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COMPUTERS FOR

DUMMIES


By Daniel Xing
2


Table of Contents
What is a computer? 2
What is hardware? 3
What are the main hardware components of a computer? 3
What is an operating system and what does it do? 4
What is software? 4
Common user interfaces and functions 5
What is peripheral? 5
What is a network? What is the difference between a network and a stand-alone environment? 6
How should a computer workstation be set up to maximize the comfort of the user? 6
Revolutions in Computing Timeline 7
Bibliography 12
Website review 16

What is a computer?
A computer is a general purpose device that can be programmed to do many tasks.
Computers started out in 1936 when Konrad zuse invented the Z1 computer the worlds first
freely programmable computer. In the beginning computers were made from vacuum tubes.
The tubes were unreliable and made the computer very slow. In 1947, John Bardeen, Walter
Brattain and William Shockley invented the transistor. The transistor basically replaced the
vacuum tube and it made the computer faster more reliable and in other words a whole lot
better. The transistor changed and revolutionized computer technology.







Figure 1
Figure 2
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What is hardware?
Hardware is any component in a computer that can be physically touch or something that is
connected to your computer such as a monitor or a transistor Hardware makes up your
entire computer, the monitor, the keyboard; anything that you can use and touch is hardware.
Hardware is the most important thing on the computer because hardware is what the
computer is made of.



What are the main hardware components of a
computer?
There are 14 main types of hardware: the monitor, the motherboard, the RAM, the ROM,
the storage device, the power supply unit, the sound card, the keyboard, the mouse, the
image input device, the image output device, the audio input device and lastly the audio
output device


degrading. See glossary
internet. See glossary
keyboard. See glossary
monitor,. See glossary, See glossary
RAM. See glossary
ROM. See glossary
the audio output device. See glossary
the mouse. See glossary
the storage device. See glossary
transistor. See glossary






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What is an operating system and what does it do?
An operating system is software that you can download on to your computer. Its functions
are basically to control and manage your computer. It can manage all sorts of things such as
the storage, hardware and pretty much everything on your computer. It is essential to having
fast processing speeds, better graphics and the main software component in your computer.






What is software?
Software means computer instructions or data. Software is anything that can be stored by
computer. There are 2 main types of software: system software (operating systems or
anything that lets the computer function properly) and application software (anything that
does real work for the user such as Microsoft word). Software and hardware can be confused
with often. The main difference is that software cannot be touched for example you cannot
touch Microsoft word and hardware can be touched for example the mouse. Examples of
software are Microsoft word, windows 8 operating system, ITunes, Google Chrome, and
Adobe Photoshop.




Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 4
Figure 5
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Common user interfaces and functions
One of the most common user interfaces are appearance and usability user interfaces is
basically how the computer and the user interacts by using the input devices and software.
User interfaces function is that it makes the user comfortable with the computer. There 8
main characteristics of successful user interfaces, it has to be: clear, concise, familiar,
responsive, consistent, attractive, efficient and forgiving.





What is peripheral?
Peripheral is a hardware device that allows the computer to perform additional functions but
it is not something a computer needs to work. Some examples of peripheral can be a mouse,
a keyboard, and a printer. Unlike the computer peripheral device cannot operate by them
selfs, instead they rely on the computer to function for example a keyboard its self cannot do
you any good but with a computer you can then type on the keyboard. Peripheral is
commonly used. They are used for typing, editing, and pretty much everything.

Figure 9
Figure 6
Figure 7
Figure 8
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What is a network? What is the difference
between a network and a stand-alone
environment?
A network is a group of 2 or more computers linked together. One of the worlds biggest
networks is the internet. It connects billions of computers together so they can all interact if
all sorts of different ways. The difference between a stand-alone and a network is that a
network is more than 2 computers but a stand-alone enjoinment is one computer by its self
and it is not connected to any other computers.





How should a computer workstation be set up to
maximize the comfort of the user?
To set up your workstation properly you must pay attention to the height of the desk. One
thing to keep in mind is that when you are seated the desk should be 20-28 inches above your
legs. You must also pay attention to the distance your eyes are from the screen. Scientific
research showed that you should be 20-40 inches away from the screen so it will not irritate
your eyes. Another thing is that you should always have room under the desk for your feet so
that you are able to move your feet to keep the circulation going and helps with comfort. You
should set the screen 15-20 degrees below your line of sight. You should keep you keyboard
and mouse close enough so that when you type your elbows are in a 90 degree angle. The last
thing is posture. You should be seated straight and let your body be relaxed that way it will
not strain your muscles.



