Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

As the world flits by faster than bumblebee wings, the written word present within the pages of a book is something tangible. Words we can touch and share with loved ones as a gift. “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us,” wrote Kafka. The best of books open a world unknown to us while still tapping into our deepest fears and desires. The best of authors speaks to our hearts, makes us feel understood, less alone and opens another door to ourselves that we did not know before.

It is writers such as these that the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival bring into our fold this year featuring critically acclaimed local authors whose works have affected and touched the nation. One that left an impression on me is Saur Marlina Manurung, or Butet as she is fondly called.

Reading our newspapers, our emails, our novels, we take for granted the fact we are literate and that education was available and at hand. We forget that many Indonesians do not share the same fate. In her novel, Sokola Rimba, Butet carries her personal struggle to provide every forest dwelling child in Jambi with the ability to read with her alternative education method of teaching through play.

The novel offers a slice of her life, depicting the challenges she faced as a teacher and the culture of the Kubu (Rimba) tribe of the Bukit Dua Belas region of Jambi. A tribe often negatively stereotyped as uncivilized, primitive, and ignorant. Penned with a straightforwardness and utter lack of sentimentalism, it provides powerful voice and a fresh perspective for the reader. A glimpse into undiscovered customs, traditions, and way of life. For although we are all part of this archipelago, we reside in our own individual bubbles, rarely seeking or aware of the people and events outside what is familiar.

In her memoir, Butet takes us into unmapped territories and dares us to embrace the unknown. To question our differences, our beliefs, and the meaning of civilization through her experience living with the Kubu tribe. Dubbed the modern day Kartini, her efforts were acknowledged by TIME Asia magazine, which named her one of Asia’s Heroes and she was awarded “Woman of the Year” by ANTEVE. Following her book, she established the Yayasan Sokola in 2003 to provide alternative education for those communities living in remote regions throughout the country.

Indonesia, with her immensely rich cultural heritage, is a nation steeped in history and brimming with tales longing to be told. Of tribes victimized by city dwellers, of solemn sugarcane farmers, of ancient village mystics, of fragmented childhoods. Dyah Merta and Andrea Hirata join Butet in this year’s Ubud’s festival that include a noteworthy Indonesian writer’s programme.

Saur Mar

Menjadi Investor Cerdik Ala Warren Buffet

Jakarta – Siapa tak kenal Warren Buffet? Orang terkaya nomor satu dunia yang berjaya berkat investasi cerdiknya di pasar saham. Berbekal pengalamannya, Buffet kini ingin menularkan ke publik gayanya menjadi investor cerdik. Apa rahasia Buffet menaklukkan pasar? Ternyata menjadi investor terlebih dulu harus punya karakter kuat dan berpikir jenius di tengah kondisi pasar yang tidak bersahabat. “Buffet sosok investor yang jenius banyak pemikirannya diikuti oleh banyak orang diseluruh dunia,” ujar Robert P Miles. Miles adalah salah seorang sahabat orang terkaya di dunia itu dan banyak menuangkan pemikiran-pemikiran Buffet dalam bukunya. Miles menyampaikan pemikiran Buffet itu dalam acara Danareksa Sekuritas Investor Gathering yang bertajuk ‘The Science if Investing and The Art of Managing’ di Hotel Ritz Carlton Pacific Place, SCBD, Sudirman, Jakarta, Selasa (12/8/2008). PT Danareksa Sekuritas mengundang penulis besar Robert P Miles yang diharapkan bisa menjadi terapi psikis bagi investor di Indonesia.  Miles mengatakan, Buffet bukan hanya investor yang handal, namun ia juga sebagai seorang manajer yang baik dengan reputasi dan karakternya yang kuat. Secara bisnis, melalui bendera Berkshire Hathaway Inc, Buffet bersaing kuat dengan kurang lebih 500 perusahaan besar di Amerika. Dikatakan oleh Miles Buffet telah mencangkramkan portofolio bisnisnya diberbagai sektor diantaranya 30% di asuransi, 10% energi dan 60% di sektor manufaktur, jasa dan retail. Dari pemaparan Miles mengenai pemikiran Buffet ini, diharapkan menjadi suntikan edukasi psikologis bagi para investor terkait pola investasi yang baik, pemilihan saham yang fundamental bagi investor di Indonesia. Miles banyak menulis buku mengenai Warren Buffet seperti The Warren Buffet CEO: Secret from the Berkshire Hathaway Managers, 101 Reason to Own the World Greatest Investment: Warrent Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway dan Warren Buffet Wealth: Principles and Practical Methods used by the World Greatest Investor. sumber : http://www.detikfin ance.com/ read/2008/ 08/12/113340/ 987014/479/ menjadi-investor -cerdik-ala- warren-buffet

Penting Mana: Menabung atau Investasi?

