Ever wonder what the difference is between your hard drive (hard disk) and RAM?
Your hard drive is for storage, like your long term memory.
Your RAM is fast access temporary memory like your short term memory. Nothing is stored long term in your RAM memory. When you shut a program or shut down your computer, your RAM should be cleared.
You also have some short term memory on your CPU (Central Processing Unit or processor) called cache memory. This is super fast memory for you CPU to use when it is processing.
How fast your computer works is a function of your RAM and cache memory. If you don't have enough for all the programs you are running at the same time, your computer will slow down.
All your programs are stored on your hard drive as well as all your data (files such as pictures, music, documents and database files). Information that your programs need to run are also stored on your hard drive, some of it encrypted such as saved user ids and passwords. Safeguarding your data from hard drive failure is why it is important to do regulard backups of your hard drive. Saving your program disks is also important as you may need to reinstall these.
When you shut down your computer, information from your short term (RAM) memory that needs to be saved long term is copies over to your hard drive before shut down. Then your RAM is cleared out so that it is empty when you reboot.
Do you ever get the message Out of Memory (OOM) when you know you have everything closed? This can happen when you are using a program that has some memory issues, that is the program doesn't close properly and so is hogging all your RAM memory making it hard or impossible to do anything. Rebooting should clear the memory but if you open the culprit program you will get the error again. Try uninstalling and reinstalling the culprit program or look online for updates for the program. If this doesn't help you will need to find a replacement program. This can be a pain if the program has files specific to the program that are not openable with a different program.
Do you feel like you've been watching the world pass you by because you aren't getting texts, tweets and Facebook updates on your mobile phone and you can't upload photos to your Facebook page or sell on eBay while you are commuting to work (on public transport!!) or shopping for groceries? Do you think you want a tablet or a smart phone but not sure if you should forsake your laptop or desktop just yet?
There are advantages to mobile devices that the young especially find compelling. The biggie is that you can stay in touch with your circle of friends and family no matter where you are or what you are doing. Among certain circles it is not considered rude to have a face to face conversation while texting and tweeting. That may not be as appealing for older folks who find the constant distraction annoying and resent the apparent inattention of kids and grandkids forever staring at the palms.
But what you may find attractive is that tablets and other hand held devices can help you access information on the run. My sister used to keep a yellow pages in her car to look stuff up when she was out and about and a Hudson Road Atlas. Having internet access on the run is a great thing and many mobile devices have build in GPS to boot.
Sharing pictures, documents and music and keeping family and friends updated on significant news and developments is also nice and can be done on the spot, a time saving advantage unless you are constantly sharing which may prove not only time consuming but annoying to family and friends.
There are lots of reasons why mobile devices are gaining in popularity but will they replace the computer on your desk whether a desktop or laptop?
This may be an important question to you if you are trying to decide whether to spend your money upgrading your computer or investing in a tablet.
How you use your computer will tell you a lot about whether abandoning your current machine for a tablet or smartphone is a good choice for you especially if having both is not economically feasible.
For me the issue with handhelds the size of the screen and the size of the keyboard. I do too much composing and reading on line to be happy with even a laptop screen and keypad.
I'd like to have a tablet for travel as my laptop is a pain to carry on planes and I use it only to keep up with email and to find attractions in the city I'm visiting. But I don't travel enough to warrant the cost or to learn a whole new touch screen operating system. Not yet anyway. From where I sit, at my desk in front of my monitor, typing into a full size keyboard, it will be a few years before I make the move.
Dennis and Vaughn, on the otherhand, are using their devices to keep in touch with our customers and each other. They would be greatly impacted by not having the mobility these devices afford them. Even at the shop they do a lot on their mobile devices but will not be abandoning desktop computing anytime soon.
If you are wondering about the pros and cons of tablets and/or smartphones and whether it is time to invest in the latest and greatest, check out these articles for help determining if its time to abandon your trusty work horse for greater freedom!