point it is always a good rule of thumb to reinstall Windows once every year or two, just to keep a computer fresh, fast and in perfect working order. If your computer is slow, and seems to have a mind of its own, it is probably a good idea to have it looked at. A reinstall of Windows and maybe some added system memory can make a world of difference. Or a system cleaning, update and optimization might be just enough to do the trick. Either way, a happy computer begets a happy student.

Now, let’s cover a must have for all students. Every student should have a modern word processor, a spread sheet, database and presentation program. Not everyone can afford the added expense of buying Microsoft Office for every computer in the home. Microsoft has a subscription based solution for all their office programs as a substitute to the one time purchase. This may be a good alternative for you. It’s called Office 365. To give you a general idea, Office 365 Personal, is offered to you for $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year. This includes Microsoft Office on one PC or Mac and one tablet and one phone. Compare that to Office 365 Home, which is offered to you for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. This includes Microsoft Office on five PCs or Macs and five tablets and five phones. All of this comes with cloud storage and cloud programs as well as Skype. You can find more info about this by visiting All things considered, not a bad deal. 

How about a free alternative? In this case, free does not equal less than. This is by all means a respected and world class program choice. It is an office suite comparable to Microsoft Office that will read, edit and save files in multiple file formats, including all of Microsoft’s file types. This program is as good or even better then the newest version of Microsoft Office. You can have this entire suite of programs and it is all completely free. This suite is called LibreOffice. I recommend it. Download your free copy at

In closing, let me remind everyone to help keep our kids safe. Pay a little extra attention while driving now that school is back in session. Add some extra time to your transit. Extend some courtesy to our school bus drivers. Put down the cell phones while driving, and have a safe school year.
Until next time, keep trusting and keep believing!

Bob is the owner and operator of Computer Mechanic, a Computer Repair Business located in Gray, Maine. His services include: Computer repair both PC and Mac, virus removal, data recovery, website design and hosting, photo repair and restoration as well as tutoring. He also offers onsite service, remote connect services and consulting. You can find more information on his business and contact info by searching for “Computer Mechanic Gray Maine” anywhere on the World Wide Web.

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