Jakarta – Banyak di antara kita, yang menyadari pentingnya menabung. Tapi, tidak banyak yang mengetahui tujuan menabung. Bahkan, parahnya lagi, masih ada yang belum bisa membedakan pengertian menabung dengan berinvestasi.

Demikianlah secuil kalimat yang dikutip dari buku edukasi reksa dana yang diterbitkan Badan Pengawas Pasar Modal Lembaga Keuangan (Bapepam LK) dan ditulis Presiden Direktur PT Fortis Investments, Eko B Pratama, sepertidetikFinance kutip, Senin (28/7/2008).

Apa benar antara menabung dan investasi itu berbeda? Menabung selama ini didefinisikan sebagai menyimpan sejumlah uang yang akan digunakan untuk kemudian hari. Semakin banyak dana yang ditabung semakin baik. Kebiasaan menabung adalah awal yang baik buat sesorang untuk mengatur pendanaan yang dimiliki. Tapi karena sifatnya sukarela, menabung tidak memiliki target dan perencanaan tertentu tapi lebih pada tujuan semula seperti membeli rumah atau lainnya. 

Sedangkan berinvestasi adalah suatu proses menabung yang berorientasi pada tujuan tertentu dan bagaimana mencapai tujuan tersebut. 

Sebagian besar masyarakat Indonesia memang masih berstatus penabung bukan investor. Namun dari seorang penabung kini bisa menjadi seorang investor yang peduli akan masa depan.

Dalam bukunya Eko memberikan pertanyaan dasar: Apakah Anda pernah memikirkan tentang kebutuhan masa depan Anda (keluarga) secara finansial? Misalnya, kebutuhan akan proteksi asuransi, rumah dan mobil, pendidikan anak,ibadah umrah atau haji, perjalanan wisata, dan kebutuhan masa pensiun? Jika ya, apakah Anda pernah memikirkan jumlah dana yang dibutuhkan? Juga, kapan Anda membutuhkannya? Semua kebutuhan Anda di atas akan sangat mungkin tercapai apabila Anda melakukan perencanaan sejak dini lewat investasi.

Berinvestasi menurutnya, lebih banyak memberikan keuntungan ketimbang menabung karena dalam berinvestasi ada unsur perencanaan (akan kebutuhan masa depan). Sedangkan, dalam menabung tidak jelas.

Eko memaparkan hal mendasar yang membedakan menabung dengan berinvestasi adalah adanya ketidakjelasan dalam hal: 

  • Tujuan atau kebutuhan secara spesifik, misalnya untuk pendidikan anak, memiliki rumah, atau persiapan pensiun.
  • Seberapa besar dana yang akan dibutuhkan untuk tujuan dimaksud.
  • Kapan kebutuhan itu diperlukan dan jangka waktu (berapa lama) untuk mencapai waktu tersebut. Pilihan/alternatif investasi yang tersedia untuk mencapai tujuan tersebut.
  • Strategi mencapai tujuan tersebut.

Seseorang melakukan investasi karena dipicu oleh kebutuhan akan masa depan. Tapi banyak masyarakat yang belum memikirkan kebutuhan akan masa depan. Padahal, kalau saja mereka tahu semakin ke depan, biaya hidup seseorang semakin bertambah.

Selain kebutuhan akan masa depan, seseorang melakukan investasi karena dipicu oleh banyaknya ketidakpastian atau hal yang tidak terduga dalam hidup ini (keterbatasan dana, kondisi kesehatan, musibah, kondisi pasar investasi) dan laju inflasi yang tinggi. Itulah tantangan tambahan yang perlu kita hadapi.

Tapi, dengan adanya alternatif instrumen (efek) investasi memungkinkan seseorang bisa memenuhi kebutuhan masa depan, dengan menentukan prioritas kebutuhan, menetapkan perencanaan yang baik serta implementasi secara disiplin.

“Kalau kita mau melakukan investasi, seyogianya, kita mengetahui terlebih dahulu mengenai instrumen-instrumen investasi. Tujuannya adalah agar kita bisa menentukan instrumen mana yang aling baik. Setidaknya, ada tiga instrumen dasar yang perlu kita pahami, yaitu deposito, obligasi, dan saham,” tulis Eko.

