INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER
We first present the five parts of an information system: People, Procedures, Software, Hardware, and Data.
Competent end users need to understand these basic parts and how connectivity through the internet and the web expands the role of information technology (IT) in our lives.
Fifteen years ago, most people and little to do with computers, at least directly, that is, they filled out computerized forms, took computerized tests, and paid computerized bills.
But the real work with computers was handled by specialists-programmers, data-entry clerks, and computer operators.
Then microcomputers came along and changed everything. Now it is easy for nearly everybody to use a computer. People who use microcomputers are called end users today.
· Microcomputers are common tools in all areas of life. Writer’s write, artists draw, engineers and scientist calculate-all on microcomputers. Students and business people do all this, and more.
New forms of learning have developed. People who are homebound, who work odd hours, or who travel frequently may take courses on the Web. A college course need not fit within the usual time of a quarter or a semester.
· New ways to communicate, to find people with similar interest, and to buy goods are available. All kinds of people are using electronic mails, electronic commerce, and the Internet to meet and share ideas and products.
What is computer?
· A computer is an electronic device that accepts data and processes it into useful information. OR Computer is electronic device that can follow instructions to accept input, process that input, and produces information.
Now let talk about;
An Information System has five parts:
When you think of Microcomputer, perhaps you think of just the equipment itself. That is, you think of the Monitor or the Keyboard. There is more to it than that. The way to think about a Microcomputer is as part of an Information System. An Information System has five parts: People, Procedures, Software, Hardware and Data.
· People: it is easy to overlook people as one of the five parts of Microcomputer system yet that is what microcomputers are all about-making people, end users like yourself, more productive. People are the most important part of an Information System. Examples include, people in entertainment, medicine, education and business.
Note: To be a competent end user, you must understand the essentials of Information technology (IT), including Software, Hardware, and Data.
· Procedures: Procedures are rules or guidelines for people to follow when using software, hardware and data. Typically, these procedures are documented in manuals warren by computer specialists. Software and hardware manufactures often provide manuals with their products.
· Software: software is another name for a program or programs. A program consists of the step-by step instructions that tell the computer how to do its work. The purpose of software is to convert data into information.
· Hardware: The hardware consists of equipment: keyboard, mouse, monitor system unit, and other devices. Hardware is controlled by software.
· Data: data consist of the raw, unprocessed facts, including text, numbers, image, and sounds. After data is processed through the computer it is usually called information.
Software: Software is of two kinds: System Software and Application Software.
Software or programs are the instruction that tell the computer how to process data into the form you want. There are two major kinds of software, system software and application software.
The user interacts with application software. System software enables the application software to interact with the computer hardware. System software is the background software that helps the computer manages its own internal resources.
The most important system software program is the operating system, which interact with the application software and the computer. Window XP or Window 7/ 8/10 is one of the best known operating system for today’s microcomputers.
Application software might be described as end user software. Application software performs useful work on general purpose task such as Microsoft office word and data Analysis.
There are certain general purpose programs or basic application; these Programs are widely used in nearly all career areas.
They are the kind of programs you have to know to be considered computer Professional.
TYPES OF COMPUTERS
Four Types of Computers Are;
· Mainframe computer
Microcomputer hardware consists of the system unit, Input\Output, Secondary Storage and communication devices
Computers are electronic devices that can follow instructions to accept Input process that input, and produce information. This page focuses principally on microcomputers. However, it is almost certain that you will come in contact, at least indirectly, with other types of computers.
Supercomputers: the most powerful type of computer is the supercomputer.
This machine is use for tracking and control space explorations.
Mainframe computers: These large computers occupy specially wired, Air-conditioned rooms. Although not nearly as power as supercomputers. Mainframe computers are capable of great processing speeds and data storage. For example, insurance companies use mainframes to process information about millions of policyholders.
Minicomputers: Also known as midrange computers, minicomputers are desk-sized machines. Medium sized companies or departments or large companies typically use them for specific purpose. For example, production departments use Minicomputers to monitor certain manufacturing processes and Assembly - line operation.
Microcomputers: although the least powerful, microcomputers are the most widely Used and fastest-growing type of computers. Categories of microcomputer include Desktop\Laptop and Personal Digital Assistants. Desktop computers are small enough to fit on top of or alongside desk, yet are portable, weigh between 4 and 10 pounds, and fit into most briefcases. Personal digital assistants (PDA’s) are also known as palmtop computers or handheld computers. They combine pen input, writing recognition, Personal organization tools and communications capabilities in a very small package.
