Category Computer

What is the importance of digital detox?

Ever since gadgets entered our lives, we have been addicted to them. Checking the mobile phone as soon as we wake up has become part of our daily routine. Similarly, thanks to the pandemic, today our mornings begin with online classes.

While the computer is highly useful for academic purposes such as project work, it is also used as a means of entertainment. However, constant use of the computer can take a toll on our health and leave us feeling tired and exhausted.

The need to detox

Using the computer for long periods of time can affect the eyes as well as the body. The harsh light emitted by the monitor can tire your eyes and leave you with dark circles. The light is also said to affect sleep. Besides, in the absence of physical activity as a result of being confined to the house, your body will feel much weaker than it is.

Prolonged use of the computer can also lead you to develop a poor posture that can result in back and neck pain. Many people also complain of headaches and disorientation.

Another major health problem encountered by many of us today is obesity. Sitting in front of the computer for hours together can lead to weight gain. This in turn affects our heart and mind.

Ways to detox

The best way to stay away from the computer is to keep yourself occupied with other interesting things. Here are a few ways to detox and recharge yourself.

Take regular breaks:

Take a sand clock or set a reminder on your phone and place it on your computer table to remind yourself to get up and move around every half hour. During these small breaks, do simple stretches to relax your muscles before getting back to work.

Take power naps

You could feel exhausted with all the things you need to do during the day. So, to relax, take power naps instead of playing games on the computer or the Playstation.

Listen to music

Music helps us relax and destress. There’s a tune for every mood. So, start listening to your favourite songs in your free time.

Allocate time for play

Even if you can’t go out, you can still play at home. There are a lot of games you can play with your family. You could also invent a game.

Reward yourself

It can be difficult to detox. A reward is a good way to keep yourself motivated. Every time you do something other than using the computer, reward yourself with something useful.


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How computer will help you in improving language skills?


Most of the physical dictionaries such as Oxford, Cambridge and Macmillan have online sites. To develop your vocabulary, you can refer to these sites. An easier way to find the meaning of a word is through Google Search. You can just type the word followed by ‘meaning’ in the search bar and you will get the answer instantly.


Developing a rich vocabulary is important to gain mastery over a language. While the dictionary can help you learn new words, there are several translators online that let you identify the equivalent of a word in the language you wish to communicate. The easiest translator to use is Google Translate. It is in-built with Google search. All you need to do is key in the word and the language to which you would like it translated. For example – Type “Translate happy to hindi” and see what happens.


Writing and reading are the best ways to improve language skills. There are several blogging sites that let you blog and consume content for free. Blogging lets you voice your opinion and improve your skills by way of feedback from your readers. You can also read blogs written by others to understand how they communicate and learn the best practices. There are several blogging sites that can be used for free such as Blogger and WordPress.

Online courses

Several websites offer free and certified courses in language. You can watch and learn at your own pace and get advice from certified instructors and peers. These courses also help you build an online network and connect with people from all over the world, thereby helping you learn the language faster.

Spelling checks

Spelling errors can be common in the initial phase of learning a language. Sometimes, spellings can also go wrong when typing. To avoid these mistakes, and to identify the correct spelling, spell checkers in text editors are useful. Spell checkers underline a word in red if the spelling is wrong and offer you suggestions for the right spelling.

Grammar checkers

Grammar is considered the foundation of any language. It is essential for effective communication. Grammar checkers in text editors and software, which you can install, can be helpful in improving grammar skills. In text editors, a grammar mistake is usually underlined in green. There are also websites such as Grammarly that help you correct your grammar mistakes instantly while typing out a mail or posting content on social media.

Audiobooks and Ebooks

It is said that listening and reading are great ways to master languages, especially pronunciation. There are plenty of free audiobooks and ebooks available online. Just choose your favourite story and start listening to it as an audio file or reading it on your laptop. It’s a fun way to improve your listening, reading and language skills.


