The Ins and Outs of the Computer


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The Ins and Outs of the Computer


Abstract
The computer that we use in our homes and places of business usually consists of a box containing the computer, a mouse, a couple of disks with drivers, a monitor for output and a keyboard for input. We may connect the computer to any number of local or remote peripherals of other computers, but here is the foundation of the computer. It is here that everything starts, and here is where all of the innovations and ideas of the present day have been started. For the moment let's assume that sufficient processing takes place inside the computer, and look at how things get in and out.

Keyboards
Keyboards are one of the most important input devices for a computer. They serve as your primary means of communication with your computer. Most keyboards have an ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) layout, which includes a numeric keypad, special function keys, special control keys, as well as typing keys. The typing keys are just the keys containing the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. These keys have a QWERTY setup. QWERTY stands for the first six letters in the top row of the standard letter keys. It was designed so that the most commonly used letters would not be near each other. There are also other parts to the keyboard such as the numeric keypad, the function keys, and the control keys. The numeric keys are a group of 17 keys located on the right of your keyboard that includes all of the numbers from 0-9, a plus sign, a minus sign, and other assorted keys. Since many computers are used for business purposes and to input numbers into a computer, the numeric keypad was designed which made it easier and faster to input numbers. The control keys are intricate keys like del (delete), ctrl (control), alt (alternate), shift, and enter. The delete (or backspace) key is used to erase characters in a document. The esc (escape) key is normally used to exit out of a program or application, while when you strike the enter key, a task or command is carried out. The tab key is primarily used to indent in a document. The shift key is often used in combination with other keys. Lastly, there are the ctrl and alt keys. Like the shift key, these are also used in combination with other keys, and they typically perform functions related to those of the function keys.

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Mouse
To interact with things on the screen, some kind of pointing device is necessary. The most universal of these is a mouse. We use mice to direct our cursor to a certain point, and then we click on a button to select our choice. Mice have from one to three buttons, normally, and may have more along with a clickable scrolling roller wheel on the top. Other pointing devices include joy sticks, or as a little pencil eraser-sized ball in the center of the keyboard (usually on laptops), light pens, touch screens, or touch pads.

Scanner
Scanners have slowly made their way into the everyday lives of the common public. They are ways in which graphical images can be inputted into the computer for touch-ups or to be circulated through the Internet.

Monitors
You communicate everyday with your computer via the computer's monitor. The monitor is the screen that displays the programs you are running, the images and documents, and all sorts of other information. Unlike most other parts of your computer, the monitor does not perform any calculations or operations. Instead, it is only responsible for passing on all of the information to you by displaying it on a screen. Most monitors are based on the CRT, or cathode ray tube. Cathode ray tubes are glass tubes that are narrow at one end, and open up to a wide screen at another. They are the display devices of the monitors.

LCD Display
LCD is like a monitor, and it too is a type of screen used to display all sorts of programs, information, and applications you use on your computer. LCD is an acronym for Liquid Crystal Display, and is commonly found in laptop computers, but it is now slowly making an entrance into the personal computer world. There are two main types of LCD displays: passive matrix screens and active matrix screens, which both screens have a table-like display. Like with cathode-ray monitors, the LCD screens are divided into tiny sections called pixels. The big difference between the passive matrix screens and the active matrix screens is that the active matrix screens use more transistors for each pixel than passive matrix screens. This is what allows the former to have the brightest overall picture and the widest viewing angle. This is also what makes the active matrix screen much more expensive than the passive matrix screen

Printers
Printers are one of the most popular forms of output of a computer system. Printers are used when you want to print an essay you typed up for your Computer class, when you want to print out a picture your girlfriend sent you, and when you want to print out a letter you typed to friend. Printers are an important part of your home office system, and are used to perform a variety of tasks.

Floppy Drives
I'm sure that you have all seen a floppy disk sometime in your life. There are the older, now-obsolete 5.25-inch floppy disks and the newer 3.5-inch floppy disks. Some of you might remember the older ones- they were flexible, bendable, black, and fairly big. The newer ones are fairly small and are contained in different colored plastic cases. Floppy disks, like hard disks, are external storage devices used to store data and information. Floppy disks are commonly used because of their cheap cost. Unfortunately, as they cannot hold much information, multiple disks might be necessary to store one file. This is why storage devices called CD-ROMs, portable devices capable of storing a lot of data, are becoming more and more popular.
If you have recently purchase a computer you should read this essay. I have brolen down every important part of the computer and what it does. If you are the person who opens the box and says, "I don't know anything about this thing", than this is for you, because this is the heart and soul of the computer. If you can understand how things go in and out, you can understand the innovations and ideas of the future.



Reference
Evans, A., Martin, K., Anne Poatsy, M.,(2008)
Technology in Action. New Jersey: Prentice Hall


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