Computers: Mind Tools

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1 Computers: Mind Tools Computers have been called mind tools because they help us perform tasks that involve thinking. Computers can quickly perform calculations, sort large lists, and search through huge information libraries. Humans can do all these activities, but computers can finish them much faster and more accurately. Because computers do tasks quicker and more accurately than humans can, they let us get more work done in less time. The keys to using the computer as a tool are to know what a computer does, how it works, and how you can use it. That is the focus of this class. What is a Computer? If you looked at a dictionary printed before 1940, you might be surprised to find a computer defined as a person who performs calculations. Machines also performed calculations back then, but they were called calculators, not computers. The modern definition of the term computer emerged in the 1940s when the first electronic computing machines were developed to help win the Second World War. In 1945, a team of engineers began working on a secret military project to build the Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer, also called EDVAC. This was one of the first computers in the world. Today we can define a computer as a device that accepts input, processes data, stores data, and produces output. Let s look more closely at the elements of this definition. Dr. John von Neumann, one of the designers of the EDVAC computer. A Computer Accepts Input Computer input is whatever is put into a computer system. Input means to feed information into a computer. Input can be supplied by a person, by the environment, or by another computer. Some examples of the kinds of input a computer can process are the words and symbols in a document, numbers in a calculation, instructions for completing a process, pictures from a camera, audio signals from a microphone, and temperatures from a thermometer. An input device gathers and translates input into a form the computer can process. As a computer user, you will probably use the keyboard as your main input device. Other input devices include: a scanner, a digital camera, a mouse, a video camera, and a bar code reader. A Scanner A Computer Processes Data Data refers to the symbols that describe people, events, things, and ideas. Computers manipulate data in many ways and we call this manipulation processing. Some of the ways a computer can process data Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 1

2 include, performing calculations, sorting lists of words or numbers, modifying documents and pictures according to user instructions, and drawing graphs. A computer processes data in a device called a central processing unit or CPU. A Computer Stores Data A computer must store data so it is available for processing. Computers can store data in two or more places. Random Access Memory (RAM) is the storage place for data that is waiting to be processed. Data is stored in RAM only while a program is running or the computer is on. While you are typing a letter or painting a picture on the computer, that data is stored in RAM. Once the word processing or paint program is closed or the computer is shut down, the data is lost. That is why you must learn how to save you re your work properly. Fortunately, data can be saved and stored permanently on disk or on tape. All computers contain disk drives. Disk drives are electronic devices connected to the computer that store and read stored information. Floppy disks, hard disks, CD-ROMS, and Zip disks are examples of places where data can be permanently stored. A Computer Produces Output Computer output is the results of processing by a computer. Some examples of computer output include reports, documents, music, graphs, and pictures. An output device displays, prints or transfers the results of processing from the computer memory. In this class the monitor, printer, and speakers will be your main output devices. Figure 1 Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 2

3 Figure 2 The Computer System A computer system includes a computer, peripheral devices, and software. The electronic and mechanical devices are called hardware. In addition to the computer itself, hardware includes peripheral devices, which are input and output devices connected to the computer. To be useful, a computer requires a set of instructions, called software or a computer program. Software tells the computer how to perform a particular task. Computers become even more effective when connected to other computers in a network so users can share information. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 3