Figure 10
Figure 11
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Revolutions in Computing Timeline

Year What is it? Why is it
important?
Interesting fact
Abacus 200 B.C It is a calculating tool
used to figure out
mathematical
equations
It was the first
form of a
calculator and it
made life a lot
easier back in the
day
The abacus is still used in everyday life
today still
Antikythra mechanism 100 B.C It is an ancient
analog computer that
calculates the
astronomical
positions.
It was the first
type of
computers ever
invented
It was discovered in 1900-1901 in a
wreck.
John Napier, Calculation
Tables
1550 He was a person who
invented Napiers
bones a type of
abacus and also
invented logarithms
Because without
his inventions our
lives would have
been more
difficult because
we don't have
the knowledge
about logarithms
The remains of Napier is now buried
under St. Cuthberts church
Joseph-Marie Jacquard,
Punch card controlled loom
1801 The jacquard loom
is mechanical room
invented by a man
named, Joseph Marie
Jacquard
It makes
manufacturing
textiles with
complex patterns
He did not just come up with the idea
by himself, he used the idea of people
wanted to make something like this
much earlier
Charles Babbage, Difference
Engine
1847 It is an automated
mechanical calculator
to arrange
polynomial functions
It prepares
numerical tables
using the method
of difference.
These tables are
used in
navigation.
Today, the tables
are computed
electronically.
The system was a government funded
system but the government was not
seeing any progress so they cut the
funds
Samuel Morse, Telegraph 1837 It is the worlds first
communication
It was very
important at the
The first telegraph line cost $30,00 to
build and was built in 1843
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system. It
communicates by
using electronic
signals that is then
translated when
received
time because
then people
would not have to
wait months to
receive letters
and mail but it
would only take a
few minutes and
it was a scientific
breakthrough and
the beginning for
the telephone
Sir Charles Wheatstone, paper
tapes
1846 It is a form of storage
using paper instead
of using hard drives
It lasts for long
periods of time
without
degrading or
being lost and it
can be repaired if
damaged
The data on the paper tape could have
been changed simply by using a special
type of hole punch and punching new
holes in the paper
Stoles, Glidden and Soule,
typewriter
1866 A typewriter is a
mechanical
electromechanical
machine that was the
ink jet printer- at the
time
It made life easier
because you type
what you wanted
to print instead of
having to write it
down and it
would be faster
than writing it-
down
Even though invented nearly 150 years
ago the typewriter is still being used in
parts of India today
Herman Hollerith, Tabulating
Machine
1881 It was a machine that
was used to arrange
census data
Without it, it
would take at
least 10 years to
arrange by hand
but with the
machine it would
only take 1 year
which cuts down
on time
Herman Holleriths company became
part of IBM in 1924
Colossus 1939 It was the worlds
first all-electronic
calculating device
It was used to
decipher German
military codes
during the second
world war and
without it Hitler
may have taken
It was built because the German codes
got too complicated for the polish
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over the world
Bell Labs, the Transistor 1947 A transistor is a
device made up of
semi-conductor
materials that can
both conduct and
insulate
It made
computers
lighter, less
power, be more
reliable and be
smaller than
traditional
computers at the
time
Back in the day transistors replaced
vacuum tubes in computers. That
means that computer were made of
vacuum tubes back then
Texas Instruments and
Fairchild Semiconductor,
Integrated Circuit
1961 It is a set of
electronic circuits
built on a plate made
of usually silicon
They wanted to
make computers
more advanced
and smaller and
without the
integrated circuit
it would not have
been possible
To inventers was creating the exact
same thing at the time but none of
them was aware if the fact that they
were
IBM 360 April 7, 1964 It was a mainframe
computer that IBM
created that could be
used for any
purpose; science,
commercial etc.
It was the first
family of
computers
designed for all
sorts of different
applications
IBM 360 family had huge ranges from
lightning fast speeds to snail slow
speeds
Word Processor invented 1979 A word processor is
an application such
as Microsoft word
basically it lets the
user write edit and
use many features to
create a word
document such as
the one I am writing
now
Without it we
wont be able to
edit our
documents so for
example business
cards would have
to be hand
printed reports
would have to be
hand written and
life would be a
disaster
IBM invented the word processor but
Microsoft today is famous and sells the
most word processing applications
ARPANET 1969 ARPANET( advanced
research projects
agency networks)
was one of the first
operational packet
switching networks
Arpanet was the
first operation
packet switching
networks
ARPANET was considered the
predecessor of the internet
Intel, 1K RAM CHIP (the 4004) 1971 It was a 4-bit central
processing unit or
It was the worlds
first single chip
The Intel 4004 is a family of chips
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otherwise known as
a CPU
micro-processor
Jonathan Titus, Mark 8 1965 It was the 3
rd

