Computing and Peripherals

Computing and peripherals include an enormous variety of different products, some of which are exceptionally advanced and others of which have been around for decades, but still remain useful.

What Is Considered Computing?

Computing includes activities using computers and building and maintaining computers themselves. Not all computers are the electronic devices most people are familiar with, but the term usually refers to electronic computers. There were mechanical computing devices in use in the past.

Computing can involve data storage and processing, communications, controlling machinery and much more. In today’s world, they are used in most conceivable roles. Telecom devices frequently cross over into this category, including mobile phones that are powerful enough to run small programs and telephones with intelligent features. Radio communication equipment is increasingly computerized, as well.

What Are the Various Elements of Computing?

Computing requires hardware, some way for people to interface with that hardware, data for the computer to process, a set way for that data to be processed and software to carry out the operations.

Each of these elements can be augmented by various devices. For instance, a keyboard provides a basic means of interacting with a computer, but the addition of a mouse makes it more versatile. A desktop computer can crunch large amounts of data, but mobile computing makes it possible to take the computer out in the field.

Computing can be further expanded by adding wireless communications, embedded devices that are dedicated to specific tasks and more. It’s become increasingly the norm that computer devices and networking are taken off of wired connections and placed on wireless ones. Even keyboards and mice are often wireless today, using Bluetooth technology to link to the computer.

What Is Audio and Video? Which Products Support Audio and Video and How Do they Connect into the Overall System.

Audio and video are integral to computing. They provide a means of interaction with the device, a way for the device to communicate information to the user and much more. When a desktop computer boots up, a monitor is one of the first things it looks for. Multiple monitors can be used with one computer or several computers can be routed into the same monitor, adding more flexibility.

Audio hardware includes sound cards, which provide a means of processing audio information. Speakers, of course, are the primary audio hardware for most computers. There are system speakers, which are very simple devices that emit beeps and other warning noises. There are also external speakers, headphone speakers and other types of speakers that provide more sophisticated functions.

What Are Barcode Readers? What Are they Used For? How Do they Connect into the System?

Bar code readers are used with labeling systems. Bar codes can be used to provide a great deal of data by scanning the code with a reading device. This code is deciphered by a computer, which connects through serial, parallel and other types of ports, depending upon the design. These are used heavily in grocery stores and warehouses, as well as in shipping and receiving and much more.

What Is Data Storage and Memory? Which Products Are Available for Data Storage and Memory?

Data storage provides a way to permanently store data on a media until it is purposefully erased. Memory is a component in computers that temporarily holds data that the computer uses to perform various functions. It can be written to and erased in fractions of a second.

Data storage components include everything from portable hard drives to solid state drives (SSD) to NAS, network attached storage devices. It also includes very portable devices, such as compact flash cards and floppy disks. Data tapes are frequently used to store data for the long terms, notably as media employed to store backed up data from servers.

Memory sticks are commonly used with mobile devices and come in a range of sizes, with the amount of information they can hold continually being increased with better technology. Flash drives use USB connections and can hold a great deal of data in a very portable, and quite durable, form.

What Are Embedded Systems? Which Embedded Systems Are Available?

Embedded systems function within a larger device. They have specific functions within that device, such as processing audio information. They include devices such as single board computers, which are enormously compact devices that are used heavily in automated industrial processes.

What Are Keyboards and Mice? How Do they Work and How Do they Connect to the System?

Keyboards and mice are human interface devices. Keyboards come in mechanical versions, which are very reliable and durable, and soft versions, which do not have the separate mechanical switches for each key that, characterize mechanical keyboards. They are less durable, but very quiet and ideal for office situations. Mice are used to interact with the computer by moving the cursor. They use lasers to orient themselves specially and the computer moves the cursor relative to the way the user changes the position of the mouse.

These connect to the system via USB, most often, but other connectors, such as PS2 connectors, are used in some applications, as well.

What Are KVM, Splitters and Extenders? What Are they Used for and How Do they Work?

KVM splitters are used to extend the range of human interface devices. They use a variety of different connections—PS2, RJ45, etc.—to provide a link between a peripheral such as a monitor and a computer. This allows the monitor to be stationed very far from the computer, providing a way to keep an eye on it from a distance. These are very heavily used in industry. They can use many different types of connections, including fiber optics.

What Is Mobile Computing? Which Products Are Available for Mobile Computing?

Mobile computing involves computers such as laptops, tablets and, to some extent, devices such as smartphones. Increasingly powerful, these devices can rival some desktop computers in performance.

Accessories include cases, stands, protective covers for screens and many other devices that are used along with mobile computers. This is becoming more and more important to industry, and mobile devices have already made significant market penetration among consumers. Some businesses allow employees to use their own mobile devices on worksites. They can be employed to record many different types of data, and to provide data to the user from shared sources.