Mengapa berinvestasi itu perlu? Karena perekonomian dunia itu ada banyak ketidakpastian & keterbatasan, inflasi membuat harga-harga menjadi mahal, kebutuhan masa depan, tersedianya pilihan instrumen investasi.

Eko juga mengingatkan falsafah investasi agar jangan taruh semua telur dalam satu keranjang. Maksudnya adalah untuk mengurangi risiko, kita perlu menyebar penempatan investasi, sehinga kita terhindar dari risiko kerugian secara total (total loss). 

Jadi siapkah diri Anda beralih dari penabung menjadi investor?.

SUmber : http://www.detikfin ance.com/ read/2008/ 07/28/154456/ 979178/479/ penting-mana- menabung- atau-investasi

Dari Bung Haris Tentang Koordinator Daerah/Wilayah

Ini ada Info dari Bung Haris:

Salam Sukses IMF members,

Kepada Anda member IMF aktif yang ingin jadi Koordinator, Kami mohon maaf saat ini kami belum bisa realisasikan Keinginan Anda. mengapa ?

Karena saat ini kami sedang Konsentrasi
Pertama penyelesaian Pending Withdraw dan Juga Perbaikan Tatanan System untuk member baru Bergabung ke IMF. Nanti System IMF tidak bisa menerima begitu saja pendaftaran, tapi Harus lewat Koordinator.
Kedua, Kami harus melakukan Pertemuan dan Pembentukan Koordinator Wilayah yang tertunda, karena banyaknya masalah yang menimpa IMF. ( Pertemuan ini seharusnya sudah di lakukan Juli yang lalu, Namun saat ini kita tunda , Insya Allah selesai lebaran ini kita buat Jadwalnya. Rencananya Tidak lagi di Surabaya, namun Bos RPM Depok Minta di Puncak…..enak.

..nih….kita ramai2 di Puncak )

Jika PR kami sudah selesai, maka barulah kami akan menentukan lagi Koordinator Daerah yang Baru. Apa Saja Syaratnya ?

Tidak banyak syarat yang di perlukan ‘Cuma’ ada beberapa saja yg secara global bisa disingkat sbb :
1. Anda sanggup mengemban Amanah. ini adalah menyangkut Uang orang banyak jadi harus benar2 bisa memegang Amanah atau dipercaya oleh Member di Daerah Anda.

2. Sanggup dan siap menerima segala konsekwensi cercaan dan hinaan, seperti halnya saya yang di bilang raja penipu, atau beberapa member yang di bilang kroni nya saya.

3.Siap dan sanggup menerima komplain dari member, karena banyaknya keterbatasan yang IMF miliki.

4. Banyak lagi hal lainnya. kalau saya bilang lebih besar jeleknya ketimbang enaknya.

Ayo….masih berani jadi Koordinator….?

Kami lebih mudah menerima Koordinator Jika :
1. Anda selama ini memang sudah MengKoordinir, seperti KOPDAR ataupun membantu teman2 Anda untuk Mendaftar ke IMF.

2. Anda adalah Perwakilan RPM atau Royalti Network untuk Daerah anda. nah, yang ini secara tidak langsung sudah menjadi Koordinator IMF, tinggal tunngu Aktifnya Area Koodinator Anda saja.

Kemudian member yang sudah di tunjuk Masuk dalam team 8, tidak bisa jadi Koordinator Daerah, Karena ia sudah Jadi Koordinator Wilayah.

Koordinator Wilayah itu nanti:

2 Untuk Wilayah Sumatra , Yang Nanti di Wakili Oleh RIAU dan SUMATRA UTARA.
2 Untuk Wilayah Timur, yang nanti akan di wakili oleh Member dari Kalimantan dan Sulawesi
2 Untuk Wilyah Jawa Timur, Jawa Tengah dan Bali.
1 Untuk Wilayah Jawa barat
1 Untuk Wilayah DKI Jakarta dan Sekitarnya.

Apakah Seorang Koordinator itu di gaji ? TIDAK !

Wah….kerja bakti dong ! Tidak juga, nanti akan ada kompensasi yang kita berikan.
Untuk Koordinator Daerah Kompensasinya lumayanlah. Maaf, ini hanya boleh kami beritahu khusus untuk yang sudah resmi jadi Koordinator Daerah.

