Home Computer: Jargon buster

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Memory: parts of the computer where it stores information. When in use, information is stored in the main memory or ram (random access memory), which is part of the central processing unit. When not in use, information is stored on disks.

Megabyte: 1 million bytes, the main unit for measuring memory. A byte is a basic unit of computing, roughly equivalent to the storage needed for one character a letter or numeral. Most systems have 1 to 4 megabytes of main memory and a 40 megabyte or 80 megabyte hard disk. Some older systems have less than 1 megabyte of main memory, measured in kilobytes or thousands of bytes.

Spreadsheet: An electronic ledger made up of a grid of rows and columns creating individual cells which can be used for financial analysis or creating forms. You can include formulae in a cell to perform calculations working out the VAT on every purchase and adding it together each quarter, for instance.

Database: An electronic card index which stores information, sorts it, searches for individual cards and selects items from them for building up into reports.

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