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Basic Skills for This Course

In order to repair a computer, you need a few basic skills that include being familiar with the keyboard and inputting information, searching for information on the internet, and capturing information. Just because you may not be a good typist does not mean that you will not be good in an IT-related field.

Searching for Information on the Internet

IT people need to use all available resources, including online resources. As noted, you need to be capable of searching for information online. Figure 1.6 illustrates various online resources that IT people search all the time.

Figure 1.6

Figure 1.6 Search skills

Each chapter in the book has an activity at the end of it that enables you to practice searching the internet for information relevant to the chapter. Tips for searching include the following:

  • > Search engines use different algorithms, so if one does not work, try another one. Examples of search engines are Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Ask. To access a search engine, open a web browser and type one of the search engine names followed by .com. Figure 1.7 shows where you enter the search engine name in the address bar.

    Figure 1.7

    Figure 1.7 Web browser address bar

  • > Use descriptive key words.

  • > Do not include common words like the, in, at, or for because search engines tend to skip these words anyway. If you do want to use one of them, put a plus sign (plus.jpg) in front of the word.

  • > Avoid using a complex version, plural, or past tense of a word to avoid eliminating pages that are relevant. For example, to search for how to install a Bluetooth headset, avoid using the word installation, installed, or installing in the search window. Simply include the word install.

  • > If several words are used together (an exact phrase), such as Windows 10, put quotation marks around the phrase—"Windows 10".

  • > Use as many distinguishing words as possible.

  • > If two words have the same meaning and are commonly used, use the word or in the search. For example, to search for generic information on a dot matrix printer, which is sometimes called an impact printer, you might search as follows: "dot matrix" or "impact printer". Note that the vertical bar (|), which is the key above the enter.jpg key, can be used instead of the word or, as follows: "dot matrix" pipe-icon.jpg "impact printer".

  • > If a particular term can have two meanings (such as the word memory relating to something inside a computer or else relating to a brain function), you can use the minus sign in order to keep some information from being displayed. memory -brain, for example, would be a search for memory without any brain function results included.

  • > If a particular term (such as memory) is generic, you can add a word and use the word AND in order to clarify the search, such as computer AND memory.

  • > When searching for technical information, include the hardware or software manufacturer. A search for Microsoft Windows 10 provides different results than a search for Windows 10.

  • > If nothing relevant is on the first page of links, change the key words used in your search.

Consider the situation of a keyboard that intermittently works on a Microsoft Surface computer. The keyboard does not come standard as part of a Surface purchase. You do not own a Surface yourself and are unfamiliar with the tablet but must support it. An example of what might be typed into a search engine is Microsoft Surface intermittent keyboard.

Screen Capturing

Sometimes, part of technical documentation is being able to capture what is on the screen. Windows versions come with the Snipping Tool and Snip & Sketch; you can access these tools by holding down the new_window_8_icon.jpg key, pressing and holding the shift_icon.jpg key, and pressing the S.jpg key. This makes documenting problems easy, and you can copy what you capture into other applications. It doesn’t matter what IT job you may have when you enter the workforce; documentation is a part of all IT jobs.

Creating a Text File

Another part of documentation might involve creating or using a text file, known as a .txt file. You might need to send it as an attachment, or you might need to create a text file as part of the job. Sometimes a text file is the easiest type of file to create, especially on a mobile device. Text files can be created using a word processor and the Save As process, or they can be created using an app. Text files are popular because they can be opened by many apps. Text files commonly include only text, without multiple fonts or graphics. Windows has Notepad, and Apple has TextEdit, which can be used to create or open text files.

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