PC Doctor September 28, 2010

Have your computer questions answered here! Search the PC Doctor archive or submit a question of your own at info@athollibrary.org

Dear PC Doctor:

            On my new laptop I thought I had purchased it with Word but now it is asking me for a 25 digit key code.  I can’t find anything with that number on it.  What should I do?



Dear Fred:

            Most new computers come with a trial version of Word, not the full version.  That is why they are so inexpensive these days.  I think if you look carefully at your paperwork you will see this is the case.   It’s a matter of the ‘fine print’ where the box said ‘Word’ but then if you look carefully in small print it says ‘trial’. 

            So unfortunately your only option if you want Word is to purchase it which will give you the key code and software you need. 

            Another option would be to use the free open source software called Open Office which is very similar to Word.  Just go to www.openoffice.org and download it.

            PC Doctor



Dear PC Doctor:

                        I’m new to email and people send me messages with things like : ) or :-P.  What the heck are those for?



Dear Steve:

            Well, those are called emoticons or smileys and they imply an emotion that you can’t convey in writing.  For example if I said to you ‘The weather is great here : ( ..’  That little : ( symbol means a frown.  So I have a way to tell you that I am being kind of sarcastic, that in fact it is NOT great.  You know, sort of like saying ‘We haven’t had enough snow this winter’ with a frown which can easily be interpreted in a face to face conversation.  Some emoticons are supposed to look like faces when you look at them sideways.  Others are not, for example which stands for grin.   Because they are sort of email slang, don’t use them in professional correspondence but go for it in your personal email.    Some of the more common ones are (oh, and don’t use the common after each one which is merely separating them in my sentence)   ;) wink, :’) crying, “-o oh-oh, :-# my lips are sealed, > : -( mad, {} hug, :-* kiss, and my favorite :: which is an action marker.  As in the sentence ::picks up hammer and smashes the computer::  - who hasn’t felt that action at times? J  Many email programs include emoticons you can use which feature a graphic interface so that instead of the typed symbol you would see a little yellow, round smiley face.  Here are a couple of websites to get some for yourself : www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoticon or  www.netlingo.com/smiley.cfm.  There are many more, just go to your browser and type in ‘emoticons’.

            Emailers also use abbreviations and acronyms to shorten the amount of typing they have to do.  These are shortened forms of sayings or small sentences.  Common examples are: LOL (laughing out loud), ROFL (rolling on floor, laughing), AFAIK (for as far as I know), IMHO (in my humble opinion), WB (welcome back), WTG (way to go!), BRB (be right back) and L8R (later).   Check out www.pb.org/emoticon.html for additional ones.

            PC Doctor


Until next time… happy computing!