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Computer Literacy for the Mac

Conducting basic searches


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Computer Literacy for the Mac

with Garrick Chow

Video: Conducting basic searches

To perform a web search, you first have to visit a search engine through your web browser. As I previously mentioned, most web browsers these days have access to the most popular search engines like Google and Bing, built directly in. For example, here in Safari I could just type my search terms into this search field to perform a Google search, but for this example, I'm actually going to go to google.com. The technical term for performing a search is query. Basically, when you perform a query, you're asking the search engine to provide information relevant to the word or phrases that you searched for.
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  1. 2m 49s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. Using the assessment files
      1m 7s
    3. Using the exercise files
      33s
  2. 9m 51s
    1. What's a computer?
      1m 49s
    2. What's inside a computer?
      2m 46s
    3. Laptop vs. desktop computers
      1m 59s
    4. Special considerations when using a laptop
      3m 17s
  3. 20m 58s
    1. Understanding the operating system
      3m 3s
    2. Understanding files, folders, and directories
      4m 49s
    3. Understanding your home folder (your user folder)
      5m 21s
    4. Using your desktop
      3m 11s
    5. Taking out the trash (recycle bin)
      2m 21s
    6. The right click
      2m 13s
  4. 24m 8s
    1. Understanding applications
      4m 24s
    2. Opening and saving files
      4m 10s
    3. Choosing the right tool
      4m 44s
    4. How to learn any application
      3m 53s
    5. Five things that work in all applications
      6m 57s
  5. 36m 22s
    1. Understanding computer ports
      2m 59s
    2. Setting up a printer
      3m 7s
    3. Printing your documents
      4m 30s
    4. Setting up a scanner
      2m 27s
    5. Scanning a document
      6m 15s
    6. Setting up a projector or second monitor
      5m 56s
    7. Using a projector
      3m 43s
    8. Portable storage devices
      3m 53s
    9. Pairing with Bluetooth devices
      3m 32s
  6. 17m 27s
    1. Understanding networks and internet access
      2m 58s
    2. Connecting to wired network
      2m 36s
    3. Connecting to wireless networks
      4m 4s
    4. Working in a networked environment
      6m 15s
    5. Staying protected from viruses
      1m 34s
  7. 19m 31s
    1. Understanding email servers and clients
      2m 11s
    2. Setting up your email application
      4m 15s
    3. Receiving and reading email
      2m 21s
    4. Composing new email messages
      5m 52s
    5. Reply vs. Reply All
      2m 11s
    6. Dealing with spam
      2m 41s
  8. 8m 24s
    1. Understanding search engines
      1m 24s
    2. Conducting basic searches
      3m 51s
    3. Conducting advanced searches
      3m 9s
  9. 24m 21s
    1. Using word processors
      4m 22s
    2. Formatting text
      7m 7s
    3. Using spreadsheets
      3m 36s
    4. Creating a simple data table
      7m 37s
    5. Formatting a data table
      1m 39s
  10. 18m 53s
    1. Importing images from a digital camera
      4m 46s
    2. Storing and organizing digital images
      5m 11s
    3. Basic image manipulation
      4m 10s
    4. Tagging images
      2m 32s
    5. Sharing images
      2m 14s
  11. 10m 52s
    1. Common obstacles in sharing files
      1m 37s
    2. Creating PDFs for document sharing
      5m 35s
    3. Compressing files
      3m 40s
  12. 1m 3s
    1. What's next?
      1m 3s

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Computer Literacy for the Mac
3h 14m Beginner Aug 06, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Computer Literacy for the Mac, author Garrick Chow walks through the skills necessary to use Mac computers comfortably, while improving learning, productivity, and performance. This course focuses on the Apple Mac OS X operating system and offers a thorough introduction to computers, networks, and computer peripherals such as printers, digital cameras, and more. In addition, basic procedures with software applications, the Internet, and email are covered. Exercise file accompany the course.

This course also includes chapter-level assessments for use as instructional aides. To download the assessments, click the following link: Computer Literacy Assessments. The file contains an assessment movie, chapter-level assessments, and answer keys.

Topics include:
  • Working with a laptop versus a desktop computer
  • Understanding an operating system
  • Understanding five traits almost all applications share
  • Printing
  • Setting up a scanner
  • Connecting to a wired or wireless network
  • Sending and receiving email
  • Searching the Internet
  • Importing and editing images from a digital camera
  • Sharing documents and images
Subjects:
Business Operating Systems Computer Skills (Mac)
Software:
Mac OS X
Author:
Garrick Chow

Conducting basic searches

To perform a web search, you first have to visit a search engine through your web browser. As I previously mentioned, most web browsers these days have access to the most popular search engines like Google and Bing, built directly in. For example, here in Safari I could just type my search terms into this search field to perform a Google search, but for this example, I'm actually going to go to google.com. The technical term for performing a search is query. Basically, when you perform a query, you're asking the search engine to provide information relevant to the word or phrases that you searched for.

Most people just call it googling these days, which shows you how popular Google is as a search engine. To perform your search, just type a word or a phrase. Let's say I'm looking for information on repairing a hard drive. I'll type repairing, and you can see that even before I finish typing, Google has offered some suggestions of what it thinks I might be looking for. These are based on the popularity of what other people have searched for. Nothing here really matches my need, so I'll continue typing. And there's repairing hard drive. So without having to type out the rest, I'll just use the arrow keys on my keyboard to select that result, and I'll press my Enter or Return key.

And in a second, I see what Google considers the top results for that search phrase. You can see that it's actually found 993,000 results, but Google, and all search engines, try to give you the most relevant results first. And as you can see, Google not only found web pages, but it also found a couple of videos on repairing hard drives. In fact, I can click more to see just the results from videos, images, blogs, and so on. I'll go back to Everything.

Now one of the keys to a successful search is to try to think of which words might appear on the kind of page you're looking for. For example, if I'm trying to fix or find an explanation for a specific problem I'm having with my hard drive, I'll imagine how I would describe it to a live person and try to distill it down to a short phrase that includes the important and relevant words. So if my hard drive is making clicking noises, I might search for "hard drive clicking," or I might type "hard drive won't mount." What you want to avoid is using words that might make your search either too broad or too narrow.

For example, don't type something like, "documentation of hard drive repair techniques"; instead, boil it down to the words that will most likely appear on the page we're looking for, like "hard drive repair tips." If you see a Google suggestion for your phrase appear, that's a pretty good indication that other people have looked for this exact same search term, and you'll probably find some good results. But in most cases, brevity is going to be the key to finding a good range of search results. Now some people will use quotes around their words when searching for phrases, but you should only use quotes if you want the results for the words within the quote appearing in that specific order.

For example, I'll look for "repairing hard drives" without the quotes, and that gives me 578,000 results. Notice that, in many of these results, the words repairing, hard, and drives don't necessarily appear all together in that single phrase. If I only want search results for web pages in which repairing hard drives are all together in a row, I put quotes around it. Notice that this reduces the number of results to 240,000 and that in all the results the words "repairing hard drives" all appear next to each other.

Using quotes is also a great computer troubleshooting technique. If you ever have a dialog or alert box show up, and you're not quite sure what it means or what it's trying to tell you, try typing the words from that dialog box in quotes into Google. More often than not, you're sure to find pages in which others have come across the same message. So those are some tips for performing basic searches. And of course, once your search results appear, just click any of the results to be taken to that particular web page.

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