Old computer learns few tricks


January 03, 2000|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

My apartment building is wired for cable modems. I have been resisting the temptation to connect because of the $39-per-month cost, but I am ready to give in. I called, and was told my computer didn't have enough RAM. If I add memory, will my 1996 Compaq Presario with the Pentium inside be adequate, or is adding memory only the first thing I'll have to do to fulfill the promises of the cable modem? My computer has only a 60-megahertz chip.

In theory, your aging Pentium I with its anemic 60-megahertz chip speed should be just fine for access to the Internet via high-speed cable modem once you spend the $100 or so needed to jack up its RAM to handle the networking card and software it needs.

Your antique PC handles data thousands of times faster than information can arrive through the fastest of Internet connections. However, you will be using an Internet browser program, and that software will run slowly on your Pentium I compared to today's Celerons, AMD K6s and Pentium IIs and IIIs.

On the other hand, once you have a browser up and running on your slowpoke, the cable modem will allow very rapid displays of incoming data.

Since you are used to how long it takes your machine to get the browser running, I suggest that you get just that RAM upgrade and give the cable service a test drive before deciding if investing in a new machine is worthwhile.

I am looking for an Internet provider for our Chicago-area home. How should one search for providers and compare cost?

The best way to find Internet hookups available locally is by way of a national listing of Internet providers at www.thelist.com.

Run by entrepreneurs at internet.com Corp., the advertising-supported site has you type in an area code and then provides a listing of every ISP that serves it, including the speed and services each ISP offers, along with a hot link to each provider's site. These lists are so comprehensive that they move beyond mere modem-dialup providers to cover higher-speed offerings such as ADSL, SDSL, ISDN and cable modems.

I learned how to print out samples of all my fonts. The fonts on my new computer are different (or maybe just the names are different) and I can't find the instructions on how to do this.

Fonts are stored in the Fonts folder in the Windows directory. When you click on each font, a window opens displaying that font in the upper and lowercase alphabets and numerals. A Print button allows making a quick hard copy.

To reach the Fonts folder, click on Start and then Find Files/Folders where you type in the word Fonts. When the folder marked Windows/Fonts appears, click it open for a display of an icon for every font on your system ready for clicking and printing.

Send e-mail to jcoates.@tribune.com.

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