– Operating system
• Monitors computer resources
• Accepts and directs input and output
• Provides a safe environment
– Utility programs
• Coordinate resources
• Provide screen savers
• Reorganize the hard disk drive
• Provide online security
• Computer hardware and software enable
you to turn data into information.
• Connecting to the Internet offers vast
resources and collaboration.
• Be aware of your computer security and
privacy as you network your computer
Hinweis der Redaktion
This presentation introduces you to computing concepts. Understanding how your computer components work together is important. This will enable you to speak the language of computers, request assistance for problems that may occur, and put you more at ease as you complete specific tasks.
The objectives for this chapter include: Identify hardware and software. Access the Internet. Communicate over the Internet. Collaborate over the Internet. Share home computer resources. Ensure computer security and privacy.
No matter what type of computer you use, one basic principle exists. Data is entered into the computer. The computer processes that data and produces information. Let’s look at those two words—data and information—in more detail. Data are facts. The facts can be entered into the computer in a variety of ways, which we will discuss throughout this presentation. Data alone is not very useful and can pile up. The major role of the computer is to take the data and rearrange it, pulling data from different sources, matching it, processing it with logic and mathematics, and producing useful information. So, information is actually processed data. It is organized in a way that makes it easier to understand and more useful than the raw data. Data is often referred to as input and information is called output.Let’s look at an example. On the job, you may fill out a time card for each payroll period. This time card information is data. Along with data stored on the computer, such as your rate of pay, withholding information, and health benefits, your time card data is processed by a software application to produce a pay check for the payroll period. The paycheck is the information. Other reports are generated so that the accountant can track the expenditures of the company.Remember, though, that the information you get is only as good as the data that goes into the processing. There is a well-used phrase that bears repeating—“garbage in, garbage out.” The quality of the data determines the quality of the information.
Computer hardware is all around us. Most of the time, you can quickly identify hardware because it is any computer component that you can touch. You are probably familiar with the computer monitor, printer, mouse, keyboard, speakers, disk drives, and other components. Hardware is classified by the job it performs, such as input, output, or storage hardware. Each type will be discussed later in this presentation.
Software is a set of instructions that guides the computer as it processes the data into information. Software is broken into two major categories—operating systems and applications. Every computer has an operating system that allows the computer to communicate with the application software and manage computer resources. Windows 7, a Microsoft product, was released in October 2009. Windows operating systems are very prevalent, with approximately 90 percent of all computers using some version. Apple computers use the Mac OS X (pronounced “OS ten”) operating system. Some computers use Linux as the operating system. Utility programs are usually bundled with the operating system. These help to manage the computer’s resources, such as Disk Defragmenter, security software, and screen savers.Application software is used to complete specific tasks. You can prepare documents and spreadsheets, create and use a database, modify photographs, create drawings, manipulate video, and browse the Internet using the software listed in the table on this slide. There are thousands of applications available, and more are being written and distributed every day.We will return to the discussion of software in a later slide.
As you consider a computer purchase, you will think about the speed of the computer, the storage capacity, the cost, and whether a desktop computer or a notebook better meets your needs. A desktop computer is modular. Components such as the keyboard, mouse, monitor, and system unit are separate. For example, if you decide you would like to change keyboards, it is as simple as unplugging the old one and plugging in the new one. This modularization offers you the opportunity to customize the system to meet your needs. With a notebook computer, all of the components are in a single package that you can quickly fold up and carry. A notebook can run on battery power or be plugged into an electrical outlet. This convenience is an important feature for business people as well as students. Notebooks, sometimes referred to as laptops, are getting smaller, with subnotebooks approaching the size and weight of a paperback book. A tablet PC provides an additional element of convenience to the notebook computer class by enabling the user to write or draw on the screen with a stylus. The tablet PC converts the written data into a digital format for the computer to read.
