Computer Basics: What is a Computer?

Computer Basics: What is a Computer?


Today, computers are all around us. From desktop
computers to smartphones, they’re changing the way that we live our lives. But have you
ever asked yourself, “What exactly IS a computer?” A computer is an electronic device that manipulates
information, or “data.” The computer sees data as 1’s and 0’s, but it knows how to combine
them into more complex things, such as a photograph, movie, website, game, and much more.
Computers use a combination of hardware and software. Hardware is any physical part of
the computer, which includes all of the internal components and also the external parts like
the monitor and the keyboard. Software is any set of instructions that tells the hardware
what to do, such as a web browser, media player, or word processor.
When most people say “computer,” they’re talking about a personal computer. This can be a desktop
computer, or a laptop computer, which has basically the same capabilities but in a more
portable package. Personal computers come in two main styles:
PC and Mac. PCs are the most common type. There are many different companies that make
them, and they usually come with the Microsoft Windows operating system. Macs, or Macintosh
computers, are all made by one company – Apple – and they come with the Mac OS X operating
system. Computers come in many other shapes and sizes.
Mobile phones, tablets, game consoles, and even TVs have built-in computers, although
they may not do everything a desktop or a laptop can.
There’s another type of computer that plays an important role in our lives: servers. A
server serves information to other computers on a network. In fact, every time you use
the internet, web servers deliver the web pages that you want to see to your computer.
Servers are also used in many offices to store and share files.
As you can see, there are many different types of computers out there, and they affect our
lives in a variety of ways.