Computer technology is used to serve and connect people in the modern world. Desktops, laptops and mobile devices network the world together and perform multiple operations at once; however, this industry includes more than these machines. Individuals, communities, government and organizations rely on computer technology to produce or innovate the majority of things in their lives, such as food, services, entertainment, care, communication, education and transportation.
Farmers use innovations in computer technology to determine the best time to plant, fertilize, harvest and sell crops. The Internet offers weather and stock market reports in real-time, and its global network of potential buyers is more expansive than local merchants. New machinery, such as cow milking machines, uses basic computer programming routines to automate the care of animals and crops. Harvesting vehicles give drivers more information when gathering crops, and farmers can detect if plants are contaminated with fungal toxins. As farmers become aware of new farming technology, they can adapt their future farming methods.
Computer technology includes any machines that receive commands and perform calculations or services accordingly. Many types of operations, such as billing, record keeping, transactions and planning, take place through commercially available or customized machines. Most modern devices use microchips and processing units to perform their basic functions. ATM machines, gas station pumps, GPS units and barcode scanners may be common in everyday life; however, each relies on circuit boards and digital data to meet the needs of consumers.
People gain more access to personalized services through the Internet. You could order a pizza or groceries online, and email your doctor's office or visit WebMD.com after receiving indigestion from something you eat. Look for online coupons that print out as discounts or free merchandise coupons for local stores and restaurants. Scan a product's barcode into your smartphone, and read reviews or price-match the item before purchasing it.
Major motion pictures and television programs use some form of visual, audio and animation effects in their production. Video games employ graphics produced by a computer, and each game plugs into a computer-based home entertainment system. Players can play by themselves or with others over the Internet. Some game systems can sell downloadable programs and stream movies online.
Use mobile phone applications to make reservations at restaurants or hair salons to reduce wait time. Purchase movie tickets online to avoid standing in a crowded line, or play a game on your phone while waiting for the movie to start. Store your music library on a single device instead of carrying around individual CDs.
A negative side effect of computer technology is the way it can affect your health. The field of ergonomics studies how a person's sitting position when using electronic equipment can affect the user mentally and physically. People who sit incorrectly or who stare at a computer screen all day may experience headaches. The position of a computer keyboard can create or prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
Other advances in computer technology have created more options for health care. Medical websites, such as WebMD.com, provide comprehensive overviews of what a person may be experiencing physically through their symptoms. Doctors offices can send patients a reminder email for an appointment, or fax a prescription to a pharmacy. Organic grocery stores or bulk sales of vitamin supplements can offer alternative options to traditional medicine.
People correspond with friends, family, acquaintances and business associates through social media, email, texting and instant messaging. Use computers to create holiday newsletters, and print off labels instead of hand writing each envelope. Stay in touch from work at home, attend video conferences instead of having to travel and send a mass email through MailChimp.com. Avoid the expense of a high school reunion by forming connections to old classmates through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites. Access news, weather forecasts, stock prices and more through websites and blogs that regularly compile top stories.
A computer is a useful tool for advancing educationally in traditional and non-traditional ways. Colleges and universities offer online courses for adults who are looking to obtain a degree without quitting their job. Younger students rely on computers to research and access information, or to submit their work to their teacher. Professional or volunteer tutors can be found online to gain help on a variety of topics.
Computer technology makes it easier to learn more about other cultures. Use the Internet to take a virtual trip to another country by exploring ideas, art, music, products and other examples of culture. Have a video phone call on Skype with a missionary and order local ethnic food to eat while you interact.
The basic functions of modern vehicles are controlled through computer chips and circuitry. Engine microprocessors calculate the proper mix of air and fuel for combustion, and a circuit board regulates the timing of the spark plugs. Certain safety features or luxuries, such as airbags, cruise control, anti-lock brakes and automatic transmission, all rely on computer technology to function.
GPS systems passively receive satellite signals that inform drivers of their location or how to find a specific destination. The device calculates the information and creates a display that adapts to movement, and it gives step-by-step directions on how to navigate the most-direct path available. Drivers can travel more confidently knowing that they can typically get where they need to go if service is available.