Why You Should Purchase A PC
Computers are capable of doing more things every year. There are many
advantages to knowing how to use a computer, and it is important that everyone
know how to use them properly. Using the information I have gathered, and my own
knowledge from my 12 years of computer experience, I will explain the many
advantages of owning a computer and knowing how to use a PC and I will attempt
to explain why you should purchase a computer and learn how to use one properly.
Webster's New World Compact Dictionary defines a computer as "an electronic
machine that performs rapid, complex calculations or compiles and correlates
data" ("Computer."). While this definition gives one a very narrow view of what
a computer is capable of doing, it does describe the basic ideas of what I will
expand upon. We have been living through an age of computers for a short while
now and there are already many people world wide that are computer literate.
According to Using Computers: A Gateway to Information World Wide Web Edition,
over 250 million Personal Computers (PC's) were in use by 1995, and one out of
every three homes had a PC (Shelly, Cashman,& Waggoner, 138).
Computers are easy to use when you know how they work and what the parts
are. All computers perform the four basic operations of the information
processing cycle: input, process, output, and storage. Data, any kind of raw
facts, is required for the processing cycle to occur. Data is processed into
useful information by the computer hardware. Most computer systems consist of a
monitor, a system unit which contains the Central Processing Unit (CPU), a
floppy-disk drive, a CD-ROM drive, speakers, a keyboard, a mouse, and a printer.
Each component takes a part in one of the four operations.
The keyboard and mouse are input devices that a person uses to enter data
into the computer. From there the data goes to the system unit where it is
processed into useful information the computer can understand and work with.
Next the processed data can be sent to storage devices or to output devices.
Normally output is sent to the monitor and stored on the hard-disk or to a
floppy-disk located internal of the system unit. Output can also be printed out
through the printer, or can be played through the speakers as sound depending on
the form it takes after it is processed.
Once you have grasped a basic understanding of the basic parts and
operations of a computer, you can soon discover what you can do with computers
to make life easier and more enjoyable. Being computer literate allows you to
use many powerful software applications and utilities to do work for school,
business, or pleasure. Microsoft is the current leading producer of many of
these applications and utilities.
Microsoft produces software called operating systems that manage and
regulate the information processing cycle. The oldest of these is MS-DOS, a
single user system that uses typed commands to initiate tasks. Currently
Microsoft has available operating systems that use visual cues such as icons to
help enter data and run programs. These operating systems are ran under an
environment called a Graphical User Interface (GUI's). Such operating systems
include Windows 3.xx, Windows 95, and Windows NT Workstation. Windows 95 is
geared more for use in the home for productivity and game playing whereas
Windows NT is more business orientated. The article entitled "Mine, All Mine" in
the June 5, 1995 issue of Time stated that 8 out of 10 PC's worldwide would not
be able to start or run if it were not for Microsoft's operating systems like
MS-DOS, Windows 95, and Windows NT (Elmer-Dewitt, 1995, p. 50).
By no means has Microsoft limited itself to operating systems alone.
Microsoft has also produced a software package called Microsoft Office that is
very useful in creating reports, data bases, spreadsheets, presentations, and
other documents for school and work. Microsoft Office: Introductory Concepts and
Techniques provides a detailed, step-by-step approach to the four programs
included in Microsoft Office.
Included in this package are Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft
Access, and Microsoft PowerPoint. Microsoft Word is a word processing program
that makes creating professional looking documents such as announcements,
resumes, letters, address books, and reports easy to do. Microsoft Excel, a
spreadsheet program, has features for data organization, calculations, decision
making, and graphing. It is very useful in making professional looking reports.
Microsoft Access, a powerful database management system, is useful in creating
and processing data in a database. Microsoft PowerPoint is ". . a complete
presentation graphics program that allows you to produce professional looking
presentations" (Shelly, Cashman, & Vermaat, 2). PowerPoint is flexible enough so
that you can create electronic presentations, overhead transparencies, or even
Microsoft also produces entertainment and reference programs. "Microsoft's
Flight Simulator is one of the best selling PC games of all time" (Elmer-Dewitt,
50). Microsoft's Encarta is an electronic CD-ROM encyclopedia that makes for a
fantastic alternative to 20 plus volume book encyclopedias. In fact, it is so
popular, it outsells the Encyclopedia Britannica. These powerful business,
productivity, and entertainment applications are just the beginning of what you
can do with a PC.
Knowing how to use the Internet will allow you access to a vast resource of
facts, knowledge, information, and entertainment that can help you do work and
have fun. According to Netscape Navigator 2 running under Windows 3.1, "the
Internet is a collection of networks, each of which is composed of a collection
of smaller networks" (Shelly, Cashman, & Jordan, N2). Information can be sent
over the Internet through communication lines in the form of graphics, sound,
video, animation, and text. These forms of computer media are known as
hypermedia. Hypermedia is accessed through hypertext links, which are pointers
to the computer where the hypermedia is stored. The World Wide Web (WWW) is the
collection of these hypertext links throughout the Internet. Each computer that
contains hypermedia on the WWW is known as a Web site and has Web pages set up
for users to access the hypermedia. Browsers such as Netscape allow people to
"surf the net" and search for the hypermedia of their choice.
There are millions of examples of hypermedia on the Internet. You can find
art, photos, information on business, the government, and colleges, television
schedules, movie reviews, music lyrics, online news and magazines, sport sights
of all kinds, games, books, and thousands of other hypermedia on the WWW. You
can send electronic mail (E-Mail), chat with other users around the world, buy
airline, sports, and music tickets, and shop for a house or a car. All of this,
and more, provides one with a limitless supply of information for research,
business, entertainment, or other personal use. Online services such as America
Online, Prodigy, or CompuServe make it even easier to access the power of the
Internet. The Internet alone is almost reason enough to become computer literate,
but there is still much more that computers can do.
Knowing how to use a computer allows you to do a variety of things in
several different ways. One of the most popular use for computers today is for
playing video games. With a PC you can play card games, simulation games, sport
games, strategy games, fighting games, and adventure games. Today's technology
provides the ultimate experiences in color, graphics, sound, music, full motion
video, animation, and 3D effects. Computers have also become increasingly useful
in the music, film, and television industry. Computers can be used to compose
music, create sound effects, create special effects, create 3D life-like
animation, and add previous existing movie and TV footage into new programs, as
seen in the movie Forrest Gump. All this and more can be done with computers.
There is truly no time like the present to become computer literate.
Computers will be doing even more things in the future and will become
unavoidable. Purchasing and learning about a new PC now will help put PC's into
the other two-thirds of the homes worldwide and make the transition into a
computer age easier.
"Computer." Webster's New World Compact School and Office Dictionary. 1995.
Elmer-Dewitt, P. "Mine, All Mine." Time Jun. 1995: 46-54.
Shelly, G., T. Cashman, and K. Jordan. Netscape Navigator 2 Running Under
Danvers: Boyd & Fraser Publishing Co., 1996.
Shelly, G., T. Cashman, and M. Vermaat. Microsoft Office Introductory Concepts
Techniques. Danvers: Boyd & Fraser Publishing Co., 1995.
Shelly, G., T. Cashman, G. Waggoner, and W. Waggoner. Using Computers: A Gateway
Information World Wide Web Edition. Danvers: Boyd & Fraser Publishing Co.,