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WEEKLY WHINE

Cómo usuar su computadora nueva

Hi. I’m Microsoft’s Bill Gates, and this is my friend Mayra Verónica. If you’re watching this instructional video, that must mean you’re Cuban, and now that the ban has been lifted, you’ve finally purchased a computer.

Yes, welcome to the Ctrl-Alt-Delete Age, cubanos.

Hey, that’s not fair, Mayra!

I’m only teasing, Bill. Actually, cubanos, you probably don’t see why that’s funny. And not just because you don’t know the Spanish word for “delete”.

Regardless, there are a lot of things you should know about computers. And not just because they are growing in importance and will soon dominate all aspects of our lives, forcing everyone to log in whenever they want to activate their coffee maker or open the garage door.

Ha ha! Too right, Bill!

Ha ha! All joking aside, though, Mayra, using and understanding computers is an important skill, isn’t it?

It certainly is, Bill. As you’ll see, there is so much that you can do with your computer. For example, when I participate in a photo shoot, most of the photographers use digital cameras that they can connect directly to their laptops, so that I can see their pictures right away and help them choose the best one.

And image editing software can help airbrush out those moles and blemishes. Not that you have anything to worry about, Mayra!

Ha ha ha! But no amount of image editing can save your face, Bill!

Ha ha! You do have a sharp tongue, Mayra! First, though, let’s look at how your computer works. This is a typical computer. The keyboard, here, lets you type in words, phrases, and the great Cuban novel you’ll no doubt be working on as soon as you install Microsoft Word. This device is called a mouse. I’ll tell you more about that in a moment. And here we have the monitor, which is your, shall we say, “window” into the world of your computer.

I get it!

Good.

So let’s show you how to connect your computer. Your monitor has this blue plug here, which is wider on one side. You’ll plug it into the matching blue outlet on the back of your computer. Be sure you match the wide ends. Then you’ll plug in the keyboard into this purple outlet, and the mouse into this green outlet. Then you’ll connect the power to the monitor like so, and the power to the computer the same way.

Hey Mayra, what about the Internet?

Ssh, Bill! Don’t tell them about that!

What?

Only certain Cubans are allowed to use the Internet!

What? Why not?

The US trade embargo means that the fiber optic cables that currently form the backbone of the Internet can’t be connected to Cuba.

Really? Wait. Does this video violate the trade embargo?

No. It’s not commercial trade. We’re distributing it free.

We are? Why’s that?

Some of your friends at Microsoft wanted to establish your company’s name to Cubans, so that when the embargo is finally lifted, they’ll want to buy Microsoft products.

Oh. Wow, that’s a good idea.

Yes. Anyway, now that everything is connected, you can turn on your monitor and your computer, like this.

And when you turn your computer on, the first thing you’ll see is the Windows logo, a fine logo if I do say so myself.

Ha ha ha!

When you see this, it means the computer is booting up. That means it’s reading information from the hard drive built into it, information that tells it how to work and what to do.

That’s right, Bill. And in a couple of minutes, you’ll see this box that says “Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete to log in”. That means the computer is ready for you to identify yourself.

And you’ll identify yourself by typing in your user name – mine is “MrBilly” – and your password – mine is “$teveJobsSux”.

Bill! You shouldn’t give out your password!

You’re right, Mayra. Don’t give out your password to anyone, since that will give someone else the ability to fool the computer into thinking that that person is you. You should guard your password the way you guard your... do Cubans have social security numbers?

No.

Mother’s maiden names?

Yes, but they’re not really kept secret.

Passports?

Some do.

List of favourite daytime soap stars?

Yes.

Okay. You should guard your password the way you guard your list of favourite daytime soap stars. And by the way, I’m going to change my password as soon as we’re done here, so no sneaky trying to log in as me, Mayra!

Ha ha! I would never do that, Bill!

Ha ha ha! I know you wouldn’t, Mayra.