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How can you use the computer in your academic pursuits?

Word processors

Word processors can be your best friend when it comes to taking down or referring to notes. While most systems today come with Microsoft Word preinstalled, you don’t have to worry if your system doesn’t have it. There are many word processors available online for free download such as LibreOffice Writer and WPS Office Writer. Google docs can also be used for easy sharing of notes. But if you want something that is basic, Notepad is your best option. You can use word processors to take down important notes and research points and neatly arrange them for easy reference. You can also organise the notes and take printouts or share them with your friends over email.


Since classes are happening online these days, presentation software is in much demand. Many times your teacher might ask you to make a presentation on a topic for the class. To aid you in this effort are a plethora of presentation software. While Microsoft Powerpoint is a classic software which lets you create beautiful presentations and display to the class, there are several other free software available online for download. There are also websites such as Adobe Spark and Canva that let you create amazing presentations in a jiffy.

Presentations are a quick way to revise topics as most presentations made by the teacher or students contain important points related to a topic.

Sticky Notes

Most computers, be it with a Windows OS or a Mac OS, have gadgets or apps for sticky notes. You can list to-dos, draw up a study plan for the day and make other small notes on these sticky notes and pin them to your desktop. Every time you turn on your computer and visit the sticky notes app, you will know exactly what you need to do. Time to start planning!

Bye-bye Math fear

How does the computer help you ace in Math? Through some amazing tools and software. There are tools such as the calculator that you can use to calculate or verify your answer. The calculator also doubles as a converter where you can check for currency and weight in different measures. It can also tell you the time difference between dates. Spreadsheet software on the other hand helps you organise data while also calculating simple and complex math problems such as multiplication, cube root and the likes.

Bring out the artist in you

To channel your inner artist and to help you with poster-making and other design works, the computer offers you software such as Microsoft Paint and Adobe Photoshop. There are also open source versions such as Gimp that can be downloaded for free. Websites such as Canva and Adobe Spark also help you make posters and edit photos for free. So, what are you waiting for? Create that amazing poster and leave everyone in awe.

Towards unlimited knowledge

Undoubtedly, the biggest role the computer plays in helping with academics is the access to the Internet which is home to the World Wide Web of information. The Web has answers to almost all your queries and is your best friend when it comes to research and some extra reading.

In the next edition of Open Source, we tell you how the Internet and the World Wide Web can help you with academics.


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Which are the some popular instant messages?

Instant Messengers (IMS) have been an integral part of the lives of children who grew up in the 90s and early 2000s. Before WhatsApp revolutionised the world of chatting, there was Yahoo Messenger and Gchat. IM lets users have conversations with people around the world through real-time tot transmission over the Internet.

While it started with just text, over the years service providers began offering different features such as sharing of files and emoticons. As the quality of the Internet improved, many service providers added audio and video calls to their features.

Today, however, the rise of messaging apps such as Whatsapp and WeChat due to availability of Internet on smartphones, has led to the decline of chat messengers. Though few remain today, the nostalgia of using chat messengers remains with users who were introduced to computers in the 1990s and early 2000s. Let’s look at some popular IMs of the past, and some that remain popular even today.

AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)

One of the leading chat messengers used in North America, AIM was one of the oldest IM services, which was launched in 1997. The messenger was used widely in India as well.

AIM offered features such as messaging to mobile numbers and real-time IM that let you see what someone was typing in real-time. AIM was shut down in December 2017.

Yahoo! Messenger

One of the most popular chat messenger services in India, the Yahoo! Messenger was launched in 1998. It provided free of charge communication services and could be used only if you had a Yahoo! email ID. Most users on Yahoo! used its chatroom feature, which let users chat with others sharing common interests. Yahoo! Messenger closed its doors in July 2018.


Specialising in one-to-one and group video calls, Skype is a popular messenger platform which was launched in 2003. The messenger service also allows users to dial mobile numbers around the world. It was acquired by Microsoft.

