(Excuse the length but this will most likely be my longest computer rant. There is just too much to talk about here.)
The best place to start with knowing computers is terminology. You don’t need to know this but it’s damn fucking handy to know when you see it written or hear it mentioned somewhere. These are only basics and are not fully explained as they get too complex for most people to understand.
Hardware: This is the term used to describe the parts of the computer you can touch in real life using your hands. This includes everything from your mouse and keyboard to your USB ports and the fancy looking bits on the inside of your machine. Like in this picture, this is my computer:
Software: Is the exact opposite of the above. It’s everything to do with computers that you cannot touch. Whether it’s Facebook, Google, the clock in the corner of your screen, the ‘Start’ button in the other corner or your favourite computer game. Anything that appears on your screen is ‘software’.
Laptop: If you don’t know what a laptop is then you’re an idiot. Most of us these days own one. Put simply, a laptop is a full computer you can carry around with you. They break easily and should only be owned by people who need to work on the move. Using it as a ‘Facebook Machine’ is a waste of money. A computer-illiterate should get 6 months to 3 years out of a laptop, depending on the brand and how they treat them.
Desktop: This is the other type of computer, like in the picture above, the one under you desk with your keyboard, mouse and monitor placed on some form of table. Typically speaking a desktop is an overall better machine than a laptop. They are less likely to break, more powerful, more customizable, can do more and could last you up to 5+ years without fault. Again, this varies.
Hard Disk Drive: Nicknamed the ‘hard drive’, this piece of hardware is literally a very thick, hard, disk-shaped object packed into some form of box inside your computer. Their main purpose is storage. All your files, pictures, music, programs even Windows itself is stored here. Typically speaking they break easily and often before anything else.
USB: A.K.A.; Universal Serial Bus. We all know what a USB port looks like. They are generally accepted by all computer manufactures as a form of plugging stuff into your computer, like an iPod or a flash drive (memory stick).
Operating System (OS): This is the technical name for Windows, Mac OSX or Linux. Most of you have Windows but don’t know that Windows is an operating system. Everything you see on your screen is Windows and is used to run programs and generally make computers usable by the average person. Different versions of Windows include Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7. In that order, they are just more updated and more modern versions of the previous ones. ‘7’ being the newest.
PC (Personal Computer): This is the term used to describe a computer that doesn’t have an Apple logo on it. It most likely runs Windows. You either own a Mac OR a PC. There is nothing else.
Mac: This is Apple’s attempt to brand their own PCs. A Mac is a PC with a brand name. They should never be considered better or worse than PCs unless you can provide valid and sourced information for your argument. It’s a personal choice for most people. I will do a rant on why NOT to buy one in the future, long story short; they are a waste of money for some very good but mind-blowing reasons.
I could go on for days with terminology but if you can understand the difference between a laptop and a desktop or a PC and a Mac after this then at least you’ve learnt something and I’ve completed my goal of teaching.
My next rant will be ‘Basic Computer Maintenance Skills’. It should teach you some simple ways to keep your computer healthy.