Computers for Beginners/Authors
The last time EuropracBHIT could say she had 'never used a computer' was in 1990, when an IBM-compatible computer running MS-DOS version 3.1 came into her home. She studied Information Technology from 1996 to 2000, which is the sum of her theoretical knowledge, as well as a course in Desktop Publishing in 2003, where she crystallised high skills in PageMaker and Photoshop, versions of which she had been exploring for the previous ten years first on Macintosh and subsequently on Wintel platforms. Practically, she reads all the manuals before she opens a piece of software, and help files and PDF files. And she plays and has fun, ferreting out what a piece of hardware and its comicontant software can do and testing out its limits. Her principal contributions will be in Internet and Multimedia, as she believes these are the most fun and challenging ways of using a computer in the consumer and education arenas for which this book is targeted. She recommends tutorials because they are a form of 'doing as I do': imitating an experienced computer user as opposed to 'doing what I say' which is following the instructions and feeling very foolish. She thinks that people feeling foolish is the greatest reason why they do not learn to use their computers more efficiently and get out their maximum potential with this and other related technology. In the fifteen years she has been using computers, she has had to tutor and help many people of all ages and skill levels. She thinks the best way to meet the computer's 'mind' is to be logical. However, computers, in her view, do stir passions and emotions, and it is important to deal with these positively, critically and constructively.
Deviance99 has had a home PC running Microsoft Windows since he was 9 years old. He has been consulting friends, family, and neighbors since age 15. He started dabbling in Q-Basic computer programming at age 12, and started building his own computers at 14, and discovered Linux at age 17 (23 now). He's been designing webpages since his sophomore year in high school, and has had several jobs making websites. He studied Information Technology from 2001-2005 with a speciality in Multimedia Design, and is current the System Administrator of the Physics Department at the local university.
Most of his knowledge of computers is self-taught and complimented with theory from the University. He is an expert using Windows, while an advanced user of Linux with experience setting up and maintaining webservers, mail servers, files servers, clusters, active directory, and a network environment. He just bought his first Apple computer and is virgerously learning it.