Peripherals – In computer language, peripherals are the input and output devices.
There are three basic peripherals in the microcomputer and they are the following:
1.The Terminal. The terminal is the most visible of all the peripherals. This consists of a keyboard and a video screen. The keyboard is advice where you type the text into the computer while the television-like screen is were the text is displayed.
2. The Floppy-Disk-Drive. The disk dive is similar to the turntable in a stereo system because it is where you insert your floppy diskettes (circular pieces of magnetic storage material) to be read from or written to by the computer system. Unlike a record, the floppy diskette (also known as disk or diskette) is reusable, which means, information can be stored, erased, or restored. A typical 5-inch floppy diskette of today can hold up to 640 000 characters of text which translates to about 120 pages. Aside from holding text, the diskette often contains an operational set of instructions which the machine must have in its memory before it can do its work.
3. The Printer. The printer serves function similar to the typewriter that is, putting words on paper. Unlike the typewriter, the printer is only used after the document is completed.
Printers come in many types, and if high quality print is required, they can be the most expensive peripheral in the computer system.
These three peripherals, the terminal, the floppy-disk drive, and the printer are present in almost all computers. Although the terminal may not be a single, isolated component in some computer systems, there will always be a keyboard and a video screen.
Internal Parts – the internal parts cannot be seen but they are vital to the proper functioning of the computer. These parts are composed of electronic components located on a circuit board and collectively known as the central processing unit (CPU).
All data processing activities are performed in and by the CPU. Processing consists of three elements, namely: main memory, arithmetic and logic unit, and the stored program. The data read by the input device is transmitted to the memory section of the CPU and held there for processing. The control unit which is a part of the processor interprets the program instructions and monitors their execution. It also determines the time when data are read into the memory, when arithmetic operation is performed on the data, and when output is printed. Thus, program instructions have to be made available to the control unit before any action is taken.
The major internal parts of the CPU are the following:
1.The microprocessor. This is also known as the computer on chip. It functions as the brain of the computer. The microprocessor is the one that orchestrates all the phases of the computers’ operations.
2.The memory. The microprocessor has an area for holding text and data called the memory. All typed characters are stored in theory as electronic numbers that can be easily moved about by the microprocessor. However, this memory is temporary and can be erased when the computer loses electric power – when you turn it off or during a power blackout. Nevertheless, you can store this memory permanently when you save the text into a floppy diskette.
The CPU also houses the power supply and system expansion slots.
Software refers to the programs used to run the computer system. The term is also used to describe the documentation or programs and the operating procedures or manuals of the system as well as the programs themselves.
There are two main types of computer software and they are the following:
1. Systems Software. This is also known as the operating software. This software directs the internal operations of the computer. It is contained in a disk pack or floppy diskette or already imbedded in a chip.
The systems software is classified into the following:
A. operating systems which is a group of related programs that supervised or monitors the execution of an application or program;
B. language translators which convert human-readable application programs into machine-readable from and into a series of binary patterns of zeros and ones; and
C. utility or service programs which are packages that serve specialized data processing problems.
2. Applications Software. This software refers to the program which can solve specific problems such as those in business and engineering, or which can perform specific operations or applications.
The types of applications software are the following:
A. customized programs which can solve specific problems peculiar to the user; and
B. packaged programs which are prewritten programs for common applications that can be used by a number of users with little or no changes on the programs themselves.
The Most popular packaged programs written of the microcomputer are the word processing, spread sheet analysis, and database management systems.