4 CPU CPU stands for Central Processing Unit and is the intelligence of the computer. All the processing occurs in the CPU. Silicon chips, which contain miniaturized circuitry, are placed on boards that are plugged into slots within the CPU. Whenever an instruction is given to the computer, that instruction is processed through circuitry in the CPU. The Intel Corporation s Pentium is the most well known processing chip. Other well-known processors are Intel s Celeron chip, and Advanced MicroDevice s Athlon and Duron processors. Intel and AMD are in competition to produce the world s fastest processor. Processor speed is measured in gigahertz (GHz). The fastest processor today runs at 2.53 GHz. Monitor The monitor is a piece of equipment that looks like a television screen. It displays the information of a program and the text being input at the keyboard. The quality of picture for monitors varies depending on the type of monitor and the monitor s clarity. Monitors can also vary in size--generally from 14 to 21 inches. Monitors can be either a large CRT (cathode ray tube) or a Flat Panel (Liquid Crystal Display) type. Keyboard The keyboard is used to input information into the computer. Keyboards for microcomputers vary in the number and location of the keys. Microcomputers have the alphabetic and numeric keys in the same location as the keys on a typewriter. The symbol keys, however, may be placed in a variety of locations, depending on the manufacturer, In addition to letters, numbers, and symbols, most microcomputer keyboards contain function keys, arrow keys, and a numeric keypad. The 12 keys at the top of the keyboard, labeled with the letter F followed by a number, are called function keys. These function keys can be used to perform special jobs. To the right of the regular keys is a group of special keys. These keys are labeled with specific functions that will be performed when you press the key. Below the special keys are arrow keys. These keys are used to move the insertion point in the document screen. Disk Drives The disk drives are electro-mechanical devices that read stored data from a disk and write data to the disk. You will be using the floppy disk drive and hard disk drive to save and store your data and to read your data. You may use a CD drive to read data on a compact disk. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 4

5 Measuring the Amount of Data Bytes Computer data is stored in units called bytes. All data, whether it is text, a picture, or music takes up a certain amount of bytes. One thousand bytes is called a kilobyte (Kb). One million bytes is called a megabyte (Mb). A billion bytes is called a gigabyte (Gb). A trillion bytes is called a terabyte (Tb). Storage Device Amount of Data That Can Be Stored Floppy disk 1.44 Mb Hard drive 120 Gb CD-ROM 700Mb Zip Disk 250 Mb DVD 4.75 Gb The Mouse Programs can be operated using a keyboard or they can be operated with the keyboard and a mouse. The mouse is an input device that may have two or three buttons on top. The buttons are tapped to perform specific commands. To use the mouse, rest it on a fiat surface or a mouse pad. Put your hand over it with your palm resting on top of the mouse and your wrist resting on the table surface. As you move the mouse on the flat surface, a pointer moves on the screen. When using the mouse, there are four terms you should understand-point, click, double-click, and drag. When operating the mouse, you may need to point to a specific command, button, or icon. Point means to position the mouse pointer on the desired item. With the mouse pointer positioned on the desired item, you may need to click a button on the mouse. Click means to quickly tap once a button on the mouse. To complete two steps at once such as choosing and then performing a function, double-click a mouse button. Double-click means to tap the left mouse button twice in quick succession. The term drag means to press and hold the left mouse button, move the mouse pointer to a specific location, and then release the button. Commands Computers do work for us when we give them commands in a program. A command is an instruction that tells a computer program to do something. For example, I can give Microsoft Word a command to make my text size larger. I can give a command to change the font to cursive writing. I can give a command to save this document on a floppy disk or on my hard disk. When I finish typing this I will give a command to check my spelling and grammar and then to print. Computer programs contain many commands that you have to learn in order to use the program. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 5

6 Programs, like Windows 98 or Microsoft Word use several methods to choose commands. You can use any method that you prefer. You can choose a command with one of the following methods: Click a toolbar button with the mouse Click on the Menu bar and select a command from a menu Use shortcut keys or function keys (Ctrl+P = Print, F1 = Help) Right-click an item and then select an item from the shortcut menu Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 6

7 What Is A Network? A network is a system of connected computers, printers, and scanners. Networks allow you to share programs, files, or printers anywhere. Our Network Neighborhood Figure 1 Printer Ireland B&W laser Room 55 Computers Room 54 Computers Room 47 Computers Room 26 Computers Printer Printer Wales Color laser Zeus Room 48 Computers Scotland Color inkjet Room 31 Room 26 Computers Scanner Computers Printer Room 27 Computers Your connection to a network can change the way you work. You can use programs and documents on any computer without passing floppy disks back and forth. You can print documents on a printer attached to another computer, or use a printer connected to the network in any room. Each person who uses the network has a secure folder that cannot be accessed without permission. All the computers can have Internet access with one connection. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 7