What Is Networking and Connectivity? Which Products Are Available in the Networking and Connectivity Space?

Networking and connectivity involves providing a means over which information can flow between electronic devices. The equipment required to do this demonstrates the complexity of the endeavor.

Networking components include ones with very generalize purposes, such as hubs and switches that route traffic over networks, modems that provide connectivity and more. Computers and mobile devices are usually fitted with either wired or wireless network cards, another accessory.

Some networking components are specialized, such as print servers. There are also networking components that can convert a business’s electrical wiring into a computer network. Wireless equipment allows businesses to expand their networks greatly without running physical wire, which can significantly cut down on the costs associated with networking.

What Are Optical Drives and Media? Which Products Are Available in this Space?

Optical drives and media are better known as CD, DVD and Blu-ray drives and media. These are very common data storage formats. They can be easily written to and fast drives can read the data off of a disc very quickly. They are used for backups, transferring information and for many other purposes. They are, of course, also used for audio and video.

What Is Photography and Imaging? Which Products Are Available for Photography and Imaging and How Do they work?

Imaging products include cameras, scanners and camcorders. They record visual information that can be transferred to a computer, as it is stored in a digital format. Scanners allow the operator to read a document and have it—or the information it contains—entered into the computer automatically. Accessories include bags, media and other related items.

Optical drives and media are better known as CD, DVD and Blu-ray drives and media. These are very common data storage formats. They can be easily written to and fast drives can read the data off of a disc very quickly. They are used for backups, transferring information and for many other purposes. They are, of course, also used for audio and video.

What Are Printers? What Type of Printers Exists? How Does Each Type Work and What Is It Used for?

Printers are used to make a physical representation—hard copy—of information that the computer has stored or has access to in physical form. They come in a range of different types, some of theme specialized.

A 3-D printer is a printer that can actually produce physical objects. They allow parts for many different purposes to be manufactured quickly out of raw materials, and inexpensively if the printer is used enough. They are used in prototyping, experimentation and design.

Inkjet printers spray ink onto a page to produce a hard copy. These printers can be used on many different materials. The best of them are capable of producing very detailed images with subtle and accurate color representation.

Laser printers use lasers and electricity to produce printed documents. They contain drums and toner. The toner is deposited on the page by the drum. These printers can produce very large quantities of pages at good quality. Many large office printers are laser printers.

Some printers are made for a purpose and are described as thus rather than being described by their operating technology. Label printers, for instance, are sized so that they can produce specific types of labels—or multiple types—very fast and very economically. They’re often used in barcode systems. They may also be used for mailings

Some label printers produce a tape that can firmly affix to parts and other surfaces. Some are handheld and some are desktop devices.

What Is Considered Software in Computing? What Types of Software Exist? What Is Software Used For?

Software is called “soft” because it is not a physical thing. It is, however, one of the integral parts of a computer and, without it, a computer cannot function.

Software includes all the programs used on a computer. This includes everything from simple programs, such as a notepad program, to very complex ones, such as an accounting suite.

The libraries, drivers, operating system and other very basic tools that a computer uses but which are not hardware—meaning they are not physical things—are all included in this category, as well.

What Is Telecommunications? Which Products Exist in Telecommunications? What Is Each Product Used for?

Telecommunications, also called telecom, describes any communication that is carried out over a distance. In today’s world, this almost always means electronic communications, though not all telecom is actually electronic. Signaling someone with a flashlight, for instance, is technically a form of telecom, but not one that would normally be recognized as such.

Telecom in industrial and business settings can be understood by the hardware used to carry it out. For instance, telephones are the central piece of equipment in business and industrial telecom. Mobile devices are also heavily used. Two-way radios are used in applications where constant contact is advantageous and can be relayed hundreds of miles, with the right equipment, or can simply provide coverage for an industrial site of average size, depending upon what’s required.

Telecom accessories are generally designed to augment or improve the equipment used for telecom. Receptionists, for instance, may wear headsets for comfort and performance reasons, given how much time they spend on the phone. Conference phones provide a way for multiple people to speak on the same conversation. Two-way radio accessories can include headsets and earpieces that eliminate the need to hold the radio to one’s mouth when speaking.

What Are Considered Wireless Components and Modules? Which Products Are Available in This Area? How Does Each Product Function?

Wireless technology is increasingly important and powerful. It includes equipment that has been in use for many years, such as remote control devices. It also includes some of the most advanced devices, such as GPS units, which can wirelessly determine one’s location within meters, or better.

There are many products available under this category, which provide specialized functions on a network or between devices. Antennas are sensitive to transmissions. Amplifiers can strengthen signals so they can project farther and remain clear. Bluetooth devices allow computer interface devices to be used without wires.

Wi-Fi is one of the most significant developments in modern wireless. It allows computer networks to be construction without strict attention being given to placement. IT can be augmented with various devices, as well, extending the range of networks.


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