What else do I need?

by TechnoGrannyAnni

in You and Your Computer

In an earlier article, I explained about computer technology, and I hope you now understand just a little about what’s happening inside your new computer.
Don’t worry too much, though, because you really don’t need all of these technical details.  It’s just a good idea to recognize the words so that when you hear them again – maybe from your techie or a salesperson – you won’t be completely in the dark.

So let’s see … you know that you are going to purchase a computer – or you may already own one. 

Are there any extras that you need, to go along with it? 
Yes, there are a few – and these extras are called computer ‘peripherals’.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of peripherals that you can add to your computer, and some are more important than others at the beginning.  Here is a short list to get you started: 

It’s almost essential to have a printer.  You could do without one, but most folks like to print out their photos, if nothing else.  Of course there are ways to ‘transport’ your files (photos and words) to someone who has a printer; and you can also send them, or take them, to a store to print for you.
It’s much easier, however, to have your own and print right there at home. 

If you have a desktop computer, you’ll need a keyboard.  That’s the tool you use to type out the letters, numbers, and other images that you see on your screen – it may remind you of the old-fashioned typewriter.

Your laptop computer doesn’t actually need a keyboard because the keys are built right in; but people often attach a separate one if they are sitting for awhile at a table or a desk – just to make it easier to type.
I have a contoured ergonomic keyboard for my daily typing – it’s easier on my hands and fingers and, once you get used to the slight curve of the keys, it’s very easy to use.  I have been known to pack my big keyboard in my suitcase, as bulky as it is, but these days I am on ‘travel-light’ kick, so I have been leaving it at home.

A mouse is a small device that you push around the surface of your desk to point to a place on your computer screen and generate signals to control the position of a cursor (pointer).  You will definitely need a mouse for your desktop computer; and a mouse for a laptop isn’t a bad idea either.
The little square touchpad that you see on the front of your laptop does the same work as your mouse, but it can be a bit fussy to use.  You can definitely adjust the settings of your touchpad, but a mouse gives you more precision when pointing and giving ‘commands’  (i.e. generating the signals to make it do such actions as pointing to, or highlighting, your words – and many other actions).
You can get USB or wireless-connected mice.  (See below for USB)

If your computer has a CD (to listen to music) or DVD (to watch movies) drive, then you might like speakers to enhance the sound quality.  There are dozens of variations in type, quality and price: wireless or USB-connected, portable or fixed, large or small, powerful sound or mediocre … and so on.

Instead of using a speaker, you can also plug in a headset to listen privately and quietly.

USB connection
You will see small rectangular openings on your computer – these are for USB connections.  USB stands for ‘Universal Serial Bus’ – and all you need to know is that this is the type of connection you will find on most of your peripherals – unless they use wireless to connect.  So usually keyboards, mice, speakers and other external equipment not already integrated into your computer, are plugged in via the USB ports.

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