Computer Advice

  • Use your UVM email account; that is the email where you will receive messages from your professor, the department, and the university. It's free, it's reliable, you can get your email from anywhere on the planet, and it's guaranteed for four years. Many people these days like to use commercial email providers like hotmail, gmail, AOL; these services are often fine, but 1) they make it harder for people at UVM to reach you; 2) they can disappear or change their policies overnight; and 3) they cost you money and/or flexibility. If you insist on using a non-UVM email account, put a forward on your UVM account so all the mail sent there will be sent on to your non-UVM account.
  • Master computers or they will master you. Computers will be part of your life from here on out, so you'd be wise to take advantage of the opportunity your college education provides you to become fluent with computer use. This is especially true if you find computers annoying and difficult and you'd just as soon avoid using them; the best way to protect yourself from computers is to learn how to make them do your bidding.
  • Don't wait to the last minute to figure out how to do something you need to do with computers. As a general rule it always takes longer than you expect to figure out computer stuff, and if you're tense and in a hurry it will take longer still. So give yourself time to master things well in advance. Don't wait until the night before a paper is due to figure out how to print it out. Don't try to learn how to make footnotes in Word as you're typing up the final draft of your paper that's due in two hours.
  • Learn computers in general, not just one computer and one set of programs. It's tempting, once you've figured out how to get email working on the computer in your dorm, to just stick with what works and not learn other ways to get your email. That's fine until your computer breaks or the network on your floor goes down and you desperately need to get at your email. So learn several ways to get your email or print out a paper.
  • Make backing up your files as automatic as looking both ways before you cross the street. You should always back up your files, of course, because computers crash. So, always back up, and make it a habit. If you don't know how to back up on a particular system, learn how before you start working on it. You each have a zoo account at the university which is a personal file system and you can upload your files as a way of saving everything you do.
Please visit the Computer services website with any questions or for help.