microprocessor
based minicomputer
ever available to the
public audience
Because it one of
the few available
to the public
It was the second available
microprocessor based minicomputer in
America
BBN, Telenet 1974 It was a American
packet switched
network
It was the first
packet switched
network available
to the public
The company name is Telenet Inc.
Paul Allen and Bill Gates
invent BASIC
April 4, 1975 It is the time when
Bill Gates and Paul
Allen formed a
partnership to start
Microsoft.
Microsoft today is
one of the worlds
biggest
companies and
without Microsoft
we wouldn't have
internet explorer,
windows
operating
systems, Xbox,
and most
importantly
Microsoft office
When they created the company, it
took them a few months before they
actually came up with the name
Microsoft
USENET 1979 It is a worldwide
distributed
discussion system
It lets people read
and post
messages
Usenet inspired many of the important
websites we have today such as yahoo
TCP/IP January 1
st

1983
It is short for
transmission control
protocol/ internet
protocol and it is the
protocols to connect
users in the internet
It was a protocol
that was needed
to connect users
It was built into the UNIX operating
system
Apple Macintosh January
24,1984
It is a series of
personal computers
(pc) designed by
apple
It has many
important feature
that all sorts of
people needs in
one small pc
It is called the Macintosh because the
designer liked Macintosh apples
Microsoft Windows 1.0 November 20,
1985
It is a 16- bit
graphical operating
system designed by
Microsoft.
It was one of the
1
st
multitasking
graphical user
interface systems
and it was the 1
st

system that
2 weeks after the release date
Microsoft released version 1.01 to fix
many of the bugs that the version 1.0
had.
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windows created.
The Internet August 6,1991 It is a world wide
web that we can use
to search up anything
and it is full of
information.
Without internet
we would be
stuck using books
and it takes
would take hours
to find out what
you are looking
for.
It started back in the 1960s but
became public and real in 1991
Apple iPod October
23,2001
It is a series of
portable music
players by apple
It plays music and
it has all of the
features of a
iPhone but its
much cheaper
and its smaller
but it cant call.

It is illegal to play your iPod above
100 decibels in France.
Apple iPhone June 27,2007 It is a series of smart
phones built and
designed by apple.
It helps you do
everyday tasks
and its portable
About 34 percent of US high school
students own iPhones
Amazon Kindle November 19,
2007
It is a series of e-
readers also known
as an electronic
book designed and
marketed by
amazon.
It is a device that
lets you carry
hundreds of
books in one
small tablet like
device but
instead of
carrying heavy
books you carry a
tablet.
You do not need Wi-Fi to access all of
the book options but with a ipad or
iPod you would need Wi-Fi to see the
options
Apple iPad April 23, 2010 It is a series of touch
tablet computers
designed by apple.
It combines an
iPod and a
MacBook into
one small
powerful and
portable tablet.
Over 25 million ipads were sold in 14
months.
3D Printing 1984 It is basically a printer
that prints objects in
all shapes and sizes
using.
It gives us the
ability to print
prototypes so we
don't spend as
much money in
building the real
thing or it can
print all sorts of
It is possible to 3D print prosthetic
parts for humans; in 2012 the first 3D
printed prosthetic jaw was implanted.
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useful items.
The Cloud 1969 It is an expression
used to describe a
variety of-different
types of computing
ideas that involve a
large number of
computers
connected in a real
time communication
network such as the
internet
It connected
users together on
the internet and
we need to be
able to be
connected
therefore we can
communicate in
another way
the cloud computer in just a phrase
not a thing like microsoft

