Think And Do

Tech - Hardware

Your System - What Did You Buy?
You hear terminology all the time - RAM, CD-R, CD-RW, MB, DVD, Zip, Flash Drive, on and on.

You may think that you're the only person confused by these terms. Not true.

There are thousands of people out there who are swamped and overwhelmed with techo-lingo.
Most feel very funny about asking questions.

These pages will give you the basics of this terminology. Just so that you know what on earth is going on.
Or, you can visit the glossary so that you can go and look up a word and find out what everything means.

For now, one thing at a time.
You have four obvious pieces of equipment:
  • Monitor: the display - MANY people think that this is the computer!
  • Keyboard: for typing
  • Computer: the other box - Nobody ever pays attention to this box
  • Printer
Your entire system is composed of both hardware and software.

Here's metaphor for you:
The hardware is the record, tape, or CD; the software is the music or movie which is stored on any one of those things.

Take a look at the computer itself for a few minutes and understand what is going on.
Remember that you are looking mostly at the cover of the internal components. But thereís more.

Starting with the front of the computer:
First, you will see a flat plate about 1" high by 5" long. This is the door of your CD player.
Near it is at least one button. Pressing the button will release the CD from the computer; it will slide out, allowing you to place either a music or software CD in it. Pressing the button again will close the door.

Most computers now have 2 CD drives. One of them might be RW for Read/Write CDs, or it can be a DVD player.
It will be marked on the front of the computer.

What else is on the front of your computer? The power button, perhaps 2 USB ports, and connectors for speakers, headsets, and a microphone. The speaker/headset and microphone jacks are round. The USB portis small and thin. A quick look at the back of the computer.

There are oddly-shaped connectors back there. Some are male, with prongs; some are female, with pores.
Some are telephone connectors; some are small and round like speaker connectors. If your system is fully connected, most are being used.
They connect your computer to the peripheral devices, i.e., printer, monitor, mouse, phone, power.

How are Drives Designated?
When PCs were born, there were no hard drives, only floppy drives and floppy disks. There were two of them, side by side.
The left was Drive A: - the one on the right was Drive B:. With the birth of the hard drives several years later, a designator had to be assigned.
The obvious choice is Drive C:. That convention has remained all along. If you have two hard drives, they will be C: and D:.
Your CD player has a designator as well. It is the next available letter.

So if you have one hard disk, your CD is drive D:; two hard disks and your CD is drive E:, etc.

Disks - External
Why do you need external disks?

They are for Backups - the most important thing that you will do for yourself and your data.
Hereís what happens:
You begin to work on your computer. You save files. Documents, spreadsheets, accounting information, cards you write, lots of things.
They get stored on Drive C: Everything is wonderful and you keep working and saving and everything stays wonderful.
Then, one day, for no apparent reason, you go to retrieve an existing file and something happens.
What happens?
Thing One: You canít find it.
Thing Two: You canít load it.
Thing Three: You canít read it. Now What?

Well, if youíve been making regular backups, like every day, you have no problem. But, if you havenít ...
You must redo whatever it is that youíve lost.
Aside from the very valuable time that this takes, your stress level will go sky high! This is one of the most frustrating things that can happen.
It is a completely avoidable problem.

Flash Drives
Flash drives are USB (universal serial bus) devices. They are often called Thumb Drives because they are about the size of a thumb. They are fast and they hold lots of data. If you don't have one, go and buy one!

I suggest that you copy your important files to your flash drive EVERY DAY. It takes a couple of seconds and it saves a lot of grief!