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Understanding computer ports

From: Computer Literacy for the Mac

Video: Understanding computer ports

Even though you can accomplish many common tasks with your Mac with just what comes in the box - meaning the computer itself, the keyboard, and the mouse - you'll most likely need to attach and use peripheral devices such as printers, scanners, digital cameras, projectors - the lists goes on and on. So in this chapter, we are going to look at how to set up and install common peripherals, but first in this movie, I want to make sure you are familiar with the available ports on Macs in to which you will be plugging your devices. The most common port in use for peripherals right now is USB. All Macs and PCs have USB ports, and you can see they are a flat rectangular port with what looks likes a small plastic tab inside.

Understanding computer ports

Even though you can accomplish many common tasks with your Mac with just what comes in the box - meaning the computer itself, the keyboard, and the mouse - you'll most likely need to attach and use peripheral devices such as printers, scanners, digital cameras, projectors - the lists goes on and on. So in this chapter, we are going to look at how to set up and install common peripherals, but first in this movie, I want to make sure you are familiar with the available ports on Macs in to which you will be plugging your devices. The most common port in use for peripherals right now is USB. All Macs and PCs have USB ports, and you can see they are a flat rectangular port with what looks likes a small plastic tab inside.

Of course, you plug USB cables into USB ports. This is what a USB cable looks like, and the part circled there is the part that goes into the USB port. Now the other end of the cable, you plug into your USB port might go directly into whatever device you are plugging in, like a mouse or a keyboard, or may look like this, or this, or this. But as long as the device or cable you are plugging into your Mac goes into your USB port, it's considered a USB device. Another port you will find on most Macs is called a FireWire port, and it looks like this.

Now there are actually two kinds of FireWire ports: FireWire 400 and FireWire 800. FireWire 800, which we have circled here, is the rectangular one. FireWire 400, this one, is the older and slower port that's been discontinued on Macs, while you will find FireWire 800 ports on most new Macs. Generally, FireWire is used for connecting external hard drives. Many people prefer external drives that connect over FireWire 800, because you can transfer data between your computer and the drive faster than you can with the USB device. Another important port you will find on your Mac is the Ethernet port.

This is the port that lets you connect to your network, or Internet service. It looks kind of like a wide telephone jack. The cable that plugs into the Ethernet port looks like this. One end goes into your Mac, and the other end goes into your router or modem. In an upcoming chapter, we'll talk about how to set up your Mac to connect to your network or to the Internet, but for now that's how you set up the physical connection. You just plug your Ethernet cable into your Ethernet port, and on the other end, which looks like identical to this, into your router or modem. Other ports you will probably be using are the audio and input jacks. The audio output jack is denoted by a speaker icon, and the input jack looks like two triangles pointing inward towards each other.

You can plug speakers into the output jack so you can hear any sounds your Mac is making through them, including alert sounds or music you are playing. And if you are recording audio, one option for doing so is sending audio into the input jack. Lastly, all current Macs have monitor connectors for connecting external monitors to your computer. Macs like the Mac Pro and the Mac Mini have to have monitors plugged into them so you can see what you are doing, and they connect through ports called the DVI ports. We are seeing an example here of two DVI ports on a Mac Pro. Now the iMac in Apple's notebook computers all have built-in monitors, but they also include monitor connectors, in case you would like to add a second larger monitor to your setup.

In those cases, you connect through a mini DVI port that looks like this. So that's a rundown of the most important ports you'll need to be familiar with to plug in and use peripherals with your Mac.

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This video is part of

Image for Computer Literacy for the Mac
Computer Literacy for the Mac

55 video lessons · 23358 viewers

Garrick Chow
Author

 
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  1. 2m 49s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. Using the assessment files
      1m 7s
    3. Using the exercise files
      33s
  2. 9m 51s
    1. What's a computer?
      1m 49s
    2. What's inside a computer?
      2m 46s
    3. Laptop vs. desktop computers
      1m 59s
    4. Special considerations when using a laptop
      3m 17s
  3. 20m 58s
    1. Understanding the operating system
      3m 3s
    2. Understanding files, folders, and directories
      4m 49s
    3. Understanding your home folder (your user folder)
      5m 21s
    4. Using your desktop
      3m 11s
    5. Taking out the trash (recycle bin)
      2m 21s
    6. The right click
      2m 13s
  4. 24m 8s
    1. Understanding applications
      4m 24s
    2. Opening and saving files
      4m 10s
    3. Choosing the right tool
      4m 44s
    4. How to learn any application
      3m 53s
    5. Five things that work in all applications
      6m 57s
  5. 36m 22s
    1. Understanding computer ports
      2m 59s
    2. Setting up a printer
      3m 7s
    3. Printing your documents
      4m 30s
    4. Setting up a scanner
      2m 27s
    5. Scanning a document
      6m 15s
    6. Setting up a projector or second monitor
      5m 56s
    7. Using a projector
      3m 43s
    8. Portable storage devices
      3m 53s
    9. Pairing with Bluetooth devices
      3m 32s
  6. 17m 27s
    1. Understanding networks and internet access
      2m 58s
    2. Connecting to wired network
      2m 36s
    3. Connecting to wireless networks
      4m 4s
    4. Working in a networked environment
      6m 15s
    5. Staying protected from viruses
      1m 34s
  7. 19m 31s
    1. Understanding email servers and clients
      2m 11s
    2. Setting up your email application
      4m 15s
    3. Receiving and reading email
      2m 21s
    4. Composing new email messages
      5m 52s
    5. Reply vs. Reply All
      2m 11s
    6. Dealing with spam
      2m 41s
  8. 8m 24s
    1. Understanding search engines
      1m 24s
    2. Conducting basic searches
      3m 51s
    3. Conducting advanced searches
      3m 9s
  9. 24m 21s
    1. Using word processors
      4m 22s
    2. Formatting text
      7m 7s
    3. Using spreadsheets
      3m 36s
    4. Creating a simple data table
      7m 37s
    5. Formatting a data table
      1m 39s
  10. 18m 53s
    1. Importing images from a digital camera
      4m 46s
    2. Storing and organizing digital images
      5m 11s
    3. Basic image manipulation
      4m 10s
    4. Tagging images
      2m 32s
    5. Sharing images
      2m 14s
  11. 10m 52s
    1. Common obstacles in sharing files
      1m 37s
    2. Creating PDFs for document sharing
      5m 35s
    3. Compressing files
      3m 40s
  12. 1m 3s
    1. What's next?
      1m 3s

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