Chapter 1 The Technology Revolution

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1

Chapter 1

The Technology Revolution



Once you have read and studied this chapter,
you will have learned:

THE SCOPE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY UNDERSTANDING
THAT YOU WILL NEED TO BE AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT IN

OUR INFORMATION SOCIETY (Section 1.1)

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DATA AND INFORMATION AND BETWEEN A
RECORD, A FILE AND A DATABASE (Section 1.2)

HOW LOCAL AND WORLDWIDE COMPUTER NETWORKS IMPACT

BUSINESSES AND SOCIETY (Section 1.3)

ESSENTIAL HARDWARE, SOFTWARE AND COMPUTER SYSTEM TERMINOLOGY
THAT WILL ENABLE YOU TO BEGIN

YOUR INFORM
ATION TECHNOLOGY LEARNING ADVENTURE
WITH CONFIDENCE (Section 1.4)

THE RELATIVE SIZE, SCOPE, USES AND VARIETY OF AVAILABLE
COMPUTER SYSTEMS (Section 1.5)

THE FUNDAMENTA
L COMPONENTS AND CAPABILITIES OF AN IT SYSTEM
(Section 1.6)

A VARIETY OF COMPUTER AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS
(Section 1.7)



OVERVIEW AND LECTURE OUTLINE


TEACHING OBJECTIVES



To introduce a broad variety of computer conce
pts to students so they can begin to
understand the extent to which computers have impacted their lives.



To personalize each student's need to become computer competent.



To encourage students to learn as many new terms as possible so that the language of
c
omputerese will quickly become familiar.



To help students overcome cyberphobia.


NOTE:
As often as possible, we have tried to cross
-
reference the topics in this chapter to later
chapters that expound upon them. If your students are particularly eager to kn
ow more about the
Internet, for instance, you can refer them to the appropriate chapter for more in
-
depth
information.


LEARNING
OBJECTIVES

2

1.1

THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

A continuous stream of exciting new innovations in information technology (IT) continues to
change what we do an
d how we think.



TEACHING TIP

Make the point that we are living in an era of constant change that requires us to quickly adapt the way we
think and act. Until the explosion of personal computer usage in the early 1980s, we had to make our
checkbook entrie
s by hand, meet with our travel agents face to face to make travel arrangements for family
vacations, and travel to outlet malls to purchase clothing. What a different world we live in now!


STUDENT INVOLVEMENT EXERCISE

Ask students to recall the first tim
e that they used a personal computer or a device containing an embedded
computer. Explain that a computer may also be embedded in everyday machines like an Automatic Teller
Machine (ATM) or a cash register price scanner at the grocery store. Now ask them w
hen they most
recently used a personal computer or device containing an embedded computer.


Most of us are doing what we can to adapt to this new
information society
where
knowledge
workers
channel their energies to provide a cornucopia of computer
-
based i
nformation services.
A knowledge worker's job function revolves around the use, manipulation, and dissemination of
information. Your knowledge of computers will help you cope with and understand today's
technology so you can take your place in the informat
ion society, both at the workplace and
during your leisure time.


THE TECHNOLOGY REVOLUTION: TODAY

The cornerstone of this revolution, the
compute
r, is transforming the way we communicate, do
business, and learn. Enabling technologies help us do things.


P
ersonal computers
, or
PCs
, offer a vast array of
enabling technologie
s.


At Work

Millions of people can be "at work" wherever they are as long as they have their portable
personal computers

at a client's office, in an airplane, or at home. The
mobile wor
ker's
personal
computer provides electronic links to a vast array of information and to clients and corporate
colleagues.


At Home

Millions of people now depend on their PCs to help them with all kinds of tasks: communicating
with relatives, preparing th
e annual Christmas newsletter, doing homework, managing the family
investment portfolio, sending greeting cards and much, much, more.


At Play

Increasingly, the computer is the vehicle by which we communicate, whether with our colleagues
at work through
electronic mail (e
-
mail)
or with our friends through
newsgroups
. Both
electronic mail and newsgroups allow us to send/receive information via computer
-
to
-
computer
hookups.


3

THE TECHNOLOGY REVOLUTION: TOMORROW

Tomorro
w, the next wave of enabling technologie
s will continue to cause

radical changes in our lives.


Each day new applications, such as a national multi
-
list for real estate, as well as thousands of
companies, schools, and individuals, are being added to the world's information infrastructure.
The in
frastructure, sometimes called the
information superhighway
, encompasses a network of
electronic links that eventually will connect virtually every facet of our society, both public and
private.


INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COMPETENCY


TEACHING TIP

It may help
students who are very apprehensive about using computers to know that:



Over half the workforce produces computer
-
generated information



Cyberphobia is an irrational fear of the unknown



Cyberphobia is cured by gaining more knowledge of how a computer works



C
omputers are used by knowledge workers to assist them in making better business and personal
decisions



Computers are programmed by knowledge workers to perform tasks that will help them control
the flow of information



Not too long ago, people who pursued

careers in almost any facet of business, education, or
government were content to leave computers to computer professionals. Today these people are
knowledge workers. In less than a generation,
information technology

competency

has emerged
in virtually an
y career from a nice
-
to
-
have skill to a job
-
critical skill.


