Welcome to a beginner’s guide on the basic things that we can do with computers. The cyber stone age is over, and long gone are those days of “boring computers”. Today, computers are still not capable of coming up with an evil plan to take over the world, but they are mighty capable of many things.
So to those of you who are new to computers, here are some of the things that a computer can do, the things that you can do with a computer. Read on!
1) NETWORKING & THE INTERNET
If you are reading this guide, then you are already on the Internet. Well, for you guys who are new to the digital world – The Internet is where millions of smartphones, tablets, computers, servers, and networks are inter-connected together… Thus, rightfully called the Inter-Net.
The Internet is one heck powerful channel to learn, communicate, share, and do a whole load of crazy stuff… Which we will go into more details below. But where great powers come, are also where dangers lurk – There are plenty of shady deals and websites on the Internet that you will want to avoid.
2) WORD PROCESSING, SPREADSHEETS, SLIDES
Oh, boring work and school stuff. While there is a special touch to writing letters and reports by hand these days, using a computer is just way more efficient.
- Write and view documents, reports, books, whatever you want.
- Applications can automatically check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Even autocomplete words for you, so that you type faster.
- Keep track of your home expenditures, your grocery shopping list, todo list, etc…
- Categorize the spending, sum them up, and help to identify the biggest expenditures.
Once upon a time, we write on chalkboards, transparencies, and use overhead projectors. Today, presentations are a lot more exciting. Slides generated by computers are just a lot more graphical and we can even include a few short video clips with it.
A FEW POPULAR OFFICE SUITES
Being a netizen on the Internet also means that you are connected to millions of other devices worldwide. What does that imply again? The computer is a communications gateway that will allow you to contact with nearly anyone across the globe. There are many forms of digital communications, but the common ones being:
- Internet Phones, or VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phones. These work just like regular phones but sends voice data over the Internet.
- Video Calls – Try Skype and WhatsApp.
- Email – The electronic version of good old snail mail.
- Social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Connect with your friends, meet new people, join interest groups, send messages.
- VR (virtual reality) chat rooms – The more interesting method, but will require you to have a VR Headset.
Bored? Computers offer many ways to keep you entertained.
- Internet Radio – The power of the Internet again. Gone are those days where people have to buy expensive equipment and apply for a license to officially go on air. There are all kinds of radio channels online now, and you can check out internetradio.com for a whopping list of online stations.
- Playing music – Apart from Internet radio, there are plenty of websites where artists gather to share their songs and podcasts. Check out SoundCloud and Audiomack.
- Videos – The TV is no longer the only one to provide entertainment on movie nights. Computers can also play movies and shows, with various websites offering free video contents, such as YouTube and DailyMotion.
While we are still on the page of entertainment, gaming is one huge slice of the pie. But of course, computer games are not always about killing zombies and saving the world. The gaming industry has grown so much that there are game selections for every age group.
- Educational games for children.
- Casual games for everyone to enjoy.
- Mature games for the adults.
- Online games for the masses.
Well, we really don’t have to make a trip down to the game store these days. There are plenty of reputable online stores that you can purchase and download games from.
- Microsoft Store – For Windows-based games and applications.
- Apple Store – For Mac and iOS-based games and applications.
- Google Play Store – For Android
- Steam – For a load of games
6) PHOTOGRAPHY & PROCESSING
Cameras used to be a “specialized” toy only for those who are dedicated enough. But with mobile technology, they have become so common that you can find it on almost every smartphone, tablet, and laptop. While these tiny mobile cameras cannot be compared to the professional ones, they are still good enough for general casual uses.
The better part of technology is that computers are not just capable of taking photos, they are also capable of storing thousands of them – Even import photos from an “actual digital camera”. With many photo editing applications to choose from, you can easily do some improvements to the pictures, without being a professional photographer.
7) VIDEOGRAPHY & PROCESSING
If computers are capable of doing video calls, then they are also capable of recording that very same video. Again, the tiny camera and microphone cannot be compared to those full-fledged movie producers, but they are good enough for capturing casual videos.
Videos can also be imported into a computer from “actual digital cameras”, and video editing can be done on it – With video editing applications that range from casual use, to even “professional grade” movie production.
8) MUSIC PRODUCTION
If computers are capable of processing videos, then they are also mighty capable of working with music. Nope, not just recording with the “basic” microphone, but attaching a really good microphone to the computer and recording studio quality sound.
As you might have guessed, there are plenty of applications available for mixing soundtracks – One can turn a simple room into a full recording studio with the right equipment, and just a computer.
9) ILLUSTRATIONS & ANIMATION
While we are still on the topic of creativity, drawing on a computer used to be a challenge using the keyboard and mouse. But with the invention of touch screens, stylus pens, and even the e-paper, digital artists are now given a treat to having nearly unlimited drawing canvases. For those who are less mighty with the pen and brush, there is also the school of 3D graphics.
10) CREATIONS & MICRO MANUFACTURING
Once upon a time, the ability to print on paper with a computer and printer changed the way of how micro-publishing work. Now, with the invention of 3D printers, it has changed the way of how micro-manufacturing work.
With some ninja skills in 3D design and modeling, we can pretty much print any small-sized objects with the 3D printer. Talk about having a small factory in your own home.
The one thing that computers are really good at – automation. It is no secret that modern factories use heavy machinery to do repetitive tasks such as packaging at high speeds. All controlled by computers, which would have been impossible by human eyes and arms.
But as artificial intelligence (AI) gets better with time, some menial tasks such as cleaning are being replaced by auto-vacuuming robots, and driving replaced by auto-pilot vehicles.
12) SMART HOMES
Automation is not just for the factories and industries. There are various smart devices these days that will either automate daily tasks or allow you to control your home from the Internet.
- Control and automate your lights – Sensors to detect if you have entered a room and switch on the lights.
- Automated robot vacuum machine that will clean your house while you are out.
- Self-regulated heaters and coolers.
- Automated plant pots that will water themselves.
- Automated feeders that will serve food to your pets at certain times.
With the correct devices attached to a computer, that will serve will to add security to your home or office.
- Wire an Internet-enabled camera to the computer and you can view it from everywhere.
- Maybe a doorbell that will make a phone call to your phone while you are away.
- Smoke and fire detectors that will automatically call the emergency services.
- Intrusion detectors that will automatically call the police.
14) MAPS & NAVIGATION
With the global positioning system (GPS), you can now get your current position on the planet Earth. Couple that with the use of digital maps, you will never get lost – Free online services these days can even help you navigate around. Check out Google Maps and Apple Maps.
Computers are not just that “boring machine” used in factories. With a computer and connection to the Internet, you have access to a digital ocean of unlimited knowledge:
- Dictionaries and Thesaurus – Not just free websites, but also plenty of free applications.
- Encyclopedia – Check out Wikipedia.
- Tutorial Videos – Learn just about just anything from YouTube and DailyMotion.
- Tutorial Websites & Blogs – Just like the one you are reading now.
EXTRA – LINKS & REFERENCES
- Top 10 Simple Things Every Computer User Should Know How to Do – Life Hacker
- 9 Easy Computer Things Everyone Should Know How to Do – Focus
Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope that this has helped you to better understand the capabilities of computers, and if you have anything to share with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and happy computing. May the cyber force be with you.