MSN Messenger

MSN Messenger was launched by Microsoft in 1999 and was later rebranded as Windows Live Messenger. While it initially offered services to users with a hotmail ID, it later worked with Yahoo! Messenger and Skype to allow users to chat across the two platforms. The messenger service was discontinued in 2013.


Gchat now known as Google Hangouts, was launched in 2005. It allowed Google users to chat with each other. It is integrated with Gmail, meaning users could use it within the Gmail environment, and is available as a standalone messenger too. Over the years, Gchat became Google Hangouts and supported features such as audio and video calling and file sharing. Today, it also offers group video calls.


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How you can connect various devices to your laptop or computer?

While your laptop is a single device that is capable of doing many things, it also gives you the option to connect external hardware for specific purposes. To enhance your music-listening experience, you can connect a speaker or headset to your laptop; to keep a hard copy of your precious memories, you can connect a printer. There are many possibilities and many devices that you can pair with your laptop. Here, we list a few.


The Universal Serial Bus or USB is a connectivity port that is available on most devices, including your laptop and computer. You can connect pen drives or hard drives directly to the USB port, or you can use USB cables to connect your phone or any other device to your laptop. Most USB ports facilitate high speed data transmission. The most common USB ports one can find on laptops today are USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. USB 3.0 offers almost 10 times faster speed than USB 2.0 at about 4.8 GB per second.


Like USB, HDMI or High Definition Multimedia Interface, is a port available on your laptop. Using a HDMI cable, you can connect your television or projector to your laptop. You can even connect a DVD or Blue Ray player to the television or laptop. As the name suggests, the output of a video or picture displayed using the HDMI port is completely in high definition (HD).

Wireless Connectivity

Wi-Fi is a common term today. Wi-Fi doesn’t just let you connect to the Internet wirelessly, it also lets you connect devices to your laptop or computer to allow for data transfer. Apps like SHAREit use your Wi-Fi to connect your smartphone and computer, and transfer data. Alternatively, if you have a smart TV, connecting your television and laptop/ smartphone to the same wireless network also lets you cast whatever you see on your laptop/ smartphone to the TV.


You would have heard of the word Bluetooth being mentioned in relation to your phone. But did you know your laptop also has Bluetooth connectivity? Yes, this feature lets you connect your laptop with your phone or any other Bluetooth device, like a speaker and share data or listen to music.

Aux Cable

Short for Auxiliary this port is the place where you plug in your headphones or earphones. Used mainly for audio transfer, you can also connect a speaker or a cars audio system to the laptop using the aux cable. Most devices with a 3.5mm jack can be inserted and connected to the laptop using the aux port.


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Which are some computer games to enhance spelling and vocabulary?

Text Twist 2

This popular word game makes you think on your feet. The task is simple – a bunch of jumbled letters is given and you need to make as many words as possible within the stipulated time. You can shuffle the letters around if you get stuck or proceed to the next round if you have guessed the required number of words.

Merriam-Webster Games

You might have heard of Merriam-Webster dictionary, but did you know it has a site with games that can help hone your spelling and vocabulary skills? From crosswords to quizzes and other word puzzles. Merriam Webster offers a range of games that let you challenge yourself, and your peers. And, it’s free!

ESL Crossword Puzzles

Crossword puzzles are fun. They have appeared in newspapers since time immemorial. However, some of these can be difficult for students to solve. So, to brush up on your vocabulary grammar and spelling skills, attempt the crosswords on the ESL puzzle site. They address various levels of difficulty and focus on different aspects of the English language. And, like the other games, these are absolutely free to play.

