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Several devices are known to be used for inputting information into the computer: a keyboard, some coordinate input devices, such as manipulators (a mouse, a trackball), touch panels and graphical plotting tables, scanners, digital cameras, TV tuners, sound cards etc. When personal computers first became popular, the most common device used to transfer information from the user to the computer was the keyboard. It enables inputting numerical and text data. A standard keyboard has 104 keys and three more ones informing about the operating mode of light indicators in the upper right corner.
Later when more advanced graphics became to develop, user found that a keyboard did not provide the design capabilities of graphics and text representation on the display. There appeared manipulators, a mouse and a trackball, that are usually used while operating with graphical interface. Each software program uses these buttons differently.
The mouse is an optic-mechanical input device. The mouse has three or two buttons which control the cursor movement across the screen. The mouse is certain to provide the cursor control thus simplifying user's orientation on the display . The mouse's primary functions are to help the user draw, point and select images on his computer display by moving the mouse across the screen.
In general software programs require to press one or more buttons, sometimes keeping them depressed or double-click them to issue changes in commands and to draw or to erase images. When you move the mouse across a flat surface, the ball located on the bottom side of the mouse turns two rollers. One is tracking the mouse's vertical movements, the other is tracking horizontal movements. The rotating ball glides easily, giving the user good control over the textual and graphical images.
In portable computers touch panels or touch pads are used instead of manipulators. Moving a finger along the surface of the touch pad is transformed into the cursor movement across the screen.
Graphical plotting tables (plotters) find application in drawing and inputting manuscript texts. You can draw, add notes and signs to electronic documents by means of a special pen. You know the quality of graphical plotting tables to be characterized by permitting capacity, that is the number of lines per inch, and their capability to respond to the force of pen pressing.
Scanner is used for optical inputting of images (photographies, pictures, slides) and texts and converting them into the computer form.
Digital videocameras have been recently spread. We suggest them to enable getting videoimages and photographs directly in digital computer format. Digital cameras give possibility to get high quality photos.
Sound cards produce sound conversion from analog to digital form. They are able to synthesize sounds. Special game-ports and joysticks are widely used in computer games.
Answer the following questions:
1.What devices are used for inputting information into the computer? 2. What is the function of a keyboard? 3. Why do many users prefer manipulators to keyboard? 4. How does the mouse operate? What is its function? 5.What is used in portable computers instead of manipulators? 6. What is the touch pad's principle of operation? 7. Where do graphical plotting tables find application?
Exercise 2. Look through the text and then answer the questions below.