Technology has always been part of our lives, from the construction of the first clubs and the first fires to the space age and the computer age. We still learn enough about technology to use it on a daily basis, but computer technology is one of the least understood parts of our existence. Therefore, this series of articles will clarify some of the mysteries of computers.
What are the benefits of learning more about computers? If you are totally satisfied and do not feel frustrated with your computer, you are part of a very lucky minority! However, as with any other type of technology, the more you understand it and the better you will be able to cope with the many problems that may arise. Knowledge is power, after all! You will be able to better help you with this information, and you can also help and impress your friends. So let’s dig into the inside of your computer.
This introductory article will discuss computer components and the difference between different components such as hardware and software, programs and data, memory and storage. The next articles in the series will explore these topics, as well as many others. Questions and reader discussions will also be covered in future articles.
What do you see when you look at a computer system? The most basic modern configuration will comprise four components; the computer itself, a mouse, a keyboard and a monitor. There may be many other additional components such as printers, modems, speakers, microphones, and so on. Let’s start with our basic four-component system.
It is useful to consider this computer model: The computer itself calculates information (processing); we must provide information in the computer (input) in order to receive new information from the computer (output). Each computer equipment provides one or more of these functions: input, processing and output.
A keyboard and a mouse provide input to the computer. Once the information is processed, the results are sent to a monitor or printer. Some devices can provide input and output. For example, we can receive a friend’s e-mail (Internet input via the modem) and reply to e-mail (output via modem over the Internet). You can also create a spreadsheet and save it to your hard disk (input data on the hard disk), and then open the spreadsheet from the hard disk (data output from the hard disk). Because the modem and hard disk are capable of inputs and outputs, they are called input-output (I / O) devices.
The hardware is any device that you can physically touch. Every device we’ve talked about so far can be physically touched. The software can not be touched. This is the electronic information created by the flow or absence of an electrical signal. You can not touch the programs or data used on your computer. You can touch and hold a hard drive, CD, or DVD, so these are all examples of hardware. But you can not touch the flow or lack of an electrical signal, the zeros and those that make up the binary world of computers. If you can touch it, it’s material; if you can not touch it, it’s software.
Both programs and data are considered software because they are composed of the flow or absence of electrical signals, binary zeros and those processed by computers. The words programs and applications are pretty much the same; These are instructions that tell a computer what to do. The data you create can be a document, spreadsheet, graph, or email.
All software, programs and data are stored on the computer in one form or another. When working on a word processor document, for example, you have loaded the program (word processor) and the data (document) into the RAM (random access memory) of the computer. This is where it is kept while the computer is actively processing the information.