Untuk Koordinator Wilayah, nah ini tidak dapat apa2 dari IMF, tapi kerja dan tanggung jawabnya paling Besar. IMF nanti hanya mengajarkan System Trading IMF untuk Koordinator Wilyah dan memberikan Account Trading, jadi Seorang Koordinator Wilayah nanti bertanggung Jawab juga terhadap hasil kerja IMF. Kalau Tradingnya Kacau nanti Koordinator Wilayah Bisa di ‘Gebuk’ ramai-ramai oleh member…….heeee……heeee…..heeee., Ayo Yang calon Koordinator Wilyah berani tidak ?

Jadi sekali lagi untuk bergabung dengan Team Kerja IMF itu, saya katakan lebih banyak capek dan jeleknya, ketimbang enaknya.

jadi mulai sekarang mending pikir dulu sebelum mengajukan diri untuk masuk dalam team kerja IMF.

Semoga menjadi Informasi yang bermanfaat buat kita semua.

IMF Admin,

Haris Wisnu

Lesson 7 – Files & Folders

Computer hard drives hold an enormous amount of data or information. It is very important that all of the data is well organized. That way it is easy for the computer to find what it is looking for. Knowing how a computer’s organization system works will help you to find what you are looking for. Computers use files and folders to organize data.

What is a file?

A file is a collection of data that is stored together. Files can be stored on a hard drive, a floppy disk, or a CD. Everything that a computer does is based on data stored in files. You can do lots of things with files – create them, name them, rename them, save them, or delete them. Certain files can even be looked at, listened to, and run.

In some ways, files are like television shows. All TV shows have 3 things, just like computer files:

  • Name
  • Location
  • Length

common extensions Just as you recognize your favorite TV program by its name, you can also recognize a file by its name. File names often consist of 2 parts: name and type. There are many different types of TV shows – comedies, dramas, cartoons, sports shows, game shows, etc. Similarly, computer files come in different types – text files, graphic files, program files, e-mail files, etc. In many computer systems, files are named so that you know what type of file it is just by looking at the abbreviation behind the name. A period is used to separate the name from the type, like this: “name.type”. If TV show titles came in 2 parts like computer files, they would give the name of the program, followed by a period, followed by the type of show it is. It might look like this: “Sillykids.toon” or “EmergencyRoom.drama” or “Football.sport”! One important thing that you should know about file types or extensions is that they are always written as abbreviations, usually with 3 letters. For example, a text file is shown as .txt and an executable program file is shown as .exe. You may not always see the extension on a file name, because many PCs offer the option of turning off the extension. Even though you don’t see it, the computer still does. On the Macintosh system, however, the practice of naming files with extensions is not always followed; but you can see what kind of file it is by the icon or ‘kind’ identifier in the directory listings. Common Mac extensions you’ll see are .sit (a compressed stuffit file), .hqx (a binhexed encoded file), .pdf (Adobe Acrobat file). Web pages (no matter what system) always use extensions to identify the kind of file – .htm or .html for the web pages, .gif for gif graphics, .jpg for jpg graphics and so on.

Files are stored in certain places within your computer, much like TV programs are shown on certain channels. So, to find a file you must know where it is located, just like you must know on what channel to find your favorite TV show. If you forget what channel a TV show is on, you can either flip through channels until you find the program or you can look in a TV guide to find the information you need quickly. The quickest way to find files on most computers is to use Find. This is a type of search program where you can type in the name of a file and the computer will search and tell you where the file is located. If you use a Windows Operating System, Find is located on your Start Menu. On a Macintosh System, Find! is located under File on the menu bar. (More on Start Menu and menu bar in Lesson 8).

TV Programs, like files, have specific lengths. TV shows may be 30 minutes long, 1 hour long, or several hours long. Files are not measured in time, but in bytes. If you’ll remember from Lesson 3: Bits & Bytes, a byte is a measurement of stored data. Larger files may be measured in kilobytes or megabytes. The length of a file tells how much storage space that file is using within the computer.

Folders or Directories

With so many thousands of files stored inside a computer, it is very important to keep them organized. Folders, also known as Directories, keep files organized by grouping them together.

Imagine for a moment that you had a giant toy room filled with toys and you were given the job of organizing all of those toys. You decide to start the job by sorting all of the toys and grouping similar toys together. For example, you put all of your red marbles in a box and all of your blue marbles in another box and all of your clear marbles in a third box. Then, you put all of those boxes into a bigger box and label it “marbles”. Then, you might even put the “marbles” box into a bigger box that contains boxes of “super balls” and “tennis balls” and “baseballs”. You would name that big box “balls”. If you continued to organize toys that way, you would end up with an entire room of boxes with labels that contain similar kinds of toys. Then if you needed to find your plastic brontosaurus, you would know to open the box labeled “toy animals” and go past the “bug box” and the “reptile box” until you find the “dinosaur box” – open it and there is the brontosaurus! In this example, the toys are like files and the boxes are like folders. Your computer is set up to store similar files in specific folders. Then similar folders can be put inside other folders, and so on.

