Saturday, May 28, 2011

What are "Operating Systems?" - In Plain English

 What are ‘Operating Systems?’ - In Plain English

Many of you have asked questions about new computers:
·         What should I look for in a new computer?
·         What computer should I buy?
·         PC or Mac?
·         How much memory should I get?
These are excellent questions.  And I will answer them in the near future.  Okay, you ask, "Why not now?"  To answer these questions I have to set some ground work so we are speaking  the same language.  That way, you won't misunderstand what I am saying.  You know tech guys, we are easily misunderstood.  And often, we just speak in a language that no one else understands.  Words like operating systems, data, programs, RAM, are exciting things for tech guys. However, they make most people cry. 
Today, we are going to take the fear and crying out of some words so that we can answer the real questions you have asked.  And don't worry about remembering what I discuss here.  The blog and my Facebook page will be around for a while.  These posts are here for you to read whenever you want.  And you can call or reply if you have any questions.
Let's talk about ‘operating systems’ first.  “Which operating system is the best?” is one of the most controversial questions in the tech world.  Fist fights and broken relationships are the outcomes of conversations between techies on the subject. 
Most of you have heard of PCs and Macs.  These are computer hardware devices that use a particular operating system to make them run.  You have probably heard of Windows (XP, Vista, 7, to name a few).  Windows is the operating system written by Microsoft for use on PCs. When you are using a PC your operating system is most likely a version of Windows.  Like Windows for PCs, OS X (Jaguar, Tiger, Snow Leopard) is written by Apple to make Mac computers run. These are the two most common operating systems. 
There are other operating systems (LINUX, DOS, OS/2, to name a few of the dozens to a hundreds of others) that make the computer run differently.  Without operating systems, you would not be able to use a computer easily.  In fact, modern operating systems are credited with making the PC and Mac easy enough for everybody to use.  You no longer need to know how to program a computer to use it effectively. An operating system does the work for you.
And some of you may ask about your smart phones.  For now, I am going to skip smart phones and their operating systems (iOS, Blackberry, Android, etc) but I will come back to the subject in a later post.  But, for many of you, a smart phone may be a better answer than a computer.
The controversy that causes fights occurs when we try to decide which computer operating system is "better.”  In reality, only you can answer that question depending on what work you use your computer for.  Most people agree that Macs are overall easier to learn and better for creative type of work.  PCs are usually less expensive up front and better for gaming, general, and business use.  However, each situation is different.  I am going to avoid the controversy and leave you to decide which is best for you.  Before you make your final decision give me a call to make sure any extra questions you have are fully answered.  
The next blog entries will talk about other tech stuff, hopefully in plain English, so that we can answer the questions that we started with above.  Until then, I would love to hear from you!
Contact Robert by E-mail or by phone 858-449-1749.

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