I have recently been told that you are planning to buy a computer to ensure better communication with your near and dear ones. There are some important things one should be aware of, before buying a computer. A good machine with up to date and latest configuration can be of numerous uses. I am told that you are a retired teacher and have taken up various leisure learning programs in recent past and hence the selection of a good computer is all the more important for you. Apart from your prime purpose of maintaining better communication with others, you can use for reading, writing, and entertainment purposes. You may even use your computer to combine and use the learning of your courses and use them more often. There are some basic terms and concepts you ought to know about, these will not only make you familiar with computers but will help you in long run in understanding the basic functioning and components that make a computer. For now you need to know these terms to make a smart choice as well as to know about the latest in the market.
Some of the most important terms and concepts which are prevalent and used very often for the computers are as mentioned and discussed below:
PC: PC is an acronym used for personal computer. It is a term used by people to signify a general-purpose computer which is personal and hence used by a single person (at a time). It could refer to a desktop machine or a laptop.
MAC: MAC is a kind of personal computer too which is exclusively made and manufactured by a company named Apple Inc. MAC could be a desktop Machine (iMac), laptops (MacBook) or tablet PCs (iPad), but their distinct feature is that they are only produced by Apple and have specially designed Operating Systems made by Apple, optimized for these machines.
Hardware: Hardware refers to all the physical parts and components of the computers. Right from the Displays, Input devices, Output devices, CPU: everything falls under this category. Everything in a computer that is physical forms the hardware of the machine. It consists of all the components that make a computer sans the software. It forms the body of a computer.
Software: If hardware forms the body of the computer, Software is its soul. Software are computer programs that responsible for everything that a computer does. They put life into the computer hardware and are responsible to make them work. They basically guide and instruct the hardware to work and act in a desired manner. There are various kinds of Software.
RAM: RAM is a short form for Random Access Memory. It is a kind of storage used in computers. They are one of the prime reasons behind the performance of a computer, since most of the running programs and software are kept in RAM so that they are accessed promptly and quickly. Thus low RAM means low speed for a computer, while high RAM results in high speeds and hence optimal performance for a system.
Operating System: Operating System is the most important software as it integrates a computer and forms an interface between computer hardware and the user. It not only manages the hardware but also provides a platform for other software and program to be used on the machine. There are different kinds of Operating Systems available in the market, but two most popular and widely used (for computers) are: Windows (developed by Microsoft) and Macintosh (developed by Apple). Choice of Operating Systems is based on once uses and purposes.
Internet: In simple and lucid words, Internet connects your computer and you to the outside world. It is a collection of various small networks. All the networks follow some common rules which connect them and make the transfer of information possible between PCs located in any part of the world. The main purpose for which you wish to buy a computer, to ensure frequent and better connectivity to your grandchildren, can never be realized without an Internet connection. Apart from communication, Internet can be used for plethora of things and is a must if you wish to unleash the true potential of a computer.
Webpage: When you have access to Internet you are exposed to websites which are of various types and forms. Each website consists of number of web pages or a collection of webpages results in a full-fledged website. Each distinct page of a website is termed as a Webpage. Each webpage is uniquely identifiable and hence is unique. A webpage is made up of variety of data ranging from plain text to medias like videos, animations etc.
Flash drive: Flash drive is another data storage device for computers. The main and highlighting points of flash drives are that they are very compact, light weighted and mobile. Primarily they are used to carry information on the move and to transfer data from one computer to another. They are also known as Pen drives and come in various variants, depending on their size and capacity. They can be used in PCs, which have USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports only and hence though most computers these days come with in-built USB ports, it is always better to confirm.
iPad: iPad is a tablet-computing device manufactured by Apple Inc. It is specifically famous for allowing computing on the go. It is very portable, thin and weighs in grams and hence can be carried anywhere. It comes in two variants, iPad (10 inches screen) and iPad Mini (7 inches screen) and both feature touch screens. iPad runs on iOS, an operating system designed and devised by Apple for its mobiles and iPad. It has played a significant role in making computing much more mobile, easier and indeed flamboyant.
Desktop: Desktop is most important and an imperative output device. It displays whatever the computer processes to the user, in user-friendly form and hence acts as an important interface between the user and the machine. Desktops have evolved over the years and are available in various varieties ranging from LCD to TFT. They are popularly known as Monitors and are an integral part of a computer since they consist of the very important display device.
All the terms, processes and devices explained are very important and are a must to know for every computer owner. You need to familiar yourself with all these things to be comfortable with your new computer in the very starting only. You will understand them better once you start using your pc, but the basic knowledge is very important for you not to feel out of tune. I explained all the terms in the simplest words and in the most practical language. I hope they benefit you and help you in selection of a good computer, initially and also in getting used to it over the time. The things will get clearer over the time and you will realize the importance and value associated with each of them as you start exploring different aspects of computing. I wish you all the luck in selection of a good computer and I hope you find all these terms useful and relevant.