For the Long Beach Media Collaborative “Strengthening the Signal” series on the Long Beach digital divide, reporter David Downey asked an expert, Cal State Long Beach information technology consultant Leon Wood, several questions about the internet and computers.
The following is a sampling of those questions.
This week’s main story: Who is working to put computers into the hands of low-income students?
Q: What is important to know when purchasing a computer, especially on a budget?
A: “So, the first thing you want to do when you’re considering buying a new computer is to set a budget. You want something that is going to last. You want something that is going to fit your need. And you want something that is going to be reliable and durable, and won’t break on you when you’re in the middle of doing whatever you need to do.
“So that being first, then what you want to do is you want to prioritize based on those factors. You might have to pay a little bit more if you know you are clumsy and you know you drop your devices a lot, to get a device that is strong enough to handle that.
“Now, in terms of reliability, you definitely always want to get the storage on it because of what’s called solid state. That means that there are no moving parts in the actual data storage in the hard drive. And the next thing you want to do is get a computer that has at least 6 to 8 gigabytes of RAM so that way your computer has enough free memory to do what it needs to do without bogging down.
“And then whatever you have left in your budget you want to put towards the processor, getting the newest and fastest you can afford.”
Q: If my internet is slow, how can I improve the speed?
A: “The first thing that you want to do is check your equipment. Often times, just going to the little box that your internet company gave you and turning it off and turning it back on will solve many problems.
“If after that you’re still experiencing issues, it could be a piece of equipment, it could be your actual computer. What you want to do is, you’ll want to run a few tests to make sure that you’re getting the proper throughput that you’re paying for so it’s not an issue with the company.
“But more importantly, most of the time at home we’re using wireless internet, which is reliable but it also has its issues. So if you have an (ethernet) cable, you’ll want to plug it directly into your router and run that same test. That likely will…