Introduction to Computers
What Is A Computer?
All You Need to Know About Computers
So you want to know about computers? Then welcome to Patkay’s class and I will take you through all what you need to know about computers. This hub is for newbies in the computer world. It is also useful to other people seeking more knowledge about computers.
A word of advice to the novices, don’t be afraid of the computer, it will not ‘eat you’. Without further ado, let us start by defining what a computer is and some other terms you will encounter later on as you progress.
A Desktop Computer
Definition of the Term Computer
A computer is defined as an electronic device which accepts data, processes or manipulates it, it also stores information and then produces an output of the information you have been working on. The computer is also known as a Personal Computer simply abbreviated as PC.
Computers are used for many purposes like typing documents, browsing or surfing the Internet, sending and receiving emails, graphic design, working on spreadsheets, playing games, watching movies and many more. The uses of a computer are limitless as they will actually depend on your knowledge level. Computers are better and faster data processors than humans.
Features of a Computer
- It is automatic- This means the computer can work with minimum human intervention once supplied with data and instructions.
- It is a data processor - The computer is capable of processing data (raw facts and figures). It also processes mathematical and logical calculations.
- It is a storage device – The computer has the ability to keep or store information for future reference; this is made possible by the use of storage devices e.g. the hard disk drive.
- It is Electrical – This means that for the computer to function, it requires some form of power to drive it.
Advantages of Using Computers
The advantages of having a computer are numerous. I have listed some of them here.
- Stores large chunks of information in a limited space.
- It is a very useful source of information especially when you connect to the Internet.
- Speed – Performs tasks in a very short time (in comparison to working manually)
- Quick retrieval of information.
- Efficiency – Creates an all round saving on space and time.
- Reduces the cost and use of paper for example when we send emails rather than sending letters.
- Secrecy – Information is fairly protected if the computer system is well managed.
- Versatile – It can do the same thing over and over again without being worn out.
- It is a good form of entertainment.
- It makes it possible to do some jobs that would be impossible without the use of a computer.
The Inside of a Computer
Disadvantages of Computers
You are all aware that anything that has got advantages must have its drawbacks. So, here are some of the disadvantages of a computer, though most of the times they are reverted by looking for a solution.
- Computers are expensive.
- Computers replace people in employment
- It needs expertise which is expensive to hire and maintain.
- Loss of information if not well managed.
- Problems arise when computers can not be used for example when the system breaks down either in terms of software or hardware.
Parts of a Computer System
Any computer system will comprise of the following major parts:
- Hardware – These are the physical parts or components that make up a computer, the parts we can see and touch for instance mouse, keyboard, monitor, hard disk drive etc.
- Software – These are the programs that run or control a computer, they tell the computer how to perform specific tasks.
- Liveware – This is the person who is operating a computer.
They can be divided into the following:
- Computer peripherals – These are devices attached to the computer and they are mostly for enhancing its capabilities. These are some of the peripheral devices you will encounter, printers, scanners, disk drives, microphones, speakers and cameras.
- Input Devices – These are devices that are used to enter raw data into a computer for example to mention but a few, keyboard, mouse, light pens, and bar-code readers.
- Output devices – These are devices used to produce or display the information that has been processed, for example, Visual Display Unit (VDU) also commonly known as the monitor, we also have speakers, and projectors as output devices.
- The System unit – It is also called the base unit. It is the box in which major computer components are enclosed, for example, Motherboard, Hard disk drive, CD ROM drives, Power Supply Unit, and Central Processing Unit (CPU) – which performs all the processing of program instructions and also processes the arithmetic and logical calculations.
Parts of a Computer
How much do you know about computers?
© 2012 Patrick Kamau