8 A server controls the network. A server is a computer that serves programs and files to client computers. Client computers receive the programs and files. Orville Wright Magnet School has over 60 client computers in various rooms connected to a server in Room 26. We call our server, Zeus or Wright-ms1. How Is Zeus Organized? Zeus A. Programs B. Teacher folders C. Student folders 1. Students 2003 folders 2. Students 2004 folders 3. Students 2005 folders 4. Summer School Students folders a. Personal folder each personal folder has a username b. Personal folder c. Personal folder (1.) File (2.) File (3.) File Warning! Your username is your password the first time you get on the network only. You must remember your username and password hereafter. Exercise 1 Logging On To The Network For The First Time Before you can use a computer, you must log on to the network. This means that you tell the server your username and your password. Only members can get into the network and use the computers, printers, and other connected peripheral devices. 1. Power on the computer and the monitor if it is not already on. 2. When a network computer is turned on a dialog box appears. The dialog box has three text boxes. The bottom text box should always say Zeus. 3. Make sure that Zeus is spelled correctly. The letters can be upper or lower-case. The first text box is for your username. The username tells the server that you are a member of the network and you have a personal folder. A username is usually your first initial and last name with no spaces and in lowercase letters. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 8

9 4. In the Username text box, type your username. 5. Press the Tab key on the keyboard. Pressing Tab moves you to the next part of the dialog box. 6. In the Password text box, type your username again. Notice that the letters are replaced by asterisks ***. Your password is masked to that no one can learn your password by watching your screen. 7. Click OK or press Enter. 8. A message will appear telling you that your password has expired. 9. Click OK or press Enter. This has been set up so you can choose a new password. A password is composed of letters and/or numbers with no spaces. A password can be any length, but you don t want it to be too easy for another person to guess or too hard for you to type. Four or five characters are sufficient. Choose a word or numbers that you can remember-your dog s name, the last four digits of your phone number, your initials and birthday (for example: lsr104). Only you should know your password. 10. In the Change Password dialog box, there are three text boxes. Do not change the Old password. 11. In the New password text box type your new password very carefully. 12. Press the Tab key. 13. In the Confirm new password text box, retype your password again carefully. 14. Click OK or press Enter. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 9

10 15. A message will appear telling you that you have successfully changed your password. Set a Windows Password The first time you use a computer you will get a dialog box asking you to set a Windows password. 16. Retype your password again. 17. Click OK or press Enter. Logging-off to Change Users 18. Click the Start button, and then click Log Off username. 19. This closes all your programs, disconnects your computer from the network, and prepares your computer to be used by someone else. Exercise 2 Introducing The Network Neighborhood If you have logged onto the network correctly you are ready to enter the Network Neighborhood. In the Network Neighborhood, you can see all of the computers and printers that are active in the Network. Each computer has a name. Our server is named Zeus because it is so powerful. The client computers are named after scientists in Room 46. In the Network Neighborhood, Zeus is identified as Wrightms1. Inside Zeus is where shared programs and personal folders are stored. You will see a folder for teachers and folders for each grade level of students. You can only get into the folder for your grade level. You do not have permission to open any programs or other folders. 20. Log into the Network with your username and password. 21. Windows 98 loads. The Windows Desktop appears. 22. Double-click the Network Neighborhood icon on the Desktop to see the computers on the network that are currently turned on. 23. Double-click Wright-ms Notice that the name of the computer is in the Title bar at the top of the window. 25. Double-click the folder named Students 200_. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 10

11 26. Inside this folder is the personal folder for each student. The folders are arranged alphabetically so you may need to scroll to see your folder. 27. A faster way to get to your folder is to type the first two letters of your username quickly. This should take you very near your personal folder. Try this trick. Your personal folder has your username. Only you have permission to get into your folder. No other student can open it. If another student tries to get into your folder, an error message will appear. That means that no one can view your work, copy or delete your files. Therefore, it is important that you save your work to your personal folder on our server. 28. Double-click your personal folder to open it. 29. Notice that the name of the folder is in the Title bar of the window and the folder icon is open. This tells you where you are. Presently, nothing is in your personal folder. 30. Close your personal folder by clicking the Close Window button. 31. Double-click your partner s personal folder. Can you get into it? 32. Click the Start button, and then click Log Off username. 33. Your partner should now log-on and repeat steps Log-off when you have completed Exercise 2. Exercise 3 Welcome to Windows 98 Welcome to the Microsoft Windows 98 operating system. This lesson will introduce you to Windows and get you up and running quickly. The lesson shows you how to do the most common tasks, provides you with tips, and points you to some of the fun and exciting, new features that come with Windows. Microsoft Windows 98 is a program that controls the overall activity of your computer. This is called an operating system or OS. Like an orchestra conductor, Windows ensures that all parts of your computer work together smoothly and efficiently. You may have another version of Windows on your home computer. Windows 95, Windows Me, or Windows XP are very similar to Windows 98. If you learn one operating system, it is very easy to transfer to another operating system. Starting Windows 98 Individual computers may be set up differently. In most cases, however, when you turn on your computer, Windows 98 will load and the Windows Desktop will appear. The Desktop contains icons, or symbols representing folders, programs, documents, or Web Pages. If you double-click an icon, the window represented by that icon opens. 35. Log-in by typing your username and password into the Enter Network Password dialog box. 36. Press Enter or click OK with the left mouse button. Windows 98 will begin to load. When it has completed loading, you will be looking at the Desktop. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 11

