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If People Bought Cars Like They Buy Computers

General Motors doesn't have a "help line" for people who don't know how to drive, because people don't buy cars like they buy computers -- but imagine if they did ...
HELPLINE: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"
CUSTOMER: "I got in my car and closed the door, and nothing happened!"
HELPLINE: "Did you put the key in the ignition slot and turn it?"
CUSTOMER: "What's an ignition?"
HELPLINE: "It's a starter motor that draws current from your battery and turns over the engine."
CUSTOMER: "Ignition? Motor? Battery? Engine? How come I have to know all of these technical terms just to use my car?"
HELPLINE: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"
CUSTOMER: "My car ran fine for a week, and now it won't go anywhere!"
HELPLINE: "Is the gas tank empty?"
CUSTOMER: "Huh? How do I know?"
HELPLINE: "There's a little guage on the front panel, with a needle, and markings from 'E' to 'F.' Where is the needle pointing?"
CUSTOMER: "It's pointing to 'E.' What does that mean?"
HELPLINE: "It means that you have to visit a gasoline vendor, and purchase some more gasoline. You can install it yourself, or pay the vendor to install it for you."
CUSTOMER: "What!? I paid $12,000 for this car! Now you tell me that I have to keep buying more components? I want a car that comes with everything built in!"
HELPLINE: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"
CUSTOMER: "Your car sucks!"
HELPLINE: "What's wrong?"
CUSTOMER: "It crashed, that's what went wrong!"
HELPLINE: "What were you doing?"
CUSTOMER: "I wanted to run faster, so I pushed the accelerator pedal all the way to the floor. It worked for a while, and then it crashed -- and now it won't start!"
HELPLINE: "It's your responsibility if you misuse the product. What do you expect us to do about it?"
CUSTOMER: "I want you to send me one of the latest versions that doesn't crash anymore!"
HELPLINE: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"
CUSTOMER: "Hi! I just bought my first car, and I chose your car because it has automatic transmission, cruise control, power steering, power brakes, and power door locks."
HELPLINE: "Thanks for buying our car. How can I help you?"
CUSTOMER: "How do I work it?"
HELPLINE: "Do you know how to drive?"
CUSTOMER: "Do I know how to what?"
HELPLINE: "Do you know how to drive?"
CUSTOMER: "I'm not a technical person! I just want to go places in my car!"
That's Comedy! - The Net's #1 Joke eBook

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Window XP for Newbies
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Keyboard Magic!
Keyboard Magic!

... A mouse is a no-brainer to use when you first start learning computerish, yet there are hundreds of things which can ONLY be performed by your keyboard. But because you never learn them, you never use them! It's like driving your car in permanent first gear, because you were never told you could shift up! The Newbie Club's fastest selling eBook is called 'Keyboard MAGIC!' and it will TRANSFORM your speed and creativity. Read about it here and prepare for a shock.
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PC & Internet Companion
PC & Internet Companion

Still Struggling
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PC & Internet Companion is the latest Block Buster from The Newbie Club, and is a Mega library of 43 Chapters and over 800 Tips and Tutorials. And it's written in the Plain English that has made The Newbie Club Famous all around the World. Take a look at this staggering publication NOW
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Email for Newbies
Email for Newbies

'Email for Newbies - The Gobbledygook Explained' , is the very latest release from The Newbie Club. Stop hitting your head against a brick wall, and start handling email like a Pro. Written by 2 of the Internet's top 'Newbie-Speak' Tutorial writers, this is probably the best publication of its kind ever written.
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DigiCam MAGIC!
DigiCam MAGIC!

Are you disappointed with your pictures? Is your Digicam gathering dust? Is the User Manual useless? Help is now just a click away. DigiCam MAGIC! by The Newbie Club is written specifically for you by a Pro. And it's in Newbie-Speak! Learn to create the stunning pictures you were promised by the camera manufacturer - amazing photographs you'll be truly proud of. Read about DigiCam MAGIC! Here and prepare yourself for an eye-opening treat. It's Magic!

Microsoft Word MAGIC!
Microsoft Word MAGIC!

