Technology Basics: Hardware versus Software

post8 - Technology Basics: Hardware versus Software

Hardware and software are the things we need to work on computers. Generally, you need both to successfully use a computer as they work together. A very basic distinction between hardware and software is that hardware can be seen and touched while software cannot. Let’s have a closer look at the difference between software and hardware.

Hardware

Definition: Hardware refers to physical devices that make up your computer and that is needed to make the software work. It can be touched and seen.

Examples: monitor, keyboard, motherboard, processor, mouse, hard drives, power supply, graphics card, sound card, modem, printer, speakers, DVD-ROM, smartphone, tablet, etc.

So, if you are reading this article, you probably have all or some of these things right now – computer screen, keyboard, and mouse. You can’t necessarily see the motherboard or CPU, but it’s there. Hardware is the physical stuff and as things go with the physical, it has a tendency to get old and wear out. There are different moving parts that form part of the computer hardware and these can get worn out and break. Luckily, replacing hardware is generally easy.

If you are unsure about what exactly your computer’s hardware consists of, you can download free hardware detection tools to help you find out.

Software

Definition: Software refers to the things that we cannot see, but trust to happen. Software is written in a coding language and we cannot see or touch this code. It can be copied, shared, and deleted unlike hardware.

Examples: internet browser, operating system, word processor, video and photo editor, Photoshop, music player, printer software, games, instant messaging, etc.

You’re still reading this article, so you are using software. You are using an operating system for your computer or smartphone, internet browser, and maybe a music player. Any program that you installed on your computer from a disk, the internet or flash drive, is software. Software makes it possible for the computer to perform certain functions or tasks. Hardware is the stuff that makes it possible to use the software.

Hardware and Software for Businesses

Most businesses in the world use a computer in some form. Large corporations may have thousands of computers and a small startup may only have one or two, but every business needs one. Choosing hardware and software for your business is very important and you should make sure you know what exactly you need. The hardware and software your business needs will depend on the nature of your business, daily operations, and so forth.

Hardware versus software is maybe the wrong way to have entitled this post as they actually need to work together and not opposite each other. Technically, a computer can work without software as long as it has an operating system. However, without specific software applications, you won’t be able to browse the internet, type documents, edit photos, listen to music or watch movies, or draw.

I hope you now have a better understanding of what the difference is between hardware and software. A better understanding of your computer system is always a good thing.

Essential Software Applications for Your New Business

post10 - Essential Software Applications for Your New Business

Running a business is a very complex and time-consuming thing if you are not properly equipped with all the necessary tools and equipment. There are very few businesses that operate without some form of computer and technology use. Small businesses and large corporations all depend on computers for certain functions whether it is marketing, invoicing, database, or programming. To ensure that your business runs smoothly, there are certain types of software that you must invest in.

41 - Essential Software Applications for Your New Business

Our list is by no means comprehensive, but these are a few of the software applications and web tools you should definitely get for your business. You can find specific programs or software suggestions all over the internet.

  1. CRM – Customer relationship management is important for any type of business no matter the size. It is always helpful to have a system that helps to manage your relationship with customers, the sales process, the completion of tasks, etc.
  2. Office Suite – Word processing, tables and presentations are part of most businesses. Your business most likely will need an office suite like Microsoft Office to operate properly. If you are starting out and don’t want to pay money for this, there are free options available online.
  3. E-mail – E-mail is part of everyday functions in any modern business. There is probably not a single day that you don’t send or receive emails. There are many email providers available from Outlook to Gmail to Yahoo!. Most of these are free and they also have built-in calendars and other functions to help with streamlining communication and planning.
  4. Accounting Software – Billing, invoicing, receiving payments, balancing, credit control – these are all things that are central to the success and efficiency of the business. It also links to good customer service and is, therefore, something you want to do right. With accounting software that does a lot of the heavy-duty stuff for you, you are sure to have a smooth accounting department.
  5. Database – Different businesses have different types of databases, but most have one. A database can be for existing clients, staff, suppliers, etc. Database software makes it a lot easier to keep track of everything and have information on specific clients, employees, or suppliers in easily accessible.
  6. Communication – No business can run properly without good communication. Your business should look into software systems that allow inter-company communication like instant messaging. You can also look into setting up hotlines, WhatsApp groups, Facebook pages, etc. in order to make communication with clients easier.
  7. Backup and Recovery – This is an especially important software if your business uses computers. It is important to have backups of all important files, documents, designs, and database information. You can find great programs that do these backup functions while you sleep.
  8. Project Management – If you have different teams operating at the same time and you need to keep track, you need a project management Web tool like Basecamp. It tracks all activity and progress and can even handle billing and individual performance data.

42 - Essential Software Applications for Your New Business

Depending on the nature and size of your business, you will need some or all of these software and web tools. The best way to know which ones you need is to clearly set out your daily activities and processes and choose software that will streamline them.

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