Many times, the computer will automatically store files in certain folders in order to keep itself organized. However, when you create new files, you must decide which folders to put them. You can even create new folders to store your files. For example, let’s say that a boy named Adam wants to make a folder of all the fun things he creates on the computer. With an adult’s help, Adam creates a folder titled “Adam”. Within that folder, he creates 3 new folders titled “stories”, “drawings” and “jokes”. Then, when Adam writes a story called “Alien Tap Dancing”, he stores or saves that file that contains the story in the “stories” folder. On a PC, the file name would be “Alien Tap Dancing.txt” because it is a text file.

file location The best way to keep up with a file is to know its address. The address basically tells you what drive and folders to look in for a file. For example, the address for Adam’s story might look like this on a Macintosh system: “Macintosh HD\Users\Adam\stories\Alien Tap Dancing” (Macintosh HD indicates the hard drive). On a PC, the address might look like this: “C:\\My Documents\Adam\stories\Alien Tap Dancing.txt”. In this case, the letter “C” indicates the hard drive, as most PCs assign a letter to each drive in the system. Note, that the file address always includes the drive, folder(s), and file name in exactly that order.

Be A Responsible Computer User

Understanding the relationship between files and folders, and how they are addressed and located within your computer system is a very important part of using a computer. Beginners should make it a priority to learn about this early in their computer education. Never delete, move or rename a file unless you are absolutely sure of what you are doing! A computer relies on many files to keep itself running correctly, so changing or deleting those files can cause major computer malfunctions. When in doubt, ask a parent, teacher or other expert for assistance. The safest way to learn about using files and folders is to ask for help in setting up your own personal folder, then creating new folders and files within it.

Operating Systems

What is an Operating System?

The most important program on any computer is the Operating System or OS. The OS is a large program made up of many smaller programs that control how the CPU communicates with other hardware components. It also makes computers easier to operate by people who don’t understand programming languages. In other words, operating systems make computers user friendly.

Do you remember ROM (Read Only Memory) and RAM (Random Access Memory) from Lesson 2? ROM and RAM are very important to the OS. Part of a computer’s operating system is built into ROM. That part contains the most essential programs that the computer needs in order to run correctly. BIOS The ROM operating system is also known as the BIOS (Basic Input Output System). You may remember from Lesson 2 that the BIOS is responsible for waking up the computer when you turn it on to remind it of all the parts it has and what they do.

The operating system also contains other programs that are important, but not essential to making the computer run. The part of the operating system that contains these programs is stored on a computer’s hard drive and is booted to RAM whenever the computer is turned on. This part of the operating system is known as DOS which stands for Disk-based Operating System.

Types of Operating Systems

Different computer manufacturers use different operating systems. Apple has specific operating systems for its line of Macintosh computers. When IBM released their Personal Computer or PC back in the early 1980’s, they did not get a copyright on it, which allowed many other companies to build similar computers that were IBM-compatible; in other words, they used the same operating system as the IBM PC. There are different operating systems available for PCs, but the most common is Windows, which was developed by a company named Microsoft. Windows is similar to the Macintosh operating system, because it also uses a mouse and a GUI (Graphical User Interface) that uses graphics or pictures to help the user navigate within the computer system.

There are several versions of Windows (95, 98, NT, 2000), just as there are several versions of Macintosh operating systems (System 7, System 8). Operating systems are constantly being improved or upgraded as technology advances. When a company thinks that their operating system is now more advanced than the one already on the market, they release their new version for sale. Users can then purchase the new version and upgrade the part of the operating system that is stored on the hard drive. The ROM OS is not affected by the upgrade. Upgrading an operating system can have several advantages, such as simplifying tasks and navigation. However, there can be disadvantages, too. Many Windows 95 users upgraded to Windows 98 and discovered that many of their older programs would no longer run using the new operating system.

The Computer Revolution

The introduction of the Macintosh OS and the later introduction of Windows played a large part in making computers accessible to so many people. The user-friendly interfaces of both operating systems made it easier for people with no computer training to learn to use these amazing machines. Other machines, such as typewriters and payroll calculators quickly became a thing of the past, as computers became so easy to use and so affordable.

