Hardware and Peripherals
The components of the system you can physically touch - the system unit (tower, desktop, laptop), internal devices and peripheral devices (keyboards and monitors) - are called hardware. It is important to remember that basic definition: Hardware are the parts of the computer that are tangible and can be touched.
Specifics of peripheral devices are provided in many other ways, but think of them as hardware that surrounds the system unit. Hint: Your peripheral vision is what lets you see out of the sides, or corners, of your eyes. These peripheral devices may be connected by wired or wireless technology to the system unit. Peripherals communicate with the interior components of the system unit via installed software. Software itself is intangible and can't be touched physically.
Hardware allows you to physically interact with your computer.
That particular type of software is the operating system software. Software, as a general term, is the set of instructions written to direct the computer to execute specific tasks. Operating system software is typically written for a specific type of computer. The operating system, or just system software, instructs the hardware to get moving when the power is turned on or the mouse is moved, deactivating a sleep mode. It interprets instructions from applications software to utilize peripherals and/or storage devices. An example is Microsoft Windows 7 for a PC-based computer or Mac OS X for a Macintosh.
Microsoft is semi-unique in that it produces not only operating system software, but application software as well. Application software, or productivity software, is the set of instructions installed in a computing device that lets us do something. There are thousands of software programs out there, but a few examples you may be familiar with are iTunes, Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader. Both application and system software are sold to individual users; however, there are versions that can be used in a network environment.
A computer network is a grouping of computer stations connected in some manner that allows for sharing of resources. You may have a wireless network at home that lets you share Internet connection, printers or even storage devices. This same concept can be created, many times larger, using wired technology in businesses ranging in size and physical location.
When we start with one little piece, it is truly amazing how far we can go to connect many pieces together. The individual data being processed through the use of hardware and software and shared through network connection has allowed us to utilize more information in less time.
After watching this lesson, you should be able to define data, record, information, hardware, peripheral device, software, application software and computer network.