Wild West Hangman

This is a Wild West-themed classic hangman game. Your goal is to save the man from being hanged by guessing a word. You can choose from different topics such as countries and movies, and guess the word by selecting letters that may or may not feature in the given word. If it fits, you are one step closer to victory. And, if it doesn’t, the man is closer to being hanged. It’s a fun and interesting game to test your vocabulary skills


One of the many games in the British Council’s team English Kids website, Wordshake is a quick game Similar to the board game Boggle, in this game you have three minutes and a 16-tile 4×4 grid with letters of the alphabet. You need to connect the letters and form as many words as possible in the given three minutes to earn maximum points. You can also check the other games on the website to improve your language skills.


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What are the benefits of coding?

Coding is fun, whether you take it up as a hobby or a career. Since we have more time on our hands, thanks to the lockdown, why not learn to code? There are several benefits of taking up coding as a hobby. These include

Better thinking: Coding leads to improved thinking as it engages your math and logical thinking skills.

Improved problem solving skills: When you get stuck on a code, something likely to happen, you think of ways to overcome the problem.

You are the boss: Don’t like how the comment feature on your favourite site works? Change it! Coding lets you create something of your own the way you like it.

Fuels creativity: You can code just about anything. You can even get creative with codes to achieve a variety of results.

One-time investment: You need a computer and a computer language to code. That’s all. Just these will help you code for many things.

Career opportunities: With technology and gadgets developing companies are always on the lookout for coders, making it a great career prospect.

Skills required to code

When it comes to skills required to be good at coding, apart from problem-solving and logical reasoning, one also needs to have a good memory as programming languages have several keywords that need to be memorised and used correctly. A keen eye for detail is also important as sometimes just one comma or semicolon can render an execution error in the program. Sound basic maths skills are an added bonus as math equations may have to be used while coding. But over everything else, a programmer needs to be curious. He or she needs to look for multiple solutions to a problem and constantly wonder how something can be innovated and made better.

If you are interested…

If you wish to take up coding as a hobby and develop it further later, here are a few things to keep in mind before you start:

Read up: There are different computer languages available. Read up and find out what interests you the most

Tutorials: Several tutorials and basic coding courses and games are available online. You can use these as your launchpad and build on it.

Ask your teacher: Talk to your computer teacher and seek her assistance in choosing a language to learn.

Network, learn and earn: Several IT companies hold coding competitions. You can use this to form networks, learn more about coding and earn a few quick bucks along the way.

Would you like to pick up your laptop and crack the code as a hobby?


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What is the role of codes in communication?

What are codes?

Well behind one simple action that you want the computer to perform are pages and pages of codes that instruct the computer to perform the necessary action and give the desired output. These codes are sets of instructions given to the computer to perform an action, and the process of writing codes in programming language – the language the computer understands – is known as coding.

When you browse the web or use any software, what you see on the screen is in the language you understand, but what is written for the computer is different. For example, visit any page in the web and right click and select view page source. What you see are codes written in a programming language which instructs the computer to display what you see on screen. There are even codes that tell the computer to accept a particular action from a user, like opening a new link.

Individuals who write these codes in a programming language they are comfortable with are called coders, developers or programmers.

How to code?

Coding is done using programming languages such as Java, CSS and HTML The computer does not understand anything beyond the binary digits 1 and 0. If you had to communicate directly with the computer, you would have to talk in 1s and Os. However, since this is a massive task for humans to process, programming languages were introduced to bridge the gap.

A programming language lets you write the code in a language you can understand and translates it for the computer. There are two types of programming languages high-level and low-level.

A low-level programming language is closer to the binary code that a computer understands, while a high-level language is closer to what humans understand. High-level languages are designed to be easy-to-write codes. Most programming languages available in the market today are high-level languages.

If you are interested in coding, next week, we elaborate on the skills required for coding and tips to get started.


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What is podcast?

A podcast is a digital audio or video file that a user can download or stream and listen to. It is like an on demand internet radio where you can listen to anything you want whenever you want Usually, a podcast is an episodic series, but an individual file can also be called a podcast. The word podcast was suggested by British journalist and technologist Ben Hammersley in 2004.