Microsoft Word is the world's favorite word processing program If you don't have it on your computer, chances are you eventually will. And yet, like most software, its huge range of features and creative benefits remain hidden behind a wall of difficult and boring help files. But not any more! MS Word MAGIC! is the latest stunning ebooklet from The Newbie Club, and it's so full of screen captures, pictures, and Newbie-Speak exercises, you'll wonder how on earth they keep the price down to only $9.95! Read about it here It's brilliant!
First Website Builder
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Who Says A Newbie Can't Build A Great Website?
The Newbie Club's blockbusting latest creation blows away the 'Techie' myths forever. This groundbreaking 4 volume library shows you how to build it, write it, present it, automate it, promote it, back it up, and upload it onto the Web. All in 2 days or less using FREE programs and graphics. There's nothing like it anywhere on the Web. Click NOW for your FREE TRIAL...

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The Registry For Newbies
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Tutorial........ "How To Make a Screen Capture"
Courtesy of The Newbie Club
Okay, you've all seen computer screen captures.
How is this accomplished?

Ctrl + Print Screen is the key

This is where the Print Screen key on your keyboard comes in handy. It may be called PrntScn on your keyboard, or some other variant. But it's purpose is to make a copy of whatever is on your screen. It copies the info to the Windows clipboard. Then you can paste into another document that will accept it, such as Word, or a graphics program.

But what if you want to capture only the active window - the actual window that you may have just brought up on your screen?

That's when you use two keys together. The Alt and the Print Screen keys.

Hold down the Alt key. Press the Print Screen key. That's it! You've just made a copy of the active window, placing it on the clipboard, ready to insert wherever you want to insert it. ( with the Ctrl + V keys )

I use a graphics program called Paint. It comes with your computer. You can try it now. It's really cool! Or you can use some other graphics programs that are far more robust. However, nothing too fancy is required to make these screen captures.

And now you know how it works. Here's an idea factory for you. Use this skill to illustrate anything that requires a picture. Use it to help people "get the picture." It's the driving force behind The Newbie Club; Learning System. they use it for all of their tutorials, ebooks, and anything else requiring a picture to help you understand your computer. And you can do the same!

Extract from the best seller Keyboard Magic.

Tutorial........ "Why Can't I Open This File?"
Courtesy of The Newbie Club
Ever tried to open a file, and get that box that shouts, "You're an idiot! You can't open that file! What program do you want me to use?"

It's called the "Open With" dialog box.

Try this. Open Notepad... (Start, Programs, Accessories, Notepad).

Type a few letters... then click File, Save As, and give it a name: "".

Save it to your Desktop for easy retrieval.

Now, go to your Desktop and you'll see a new icon that looks like a little Microsoft Window Logo flying on a white box.

Try double clicking that icon. No the file won't open, but you will open the "Open With" dialog box.

Here's why. Windows didn't recognize the ".abc" file extension and didn't know which program to use to open the file. So it asks you. Like you're some kind of guru, right?

If you had saved that file you created in Notepad and given it a ".txt" extension, it would have opened up in Notepad when you double clicked the icon. Because Windows knows that Notepad will read any file with the .txt extension.

So... what do you do when trying to open a file that's real, but you don't have the necessary program? The "Open With" dialog box will do you no good.

You must install the program needed.

For example, you receive a file by email attachment that's a Microsoft Word document. You don't have Word installed on your computer, but do have Microsoft Works.

You can't open a Word document with Works. Sorry. You'll have to install MS Word. If you receive a file with a ".ppt" extension, you need Power Point in order to open that file.

Where you can find a list of file extensions, and the programs needed to open those files? Easy. Just jump over to and type "file extensions" into the search box.

The web is crammed full of resources. And you only need a couple of tools to find links to all the other tools you need to build your home on the web.

File extensions are the key. Once you understand how they work, you've de-mystified another corner of your computer.

Tutorial........ "Image File"
Courtesy of The Newbie Club
An image file is just another type of file found on your computer's hard drive. Image files will have a three letter "file extension" that tells your operating system (Windows) what program to use to open that file. The most common image files have either a ".jpg" or ".gif" file extension. Files with ".jpg" extensions are usually photographs, but not always. Files with ".gif" extensions are usually graphics with fewer colors.

Photographs taken with a digital camera are almost always in .jpg format. They have millions of colors. A typical file name could be: mounteverest.jpg

Image files are different from text, sound, or video files. Whether you call them "pictures", "graphics", "photos" or "art", they're an image file.

Tutorial........ "How To Find Out Who's Behind A WebSite"
Courtesy of The Newbie Club
You're surfing the web, and come across a web site that doesn't tell you much about *who* is really behind the workings. So who controls that site?

