Computer Users

Personal computers, are designed to work with a human user. In fact, the user is a critical part of a complete computer system, especially when a personal computer is involved.
This may seem surprising, since we tend to think of computers as intelligent devices, capable of performing amazing tasks. People also sometimes believe that computers can think and make decisions, just like humans do. But this is not the case. Even the most powerful supercomputers require human interaction—if for no other reason than to get them started and tell them which problems to solve (see Fig. 1).
A human interacting with computer
Fig. 1: A human interacting with computer.

The User's Role

When working with a personal computer; the user can take on several roles, depending on what he or she wants to accomplish:
  • Setting up the System
    . Have you ever bought a new PC? When you got it home, you probably had to unpack it, set it up, and make sure it worked as expected (see Fig. 2). If you want to change something about the system (a process called configuration), you w ill likely do it yourself, whether you want to add a new hardware device, change the way programs look on your screen, or customize the way a program functions.
    Setting up a new pc
    Fig. 2: Setting up a new pc.
  • Installing Software
    . Although your new computer probably came with an operating system and some applications installed, you need to install any other programs you want to use. This may involve loading software from a disk or downloading it from a Web site. Either way, it is usually the user's responsibility to install programs, unless the computer is used at a school or business. In that case, a system administrator or technician may be available to do the job.
  • Running Programs
    . Whenever your computer is on, there are several programs running in the background, such as the software that runs your mouse and printer. Such programs do not need any user input; in fact, you may not even be aware of them. But for the most part, if you want to use your computer to perform a task, you need to launch and run the software that is designed for the task. This means installing the program, learning its tools, and working with it to make sure it gives you the results you want.
  • Managing Files
    . As you have already learned, a computer saves data in files. If you write a letter to a friend, you can save it as a file, making it available to open and use again later. Pictures, songs, and other kinds of data are stored as files. But it is the user's job to manage these files, and this means setting up a logical system for storing them on the computer. It also means knowing when to delete or move files, or copy them to a disk for safekeeping.
  • Maintaining the System
    . System maintenance does not necessarily mean opening the PC and fixing broken parts, as you would repair a car's engine. But it could! In that case, you might call a qualified technician to do the job, or roll up your sleeves and tackle it yourself. PC maintenance, however, generally means running utilities that keep the disks free of clutter and ensure that the computer is making the best use of its resources.

Userless Computers

Of course, there are many kinds of computers that require no human interaction, once they have been programmed, installed, and started up. For example, if you own a car that was built within the last decade, it almost certainly has an on-board computer that controls and monitors engine functions (see Fig. 3). Many new home appliances, such as washers and dryers, have built-in computers that monitor water usage, drying times, balance, and other operations.
Fig. 3: Car on-board computer diagnose.
Sophisticated userless computers operate security systems, navigation systems, communications systems, and many others. Userless computers are typically controlled by their operating systems. In these devices, the operating system may be installed on special memory chips rather than a disk. The operating system is programmed to perform a specific set of tasks, such as monitoring a function or checking for a failure, and little else. These systems arc not set up for human interaction, except as needed for system configuration or maintenance.

Do you want to say or ask something?

Only 250 characters are allowed. Remaining: 250
Please login to enter your comments. Login or Signup .
Be the first to comment here!
Terms and Condition
Copyright © 2011 - 2024
Privacy Policy