Comp It’s very hard to imagine a world without computers! Everywhere you look computers are at work attempting to provide one service or another and make our lives easier. Computers, in one form or another can be found in vehicles, from cars, trucks and motorcycles to larger scale methods of transportation such as airplanes and trains. They are in your television set, your VCR, your toaster oven, etc. But when we conjure up the image of a computer usually our first thought is of a PC, otherwise known as a personal computer. Personal computers can be purchased either as desktops or laptops and have so many different uses. Most of us would be lost without one at home or work or both! Many public libraries provide computers for the use of patrons, as it is a service that is invaluable to every one of us. E-mail or electronic mail is the quickest way to communicate with one another. With one click on the “send” button a message is sent through cyberspace and arrives at the recipient’s in box in a matter of seconds. Students of all ages reap the benefits of the Internet when it comes time to look up information for school papers. And very few people would disagree that typing papers and reports on a computer is far superior to typing on those old rickety typewriters of yester years! And computers carry the added advantage of being able to save work for future use, which cuts down on a lot of headaches. Computers process information and in some ways are very complex while in other ways are very simple to understand. To describe how they do this in brief, as a person types a series of words into the computer by way of the keyboard and with help from the mouse, they are able to view what they’re typing on the computer monitor (or computer screen) in front of them. What could be simpler? In the meantime the inside of the computer is very busy going through the information that is being entered into it and organizing it in a fashion that will be understandable to the computer user. The individual busy typing away has the opportunity to save the work they are doing in two ways, by way of saving it to the hard disk or drive or by saving it to a floppy disk or CD. Some people choose to do both, which is often wise to do. All computers are made with certain pieces of machinery that enable it to do its job. Describing it in a general way, every computer comes complete with its brain, or central processing unit (CPU), the memory bank (which is self explanatory, think of your own memory), the main circuit board (often referred to as a motherboard), the power supply which takes care of all electrical functions, the hard drive which is the permanent storage unit of the computer, the standard software (otherwise known as the operating system), the IDE (integrated drive electronics controller), the PCI (or peripheral component interconnect bus), the SCSI, pronounced oddly enough as “skuzzy” which is the small computer system from which scanners or printers can be plugged into, and the graphic card and sound card which takes care of visual information and aural data respectively. In order to utilize a graphics card one needs an AGP (or accelerated graphics port) in the computer.