How do you know you can trust the information he or she is handing out to you? On every site I own - or create for a client - I *always* give contact details on an easily found page.

It gives credibility to the information I offer, and it's the professional thing to do.

But some people are either *shy*, or just plain don't want you to know who's behind it. In cases like this I'm always very wary.

But you *can* find out, and here's how.

All web sites have to be hosted somewhere. Some company or organization that provides a computer that's connected to the Internet all the time (known as a web server) provides this hosting service.

They're called "web hosts".

The web site is found by domain name, such as Who registered the domain name? Who is behind the site?

Some person. Some individual is the "registrant" of the domain. Who is it? Or maybe I should ask "to whom" does this domain name belong?

Just visit and type the domain name of any site... and you'll have the answer to your question.

Up comes a bunch of information about the site, and the person who registered it!

If you're having problems with a site, you can try contacting the person who registered it. They may be able to help.

Example: Visit and type and you'll find that Clifford Sokolic registered the domain name. And you'll also see where I live, and what my phone number is.

The WHOIS database is a repository of all the domains that are registered.

And now you know... so there you go!

Tutorial........ "How To Clean Up Your Clutter"
Courtesy of The Newbie Club
What can you do with the various icons spread out like dew drops across you computer screen? Do you really need all 67 of them? Probably not. So let's clean up a bit, shall we?

Icons are of course representations of the actual program. Not all icons however represent the actual physical location of the program they refer to. This particular breed is known as the shortcut icon.

You can safely DELETE shortcut icons. You know it's a shortcut when you see a small arrow in the lower left corner of the icon. Also, you can double check yourself by RIGHT clicking any icon, looking at its PROPERTIES and you'll see if it's a shortcut or not.

Every item that makes up the stuff you see on your computer screen (called "objects" in techie-speak) has associated properties. Just as there are properties of a pencil (it's cylindrical in shape, made of wood, has an eraser, etc.) there are properties of computer files. (Their size, the date they were created, where they live on your hard drive - called the "path" - etc.)

So which icons can you safely remove?

Well, here's a list of what you CAN'T remove.

1. My Computer
2. Network Neighborhood
3. My Documents
4. Recycle Bin

(Actually, you can even remove the above, but that's even more advanced, and you have to use a special program to do it.)

Now, if you delete an icon, you'll receive a warning message if you're about to delete a program. So if you know nothing more than
"I want to save anything Windows tells me is a program" and you just started highlighting icons and pressing the Delete key, you could safely remove anything that WASN'T a program. (You "highlight" an icon by clicking on it.)

You can really clean up your desktop this way, and if you have stuff you REALLY want on the desktop, you can always create a shortcut - a NEW shortcut, fresh and useable - at any time. This is explained in Window for Newbies , along with 50 other basic tutorials, along with dozens of tips and tricks. More on that can be found here.

So clean up you desktop without fear of loss. Then redecorate by changing the wallpaper to something that goes with the new Spartan look. Details here:

Tutorial........ "Difference Between PDF and .exe Formats"
Courtesy of The Newbie Club

PDF is a format you will come across all the time. It's a form of creating documents that can be read on any computer as long as you install Adobe Acrobat Reader. This is a free facility usually installed on new computers already.

Most ebooks are created in executable (.exe) format which are not suitable for use on MAC computers. Whenever you see an ebook with .exe after the file name e.g. joesbook.exe  you'll know that it can't be read on MAC computers. But PDF documents can be read on Macs and Windows PCs.

Why aren't all ebooks created in PDF format?

Up until recently the PDF creation software was a lot more expensive than the executable ebook creators. I personally think that .exe creators give a lot more scope for graphics and page formatting than PDF, and are a lot easier to navigate. But that's not something to discuss at length here. And I know that PDF lovers will argue differently.

To download a PDF ebook or file from the Internet is different to downloading other stuff, and it often confuses Newbies.

When you click on a PDF download link the Document opens up in your browser, so you can read it on screen without downloading. However, you have to wait a while until the document loads before you can read it.

To download the document or ebook onto your hard drive you have to RIGHT CLICK on the download link.

RIGHT Click on link and
'Save Target As'
or 'Save Link As'




Click on Save Target As (Explorer) or Save Link As (Netscape) and then select where you want to save it to in the drop down box that appears - usually your desktop.

I'm constantly amazed at the number of PDF download links that appear on Websites, without mentioning this basic instruction. There again of course, you've seen many sites that assume everyone is an experienced computer user:-)

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