Computers depend on you to provide input. Devices such as a keyboard, mouse, touchpad, microphone, webcam, scanner, or digital camera enable you to enter data into the computer for processing. The keyboard is probably the most important input device. Ergonomic keyboards assist you in positioning your hands in a manner that makes it more comfortable for typing. Wireless keyboards, which work on batteries, enable you to move around while inputting data. There are even laser keyboards, which project the image of a keyboard on any surface, with sensors detecting motion as you type. It is important to remember that, on a notebook computer, the keyboard is often smaller and some keys, such as the numeric keypad normally found on the desktop computer keyboard, are consolidated with other keys. The computer mouse is another important input device. On the desktop computer, it can be a mouse with a roller ball, an optical mouse, or a wireless mouse. Trackball input devices are used by moving the ball on the top or side of the unit, and are ergonomically designed to prevent repetitive stress injuries. Notebook computers integrate the mouse into the case through the use of a touchpad or trackpoint device embedded in the keyboard. Many notebook users prefer to plug a regular mouse into the notebook. The discussion of input devices continues on the next slide.
Additional devices can be added to your computer to enable you to input sound or image data. Microphone choices range from a headset that costs less than $15 to sophisticated ones costing hundreds of dollars. Notebook computers often come with an integrated microphone. Microphones enable you to record class notes, chat with friends, and participate in online audio webinars.Digital cameras and webcams collect image and video data. Again, the price points can range from less than $50 to thousands of dollars for these devices. Once in the computer, the image data can be manipulated, published online or printed. Another popular input device is a scanner, which converts existing pictures or text into a digital format for processing by the computer.Many input and output devices are connected to the computer via a USB port. This convenient port format enables you to connect most brands of devices to your computer. Generally, the USB port cord is included with the input or output device. The next slide begins the discussion of output devices.
Output devices make the information processed available in a format that you can use. You print documents, communicate electronically, play games, or listen to music or other types of audio through output devices. The monitor displays text, graphics, and video as soft copy, meaning that it is easily changed and not in a fixed format. The most popular monitors now use liquid crystal displays, or LCD, which are energy efficient, require less desk space, and produce a bright, clear image. If you are purchasing an LCD monitor, consider the screen resolution. Resolution is the number of pixels that are displayed at one time. The higher the resolution, the clearer and sharper the image display will be. Some monitors feature integrated speakers, but you may find that external speakers or a headset with a microphone fits your needs. External speakers plug into the computer and deliver high quality sound. A headset is useful for listening to output privately or participating in computer phone calls. In most cases, the plug for the headsets is the same as the plug for an iPod or other MP3 player ear buds.
Printers produce hard copies of computer output. Ink jet printers are affordable and produce high-quality color graphics or text by spraying ink onto the paper. Laser printers use a different technology to create printouts, working more like a copier. While they may initially cost more than ink jet printers, laser printers are often cheaper to maintain because the toner cartridges last longer than the ink cartridges of the ink jet printers. If you are purchasing a printer, you may consider a wireless or a multifunction printer. Wireless printers, using Bluetooth technology, print from a variety of sources, including notebook computers. Multifunction printers print, scan, copy and fax all from the same machine, making them an attractive option if you have limited space.
Let’s focus a little more on software. Software is a set of instructions that directs the computer to accomplish certain tasks. As discussed earlier, there are two major varieties—system software and application software. Operating system software is necessary for the computer to function. It manages the communications within the computer between the application software and the hardware. It monitors the computer’s resources and general health, notifying you if there is a problem. The operating system is a set of programs that lets you enter data from a keyboard or storage device, display the data on the monitor, save the files to a storage device, and print documents. Using the operating system, you manage the disk space, create folders, and install and uninstall programs. The operating system provides security features that create a relatively safe environment in which to communicate electronically. Utility software is made up of special function applications to coordinate system resources and manage files. Screen savers, compression utilities, security software such as antivirus, antispyware, and firewalls, are all examples of utility software.The discussion of software continues on the next slide.
A computer’s operating system works in conjunction with the application software. Productivity software enables you to complete tasks such as word processing, preparing spreadsheets, creating presentations, and developing databases. One of the most widely recognized productivity software suites is Microsoft Office, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook. Most purchased software is considered commercial software, which means you are not allowed to copy it. United States copyright law protects commercial software. Shareware is software that you can download and try before purchasing. This enables you to make an informed decision about the suitability of the software to fit your needs or task. Freeware provides games, screen savers, system utilities, and other applications. The licensing agreement, called a copyleft agreement, enables you to distribute copies of freeware software to others. Be aware that some freeware contains spyware that may send data about you and your computer to others.
You have learned that computer hardware and software take raw data and process it into usable information. When you add the Internet to your computer, your resources and opportunities for collaboration increase almost beyond measure. As you explore this virtual world, be vigilant about your computer security and personal privacy.
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