Bibliography

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<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing>.
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History-of-3D-Printing.aspx>.
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<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPad>.
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<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Kindle>.
"IPhone." Apple-history.com /. N.p., 2012. Web. 10 Oct. 2013. <http://apple-
history.com/iphone>.
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Bellis, Marry. "History of the IPod." About.com Inventors. About.com, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.
<http://inventors.about.com/od/istartinventions/a/iPod.htm>.
\
"Internet Society." Brief History of the Internet. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.
<http://www.internetsociety.org/internet/what-internet/history-internet/brief-history-internet>.
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<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_1.0>.
Bellis, Marry. "The History of the Apple Macintosh - Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak."The History
of the Apple Macintosh. About.com, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.
<http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa051599.htm>.
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<http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/T/TCP_IP.html>.
Alfred, Randy. "April 4, 1975: Bill Gates, Paul Allen Form a Little Partnership."Wired.com. Conde
Nast Digital, 04 Apr. 2011. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.
<http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2011/04/0404bill-gates-paul-allen-form-microsoft/>.
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10 Oct. 2013. <http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa091598.htm>.
Bellis, Marry. "The First Word Processor." About.com Inventors. About.com, n.d. Web. 10 Oct.
2013. <http://inventors.about.com/od/wstartinventions/a/WordStar.htm>.
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"System 360." IBM100 -. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2013. <http://www-
03.ibm.com/ibm/history/ibm100/us/en/icons/system360/>.
Bellis, Marry. "The History of the Integrated Circuit Aka Microchip." About.com Inventors.
About.com, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.
<http://inventors.about.com/od/istartinventions/a/intergrated_circuit.htm>.
"The First Transistor Invented in 1947." The First Transistor Invented in 1947. N.p., n.d. Web. 10
Oct. 2013. <http://www.cedmagic.com/history/transistor-1947.html>.
"Colossus." Colossus. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.
<http://www.cryptomuseum.com/crypto/colossus/>.
"Herman Hollerith - Herman Hollerith Invented Computer Punch Cards." Herman Hollerith -
Herman Hollerith Invented Computer Punch Cards. About.com, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.
<http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blhollerith.htm>.
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<http://www.wps.com/J/paper-tape/index.html>.
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Intel. "The Story of the Intel 4004." Intel. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.
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ergonomic-computer-desk-setup>.
Website review
The website I chose to review is invenors.about.com/od/tstartinventions/a/telegraoh.htm. The
author of this particular biography is Mary Bellis. The website is a well maintained website
and the website is used for research and information thus the name about.com. The websites
name is inventers.com but it is powered about.com. The website gave me all the information
that I needed it had plenty more to offer. The website is a very good website because it
looked very appealing so it makes you feel comfortable just reading it. It gives me A LOT of
information about the subject i am researching about and I would definitely refer someone
else to this website

Glossary
Monitor: a monitor is the screen on your computer and the display unit
Hardware: hardware is something that you can physically see and touch that is on your
computer
Keyboard: the keyboard is the thing that you use to type words and numbers the keyboard is
one of the most important hardware pieces on a computer
Transistor: a transistor is a device that can conduct electricity and insulate it
RAM: RAM stands for random access memory, is a type of memory on a computer that can
be accessed randomly
17

ROM: ROM stands for read only memory, once data is written on a ROM chip, it cannot be
deleted and can only be read.
Storage device: a storage device the memory on the computer it basically is a really big USB
Power supply unit: he power supply unit is basically the battery
The sound card: it is a expansion board that lets the computer to manipulate and output sound.
The mother board: the motherboard is the main circuit board on a computer. It connects all
the other boards together so basically it is the brains of the computer.
The mouse: the mouse is a device that controls the curser or the pointer on your desktop
Audio output device: it is basically the speaker on your computer.
The internet: also known as the worldwide web, it is the worlds biggest accessible data
resource. You are able to find just about everything on the internet
Degrating: to turn into soil due to the fact that it is not stable and because it will react more to
hydrogen