Wed09022015

News

West Nile fogging commences today

The detection of West Nile Virus-infected mosquitos means that Santa Clara County officials will begin mosquito fogging operations today in parts of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View and San Jose.

Weather permitting, Santa Clara County Vecto...

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Schools

LASD trustees reopen negotiations with Los Altos Teachers Association

The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees last week directed staff to reopen negotiations with the Los Altos Teachers Association, a move intended to shore up the district’s financial picture.

According to the district’s current co...

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Community

LA teenager crowned Miss Golden State, advances to national pageant in Florida

LA teenager crowned Miss Golden State, advances to national pageant in Florida


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Alexandra McCarthy, crowned Miss Golden State Teen in July, earned “Ms. Personality” honors from her peers.

Alexandra McCarthy has a ways to go before reaching her coveted role as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Bu...

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Sports

After rough year, Eagles aim to soar once more

After rough year, Eagles aim to soar once more


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High senior running back Patrick Vargas snares a pass in practice last week.

Don’t dismiss the Eagles. Coach Trevor Pruitt is adamant that his Los Altos High football team will be better than expected.

&#...

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Comment

Car spotting 2015: A Piece of My Mind

When I was a kid, September was exciting, almost like Christmas, because that was when the Big Three automakers would reveal the new models for the upcoming year.

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Special Sections

Loving on the Edge

Loving on the Edge


Courtesy of Ford
The Ford Edge has been redesigned for 2015. Ford lengthened the wheel base and added cargo space, among other things. The Titanium model sells for approximately $42,000.

Once in a while, a vehicle we test-drive is just right for our...

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Business

Wine bar aims for October opening

Wine bar aims for October opening


Rendering courtesy of Honcho
Honcho, the wine and beer lounge on First Street, expects an October launch. A rendering of the space reveals the interior layout, which includes bar and lounge-style seating.

A downtown libations lounge that anticip...

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People

LOIS CAROLINE WALLES

LOIS CAROLINE WALLES

November, 1928

Lois lost a long and courageous battle with a prolonged illness on July 14th, 2015. She passed away knowing how well she was loved. She was always the life of the party and loved bringing everyone to her home for dinner or an event,...

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Travel

Carmel Valley Ranch unveils upgrades

Carmel Valley Ranch unveils upgrades


Courtesy of Carmel Valley Ranch
Carmel Valley Ranch recently upgraded its Vineyard Oak suites, which feature sweeping views, rocking chairs and private outdoor tubs for soaking under the stars.

Things are heating up at Carmel Valley Ranch, with 30 n...

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Stepping Out

'Dead Man' comes alive at Bus Barn

'Dead Man' comes alive at Bus Barn


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” includes, from left, Marjorie Hazeltine (as Hermia), Kristin Walter (Jean) and Adrienne Walters (Carlotta).

Los Altos Stage Company opens its ...

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Spiritual Life

Inside Mountain View

MV actress/playwright Garvin wins NY festival award for

MV actress/playwright Garvin wins NY festival award for "Corners Grove"


Courtesy of Undiscovered Countries
Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin received a New York arts festival award for a featured role in “Corners Grove,” a play she wrote.

New York recognized that one of Mountain View’s own can “make it there” when the Planet C...

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Back to School shopping includes computers for all grade levels

There was a time when students took their hi-fis back to college, but today most entering students bring a computer instead. Napster has made computer geeks out of many students, and besides being a research tool the computer is now a form of recreation.

When buying a computer there are several choices and no one computer stands out above the rest. It's what's inside the box that's important. Each user has different needs, which may require upgrades or basic accessories. No reference is made in this article as to the superiority of a PC or an Apple or why a certain computer is easier to use.

College students

Before you shop for a college computer, check with the university to see whether there are any hardware or software requirements, because classroom work is usually done through a server.

Wilson Ng, owner of Los Altos PC, said add-ons make a big difference at the college level.

"Buying a computer goes beyond a fast processor and a huge hard disk drive. Today's student has new priorities. It's how quick you can access information outside the PC, namely, the Web," Ng said. "The main ingredient for a PC should be a fast Internet connection in the form of a DSL arrangement from the local telephone company or an Internet connection with a 56K modem."

Shopping for a college computer isn't any different from shopping for a home system as far as hardware specs are concerned. The big choice is deciding whether you want a notebook or a desktop. Ng suggested a used notebook because of the cost.

"A laptop is great for travel and convenience in college. You can use them in classrooms and in libraries. They are easy for getting onto the Internet and you can take down information and study the notes afterwards," Ng said. "When you get back to your room you can download the information to the desktop."

Desktops are a better value when it comes to hardware because you get more for less. The drawback to the desktop is you lose the portability factor, but you can get all the basics with the unit.

High school students

Writing reports with a word processor, using the Internet and having electronic encyclopedias for research requires a computer just as powerful as a college student's machine.

In most cases the computer will also be the home computer for the family. The decision is, are you buying the computer for the high school student or the family?

Yukio Manage, owner of Dent Computer of Los Altos, said you can get some good computers at this level for $500-600 including a monitor.

The absolute minimum processor size for your new desktop PC should be a Pentium III processor, with a 600-733MHz (megahertz) processor, 30GB (gigabyte) hard drive and 128MB SDRAM memory.

A 40GB drive is nice for storage, but you don't need that lmuch space unless you download every MP3 song ever made.

For music you need a decent set of speakers (about $60) and a good sound card. Other items for a high school student would be a CD-RW read-write and a zip drive to backup homework.

Elementary school students

The earlier you start teaching a child basic computer tasks like starting a program, typing, loading something from a CD and simple games, the more they will become interested in school computer activities.

"A child's attention span is not as cultured as a high school student's, so they lose interest quickly if they have to wait for the computer to react," Ng said. "For that reason I would suggest at least a 700MHz system."

Another item that holds a child's interest is a colored printer. A scanner would be helpful and a 17" monitor will keep a child interested longer.

For a technically minded child, it might be an excellent time to build an inexpensive unit just for the experience. Building your own computer costs around $350, give or take a few pennies. You can build your own computer at either of the Los Altos computer locations mentioned above.

If building your own computer doesn't appeal, then start with an inexpensive model as your first computer. For schoolwork, the IBM compatible PC or an Apple iMac can be satisfactory as long as you know what you want to do with the computer.

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