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What's a computer?

From: Computer Literacy for the Mac

Video: What's a computer?

When using the word 'computer' in the context of this training course, I'm referring to the entire package of everything you need to actually accomplish tasks. Some people refer to a computer as just the actual unit housing the main components of the hard drive, processor, memory, and so on. But to really use a computer, you also need a monitor, so you can see what you're doing. Now some computers, like the iMac or Apple's notebook computers have built-in monitors, but it's important to not confuse the monitor with the computer itself. The monitor, sometimes also called the display, doesn't do any of the work or processing of the computer.

What's a computer?

When using the word 'computer' in the context of this training course, I'm referring to the entire package of everything you need to actually accomplish tasks. Some people refer to a computer as just the actual unit housing the main components of the hard drive, processor, memory, and so on. But to really use a computer, you also need a monitor, so you can see what you're doing. Now some computers, like the iMac or Apple's notebook computers have built-in monitors, but it's important to not confuse the monitor with the computer itself. The monitor, sometimes also called the display, doesn't do any of the work or processing of the computer.

It simply displays the computer's interface, which is still an essential component of the entire system. You also need a keyboard and a mouse, so you can enter text and commands and control your computer. You'll often need speakers or headphones so you can hear the sounds your computer makes. Some computers have built-in speakers, while others don't. Computers also need to have an operating system, which is the software that manages the entire operation of your entire computer system. We'll talk more about operating systems in a later movie. To use a computer, you also need applications, which are programs that you run on your computer, like word processing, spreadsheet or photo editing applications.

Many computers come with built-in software applications, and you can purchase and install thousands of other applications you might want, or need. You may also need additional hardware to have your computer perform other tasks. For example, you'll need a printer in order to have paper copies of your documents, or a scanner to create electronic versions of your documents, although, these days, your printer and scanner may, in fact, be the same device. If you want to get online, you'll need a web browsing software, a modem, and you'll need to subscribe to an Internet service provider. So at the very least, you need the computer unit itself, a monitor, an operating system, and the keyboard and mouse to have a computer system.

But all of these things and more can make up your computer system, and generally, when we talk about computers, we're talking about any configuration that involves these basic and essential components.

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This video is part of

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

55 video lessons · 24847 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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