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The invention of computers has made a huge change in human civilization and society, by changing the way people think. Computers replaced jobs and tedious repetitive thoughts that were done by human originally. People became more and more reliant on computers, and thus, computers became essential to our lives. Computers can manufacture products quickly, and eliminate possible human errors. As technology progresses, new ideas have been brought into computer to make them perform more efficiently. Also, scientists and engineers tend to make things “smaller”, so we can enjoy the benefits from electronic devices anywhere and anytime. Therefore, size and efficiency are two main points for consumers. Desktop computer and laptop computer are representatives for each of these concepts. Although desktops and laptops come from the same origin, they are different in many ways.
The history of computers is an amazing story filled with interesting statistics. “The first computer was invented by a man named Konrad Zuse. He was a German construction engineer, and he used the machine mainly for mathematic calculations and repetition” (Bellis, Inventors of Modern Computer). The invention shocked the world; it inspired people to start the development of computers. Soon after,
“In 1946, John Mauchly and J Presper Eckert developed the fastest computer at that time, the ENIAC I. It was built under the assistance of the US army, and it was used on military researches. The ENIAC I contained 17468 vacuum tubes, along with 70000 resistors, 10000 capacitors, 1500 relays, 6000 manual switches and 5 million soldered joints. It covered 1800 square feet of floor space, weighed 3 tons, consumed 160 kilowatts of electrical power.”(Bellis, Inventors of Modern Computer)
These statistics are amazing, but even more amazing is the development of computers. Now in 2005, in this short 68-year period, computer technology has changed its entire look; now, we use computer chips instead of vacuum tubes and circuit board instead of wires. The changes in size and speed are probably the biggest. When we look at computers today, it is very hard to imagine computers 60 years ago were such big, heavy monsters.
Desktop computers were commonly used since the late 90’s. The increasing number of applications on desktop computers allowed us to do all kinds of different activities like games, music, video, document editing and so on. In comparison with laptop computers, desktop computers have more stable performance, greater capacities, and throughout history, they have proven themselves more reliable to handle every job they have been assigned.
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Desktops are bigger and consume more space compared to a laptop. As a college student, we all know that our dorms or apartments are so small that our belongings can barely fit. Thus, the big pieces of desktops may become a headache, and people scramble for a place to set them down. In addition, with the tangled, dusty wires and cords, they may become the biggest frustration in the world.
On the contrary, laptops have become more and more popular in recent years. It takes all the components of a standard desktop and combines it into a compact machine. Therefore, instead of mouse, keyboard and monitor all over the place, we can now take a laptop with all the components that are built-in to the machine. It is just a bit larger that the surface of a regular piece paper, with a thickness thinner than a dictionary, and it is much smaller compared to a desktop computer. With this machine, you can do almost everything you can do on a desktop. The mobility of the laptop is one of the most important selling points. Compare to a big and heavy desktop computer, a laptop is lightweight, and everyone can easily pick it up and travel with it. For college students, a laptop can be used as a notebook for note taking, and an entertainment center. While riding on an airplane, a bus or a train, we can watch movies, play games or work with a laptop. The Internet is one of the important elements of the 20th century. The invention of Wi-Fi, wireless networking, breaks the limits of a laptop. With hot spots and Wi-Fi, people can access the internet anytime and anywhere. Laptop computers are now greater than ever.
Laptops have become one of the spotlights in the news, and people have started paying more attentions to some facts about laptops in recent days. We can always hear news reporters saying that working with laptops for an excessive amount of time will cause strain or damage to our necks. There are similar cases with damaging the back and fingers; “One of the recent researches in Britain showed that putting a laptop on a man’s lap may cause infertility. They claimed that the heat and infrared waves that were produced while the laptop was running could kill cells and organisms inside our body, and damage our reproductive system” (BBC News). This news brings up many people’s concern, but there is no research in the US that has proven this result. Although the research is doubtful at some point, it is reasonable that the long use of a laptop can cause different kinds of physical problems, and we should not overlook these problems. In contrast, there is less research showing that the use of desktop would result in serious health damage.
In today’s market, the competition between computer companies leads to more affordable computers in the market, and the competition pushes the development of computers to go faster. In recent years, the advancement of computers has gone so fast that people cannot keep up with it. New applications keep coming out, and they will be outdated in less then one year. As fast as the improvement of computers goes, there is no absolute limit to what computers can do.
The digital revolution has had very a large impact on human society. Computers have made our lives easier and more convenient. They connect the world to bring people closer together. With computers, the impossible mission will become possible and dreams will come true. There are thousands of possibilities within the computerized and digitalized world.
Within 10 years, computers are going to be involved in all fields of study and researches. Computers will be more intelligent, and it will be possible that one-day computers will be able to communicate with people, share their ideas and unleash their true power. With the power of computers, people can explore the world from the core of the earth to Mars in outer space. Humans and computers will work together to modify the earth into an ideal place for all living creatures.
Comparing desktop computers to laptop computers, desktops are more stable, more powerful and more reliable; on the other hand, laptops are smaller, lightweight and portable. The decision of selection is based on economic measurement and the true need for the performance. Computers have incredible impacts on our society and civilization; computers change our world in every major way. The future will lead us to a better and brighter world.
Mary Bellis. Inventors of Modern Computer: The First Freely Programmable Computer invented by Konrad Zuse. Website: http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa050298.htm
Mary Bellis. Inventors of Modern Computer: The ENIAC I Computer - J Presper Eckert and John Mauchly. Website: http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa060298.htm
BBC News. 2004, December 9. Laptops may damage male fertility.