Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
What Is a Computer?
What Is a Computer?
Computers are everywhere: at work, at school, and at home. In the workplace, employees use
computers to create correspondence such as e-mail messages, memos, and letters; manage calendars;
calculate payroll; track inventory; and generate invoices. At school, teachers use computers to assist
with classroom instruction. Students use computers to complete assignments and research. People
also spend hours of leisure time using a computer. They play games, communicate with friends and
relatives online and using e-mail, purchase goods online, converse in chat rooms, listen to music
or radio broadcasts, watch or create videos and movies, read books and magazines, share stories,
research genealogy, retouch photos, and plan vacations. At work, at school, and at home, computers
are helping people do their work faster, more accurately, and in some cases, in ways that previously
would not have been possible.
A computer is an electronic device, operating under the control of instructions stored in its own
memory, that can accept data (input), process the data according to specified rules (process), produce
results (output), and store the results (storage) for future use. Generally, the term is used to describe a
collection of electric, electronic, and mechanical components known as hardware. Figure 1 shows some
common hardware components. These components are discussed in more depth later in this chapter.
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(output device)
optical disc drive
(storage device)
(output device)
Web cam
(input device)
(output device)
hard disk drive
(storage device)
system unit
(processor, memory,
and storage devices)
(input device)
(input device)
(input device)
(input device)
USB flash drive
(storage device)
card reader/writer
(storage device)
(communications device)
external hard disk
(storage device)
memory cards
(storage device)
Figure 1 Common computer hardware components include the keyboard, mouse, microphone, scanner, Web cam, printer,
monitor, speakers, system unit, hard disk drive, external hard disk, optical disc drive(s), USB flash drive, card reader/writer, memory
cards, and modem.
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