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Intro to computers

Application Software
Software that performs some useful task such as word processing or playing a game for a user.
The physical case in which the componets of the system unint are located. The size and shape of the case determine a computer's form factor. Common form factors include desktop, mid-tower, full-tower, laptop, and game console
An electronic device, operating under the control of instructions stored in its own memory, that can accept data, process the data according to certain rules, produce results, and store the results for future use.
Computer Literacy
The knowledge of what a computer is and how it can be used. Includes having a familiarity with computer terminology so that one can intelligently discuss computers and make use of them at work and home.
Communication Device
Any electronic device such as a network card or modem that allows two or more computers to exchange information.
Embeded Computer
A computer that is part of a larger device and whose functionality is limited to performing actions related to the function of that device.For example, there is a small computer embedded in your car whose purpose is to take the readings it receives and compute just how hard to inflate the airbags during a collision.
Graphical User Interface (GUI)
The interface through which a user interacts with the computer. For example, Microsoft Windows provides a GUI in which users launch programs by clicking on small pictures callled icons and those programs run in rectangular areas called windows.
The electronic components that go together to make up the computer. It gets the name hardware because you can actually touch and physically handle the components unline software that is simply electronic data.
Input Device
A device that allows data and information to be entered into the computer. Common input devices include the keyboard, mouse, digital camera, and microphone.
A powerful computer that can handle difficult computational tasks such as analyzing research data or rendering video and can support hundreds/thousands of users connected at the same time. Mainframes range in size from large towers up to full cabnets.
Mobile Computer
A smaller computer that is designed to be used when traveling or when on the move. Common examples of mobile computers include small laptops, PDAs, and smart phones.
Output Device
A device that allows processed data to be produced from the computer in hard (printouts) or soft (visuals) copy. Common output devices include computer monitors, speakers,
Personal Computer (PC)
The standard desktop computer that most users are familiar with. The PC is usually designed to be used by only one user at a given time and has resources limited to handle that situation.
A powerful computer that is designed with expanded network and hardwarecapabilities to allow thousands of users to connect and obtain the services provided by the computer. Servers can range in size from small towers to filling small rooms depending on the numer of users they have to manage.
The programs that execute on the computer. Software can be divided into two main categories: application software that accomplishes useful tasks like writing a paper, and system software that runs and maintains the computer
Storage Device
A device where data from a computer can be stored permanently on a non-volatile storage medium such as a magnetic or optical disk.
Gigantic computers that can fill a building or building foor. Supercomputers are used for large scale research and for breaking cryptographic codes. They are mostly owned by the governments and large educational institutions. With the increase of computing power seen in PCs and the growth of distributed computer networks, supercomputers have seen a large decline in popularity.
System software
Software that runs and maintains the computer.
System Unit
The main case of the computer unit that contains the components responsible for most of the computer's processing. The system unit typically includes the chasis, power supply, motherboard, processor, hard disk drives, optical drives, and any expansion cards.