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Posts by Armand Isip

A walk through computer memory lane

Let’s take a look back over the years at some of the hardware and software I worked with at Mid-Manhattan Library.

Middle to late 1980s

IBM PC, XT and AT models with 128 -256 KB memory; 1 or 2 floppy 360K disk drives; 12″ monochrome green monitor; keyboard; 10-20 MB hard drive (optional); DOS 3.0-4.0; $2,500 or more.

Those computers were heavy and the monitors generated enough heat to warm an office. The keyboards were solid with function keys grouped on the left side. They were easier to reach and to use than at the top of the keyboard. User 

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Computer problems: an email transcript

My cousin sent me an e-mail asking for my help with a computer problem.  Since I was at work and couldn’t make a house call to New Jersey, here’s how it went after several messages and some editing:

ME: Well, long distance diagnosis is tricky, what’s wrong? 

HIM:  When I boot up my laptop, chkdsk [Checkdisk] gets stuck in a loop and I can’t get out of it unless I turn the laptop off. I can’t even run in safe mode as it freezes. Also, how do I turn off chkdsk from start-up?   ME: Chkdsk scans the files on the hard drive for 

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Technology musings

After a hard day dealing with balky printers, stubborn viruses etc., Murphy’s Laws on Technology are a source of comfort. Here a few gems, along with my observations:

“New systems generate new problems.” Installing any new hardware or software really scares me.

“Any part when dropped will roll into the least accessible corner.” Some favorite hiding places are under a desk or between a pair of file cabinets. Dark carpeting turns a simple retrieval into an expedition. I’ll be wearing a white shirt that day. The shirt will be covered 

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Another one bites the dust: CompUSA to close

NEWS FLASH! I just read in that CompUSA will close all of its 103 stores after the holidays. As far as I know, this is one of the last national computer stores to close. It joins other chain stores such as Computer City, Gateway and Computer Warehouse in biting the dust. That leaves appliance and electronics stores, office supply stores, neighborhood computer stores, Apple Stores and Internet vendors as suppliers.

I’m sad to see it go. I spent a lot of time after work at the 5th Avenue and West 38th Street store looking for game software for my kids. I bought 

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Tips and advice on buying a computer, Part 2

Before you buy, do some basic research by reading Consumer Reports magazine and computer magazines like PC World and Computer Shopper. Look for key points like customer satisfaction, reliability and level of tech support. If you know someone who is computer savvy, ask for their help, especially if you don’t understand what DRAM or 

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Holiday computer buying guide, Part 1

It’s holiday time again, when staff and friends ask me for suggestions on buying a computer. Since they can’t attend the Computer Buying Guide class, I’ll mention a few things here.

Be specific on how you’ll use the computer. If you’re just doing e-mail, Internet surfing and word processing, it doesn’t make sense to buy a high-priced system. A basic use PC with a 2.0 GHz processor, 1 GB memory, 100 GB hard drive and 17” monitor costs between $600 -1,500.

Going to download music, movies and do more intense tasks? Then a 

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