Storage

The purpose of storage in a computer is to hold data or information and get that data to the CPU as quickly as possible when it is needed. Computers use disks for storage: hard disks that are located inside the computer, and floppy or compact disks that are used externally.

Hard Disks

Your computer uses two types of memory: primary memory which is stored on chips located on the motherboard, and secondary memory that is stored in the hard drive. Primary memory holds all of the essential memory that tells your computer how to be a computer. Secondary memory holds the information that you store in the computer.

Inside the hard disk drive case you will find circular disks that are made from polished steel. On the disks, there are many tracks or cylinders. Within the hard drive, an electronic reading/writing device called the head passes back and forth over the cylinders, reading information from the disk or writing information to it. Hard drives spin at 3600 or more rpm (Revolutions Per Minute) – that means that in one minute, the hard drive spins around over 3600 times!

Today’s hard drives can hold a great deal of information – sometimes over 20GB!

How Hard Disks Work

The process of reading and writing to a hard disk is done with electricity and magnetism. The surfaces of this type of disks can be easily magnetized. The electromagnetic head of the disk drive records information to the disk by creating a pattern of magnetized and non-magnetized areas on the disk’s surface. Do you remember how the binary code uses on and off commands to represent information? On the disk, magnetized areas are on and non-magnetized areas are off, so that all information is stored in binary code. This is how the electronic head can both write to or read from the disk surface.

It is very important to always keep magnets away from your computer! The magnets can erase information from the hard disk!

Compact Disks

Instead of electromagnetism, CDs use pits (microscopic indentations) and lands (flat surfaces) to store information much the same way hard disks use magnetic and non-magnetic storage. Inside the CD-ROM is a laser that reflects light off of the surface of the disk to an electric eye. The pattern of reflected light (pit) and no reflected light (land) creates a code that represents data.

CDs usually store about 650MB. A DVD or Digital Video Disk holds even more information than a CD, because the DVD can store information on two levels, in smaller pits or sometimes on both sides.

Why Do You Need External Disks?

You might wonder: If all the information is stored safely inside my computer, why would I need to store it outside? There are several reasons why portable storage is so important.

CDs and other kinds of external memory make it possible to backup important information in case it is lost by the computer. Do you remember in Lesson 2, we talked about RAM and ROM? RAM loses its memory each time the computer is turned off, but ROM keeps information stored even when the computer is not turned on. Well, sometimes computers have problems that can cause them to crash. No, that doesn’t mean they jump off the desk and smash on the floor. A crash is something that happens inside the computer’s circuits and can make it forget things. Some crashes can even make ROM forget everything! Having important information backed up on disks will allow you to put it back into your computer’s memory. Backup disks can save you lots of time and headaches.

Disks also allow information to be transferred between different computers. Let’s say that you are working on a project using a computer at the library, but you don’t finish it by closing time. There’s your project sitting in the computer. How do you get it home to finish it on your computer? You write the information to a disk, take it home and upload the information into your computer from the disk. What an easy way to transfer information!

Uses of Compact Discs

The most common use for compact discs (aside from playing music) is storage of software programs. When you purchase a computer game, the program that tells your computer how to run the game is stored on a CD. You move the program into your computer’s memory by installing it. Some programs are transferred completely into your computer’s hard drive. However, many programs are very large and would take up lots of memory space on your hard drive. To keep that from happening, these programs are designed to only upload part of the program onto your computer. The rest of the program stays on the software disk. The program cannot be run from your computer unless you have the CD in the disc drive so that RAM can read the rest of the program from it.

With the introduction of CD-RW (disc drives that can write to compact discs as well as read from them), CDs can now be used for storage. Using a CD-RW, computer data can be backed up to a CD. All kinds of information can now be saved on CD. Many people store music files or family photos on CD.

Bits & Bytes

Did you know that all of the information that travels through your computer is based on two commands? It’s true. The only data that a computer can understand is on and off. But, the millions of combinations of those two commands given in series are what make a computer work.

