The 10th Week

Buying a Computer

Why you need a PC in Canada
The PC (personal computer) is an indispensable item in the Canadian way of life, such as a car, especially when you need a computer to search for job. On the computer, you can type and send out your resume, browse job listings and contact with the right people and organizations. Therefore, I recommend that you include the computer in the list of priority purchases after arriving in Canada.

Electronics store
Visit the nearest electronics store; for example, in Toronto it is Best Buy, where you can pick up an inexpensive set of hardware, including the computer itself called the Central Processing Unit (CPU), as well as other equipment such as a monitor, mouse, keyboard for typing text, printer and connecting cables. Best Buy locations, prices and services can be found at

Selecting a computer
When choosing a CPU, check its memory, which must be at least 2 gigabytes and make sure the hard drive capacity is at least 250 gigabytes. Modern computers have a dual core (dual processor), which improves memory and increases speed. Each CPU has a slot where you can record and store the files you need. Buy a CD-R or DVD-R (for reading and writing files only) and a CD-RW or DVD-RW (with option to correct the files.)
The size of the monitor screen should be 20-25 inches, and a flat-panel monitor takes up less space on your desk. When choosing a printer, pay attention to the additional functions. Now, a printer is available with functions such as photocopying, scanning, sending and receiving faxes, and even with a phone. Look at the printer in action; see how fast it prints, if it is very noisy and what the quality the pictures are. Find out how expensive cartridges are because you may find that the cheap model will be very expensive to operate. Other accessories are more or less the same, and you choose them according to your need. When you buy a computer, ask about the store refund or exchange policy, and the warranty. If you want to type in your language, buy stickers with your language letters on them. The book by Dan Gookin, Buying Computer for Dummies will help you to buy a computer.

Installation of the operating and application software
Your next step is to install operating and application software. Without installation of software, your computer is as useless as a car without a driver. First, install the operating system of your computer, for example, Windows NT or Windows Vista. This often will be done for a small fee or for free when you are buying a computer right in the store. The number of applications depends on you. The most common software package is Microsoft Office, which includes such frequently used programs, such as Word, Access, Power Point and Outlook (E-mail). These programs can be installed for free by your friend or you need to buy them.

The Internet
Connecting to the Internet also requires installation of special software, which will be done by your Internet provider (which ever company you choose to connect the Internet). Is it necessary to have Internet at home, if it is free to use in all libraries?
Having an Internet at home has many advantages because, unlike libraries, it works 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Plus, you do not need to go somewhere to use it. The choice of Internet provider is best done on the advice of a person whom you trust, or get acquainted with several companies and find out their prices and number of services. I do not recommend that you install the Internet on the same line as your telephone because you lose the opportunity to use the phone when the Internet is working.

Where computer skills are taught
If you have not used a computer before immigration, you can register for free computer courses. I must say that it certainly will not be professional training and by passing these courses, you can not become a programmer. However, you will receive basic knowledge and on your resume you will be able to write: computer literate. You will learn the program Microsoft Word; learn to type in English and save information.
You can learn also the Internet and E-mail and be able to open your own mailbox. You'll be able to get multiple Canadian sites created for employment and for immigrants. If you wish, you can learn more complicated types of Microsoft Office software, such as Access, Excel, Power Point, etc.
The nearest centre for immigrants will prompt you to addresses where there are computer courses free of charge.