Home computer use, technology: what is BitTorrent vs direct download?

Understanding home computer use might involve constant self-tutoring. The tutor explains BitTorrent, as he understands it.

With direct download, your computer receives a resource from a server.

With BitTorrent (protocol), your computer receives a file that contains the locations of other computers that contain the resource, or perhaps just parts of it. Your computer can then request parts of the resource from those other computers until eventually it accumulates the entire content.

The thinking behind BitTorrent is that receiving the resource, in pieces, from many computers at once might lead to a faster download. Moreover, the draw on the original server is less, since other computers that have received the resource can then share it.

Good BitTorrent citizenship means you upload as much as you download. Apparently, you can choose a BitTorrent client that keeps track; when they’re equal, you can (ethically) remove that resource from your BitTorrent client, knowing you’ve shared appropriately. There are numerous BitTorrent clients (programs) available; to participate in BitTorrent, the user needs first to load one.

PS: There may also be a specific client for BitTorrent protocol that is, itself, called BitTorrent.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Home computer use, Microsoft Word: Thur or Thurs for Thursday

Tutoring business English, you might know of this preference of Word. The tutor shares a discovery about the abbreviation for Thursday.

A few days back, I was typing on Word 2016. Thur was marked as a misspell, but of course it was, I reasoned: Thursday is the true spelling.

However, Thurs passes unmarked on my copy of Word 2016.

I love discoveries like this:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Home computer use: Windows 7 sleep modes

As a computer user, I’m constantly self-tutoring. The tutor shares about Windows 7 sleep modes.

I find my Windows 7 computer sometimes a bit groggy after it’s been idle for a while. This morning I began investigating it, and learned about sleep, hibernate, and hybrid sleep.

When a Windows 7 computer is left idle, it likely goes to sleep to save energy (and wear). How deep its sleep is determined by power options. Apparently, a computer can sleep, hibernate or hybrid sleep. The way I understand the three:

  • Sleep: open documents stored to RAM, but most processes suspended until user returns.
  • Hibernate: open documents stored to disk, then computer shuts off: power to RAM ceases.
  • Hybrid sleep: idle computer stores open documents to disk. Theoretically, the open documents are meant to be kept in RAM as well.

When a computer goes into hibernation, but is awakened, the previous state must be loaded from disk to RAM before it’s ready. This extra step can take extra time, apparently. However, hibernation offers extra protection against document loss due to power loss.






Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Home computer use: how to identify a usb 3.0 port, or presence of usb 3.0 capability

Home computer use means constant self- tutoring. The tutor shares a couple of clues about detecting a usb 3.0 port.

I’ve heard that usb 3.0 ports are meant to be blue inside. However, I’ve also heard that some usb 3.0 ports may not be marked blue.

Next to the port, the letters SS can also mean that the port is usb 3.0, even if not blue inside.

Some computers have both usb 2.0 and usb 3.0 ports. Apparently, a way to tell if usb 3.0 is present or not is to go into System Information, then Components, then USB. As I understand, USB 3.0 suggests its presence.




Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Windows 7: Am I running in Safe Mode?

Tutoring home computer use, you face all kinds of questions. The tutor shares an answer to “How can I tell if I’m running in Safe Mode?”

My wife pointed out, and I agree, that our desktop has appeared different lately. She asked if we are running in Safe Mode.

I restarted the computer in Safe Mode, and noticed the words

Safe Mode

in the bottom left corner. I next did a normal restart: the words Safe Mode were gone.

Therefore, from my experience, the way to know if you’re in Safe Mode is to look to the bottom left of the desktop: if in Safe Mode, the words

Safe Mode

will be there.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Home computer use: security: Bitdefender Safepay

Using a PC can involve constant self-tutoring. The tutor shares his discovery of Bitdefender Safepay.

As I’ve come to understand, Bitdefender Safepay is a secure browser that can be invoked from the Bitdefender suite (I have, I believe, Bitdefender Total Security). The idea is that you can browse with Safepay (as opposed to your regular browser) for extra security.

While Bitdefender Safepay might mainly play to people doing transactions online, it can be used as a general-purpose browser. For sites you log into, like blogs or membership sites, (as well as, of course, transaction situations), it offers a virtual keyboard through which you can enter the credentials. Using the virtual keyboard protects against keyboard-monitoring malware.

I like Safepay as just a regular browser; I don’t do much in the way of transactions, but I do log into blogs, membership sites, etc.




Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Windows 7: the blue screen with white bird near green branch

Trying to repair a computer this weekend has involved self-tutoring. The tutor mentions the beloved “blue screen with white bird near green branch.”

If you don’t know the screen mentioned in the title, you might be lucky. I’ve encountered it after the repair option from F8 during boot. However, it may not appear immediately after selecting the repair option. Rather, the user may have to wait well over half an hour before it appears.

Likewise, the blue screen with the white bird (near the green branch) may persist another 45 minutes – or longer – with no apparent action. However, it eventually can give way to the Startup Repair window. That process can persist for hours, then possibly offer choices, one of which may be System Restore.

That’s how I remember it, anyway.

With either of those screens (blue screen with white bird or Startup Repair), it’s best the user doesn’t hold their breath.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Microsoft Word: date format: English (Canada) compared to English (US)

Tutoring Business English, date format is of interest. The tutor shows a date format available in English (United States), but perhaps not in English (Canada), in Microsoft Word 2007.

In my April 14 post I mention that I prefer the date format

April 16, 2017

because it gives no chance of misunderstanding. However, among the English (Canada) date formats offered, the closest seems to be

16 April 2017.

Clicking Insert, then Date & Time, the dialogue box that emerges offers a Language choice. Clicking the dropdown arrow, one choice is English (United States). Selecting that, the available date formats change to include April 16, 2017.

Interesting, eh?

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Microsoft Word 2007: changing date format

Tutoring Business English, word processing formats inevitably arise. The tutor suggests how to change the date format in Microsoft Word 2007.

I prefer the date format April 14, 2017. There’s no chance of misunderstanding it, since the month is a proper noun and the year is four digits.

On my computer, anyway, Microsoft Office Word 2007 prefers the format 2017-04-14. What can a user do to change the date format?

  1. Click Insert at the top (next to Home).
  2. Locate, in the Text area of the toolbar (probably right side), the option Date and Time. Click it.
  3. You will be offered a menu of date formats.
  4. On mine, among the English (Canada) choices, the closest to April 14, 2017 is 14 April 2017.

Of course, the user can type any date format they want. However, Word will try to autocorrect it to the chosen (or else default) format. To stop the autocorrect, simply left-click when it’s offered. (Make sure the mouse pointer is on the cursor when you do so, or else your cursor might be sent wherever the mouse pointer is.)



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Computers: why flash drives aren’t vulnerable to magnets (supposedly)

Tutoring, you see flash drives carried around with anything stored on them. The tutor shares some findings about them in relation to magnetism.

I recall holding a flash drive with a magnetic lid, and wondering how it could be so.

Apparently, flash drives hold information using electric charges, rather than magnetism. Two websites tell me that, for that reason, flash drives are not changeable by magnetism – at least, not under normal conditions.

Magnetism and electricity are related. Specifically, a changing magnetic field (for instance, as the magnet moves nearby) can cause voltage in a loop of wire. Therefore, I wouldn’t experiment with a flash drive near a magnet if the data was important.




Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.