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Explain computers to me like I'm five.

Say someone is completely technologically inept; I mean, they can find their way around the Internet and Microsoft Office and the most very basic HTML but otherwise they are clueless. Say this person has a lot of free *ahem*unemployed*ahem* time on their hands and would like to brush up on their knowledge, and bring themselves up-to-date on the 21st century. What resources, ideally free, are out there for this? [more inside]
posted by celtalitha on Sep 20, 2014 - 9 answers

Self- sabotage: A beast with two heads

For the past few years, I've had to deal with what seems like procrastination's more stubborn cousin. It's not just a tendency to put things off- it feels like a visceral, physically-manifested resistance to doing things that should involve no forethought in terms of effort whatsoever, or that do, but that would only serve to help me better myself if I managed to get them done. [more inside]
posted by marsbar77 on Sep 18, 2014 - 18 answers

Looking for nice post production desks/work stations.

I'm in need of two well built desks/workstations for my video editorial company. [more inside]
posted by matt_od on Sep 12, 2014 - 1 answer

McAfee and Me

Did my security software just hold hostage, then kill my internet connection in support of its recurring requests that I restart my computer? [more inside]
posted by bruce on Sep 5, 2014 - 6 answers

Help me unionize my generation

Very specifically; I have the option of trying to get my class of IT workers at a University to join UPTE but I don't like them for various reasons and want something more exclusive to me and my peer group. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Sep 3, 2014 - 6 answers

How do I get the Activity Monitor pie chart icon back?

Mac OS 10.9.4. Prior to upgrading, there was an option in the Activity Monitor where I could set the dock icon to show a color-coded pie chart, indicating how much system memory was in use. Now, it's gone, and I would like to get it back - or something similar, if available. [more inside]
posted by invisible ink on Aug 30, 2014 - 2 answers

I'm done asking this but.... Hope me with jobs?

The situation that prompted one of my first questions on AskMe is unfortunately still relevant. Logistics have improved, my depression is....eh. I'm 25 now and have been out of undergrad for over a year. This is my resume . Ignore the crappy formatting, but... [more inside]
posted by marsbar77 on Aug 30, 2014 - 11 answers

What's a good video game controller for a toddler?

What's a good video game controller for a toddler? Absolutely required: A reliable way of connecting it to a Windows 7 or 8 laptop. I don't mind using JoyToKey or 3rd-party drivers if necessary. Preferred: Wireless, so it can't be used to pull the laptop off the desk; Durable and/or cheap, in case it gets thrown or dropped; Simple, few inputs. [more inside]
posted by CustooFintel on Aug 27, 2014 - 7 answers

Small non-profit seeks automated backup for Windows file server

Our organization recently bought a new file server (running Server 2012), but the old server probably has a few years of life remaining in it. I'd like to place the old server at the opposite end of the building and use it to host real-time backups through the LAN. [more inside]
posted by alex1965 on Aug 20, 2014 - 5 answers

What furniture is good for storing laptops?

What's a not-hideous way to store three or four laptops in a dining room? Plus the occasional iPad, headphones, etc. Has anyone found a decent piece of furniture for laptop storage? [more inside]
posted by The corpse in the library on Aug 18, 2014 - 19 answers

I need to find a programming job in San Francisco in 1953.

Story research filter: My imagination was sparked by a recent comment about how computer programming was considered a suitable career for women in the 1950s and 60s, akin to clerical work. I'd like to learn more about what working life might have been like for these women, and about computing in general at that time. Bonus points if you can help me name some companies in 1950s San Francisco that might have employed my character. [more inside]
posted by sunset in snow country on Aug 13, 2014 - 22 answers

Which algorithms changed the world?

A recent post to the blue proposed a set of equations that changed the word. As a computer professional, I'm curious, which algorithms transformed the world? [more inside]
posted by pwnguin on Aug 10, 2014 - 22 answers

I need a job yesterday. I'm still stuck. Where do I go from here?

Many of the details in this question still apply. Logistics aren't that big of a deal anymore, and I'm chipping away ever so slowly at my social anxiety and fluency issue, but I'm still without prospects and now about $12k in debt on account of some reckless impulse spending and unpaid debt from college. Can the hivemind help get me out from under this? Snowstorm inside. [more inside]
posted by marsbar77 on Jul 28, 2014 - 7 answers

Using my personal computer for work

I have been using my personal computer to do my job. How much should they "reimburse" me every month? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 21, 2014 - 17 answers

Can I turn a USB keypad into a shortcut machine for complicated tasks?