Podcasts can be accessed through several mediums such as Ipods, desktop computers and smartphones. The first podcast commonly believed to have been published online is the Matt Schichter Interviews in October 2003.

One can find podcasts on a variety of topics from education to travel and life experiences. While most podcasts can be accessed for free. some are also available on a subscription basis.

How can you listen to a podcast?

Podcasts can be listened to on a desktop computer, smartphone or a digital media player such as an iPod. On a smartphone there are several apps that offer free podcasts such as Google Podcasts Spotify and Podcasts Just download any of the apps and get started. On the desktop, you can visit podcast sites directly or go to a website which also hosts podcasts, such as the BBC and The Guardian.

Podcasts for you

Here are a few websites offering podcasts that you can listen to in your free time:

BBC Podcasts

The BBC offers free podcasts on several topics. It also has a special station called School Radio which has podcasts that introduce you to the world of drama language and dance among others.

Science Friday

As the name suggests the website has podcasts on topics related to science and technology. The site has discussions by eminent personalities on topics such as alien life. climate change. and neuroscience. Apart from listening to podcasts, you can read up on several topics and also take part in STEM activities created by educators from around the world.

Wow in the World

Premiered in 2017. this podcast is by the National Public Radio. Aimed at kids, it explores several topics that will leave you thinking. It can be listened to online, or via one of the many podcast smartphone apps. It can also be downloaded for later use.

Can you upload a podcast?

Yes. Several podcast websites allow you to record your own podcast and upload it. There are also sites such as iTunes that let you host publish and maintain your own podcast series.

So, make the best use of your free time and listen to resourceful podcasts on a range of topics. And, if you fancy, you can upload your own and share your stories with the world.


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Which are the best games that are quick-to-play and easily accessible through Google search?

Atari Breakout

The original Breakout game was released by Atari, a gaming company, in 1976. It was hugely popular and a fun game to play. Before, you could go to Google Images and type ‘Atari Breakout and the game would appear. But now, you need to type out ‘Atari Breakout in the Google Search bar and dick on A feeling lucky Once you do so, the game will pop up on your screen.

Playing the game is simple – There are several bricks laid out on the top of the screen and you need to break them all using a ball. Whenever the ball hits a brick, the brick breaks and the ball starts descending towards the lower half of the screen. The challenge lies in bouncing the ball right back up using the paddle that you can control with the arrow keys or the mouse. The goal is to destroy all the bricks. You do get several turns to do so, but you need to be quick and attentive to win the game.


Remember the classic snake game that was available on most basic mobile phones and hand-held video games? You can now play the game using Google search with colourful visuals and sounds. All you need to do is to type Play Snake in the search bar and the game will appear on screen. For those of you who haven’t played the game yet here are the rules: You are given a grid, which is the play space. And an apple appears anywhere on the grid. You play the role of the snake who needs to devour the apple. You can control the directions of the snake using the arrow keys. Once it devours the apple, another one appears in some other part of the board. As the snake keeps eating apples, it grows bigger in length, making it difficult for you to control it. This cycle continues as long as the player loses. You lose the game of the snake hit against the sides of the play area or if it hits against itself.

The game also lets you customize and play to your liking. You can make the snake move faster or slower, and choose a different fruit as well.

Doodle Cricket

Over the years, Google has brought out some innovative and interactive Google Doodles. One such doodle was for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. This doodle has featured subsequently for other cricketing events as well.

To access the game, just go to the Google doodle archives and type cricket in the search bar. Alternatively. You can type Google Cricket and the link will appear. The gameplay is simple – You, the batsman, are a grasshopper, and the snails (the computer) are the opponent team. A snail will bowl to you and you need to hit the ball by clicking the mouse button or pressing the Space bar at the right time. If you miss, you are out. As the game progresses, the bowling speed will change. Score as many points as you can doing this. You can even compete with your friends and share the Scores.


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