Friday, July 19, 2013

Honey They Shrunk the Computer!

I was helping my grade school son review for his computer quiz and the topic was about input and output devices. There was a section in the book that asks them to invent an input device and my son proudly said that he was the only one in class who has a new idea (a keymouse which is a mouse with keys so his hands don't have to move much when playing minecraft) while his classmates just copied what were in the previous pages. Proud daddy!

So I began by explaining the difference between input and output devices and took the time to explain how they work. I tried to suggest other input devices but I couldn’t think of an example until I realized that the iphone has a touch screen as the input device. I explained to him that iphones have CPUs and the screen is both the input and output device. I then mentioned Siri as another example of an input device – voice command. Our lesson ended with us giving commands to Siri and laughing at the responses.

Looking back at that episode made me think. Is the smartphone a computer with phone capability or a phone with computer capabilities? This is in light of the fact that I only have a few minutes average talk time on my phone while I spend hours per day using it for browsing, email and games!

So what makes a computer, well, a computer? Here’s a breakdown:
  1. Processor
  2. Memory
  3. Storage
  4. Input devices
  5. Output devices
  6. Operating system
  7. Applications

Can you name one that your smartphone doesn’t have?


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