Let's say I want to highlight a piece of text and hit a button and have it place the text in quotes (or within code) and tweet it, is that possible? I'm on the newer OSXs. Curious about using either a cheap USB numeric keypad or a cheap USB controller like the Korg NanoKEY2 Slim Line. Is this possible?
posted by history is a weapon on Jul 16, 2014 - 2 answers

Please recommend me a book on the basics of how computers work

So... I've been in book shops and the like and all the books they have are just on Windows 8 or perhaps a book in Linux if they're feeling adventurous, but I'm looking for a book that will tell me how computers actually work. I'm not very advanced with my computer knowledge, but I'd like to know about the foundation of how a computer works rather than the operating system or latest piece of software. Hopefully that gives enough information to get a grasp of what I mean. Can I get some recommendations for books like this please.
posted by sockpim on Jul 15, 2014 - 17 answers

Good place to get super-8mm home movies put on DVDs in NYC?

Lots of home movies, some are super-8, some are tapes, some are mini-DV tapes, etc. I'd like to get them put on DVDs that I can then easily edit. I'm in Manhattan, NYC. thanks (oh a long time ago there was another question like this and somebody suggested a mail-order place, but I don't feel comfortable sending off my precious home movies from the 1950s etc. away)
posted by DMelanogaster on Jul 14, 2014 - 6 answers

I need help choosing a mechanical keyboard.

I am super hard on keyboards. I have killed 2 fancy ergonomic ones and more cheap keyboards than I can count in the past 4 years so I have decided to splurge on a nice mechanical keyboard, that can hopefully stand up to my destructive ways, well that and I really like the clicky clacky sensation when I type that you don't seem to get on modern keyboards. I have read various forums & even an old question on the green and all I have done is confuse myself so looking for some suggestions. Thanks. [more inside]
posted by wwax on Jul 9, 2014 - 16 answers

Out of the cubicle, into the light?

I am absolutely convinced that having a job that requires me to spend a good chunk of my day in front of a computer is contributing to my depression. What jobs can I do, given my background, that will get me a bit of social interaction and challenge? (Not too much social interaction, just a little). [more inside]
posted by nubianinthedesert on Jun 20, 2014 - 5 answers

Help me use Excel to save my job

So, I just got promoted to a new position at my company (Yay!). Unfortunately, the new requirements involve scheduling a ridiculous number of people. It turns out my predecessor has just been doing dozens of iterations manually until one kind of worked, but every slight change puts a bunch of other things out of wack. I feel like Excel could probably be capable of doing it, but I have no idea how I would go about designing such a spread sheet. [more inside]
posted by cacofonie on Jun 19, 2014 - 17 answers

Media Center Computer: MadCatz M.O.J.O vs. AppleTV 1/3 with XBMC

I have 2 AppleTVs and I'm considering getting this new MadCatz M.O.J.O. Is it worth the price? Mostly for media consumption, the gaming is just a plus... [more inside]
posted by joecacti on Jun 19, 2014 - 1 answer

My computer got hit by a truck. Sorta.

Yesterday my PC repeatedly failed to update Windows. My attempts to get things back on track went catastrophically wrong. I have a backup system and am now putting my system back together. What *should* I have done? [more inside]
posted by jon1270 on Jun 13, 2014 - 4 answers

Are any computer or IT certifications worth pursing?

I'm in the weird position of being halfway through a psych/programming/IT degree meant to train me as a user interface expert. I'm taking a year off to work. I want to learn more about networks, networking, and network security. I want to learn more about computer security in general, best practices to follow. I want to eventually get a non-glamorous job in tech support or similar to pay the bills until I work my way up. Are any of the current computer/tech/IT certifications worth pursuing? [more inside]
posted by quiet earth on Jun 10, 2014 - 10 answers

How about you tell me how to use a password manager?

