Even when I'm not typing LaTeX but e.g. an e-mail I automatically write \" for trema's and similar for other diacritics, but most people want to type the actual characters directly in their source document, i.e., Gödel instead of G\"odel. Fair enough, that's why we have \usepackage[T1]{fontenc}. Just one little thing to remember: it doesn't work out of the box with regular Computer Modern, also known as the LaTeX font (the dead give-away to a document being typeset using LaTeX) and most people don't know how to use (non-bitmap) fonts, let alone know it is possible.

So, how to use Computer Modern with fontenc? Just install the cm-super fonts, or add \usepackage{lmodern}. You get Latin Modern with the latter, but that's just a Computer Modern v2.0: more diacritics and some other alphabets (no AJAX or drop shadows though). That's it for today.