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Input Devices

In order to use computers, you need some way to communicate with them. This process is known as input. There are many types of input devices. Probably the most common is a keyboard. By simply typing on a typewriter-like keyboard, information is sent to the computer for processing. In order to see what it is you have typed, most computers use a monitor or video display. As characters are typed on the keyboard, they appear on the monitor screen.

Among the most familiar devices for input are game controllers such as joysticks. These devices allow a game player to communicate information to a computer informing it of key decisions necessary to play a game. A similar device is a mouse, a hand controller that is used in some software applications and operating systems for a variety of different computers (see Figure 10-6). A mouse is used to select menu choices and to move a cursor, or pointer, around on the monitor screen. A mouse consists of a rubber ball inside a plastic housing. By moving the mouse over a surface such as a desktop or a mouse pad, the ball moves, providing input to the computer to move a pointer on the display screen. Similar to a mouse is a track ball. Many small portable computers use touchpads, since the operator may be using the computer where there is no desktop available for a mouse.


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