About Raj

Do Your Friend a Favor, Would Ya!
by Peter Doshi,
Fri Mar 12 21:24:40 EST 1999

Brief Summary

There are two `gems of knowledge' I feel many people new to computers may not be aware about. First, the ability of copying and pasting text. Finally, using bookmarks effectively.

If you know how to copy-and-paste text and how to use create bookmarks in your web browser, please teach your friends who may not know.

Sometimes I get really frustrated with people and feel like screaming *!%*^#, why can't you just get it!!! Well, to be honest, it's happening less frequently now, but still it happens sometimes, usually when I'm trying to help the people who need help the most - beginners. (And I'm sorry for all those I've offended in the past :-)

Assuming I haven't scared people off by offending them, let me continue, because today it dawned on me - two of the most useful tricks I take for granted. Tricks I thought everybody knew, but evidently not everybody really does.

In case you haven't see this week's survey of How many hours a day do you spend on the Internet, check it out. It doesn't take a genius to surmise that the group that visits The Guide is fairly well versed in the Internet already. It's those experienced users this article is meant for.

Question: How many of your beginner computer user friends know how to copy-and-paste text? Or know how to use Bookmarks ("Favorites" for IE users) effectively?

You'd be quite surprised to find out - well at least I was - that it's a pathetically low percentage of them that do. And what could be more valuable to know? These are the fundamentals, folks. I think learning how the Internet works and how we can use it for our own benefit means to first understand how to simply use it! If somebody says check this webpage out for a lot of help, that's great. But if the person doesn't know how to copy-and-paste the URL you sent them into their browser, it's pointless.

It turns out that many people are manually typing in the thing. If you're surprised, you're not alone. It caught me by surprise, too. So what we all need to do here, folks, is to teach the people who don't know about it yet. It's a cyclic process. First you're taught by others, and then you help out in teaching the newbies. It's called contributing back to the effort. One of the reasons for Linux's success, by the way.

So let's let them in the secret: How do you copy and paste?

    First Copy
  1. Highlight the text you want to copy with the mouse by holding the mouse button down while dragging it over all the text you wish to copy. The text should, normally, highlight.
  2. When you have what you want highlighted, lift up the mouse button. It should still remain highlighted
  3. Now, assuming all is fine so far, hold down the Ctrl key and keep it down and hit the C key. (This whole process is usually abbreviated by ^C)
  4. Nothing seems to happen? That's okay. The highlighted text has been stored in a temporary buffer
  5. Then Paste

  6. Go where you want to paste/copy that same text
  7. Type ^V (That's holding down Ctrl + V, remember)
  8. Voila! The text should be there now. Duplicated. Wow, how impressive! :^)

And as to Bookmarks...

I'd like it if you could teach the new guys how to use them. I found out not many of them know how to use them. And many of those that claim to know really don't. I've seen their bookmark list. It's just a super long list of them. Folks, you can make folders for your bookmarks and organize them just the same way as your files. Hopefully the readers of this article already know how to do that. Well, that's an invaluable ability, as you might be well aware of. Please, teach the newbies that little trick, too.

Closing thoughts...

Everybody helping out in the helping and learning process is doing the right thing. Technical savvy is not something you're just born with (well, very few are). For the most part, it's a cultivated expertise. It is our obligatory duty to help educate others. Join the team and help out. Don't be afraid to ask for help yourself, too.

Peter Doshi

Copyright © 1999 Dr. Raj Mehta. All rights reserved.