From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 27 JUN 2006 - Buying a Computer / Websites for Kids


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

In today's TOURBUS, I've got some good advice for buying a computer on a budget, tips on how to search the web with your cell phone, and some great websites especially for kids. Oh, and you'll also learn about Evil Gnomes that steal CDROM drives. Read on!

Buying a Computer

People often ask me what to look for when buying a computer on a limited budget. The good news is that computer prices have dropped a lot over the past few years, and the computing power you get for your money is going up! I don't recommend used computers for anyone, because the rate of change of computer technology will make most systems nearly obsolete within three years.

If you're in the market for a new computer, and wondering what kind of CPU, monitor, hard drive, memory, operating system and software to get... here's some advice to get you rolling.

Search The Web With Your Cell Phone

You've got a burning question... but you're stuck somewhere with no internet connection. News Flash... Google SMS lets you search the web from your mobile phone! Google SMS serves up answers to your queries, and it's as simple as sending a text message.

Even if you DON'T have web access on your cell phone, you can send your query as a text message and get phone book listings, dictionary definitions, stock quotes, sports scores, product prices, movie times, driving directions and more...

Websites for Kids

A reader recently posed this question to me: "As a parent with young children, I worry that there are so many dark alleys on the Internet for kids to wander into. Can you recommend some GOOD sites and offer any help on keeping kids safe online?"

Anyone with kids and an Internet connection understands this concern. With all the inappropriate material, scammers and online predators, it can be a scary "playground" for your kids. But you as the parent must set the rules for when and what your children are allowed to access online. Here are some of my favorite kid-friendly sites that offer games, activities, educational resources, and safety tips.

Help, My CDROM Disappeared!

One of my friends had a problem with a disappearing CDROM. He told me that when he goes into the My Computer folder, both the CDROM and DVD icons are gone. A day before, they were there and working fine. Of course he couldn't install anything from a CDROM, or play music CD's, so he asked me to help diagnose the problem.

At first I thought maybe he just accidentally wiped out a few icons, but when I looked further, Windows was just not able to access the CDROM drive at all. I opened the case to see if perhaps Evil Gnomes had snuck into the computer and stolen the CDROM drive. Nope, the drive was still there and reconnecting all the wires didn't help.

Should we blame the hardware or the software? Read on for my illustrated guide to diagnosing the "missing CDROM" dilemma...

That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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