Tech Terms Decoded – Operating System

Decoding Tech Terms

Are you as confused as I sometimes am about common Tech Terms?  When Chris talks about RAM and Memory and gigs of storage, I’m not sure what he is saying. I’ve done some digging to see if I can help explain Operating System in non-Tech terms.

OS or Operating System

The Operating System is what allows your computer to run.  Whether you are using a Mac, a Windows, a Linux machine, or something else, the OS manages the internals to make sure your document is delivered successfully to your printer, or your proprietary spreadsheet is automatically saved every 2 minutes.

Some of the Operating Systems available include Windows, OS-X for Mac’s, Linux, Android for Smartphones, and iOS for iPhones. The Operating System is what allows the applications or computer software to communicate with the computer hardware and get things done.  It is software that controls the basic operations of the computer.  The Operating System also oversees file management.

Here’s a good definition from TechTerms

“An operating system, or “OS,” is software that communicates with the hardware and allows other programs to run. It is comprised of system software, or the fundamental files your computer needs to boot up and function. Every desktop computer, tablet, and smartphone includes an operating system that provides basic functionality for the device.”

Which Operating System are you using?

For a Mac, click on the Apple in the top left corner, then select “About this Mac”.  Finally, click on “Overview” to see your OS and version.

Operating System - Mac OSx

Operating System – Mac OSx

For a Windows machine, click on the Start menu, then click on Control Panel, and finally select System.

Windows Operating System

Windows Operating System

Are you happy with your current Operating System?  Have you thought about upgrading to a newer version?  Let us know if you need help!

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Free Substitutes

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can’t believe how expensive everything is getting!  When I look at the prices for different software, I am astounded!  So, with that in mind, here are some Office Suite products you can download for free instead of buying the latest version of Microsoft Office. (All of these say they will work with Windows, OS-X, and Linux.)

OpenOffice:

For common office software like spreadsheets and word processing, many people like and use OpenOffice. Here’s the description from the Apache website:

“Apache OpenOffice is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.”

Head to the OpenOffice website for more info.

LibreOffice:

The Document Foundation’s LibreOffice is another office suite.  Here’s the description from their website:

“LibreOffice is a powerful office suite; its clean interface and powerful tools let you unleash your creativity and grow your productivity. LibreOffice embeds several applications that make it the most powerful Free & Open Source Office suite on the market: Writer, the word processor, Calc, the spreadsheet application, Impress, the presentation engine, Draw, our drawing and flowcharting application, Base, our database and database frontend, and Math for editing mathematics.”

More info here.

Caligra Office:

Yet another Office Suite.  According to their website:
“Calligra Suite is a set of applications written to help you to accomplish your work. Calligra includes efficient and capable office components: Words for text processing, Sheets for coputations, Stage for presentations, Plan for planning, Flow for flowcharts, and Kexi for database creation.  In addition, Calligra offers cutting edge applications for artists to work on 2D drawings and illustrations: Krita for painting and raster drawing, and Karbon for vector graphics.

More here.

Chris has been using OpenOffice for years and can provide some training if needed.

Note:  Some of these applications require that you have Java installed.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area.