12 Figure 2 Two icons on the desktop are especially important My Computer. Opens a window that contains icons representing each hardware device you have connected to the computer as well as special folders such as the Control Panel and your Printers folder. Recycle Bin Opens a window listing files you have deleted. Until you empty the Recycle Bin, these files can be undeleted. 37. With the left mouse button, double-click My Computer. 38. Answer question Double-click the Printers folder. 40. Answer question Click the Back button on the toolbar. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 12

13 42. Double-click the Control Panel. The Control Panel allows you to change the settings of your computer; so that it looks and operates the way you want it. 43. Answer question Click the word File on the Menu bar and click Close. The My Computer window closes. 45. With the right mouse button, click the Recycle Bin on the Desktop. 46. Left-click Empty Recycle Bin. 47. If there is nothing in your recycle bin, the Empty Recycle Bin command is not available. If there is anything in your Recycle Bin, you will get this message. 48. Click Yes or press Enter. This will empty the Recycle Bin and delete any files in the bin. Using the Start Menu The Start button on the Taskbar at the bottom of the Desktop is probably the most important button in Windows. Clicking displays the Start Menu from which you can perform any Windows task. 49. Click on the Taskbar. The Start Menu appears. 50. Answer question 4. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 13

14 Table 1 Start Menu Command Use Programs Documents Settings Find Help Run Log Off Shut Down Displays a list of programs you can start Displays a list of documents that have been opened previously. Displays a list of computer components that you can change settings. Helps you find a file or folder Starts Help. You can use Help to find out how to perform a task in Windows. Starts a program or opens a folder when you type a command This closes all your programs, disconnects your computer from the network, and prepares your computer to be used by someone else Shuts down or restarts your computer, or logs you off if you are on a network Using the Programs Submenu The Programs Submenu is the easiest way to open a program. 51. Click the Start button. 52. Point to Programs. The Programs Submenu appears. 53. Point to a Microsoft Word and then click with the left mouse button. 54. The program will load and its window will appear. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 14

15 55. Notice that a button for the program appears in the Taskbar. Figure 3 Your Programs submenu will look different from mine. I have some different programs installed on my computer. Using the Taskbar One of the major features of Windows is that it enables you to work with more than one program at a time. The Taskbar makes it easy to switch between programs. The window in which you are working is called the active window. The Title bar for the active window is highlighted as is its Taskbar button. 56. Microsoft Word should still be open. (If its not, open it now.) 57. Click the Start button. 58. Point to Programs. The Programs Submenu appears. 59. Point to a Microsoft Excel and then click with the left mouse button. 60. The program will load and its window will appear. 61. Notice that a button for the program appears in the Taskbar. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 15

16 62. Notice how the Microsoft Excel window now covers the Microsoft Word window. 63. The Microsoft Excel window is now active. Its Title bar is dark blue and its button on the Taskbar is pushed in. 64. Click the Microsoft Word button on the Taskbar. The Word window covers the Excel window. 65. Click the Microsoft Excel button on the Taskbar to switch back to it. Figure 4 Microsoft Excel is the Active window. The Title bar is blue. Notice that two programs are open. Every time you open a program, a button appears on the Taskbar. Clicking a button on the Taskbar, activates the program. Changing the Size of Windows In Windows, it s easy to adjust the size of your windows using the mouse pointer. You can also use the Minimize button, the Maximize button, and the Restore button to adjust the size of Windows. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 16