Binary Code

binary code Remember the power supply that is inside your computer and how it sends electricity to all of the components? That electricity is what creates an on signal. The memory chips inside your computer are divided into thousands of tiny compartments called bits. Each bit has an electronic switch or gate. On means the gate is open and letting electricity go through. The computer reads on or open switches as a number 1. Closed gates are off because the electricity is blocked and cannot get through. The computer reads off bits as 0. It is by grouping these bits together to form a series of 1/0 commands, that data is formed. Eight bits are grouped together to form a byte. In this group of eight, there are 256 possible combinations of 1/0. The grouping of 1/0 within a byte is called Binary Code.

binary path Here’s an example of the Binary Code in action: When you type the letter A on your keyboard, electrical signals are sent from the keyboard to the CPU. The CPU turns the signals into binary code. Then, the computer reads the code and sends it on to the monitor to display the letter A.

KB, MB & GB

You may have seen these abbreviations many times before. Do you know what they mean?

  • KB = kilobyte = about 1,000 (one thousand) bytes, (1024 or 2^10)
  • MB = megabyte = about 1,000,000 (one million) bytes, (1,048,576 or 2^20)
  • GB= gigabyte = about 1,000,000,000 (one billion) bytes (1,073,741,824 or 2^30)

As you can see, these abbreviations stand for a specific number of bytes. And each byte holds 8 bits capable of forming 256 combinations of 1/0. Wow!

The number that comes before one of these abbreviations represents the computer’s memory capacity. For example, if a computer has 64MB of RAM that means that the computer can handle 64,000,000 (64 million) bytes of random access memory (that’s 64,000,000 microscopic 8-bit panels). Hard disk space is also measured in bytes. So, a 15GB hard drive has 15,000,000,000 (15 billion) bytes for storing memory.

Look at your keyboard. Each character key is represented by a number that is held in a single byte. Remember how the letter A is sent to the CPU to be translated into binary code? The numerical value of the uppercase letter A is 65. That number 65 is represented in one byte – a combination of 1 and 0 or on and off switches. The computer cannot understand letters, so it translates them into numbers that are represented by patterns of on and off. To get an idea of how much on/off data a computer can store, just imagine pressing one key one billion times! How long would it take? If you pressed the key 5 times per second, it would take you over 6 years of continuously typing to reach 1 billion keystrokes equal to 1GB of memory! And many computers today can store over 20GB of memory on their hard disks! Incredible! So, the next time your computer is taking a long time to load a web page, think of how fast it really is going!

Hardware on the Inside

Computers are made of many electronic components or parts. These components each have a special job and they all work together to make your computer operate. Some components are hidden inside the computer where you can’t see them. Others can be seen partly from the outside.

Power It Up!

Every computer needs a power supply to take electricity from your house and convert it into a current that works for your computer. The electrical cord that comes out of your computer comes out of the power supply. When it is plugged into the wall, electricity travels from the electrical wires in your house into the computer’s power supply. When your computer is turned on, the power supply allows the converted electricity to travel to other components inside the computer.

Circuits

Motherboard The motherboard gets its name because it is like a mother to all of the other circuit boards. Found at the bottom of a desktop case or the side of a tower case, the motherboard is the largest circuit board and has many smaller boards plugged into it. It holds all of the most important parts of the computer.

On the motherboard, you will find several expansion cards. Each of these cards has a special purpose. The sound card contains special circuits for operating the computer’s sound. The video card handles graphics that are displayed on the monitor. There are also expansion cards for other computer components including the drives and ports.

The modem is an expansion card that allows computers to talk to each other. A modem plugs the computer in to a phone or cable line so that information can be transferred between computers. Current modems can run up to 56,000 bits per second. Don’t know what a bit is? Don’t worry, we’ll get to that in a later lesson

CPU Running

The brain of a computer is the CPU or Central Processing Unit. Like a brain, it controls information and tells other parts what to do. The type of CPU in a computer also determines how fast that computer can operate. A CPU generates lots of heat, so there is usually a small fan nearby to cool it down.

A very important computer component is the BIOS chip. BIOS stands for Basic Input Output System. In very simple terms, the BIOS chip wakes up the computer when you turn it on and reminds it what parts it has and what they do.

RAM & ROM

ROM & RAM Have you ever heard the terms RAM and ROM? These two terms sound very similar and can easily be confused by beginners. However, understanding what they mean and what they do can help you to remember.

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. RAM chips will remember what you tell them and can even change to remember new information. But, when the computer is turned off, RAM forgets everything you told it. This is why it is so important to save your work on a computer – if the computer gets turned off, RAM will lose all of your work!

ROM stands for Read Only Memory. ROM is good at remembering, but cannot change it’s mind. It holds information that is built into it. ROM is like reading a library book – lots of information is there, but you can’t change it (because you never write in a library book). RAM, on the other hand, is more like a journal – you can write information into the journal. But if you change your mind, you can erase and write in new information.

