UNIT 77 Computers
A Hardware and software

You need hardware [computer machines and equipment] and software [the computer programs needed to work the machines]. These computer programs are on disks: e.g., the hard disk inside the CPU, or floppy disks [small plastic disks], or CD-ROMs [Compact Disc Read Only Memory, a CD on which you can put a large amount of information].

B Operating a computer

Using the mouse, you can do many different things by clicking on different icons [moving the mouse to point at, or to select, different pictures on the screen]. Here are examples of icons from a popular word processing program:

C What do people use computers for?
Many people use their computers for word processing, e.g., writing letters and reports. Some businesspeople use spreadsheets [programs used to enter and arrange numbers and financial information] and databases [programs that allow you to store, look at, or change a large amount of information quickly]. Some people also use graphics [the pictures and symbols a computer program can produce].

D Important vocabulary
More and more people are becoming computer-literate [have experience working with computers and know how to use them], since many programs and machines are so user-friendly [easy to use]. If a computer works slowly, it may need more memory [space to store information]. It might crash [stop working] if there is not enough memory or if it has a bug [a software problem; also a virus]. Always make a back-up copy of your work [a copy on a separate disk].