17 Sizing Buttons 66. Click the Restore button on the Title bar. The Name window gets Minimize button smaller. 67. Move the mouse Maximize button pointer to a Restore window border. The mouse pointer changes to a doubleheaded arrow. When the pointer changes shape, you can hold down the left mouse button to enlarge, reduce, or change the shape of the window. 68. Using the mouse pointer, make the window smaller. 69. Notice how the Microsoft Word window now appears behind the Microsoft Excel window. 70. Click a blank spot on the Microsoft Word window. 71. Microsoft Word now appears in front because it has become the active window. Button Use Reduces the window to a button on the Taskbar Enlarges the window to fill the desktop Table 2 Returns the window to its previous nonmaximized or non-minimized size. (Appears when you Maximize a window.) Figure Click the Minimize button on the Title bar. The Microsoft Excel window again becomes active. 73. Click the Maximize button on the Title bar. The Microsoft Excel window fills the screen. 74. Click the Close button on the Title bar. The program closes. The Desktop should now be completely visible. 75. Click the button on the Taskbar for Microsoft Word to appear again. 76. Click the Close button on the Title bar. You have a completely visible Desktop again. Using the Documents Command You can open an existing document by using the Document command on the Start menu. This command lets you open one of the last 15 documents that have been previously opened. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 17

18 77. Click the Start button and point to Documents. The Documents submenu appears, showing documents that have previously opened. 78. Click on any document. 79. The document opens, along with the program in which the document was created. A button for the document appears on the Taskbar. You could now work on the document is you wanted. 80. If you opened a program, click the Close button on the Title bar. Using the Find Command If you don t know where a document or a folder is, you can use the Find command to find, open, or move it. 81. Click the Start button and click Find on the Start menu. The Find submenu appears. 82. Click Files or Folders. The dialog box appears. 83. In the text box next to Named, type My Documents. 84. Press the Tab key twice to move to the Look in text box. 85. Click the drop-down arrow (circled) and select (C:). 86. Click the Find Now button. 87. Windows will search your C: drive (the hard drive) until it finds the folder named My Documents. It may find other files or folders that contain words that are similar to My Documents. As you can see on the next page, Windows found 172 files or folders that had words similar to My Documents. 88. Close the Find Files window by clicking. You have a completely visible Desktop again. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 18

19 Using the Right Mouse Button When the mouse pointer is on an object in Windows and you click the right mouse button, a Shortcut Menu will usually appear. This menu provides you with the commands that would be most useful in working with the object to which you were pointing. The Shortcut menu is a way to speed up your work. 89. Right-click the My Documents folder on the Desktop. 90. Answer question Right click the Start button. 92. Answer question Right-click the Clock on the Taskbar. 94. Answer question Right-click the Speaker icon on the on the Taskbar next to the clock. 96. Answer question 8. Using the Log-off Command To log off your computer so someone else can use it 97. Click Start. 98. Click Log Off username. 99. Click Yes or press Enter. This closes all your programs, disconnects your computer from the network, and prepares your computer to be used by someone else. Using the Shut Down Command You should always shut down Windows before you turn off or restart your computer. You can then be sure that your work will be saved and no files will be damaged Click the Start button and click Shut Down. The Shut Down Windows dialog box appears Click the button next to Shut down Click OK. Windows will prompt you to save changes to any open documents, and will then shut down your computer Turn off the power to the monitor and the computer. Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 19

20 Name Windows Chapter Review Period Directions: Answer these questions as you read the lesson. Write neatly. 1. What are the names of the three storage drives (letters) connected to your computer? 2. Name two printers connected to your computer? 3. What are three things you can control or change in the Control Panel? 4. What are three icons that appear in the Start Menu? 5. What is the last command that appears in the My Documents Shortcut Menu? 6. What is the first command in the Start button s Shortcut Menu? 7. What is the second command in the Clock s Shortcut Menu? 8. What is the top command in the Speaker s Shortcut Menu? Computer Basics 2002 Lawrence S. Rubin Page 20

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