What is a computer? A computer is an electronic device that receives and processes information to produce the desired results.
A computer can perform a large number of tasks by carrying out complex arithmetical, logical or other set of instructions called programs.
It plays an important role in our life. Our life has become centered around computers and computerized systems.
Various Parts of a Computer: The various parts of a computer includes a system unit, monitor, keyboard, electronic-mouse, printer, speakers, CD drive, etc.
1. System Unit: The system unit is the most important part of the computer. The system unit houses the CPU (microprocessor), hard disk, random access memory (RAM), motherboard, etc.
- The CPU processes the information.
- RAM stores the temporary information while the system is on. It removes the data as soon as the system is switched off.
- Hard Disk stores the saved information is stored on the hard disk.
- The Mother Board connects and allows communication between various units of the computer.
2. Monitor: The screen of the displays the information. Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors are very bulky. Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) monitors are thin and light.
3. Keyboard: Letters and numbers are keyed into the computer system through the keyboard.
4. Mouse: It points the cursor and is used in selecting an icon on the screen.
The other components of a computer system includes speakers, modem, printers, etc.
Computers can quickly process huge amount of data. Computers can complete various tasks effectively than most human-beings. It has automated complex tasks that were once considered boring and tedious for humans. Hence, Computer has greatly increased our efficiency to do various tasks. The advantages of computer are given below:
- Stores data in digital format: Computers can store millions of pages of information in digital format.
- Huge storage: We can store huge information. The present day hard-disks can store 100s of Gigabytes (GB) of information. Large businesses store their marketing and sales data in their computer systems. Even sensitive data of customers are securely protected in a computerized environment.
- Play games: When it comes to games, the choices are almost unlimited.
- Calculations: Businesses are increasingly using spreadsheets and other software as a tool for performing mathematical calculations.
- Prepare and store official documents: You can use a word processing software to prepare, edit and save any text document. The concept of paperless offices is finally taking its shape.
- Presentations: If your office demands that you prepare presentations, you can prepare it in a PowerPoint.
- Internet: You can connect your computer to Internet and browse through huge data. People use internet for various purposes. Students can use internet to download study materials. A research analyst can do market research over internet. A marketing person can gather relevant data across various geographical boundaries. A prospective customer can find a service provider over internet.
- Multimedia: Computer can also be used as an entertainment device. We can play various multimedia applications such as music, video, etc.
- Prepare books of accounts: With the help of accounting software, we can prepare our books of accounts.
- Reduced cost: The introduction of computer has resulted into a reduction of cost to perform various complicated tasks.
- Availability: A computer doesn’t get tired. It can perform non-stop. You can start working on your computer whenever you feel that the time is right. Your computer is always available for you.
It is true that even computer is not free from defects. The disadvantages of computer are given below:
- Ever changing technology: The technology that is new today, may soon become obsolete. We need to regularly upgrade the hardware and software in a computerized environment. This involves additional time and cost.
- Increased manpower cost: The computer needs to be operated by skilled person. This has led to an increase in manpower cost for organizations. Due to the inherent risks, huge expenditure are made ensure data security.
- Computer stops responding: At times the operating system of the computer may stop responding or functioning. Though this problem is generally solved by restarting the computer, but sometimes you may have to take the support of the technician.
- Viruses: The threat of virus and malware attack always remains in the computerized environment. To cope up with these risks, various anti-virus software are available in the market. If you are using a good antivirus, you are almost sure that your private information and other sensitive data are secured.
- Reduction in employment opportunity: The introduction of computers has negatively impacted the employability of computer illiterate people.
- Health issues: People often stick to a particular position for long hours working in front of the computer. Bad posture due to constantly looking at the computer screen may lead to neck related health problems such as cervical spondylosis. This may result in health issues such as back pain, and irritation in the eyes.
- Less reliance on human memory: People rely too much on the computers. People become careless and tend to forget things faster.
- Need uninterrupted supply of electricity: It needs electricity to work. Unless a computer is supported by powerful rechargeable battery, any power breaks may effect the office productivity.
- It takes time to learn. The computer systems run on operating systems. Further, customized ERP software are used in large organizations. The employees need to learn about these software before they can start feeding the data independently.