Hardware for a microcomputer system consists of a variety of different devices. This physical equipment fall into four basic categories: System Unit, Input /Output, Secondary Storage, And Communication Devices.
· System Unit: The system unit is an electronic circuitry device housed within the computer cabinet. Two important components of the system unit are the Microprocessor and Memory.
· The Microprocessor controls and manipulates data to produce information, and
· The Memory also known as the primary storage or Random access memory (RAM) holds data and program instructions for processing data. It also holds the processed information before it is output. The system unit capabilities can be expanded by inserting an expansion card such as TV card.
· Input devices: Input devices translate data and programs to human understanding to a form that the computer can process. The most common input devices are the keyboard and mouse.
· Output Device: output devices translate information from the computer into a form human can understand. The most common output devices are the Monitors and Printers.
· Secondary storage Devices: unlike memory, Secondary Storage Devices hold data and programs even after electrical power to the computer system has gone off. Floppy disks or pen drive are widely used to store and transport data from one computer to another. They are called floppy because data is stored on a very thin flexible or floppy disk. Hard disks are typically used to store programs and very large data files. Using a rigid metallic platter, hard disk have a much greater capacity and are able to access information much faster than floppy disks. Optical disks use laser technology and have the greatest capacity. The two basic types of optical disks are compact disks (CDs) and digital versatile (or video) discs (DVDs).
· Communications Devices: communication hardware sends and receives data and programs from one storage device to another many microcomputers use a modem to convert electronic signals from the computer into signals that can travel over a telephone line and onto the internet.
Data is stored in document, worksheet, database, and presentation files. Data is use to describe facts about something. When stored electronically in files, data can be used directly as input for the information system.
The four major types of Files are:
Document Files: This file is created by word processors to save documents such as memos, term papers, and letters.
Worksheet files: Is also created by electronic spreadsheet to analyze things like budgets and to predict sales.
Database Files: Typically created by database management programs to contain highly structured and organized data. Example; an employee database file might contain all the workers’ name social security numbers, job titles, and other related pieces of information.
Presentation Files: Created by presentation graphics programs to save presentation materials. Example; a file might contain audience handouts, speaker notes and electronic slides.
CONNECTIVITY AND INTERNET
Connectivity is the microcomputer’s ability to communicate with other computers and information sources. The Internet is the largest network in the world.
Connectivity: is the capability of your microcomputer to share information with other computers. Data and information can be sent over telephone lines or cable and through the air. Thus, your microcomputer can be connected to other computers. It can connect you to the internet and too many computerized data banks and other sources of information that lies well beyond your desk. Connectivity is very significant development; for it expands the uses of the computer net work. A network is a communication system connects two or more computers. Network connects people as close as the next office and as far away as halfway around the world.
The largest network in the world is the INTERNET. It is like a giant highway that connects you to millions of other people and organizations located throughout the world. Unlike typical highways that move people and things from one location to the other. The internet moves your ideas and information rather than moving through geographic space, you move through cyberspace--the space of electronic movement of ideas and information. The web provides an easy –to-step-use, exciting, and multimedia interface to connect to the internet and to access the resources available in cyberspace. The internet as launched in 1969 when the United States funded a project that developed a national computer network called Advanced Research Project Agency Network (ARPANET). The web also known as WWW and the World Wide Web was introduced in 1992 at the Center for European Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. The internet and the web have evolved as tools for all of us to use. Example, you can chat with friends and collaborate on group projects using the internet and instant messaging.
Have you used the internet? If so, then you probably already know how to use a browser.
For those of you who do not, here are a few tips to get you started
· Start browser. Typically, all you need to do is double –click the browser’s icon on the desktop.
· Enter URL. In the browser’s location box, type the URL (information resource locator or address) of the internet or web location (site) that you want to visit. example, www.ghanaweb.com
· Press ENTER. On your keyboard, press the ENTER key to connect to the site.
· Read and explore. Once connected to the site, read the information displayed on your monitor. Click on underlined text to explore other locations.
· Close browser. Once you are done exploring, click on your browsers CLOSE button.
SET OF COMPUTER
· System unit
· Power cable(2)
BRAND OF COMPUTERS
· Gateway etc
COMPONENTS OF THE SYSTEM UNIT
· Hard disk drive
· CD-ROM Drive
· Data cables
· Power supply unit
· Floppy disk drive
· Heat sink
· CMOS battery
· Microprocessor/ CPU
· Motherboard etc.