Ports

Ports are the places on the outside of the computer case where you plug in hardware. On the inside of the case, they are connected to expansion cards. The keyboard, mouse, monitor, and printer all plug into ports. There are also extra ports to plug in extra hardware like joysticks, gamepads, scanners, digital cameras and the like. The ports are controlled by their expansion cards which are plugged into the motherboard and are connected to other components by cables – long, flat bands that contain electrical wiring.

Disk Drives

Disk drives read information off of storage disks. The three most common disk drives are the hard drive, floppy disk drive and CD-ROM. In lesson 1, you learned a bit about the latter two, which are usually installed inside the front of your computer case so that you can get to them from the outside to load the software. The hard drive, however is hidden inside the computer because the disks are not meant to be removed. Information that you save on your computer is stored on these hard disks. You can learn more about storage disks in Lesson 4: Storage; but first, check out Lesson 3 to learn about bits and bytes.

Kids Domain Computer Connections Computers Inside & Out

Lesson 1: Outer Hardware

hardware labels Take a look at the computer in front of you. No, not just the screen. Look at all of the other parts. Do you know what they are? Do you know what they do? If you already know – great! Give yourself a big pat on the back! But if you don’t know about all the gadgets surrounding your computer, then read on and find out!

The Basics

tower Lets start with the center of any computer system. Do you see something shaped like a box nearby? It will have a power switch and a light or two. It should also have a place or places to insert disks. This is the case that houses all of the important computer components. If it stands up tall, it is a tower case. If it sits flat, it is a desktop case. Ask your parents to let you look at the back of the computer (never do this without permission, because there is a lot of dangerous electricity back there!). You will see lots of cords and cables coming out of the back of the case and going to other computer parts like the monitor.

Your computer case probably has a place to insert floppy disks or CDs. These are called the floppy disk drive and the CD-ROM. The floppy disk drive reads information from a very thin disk that is inside a flat, square plastic case. You can also write information to these disks and ‘save’ it. CD-ROM is short for Compact Disk – Read Only Memory. A compact disk is a shiny, circular disk that stores information. A CD-ROM can only read information from the disk. Many new computers have a CD-RW (RW stands for ReWrite) instead of a CD-ROM. CD-RW allows you to write information to the disk as well as read from it. Also, some new computers have a DVD (Digital Video Disk) drive instead of a CD-ROM or CD-RW. A DVD looks just like a CD, but it holds much more information. You can watch movies, listen to music, or play computer games from DVDs. One important thing to know is that you can play CDs in a DVD player, but you cannot play DVDs in a CD player!

Input Devices

There are several ways to get new information or input into a computer. The two most common ways are the keyboard and the mouse. The keyboard has keys for characters (letters, numbers and punctuation marks) and special commands. Pressing the keys tells the computer what to do or what to write. The mouse has a special ball that allows you to roll it around on a pad or desk and move the cursor around on screen. By clicking on the buttons on the mouse, you give the computer directions on what to do. There are other devices similar to a mouse that can be used in its place. A trackball has the ball on top and you move it with your finger. A touchpad allows you to move your finger across a pressure sensitive pad and press to click.

input devices

Other types of input devices allow you to put images into the computer. A scanner copies a picture or document into the computer. There are several types of scanners and some look very different, but most look like a flat tray with a glass pane and a lid to cover it. You can input photographs into a computer with a digital camera. Photos are taken with the camera away from the computer and stored on a memory chip. Then the camera is plugged into the computer, so that the images can be downloaded. Another input device is a graphics tablet. A pressure sensitive pad is plugged into the computer. When you draw on the tablet with the special pen (never use an ink pen or pencil!), the drawing appears on the screen. The tablet and pen can also be used like a mouse to move the cursor and click.

Output Devices

Output devices display information in a way that you can you can understand. The most common output device is a monitor. It looks a lot a like a TV and houses the computer screen. The monitor allows you to ‘see’ what you and the computer are doing together. speakers

Speakers are output devices that allow you to hear sound from your computer. Computer speakers are just like stereo speakers. There are usually two of them and they come in various sizes.

A printer is another common part of a computer system. It takes what you see on the computer screen and prints it on paper. There are two types of printers. The inkjet printer uses inks to print. It is the most common printer used with home computers and it can print in either black and white or color. Laser printers run much faster because they use lasers to print. Laser printers are mostly used in businesses. Black and white laser printers are the most common, but some print in color, too.