News Articles
Written for the
Pride of Rochester

June 2002 Article

"Is your PC a paper weight?"

When writing an article on such a broad subject as technology, there are generally two audiences to address, those with access and those without.

In the fall of 2000, the U.S. Department of Commerce found, out of a total population of
281,421,906 Americans, African Americans totaled 23.5% or 34,658,190 and of that total, 8,332,173 had computers with Internet access. If you are without a computer or you have a computer that does not have Internet access, you will find yourself unplugged from job opportunities, consumer opportunities and financial opportunities.

You may be one of the 8 million African Americans that have a computer and only use it to check email and play games. If you are not using your computer to accomplish the many tasks that it was designed for, then you've truly invested your money into purchasing a large paperweight. 

Maybe you've paid over $300 for your computer and you've purchased your computer because the talking cow (Gateway Computers) or the graduating teenager named "Marvin" (Dell Computers) convinced you that you really needed to purchase their inexpensive system.

You called only to find the price for a "Complete System" was not as little as $699, besides that, you'd need to purchase additional items that were not advertised in the commercial.  Now you're investing in a system that costs approximately $2,000.  By now, you realize they won't be sending along an instructor or a technical support person who would visit your home to help you understand how to use all the additional hardware devices and applications that came with your computer. It's probably time for you to evaluate what you really want to do with your personal computer.  Computers should be considered a short-term investment with a life long return, an investment that empowers not only you, but also those around you. Students are obtaining research information from the Internet and then producing reports with word processors or presentation applications to present to their classmates. You can schedule flights for vacations, register online for hotel accommodations and produce maps that will guide you to entertainment locales in the area of your destination. You no longer need to pay a travel agent to plan your vacation or business venture for you. Companies are posting employment opportunities either on their company's website or with contract agencies.  You are asked for your email address so they can contact you about the status of your employment application. If you don't have access to the Internet, you won't have access to these opportunities. You will rarely find many job listings in your local newspaper.
As for education, you can take many courses over the Internet and many universities offer degree programs available via interactive classes with students and instructors or through self-pace study courses.

Businesses are also targeting special discounts and promotions to consumers with Internet access. While watching television commercials, look closely and you'll find that companies are now listing their website address before they list their phone number.  Many promotional giveaways or contests are only offered to those who go online to register or send an email inquiry.  Just the other day, while watching Bishop T.D. Jakes, I was motivated to order one of his wonderful video series. The commercial for the series stated it would cost $45. I called a local store to find how much his videos retailed for and they sold them from $59 - $80. I then logged onto the internet, went to his website and not only did I find the video series for the advertised price of $45, I also found they offered discount videos from his collection for as little as $3 each. Since my credit card was handy, I ordered a few of them and for the price of driving to the store, I let the Internet provide promotional discounts which may have only been available to consumers that are

With all this having been said, unpack your boxes, go out and buy that computer desk, paint that room and dust the cob webs off your computer so that you, your children and your family can start to benefit from the investment you've purchased. The next step is to invest your time to try and do just that.

Future topics to be covered here in Tech Talk Made Simple will be:
Hardware, Software, a Bit or a Byte. Tech Terms Made Simple, How Do You Know If Your Computer Needs Upgrading and Who Can You Ask, Internet Security, Do You Need A PC Cop, Careers In Technology, Where Are They and Whose Making The Big Bucks, and hopefully many other topics that will help to clarify and make technology interesting.

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