Chapter 1. Your Computer Won't Explode

In This Chapter

  • Understanding computer basics

  • Admiring input and output

  • Knowing about hardware and software

  • Discovering the PC

  • Realizing that your PC is quite dumb

If you're a fan of science fiction television or film, you're probably quite familiar with the concept of the exploding computer. Sparks, smoke, flying debris — it all appears to be a common function of computers in the future. Sure, they could just beep and display error messages when they die or are thwarted by Captain Kirk's irrefutable logic, but where's the fun in that?

My point is to relax. Computers are not evil, and they're not out to get you. In fact, you probably want to get the most out of your PC investment because you've heard about all the wonderful things a computer can do. The key to building a productive, long-term relationship with such technology is to understand the computer. You don't need to have Einstein's IQ to do that. You just need to read and enjoy the easy, helpful information in this chapter.

Clear Computer Concepts

A computer is the simplest of devices. It joins a long line of new technologies that originally might have appeared frightening but in the end turned out to be entirely useful.

For example, a coffee pot combines dangerous, scalding water with a legal stimulant to provide you with a delicious beverage. A lawn mower whirls sharp blades of metal around yet safely keeps the grass short. A microwave oven uses lethal beams of energy to cook food. And, the ...

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