I'm getting tired of the constant hacks, and I pretty much use the same passwords across multiple sites. Thing is, I can't keep up with eight dozen passwords. Seems like the answer is one of the password manager programs/apps out there. So which one is the one to use? How do I use it with multiple locations and computers (work/home/mobile)? I'm willing to pay upfront, but not a subscription. No one needs another monthly expense. Bonus points if you can explain it like I'm five.
posted by Willie0248 on Jun 4, 2014 - 37 answers

Default Browser Setting, Where Art Thou?

I've decided to switch over completely to Google Chrome, and on my work laptop it's NBD. My home laptop, however, asks me EVERY DAMN TIME I START CHROME if I want to make it my default browser; clicking OK does nothing (Firefox is still the default). More inside... [more inside]
posted by IAmBroom on Jun 2, 2014 - 9 answers

ArcGIS on a Mac

I am starting a geography class tomorrow and I am trying to install ArcGIS on my computer. I have a Mac... [more inside]
posted by ekf on Jun 1, 2014 - 14 answers

Spurious correlations in big data

So, "big data" is all the rage among technologists and venture capitalists. Intuition suggests that as the amount of data analyzed increases, so too does the amount of spurious correlations. Have there been any good studies (academic or otherwise) that try to resolve this problem? Or feel free to tell me why my intuition is wrong. Thanks.
posted by dfriedman on Jun 1, 2014 - 11 answers

Can I use these things as external monitors?

I now have two PC laptops that are in the state of "it sounds like it's working but the screen is dead." I tried the take out the battery, hold down the power button trick, and the reboot and hit the F4/5/8 key on both to no avail. The next step in troubleshooting always seems to be connecting it to an external monitor. [more inside]
posted by Calicatt on May 23, 2014 - 3 answers

Calling network engineers: help me understand latency and packet loss

I’m trying to be more pro-active with regard to monitoring the network at my workplace, addressing any issues that might arise, and answering that ever-present question: “My computer is so slow today! Is the problem on our end, or on their end?” [more inside]
posted by alex1965 on May 19, 2014 - 4 answers

Tried to torrent a show, ended up with malware. Help!

Specifically, it's a mplayer virus. It has infected Google Chrome and Firefox, and is showing infuriating pop-up ads and frequently redirecting the browser to ad-like pages. Who knows what else it's doing/stealing/collecting. This may be what I deserve for trying to download some TV, but I need to get rid of it. Running Mac OSX 10.8.5. [more inside]
posted by toomuchkatherine on May 18, 2014 - 5 answers

How do I tell if a file is a real corrupt PDF or a fake broken file?

I make my students submit their assignments (for college writing classes) by uploading them as PDFs to our course management system. Sometimes students submit broken or un-openable files. My question is, how do I tell the difference between a real PDF file that became corrupted somewhere along the line and a fake corrupted PDF file created by a student who didn't do the assignment and wants an excuse? [more inside]
posted by Tesseractive on May 13, 2014 - 28 answers

Are the Skillcrush classes worth it?

That's basically it - I'm not finding any reviews online. Has anyone else taken it? [more inside]
posted by jrobin276 on Apr 27, 2014 - 4 answers

Monitor options for this laptop with these ports?

What are the monitor expansion options for a laptop with these ports? images. I think I see mini-HDMI on the right hand side? And is that DisplayPort on the left?
posted by raspberry jam and clothes iron on Apr 19, 2014 - 8 answers

Looking for a light, Linux-friendly laptop with trackpoint

My Lenovo Thinkpad X220 has been falling apart for awhile, but I've resisted replacing it because shopping for laptops is annoying. But now it's definitely time for something new. I'm overwhelmed by the options, but maybe someone else who's done some laptop-shopping recently can help? I'm looking for something small and light (12-14", less than 4 lbs.), Linux-friendly, and (here's the hard part) with a trackpoint-style mouse. I use my laptop mostly for writing and general Internetting, but also for processing photos, so a decent processor and display is nice. Price isn't a huge issue. I could go with one of the newer Lenovos, and I might still, but I'm interested in other options, as well. I'm not interested in any of the Chromebooks. Any suggestions?
posted by rhiannonstone on Apr 3, 2014 - 10 answers

Physical Switches, Knobs or Buttons for controlling Apps on my Mac?

