What is a computer?
A computer is an electronic device that manipulates information, or data. It has the ability to store, retrieve, and process data. You can use a computer to type documents, send email, and browse the Web. You can also use it to handle spreadsheets, accounting, database management, presentations, games, and more.
Watch the video to learn about different types of computers.
For beginner computer users, the computer aisles at an electronics store can be quite a mystery, not to mention overwhelming. However, computers really aren't that mysterious. All types of computers consist of two basic parts:
- Hardware is any part of your computer that has a physical structure, such as the computer monitor or keyboard.
- Software is any set of instructions that tells the hardware what to do. It is what guides the hardware and tells it how to accomplish each task. Some examples of software include web browsers, games, and word processors such as Microsoft Word.
Anything you buy for your computer can be classified as either hardware or software. Once you learn more about these items, computers are actually very straightforward.
The first electronic computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), was developed in 1946. It took up 1,800 square feet and weighed 30 tons.