By Don McLeese
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1981: IBM releases the popular 5150, using Microsoft’s operating system. 1984: Apple introduces its popular Macintosh computer. 1991: The World Wide Web begins and computer sales increase. 45 Glossary bit (bit): a single binary digit, a 1 or 0 byte (bite): a group of binary digits that a computer transforms into a number, letter, or something else CD-ROM (SEE-DEE ROM): a computer drive that plays compact discs and has read-only memory central processing unit (SEN-truhl PROSS-ess-ing YOO-nit): the processor or part of the computer that processes software or information; sometimes called CPU crashed (KRASHT): stopped working properly cursor (KUR-sur): an indicator on your computer screen that shows your position when you’re typing or pointing and clicking digital (DIJ-uh-tuhl): using digits, or numbers discs (DISKS): pieces of software containing information that can be inserted into a computer drive electricity (i-lek-TRISS-uh-tee): a form of energy generated by the movement of electrons and protons email (EE-mayl): short for electronic mail, sent over the Internet by one computer user to another gigabyte (GIG-uh-bite): about a billion bytes hard drives (HARD DRIVES): parts inside computers that store large amounts of information Internet (IN-tur-net): an electronic web of billions of sites that you can connect to with a computer and modem keyboard (KEE-bord): the board where you can type letters and numbers onto the computer screen kilobyte (KIL-uh-bite): about a thousand bytes 46 mainframe (MAYN FRAYM): a large central computer that has memory and programs for smaller computers megabyte (MEG-uh-bite): about a million bytes memory (MEM-uh-ree): lets computers store and save files, information, and programs modem (MOH-duhm): a computer output that connects the computer to the Internet monitor (MON-uh-tur): the screen of a computer mouse (MOUSS): a computer input that allows you to point and click to open programs or highlight things on the screen PC (PEE-SEE): a personal computer that uses Microsoft software rather than a computer made by Apple processor (PROSS-ess-ur): the part of the computer that handles all the information, sometimes called the central processing unit or CPU RAM (RAM): stands for random access memory, the part of the computer’s memory that is lost when the computer is turned off reboot (re-BOOT): restart the computer ROM (ROM): stands for read-only memory, the information that can be read but not changed silicon chip (SIL-uh-kuhn CHIP): a computer chip that let computers get small enough for personal use switches (SWICH-es): the devices that control the flow of binary signals transistors (tran-ZISS-turz): devices that control the flow of electricity websites (WEB-sites): a central location for related web pages on the Internet 47 Index Allen, Paul 22 Atanasoff, John V.
Each one of those 0s and 1s is called a bit (binary digit). A group of those bits that the computer turns into a letter or a number that we can read is called a byte. The more memory a computer has and the better its processor or central processing unit, the faster it can turn millions of bytes into a game we can play or a song we can hear. 39 Crash or Freeze CHAPTER TEN Have you ever had a computer quit working while you are in the middle of using it? When a computer screen goes blank, we call this a crash.
42 Today we can own a computer that is as small as the smallest telephone. We can communicate with people from all over the world in an instant, find a satellite image of our own home, and watch the latest TV shows. How much will computers be able to do in the future? No matter what we can imagine, it might come true, and maybe even sooner than we can believe. 43 Timeline 1642: French scientist Blaise Pascal invents first machine that can solve addition and subtraction equations. 1832: English mathematician Charles Babbage adds punch cards that give the computer memory.