So, I run everything in my life through my mac computer. My television programming, my music, et cetera. I listen to a lot of online radio throughout the day. I would really like to "flip on" a program (or set of programs) with a single analog switch. [more inside]
posted by amoeba on Mar 28, 2014 - 7 answers

Getting a programming job for non-CS majors

If you work in some area of computer programming, but didn't have a degree in the field, how did you get your start?
posted by drezdn on Mar 28, 2014 - 15 answers

How do I power up for more After Effects?

Can I power up my macbook pro to better run After Effects? Or do I need something else? [more inside]
posted by lpsguy on Mar 27, 2014 - 3 answers

Educational Discounts and Price Discrimination Legalities in the UK

A variety of computer and software manufacturers offer "educational discounts" to students and staff. Which is clearly price discrimination based on the status of the purchaser. I just have two questions related to the practice of providing educational discounts. a) How is it legal for a retailer to use price discrimination (as a long-term marketing tactic) to sell to people based on educational role, when say price discrimination based on say sexual preferences would not be legal. b) Is a customer legally required to represent themselves honestly to a retailer? [more inside]
posted by mary8nne on Mar 27, 2014 - 14 answers

How to paint computer cases with middle schoolers?

I work in a middle school and as a service project, my students want to build computers and paint them in the school colors to either donate to homeless shelters in town or to keep in the trophy case here at the middle school. I don't know what it takes to paint them, though, and I could use some help! [more inside]
posted by Modica on Mar 25, 2014 - 5 answers

Is the upgrade worth it?

I have a late 2008 15" MacBook Pro. I'd like to cram it full of RAM and upgrade to a pretty high capacity SSD - is this worth doing or will the graphics cards, monitor, other relatively unreplaceable elements fry soon? [more inside]
posted by LizardOfDoom on Mar 21, 2014 - 10 answers

Where to find a licensed version of Windows 7 Professional ?

In pushing Windows 8, Microsoft is making it very difficult to find Windows 7: does anyone know a vendor for a legitimate "boxed' version of Windows 7 Professional 32-bit for a single PC? Details inside... [more inside]
posted by cool breeze on Mar 19, 2014 - 7 answers

Can I run Adobe CS (version 1) on a Windows 7 laptop?

I have an old copy of Adobe Photoshop that I desperately want to run on my much newer laptop. Is it possible? I am a fumbling luddite - pretend I'm your 80 year-old grandparent when you explain anything techie to me. [more inside]
posted by Mael Oui on Mar 19, 2014 - 10 answers

How do I reformat my tabs in Word?

What is the quickest and most accurate way to undo manual tabbing in Word and reformat those lines with paragraph alignment? [more inside]
posted by msk1985 on Mar 17, 2014 - 8 answers

CPU fan issue

The fan on my CPU cooler is blowing in the wrong direction! [more inside]
posted by ArmyOfKittens on Mar 17, 2014 - 24 answers

Goodbye, XP...hello photo-optimized desktop?

So. I guess they're finally going to pry XP out of my hands after all. As long as I'm updating, I'm thinking of getting a new desktop which would be used primarily for photo editing and storage. Advice? Special snowflake stuff inside. [more inside]
posted by JoanArkham on Mar 10, 2014 - 11 answers

Too many fonts, OSX Mavericks edtion

Macbook Pro, running Mavericks. I was a bad, bad girl and installed way too many fonts (4000+) by accident. [more inside]
posted by jadepearl on Mar 9, 2014 - 5 answers

Help me pick a travel-friendly laptop

My 6 year old Lenovo T61 is starting to have some issues so I am on the lookout for a new budget priced laptop. In scanning through reviews The Wirecutter really liked the Lenovo IdeapPad Flex. Engadget and other review sites seemed more meh about it though. [more inside]
posted by forkisbetter on Mar 8, 2014 - 6 answers

Managing and backing up files across several home computers

What are your tools and best practices for managing your digital stuff across several computers at home? [more inside]
posted by parudox on Mar 3, 2014 - 12 answers

Help Me Build a New Protools Computer!

I need help designing a new PC for Protools 11. [more inside]
posted by hiddenknives on Feb 28, 2014 - 3 answers

What is this connector on my Toshiba (Dell) DVD RW drive?

Here's a picture - this is the only connector on the drive, so it presumably carries power and data. The drive is a slimline TS -L462.
posted by Sebmojo on Feb 16, 2014 - 4 answers

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