Well, once you’ve typed in your user name and your password, you’ll click the OK button to log in. Notice that when I move the mouse across a flat surface, like this desk, that little arrow moves across the screen in the same direction. That arrow is called your mouse pointer, and when you point the pointer to a button on the screen and press, or “click”, the mouse button like this, that button will do whatever it says. For example, buttons that say “OK” mean that you’re ready to move on. Buttons that say “Cancel” mean that you’ve changed your mind and you don’t want to move on. And there are all sorts of other buttons. If you’re using Windows software, for instance, you’ll want to be intimately familiar with the button that says “Help”.

Mayra!

Well, it is true, Bill.

All right, I suppose it is. Anyway, now that we’re logged in, there are a number of pictures on the screen. These pictures are called icons, and they represent other things. This one here, for instance, says “My Computer”, and it represents your computer.

Perhaps the button you’ll use the most is this one here, which says “Start”. Bill, this button will help you start to do just about anything.

That’s exactly right, Mayra. I’ll click the Start button now, and you can see that... well... come on... you stupid piece of – here we go. A menu has appeared here. Menus are lists of options that your computer gives you, and you specify which option you want by clicking on it. For example, I want to start Word, so I’ll click Programs, because Word is a program, and then here’s Microsoft Word right here. I’ll click on that, and here’s Microsoft Word.... Okay, well, it will be here soon.

Actually, Bill, this computer is a little slower than the ones you may be used to. We wanted to get one that will represent the sort of PCs that cubanos are likely to be able to buy.

Really? I feel sorry for you, Cubans. Anyway, here’s Microsoft Word now. Word is a word processing program, which means you can type stuff in it. For example, I’ll type “Querida Mayra” right now.

You’re writing me a letter? That’s sweet!

Hopefully my wife will see it the same way!

Ha ha ha!

Okay, I’ve typed my salutation, but now how do I go on to the next line? Your keyboard has a way to do that: the Enter key, right here. I’ll press Enter now, and you can see that my cursor has moved down to the beginning of the next line.

Cursor? What’s that, Bill?

Gosh, Mayra. That line there must be the reason that you’re a model and not an actress.

Bill!

I’m only teasing, Mayra. Anyway, the cursor is this flashing bar here. It tells you where the next letter you type will appear. For instance, let’s say I want to change my salutation from “Querida Mayra” to “Querida Mayrita”. I move my mouse pointer like this – and you can see it’s now changed to this I-beam shape, to make it a little easier to place it in text – and I’ll just click in between the R and the A. Now you can see the cursor is flashing there between those two letters, so I’ll now type an I and a T, and now it says “Querida Mayrita”.

And now, this gives us an opportunity to demonstrate another feature: the right click. You may have noticed that your mouse has two buttons. We’ve already used the left button to click on things. But if you use the right button to click on something, such as this annoying animated paperclip, you’ll usually get a menu with several options relating to whatever it is you just right clicked on. Now, to make that stupid paperclip go away, all we have to do is click “Hide”, and the damn thing will get the hell out of our way.

But Mayra, don’t you think the paperclip is cute?

Absolutely not, Bill!

Well, what about me?

Absolutely not, Bill!

Ha ha! You’re such a kidder, Mayra!

Ha ha ha! You’re one to talk, Bill!

Ha ha! Well, Cubans, hopefully today we’ve taught you how to use your computer. Maybe in future videos we’ll teach you how to recover from crashes, how to defragment your hard drive, and how to avoid E-mail viruses.

Bill! Don’t tell them about E-mail!

Whoops! Sorry, Cubans! Maybe if you had overthrown your autocratic regime and were in the midst of a democratic society, you’d already have E-mail!

Ha ha ha!

Well, Mayra, thank you for joining me today.

It’s been a pleasure, Bill. On behalf of Bill Gates and all of us here, this is Mayra Verónica, reminding you to boot up responsibly.

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