Digital Tools: Hardware
Hardware includes all that computer stuffthe computer itself, with its keyboard, monitor, mouse or trackball, and printer. Chances are you have all that if you're reading this book. You don't need the world's fanciest or most powerful computer to build scrapbooks. And you should know how to make it perform common tasks such as copying, pasting, and saving your work. If you're a real newcomer to the computer world, consider getting a good book on your particular computer and operating system and working through it before you start scrapbooking, or at least have such a book handy for reference as you go along. The Sams Teach Yourself in 24 Hours series is a good place to begin. It's not really important whether you use a Mac or a PC. I prefer Macintosh for graphics myself, and you'll find that many of the screen captures in this book have obviously been taken from a Mac, but I have to admit that there's actually a better selection of scrapbooking software available for the PC. Bottom line: Use whatever you have.
Let's start here. At its most basic, a computer includes a box called a CPU (Central Processing Unit, essentially the brain of the machine), a monitor (a video display that lets you see what you're doing), and a keyboard (to input text and commands). It can, however, be a lot more than a "smart typewriter." By adding a mouse, trackball, or graphics tablet with a stylus, you can begin to use the computer as a writing and drawing tool. The mouse or trackball moves the pointer (or cursor) around on the screen, so you can easily edit text, navigate the Internet, draw and paint, and so on. Drawing with a trackball is very difficult, and using a mouse isn't all that much better, so artists often have a graphics tablet and stylus in addition to a keyboard and mouse. The plastic stylus acts and feels like a pen, and is much easier to use than a mouse or trackball for creating and editing artwork or touching up photographs. I strongly urge you to try one at your local computer store and buy it if you like it. I wouldn't use anything else now that I am used to the tablet. Wacom (http://www.wacom.com) makes high-quality tablets in various sizes.
Computers also need a way to get data in and out, and a place to keep it. These functions are served by an internal and/or external hard drive and some sort of disc reader/writer. Today most software comes on CD-ROM and your computer likely has a built in CD-ROM drive. If not, or if you want extra input, you can usually install another CD reader and writer. You can also add bigger and faster hard drives for more data storage.