A Treasury Of Computer Knowledge And Links

This page provided (and even occasionally maintained) as a community service by Owlcroft House. ===============================================================

About This Site

There are two components to the philosophy driving this site. The first is to avoid being simply a search-engine dump of computer links: for each topic, I have tried hard to present a selective collection of links, where each is germane to that topic, current in its content, clear in its presentation, and thorough to an appropriate depth. Moreover, I have tried to limit those selections to the fewest number that seemed to me to cover the topic adequately. In some cases, that has been a single link; in others, where the field is broad, it has required many. But, again, I have tried to avoid simply duplicating a search engine's results. The second component is "value added": this site is not just a collection of links, or even of selected links. It also contains original material, in which I have tried to both provide a context for the linked sites' information and, where links did not seem to me to adequately cover the ground, to cover some of it myself, sometimes at length. Those two components are why this is--I hope--a treasury of knowledge and links. Welcome.

(This site, while well along, is nevertheless in its initial building stage and not yet complete even as a first iteration;
please be patient, and do check back periodically. Thank you!)
The press of other matters has caused this site to get along without updates for a while now, but I think you will still find much of what is here quite useful.
I do hope to get ro a massive update sometime this spring.

The Main Topics On This Page:

(Or you can see a list of all pages on this site.)

Introduction [or return to the topics list]

No one web site can contain all that is essential to know about computers, or even all that is essential for a novice to learn about computers. But this is the internet: one web site can become, by way of the hypertext nature of links, a far vaster thing than a single site-maker could create.

That said, it remains impossible for a single web site to contain even all the links that would create a complete hyper-textual "supersite." Nevertheless, I have tried here to create a site that can serve as a starting point and reference center for anyone needing practical information about computers. It must necessarily be inadequate, because adequacy is, as I have said, impossible. But I hope for it to be useful; if I am careful and lucky, it might even, after enough iterations of site design, be very useful.

There is here information suited for everyone, from beginners to experts. I hope that I have arranged that information so as to neither frighten the beginners nor bore the experts.

Specifying Hardware [or return to the topics list]

While one can purchase complete systems off the shelf, careful buyers will much prefer to select each of the components of their systems for themselves; one can then either order a system comprising those components or order them individually and assemble one's own system, which is far simple than the novice might imagine. The hardware area of this site will give you some education about hardware and many pointers to sites that continually test and review computer components.

I have also included an analysis of my "ideal computer" as derived from scanning the sites in this category. A real example of that "ideal computer," assembled around the beginning of November of 1998, cost almost exactly $3,300 (U.S.) including all shipping costs to the northwest United States; for that sum, I got what was then a very nearly state-of-the-art machine with plenty of firepower (400 MHz CPU, 128 MB memory, almost 14 GB of SCSI hard drive, rewriteable CD, 2x AGP video, 3D audio, and more), and assembly was a one-afternoon piece of cake requiring no special expertise or tools.

Buying Hardware [or return to the topics list]

There are several methods of purchasing computer components and myriad sources for each method. The buying section of this site will give you some education about those methods and many pointers to price-comparison sites and to sites that evaluate individual sellers.

Operating Systems [or return to the topics list]

I am not at this time going to attempt to deal with software in the broad sense, but there is a single absolutely crucial category of software whose importance mandates some treatment of it: your computer's "operating system"--the software that runs all the other software you use. The operating systems section of this site will give you background and tools for selecting the optimum operating system for your needs.

The Internet [or return to the topics list]

The internet section of this site will educate you on the various kinds of internet uses, from ftp to html, and will also point to information on good and bad uses of such tools and the internet itself (such as the hated "spam").
[Not yet complete]

The Lighter Side [or return to the topics list]

Not all nerds are geeks. If you're finding the going degenerating into slogging, take a break; see what you'll sound like to computer pros if you don't use my site here to advantage! Or pop in here for links to more demonstrations that nerds can laugh.

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera . . . [or return to the topics list]

[This site still has a long way to go for even a first version to be really completed.]

What is . . . ? For lack of a better place to put this (at the moment) I here point you to a huge "dictionary" of computer-related terminology. Don't know what some tech term means? Go to this site and click on that term.

Here's a full list of the pages on this site (besides this one):

[Return to the topics list for this page]

Comments? Criticisms? Questions? Other links to suggest?
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This page last modified April 17, 2002.

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