TEACHING TIP

Allude briefly to the controversy surrounding computer competency. To some, computer competency is no
more than keyboarding skills; to others, intermediate programming skills are a p
rerequisite. Most,
however, would lean toward the description in the text.


What is Information Technology Competency?

IT
-
competent people will:



Be able to make the computer work for you.



Be able to interact with the computer

that is, generate input to the

computer and
interpret output from it.
Input

is data entered to a computer system for processing.
Output

is the presentation of the results of processing (for example, a printed résumé or
a tax return).



Be comfortable in cyberspace.



Understand the impact
of computers on society, now and in the future.



Be an intelligent consumer of computers and computer equipment, collectively called
hardware
.



Be an intelligent consumer of software and other nonhardware
-
related computer
products and services.
Software

refe
rs to a collective set of instructions, called
programs
, which can be interpreted by a computer.



Be conversant in the language of computers and information technology.



4

STUDENT INVOLVEMENT EXERCISE



After discussing computer competency, determine the level

of computer competency represented in the
class. Ask how many students interact with the computer at a beginning, intermediate, or advanced
level.



Ask students to discuss their reasons for taking a computer course. You will, no doubt, be given many
reason
s, which may include "because I need this course to graduate,” "because I want to expand my
current knowledge base.” "because I want to qualify for a higher paying job,” among others.



Put this course into perspective by asking students these questions: Ho
w many plan to pursue a
computer
-
related career? How many anticipate that the computer will play an important role in their
career?



Describe the quest for computer competency as an adventure that will teach them how to interact with
computers and prepare t
hem to function at a high level in today’s ever changing information society.



Reasons to Become IT Competent

There are many reasons that people opt to become IT
-
competent. These motivations to learn can
be grouped into five broad categories:




Personal:


Much of the world’s information is now in digital format and made
available to those with IT knowledge and access to a PC and the Internet.



Workplace:
There are relatively few jobs that do not require some level of IT
understanding.



Education:

Million
s of people are now learning everything from agriculture to zoology
via self
-
based, interactive, computer
-
based courses.



Societal:


Many of the most prominent public issues being debated revolve around
the use and implementation of technology.



Curiosity:



Naturally, there is simple curiosity about how this powerful and pervasive
technology works.


The Computer Proficiency Digital Divide

In the United Stated an estimated 120 million people are considered knowledge workers because
they routinely work with

computers. However, the vast majority of these people, over 100
million, would not be considered information technology competent. The fact that these people
routinely use computers but are not IT
-
competent is referred to as the “computer proficiency
di
gital divide.”


LOOKING BACK A FEW YEARS


Fifty years ago, there were no computers!




Fifty years ago, our parents and grandparents built ships, kept financial records, and
performed surgery, all without the aid of computers. Indeed, everything they did was

without computers. There were no computers!


TEACHING TIP

Emphasize the transition of our society from one of an industrial base to one that is information based.
Stress the importance and need for knowledge workers to produce relevant information used to

make better
decisions on a timely basis.



5



In the 1960s, mammoth multimillion
-
dollar computers processed data for those large
companies that could afford them. These computers, the domain of highly specialized
technical gurus, remained behind locked doors
. In "the old days," business computer
systems were designed so a computer professional served as an intermediary between
the user

someone who uses a computer

and the computer system.


TEACHING TIP

Computers used in the 1960s were:



Controlled by computer s
pecialists



Slow to respond to a problem



Computer specialist, not user friendly


Computers today are:



Part of interactive computer systems



User friendly



Generating timely data for decision making





In the mid
-
1970s, computers became smaller, less expensive,

and more accessible to
smaller companies and even individuals. This trend resulted in the introduction of
personal computers. During the 1980s, millions of people from all walks of life
purchased these miniature miracles. Suddenly, computers were for ever
yone!


TEACHING TIP

Integrate the terms "user,” "end user,” and "user friendly" into a brief discussion on how technology has
placed computers at the fingertips of individuals in all walks of life.


STUDENT INVOLVEMENT EXERCISE

Ask students to list end use
r jobs that might have computer knowledge as a prerequisite (for example,
accountant, engineer, teacher).


TEACHING TIP

The term hacker is often associated with malicious acts, such as unlawful access to the Department of
Defense computer systems. This neg
ative connotation was created by the press. Many lawful computer
enthusiasts refer to themselves as hackers. One of them, Richard Stallman, an advocate and producer of
freeware, defines a hacker as one who "acts in the spirit of creative playfulness."




Tod
ay, one in two Americans has a computer at home or work more powerful than those
that processed data for multinational companies during the 1960s. The widespread
availability of computers has prompted an explosion of applications. At the individual
level,
we can use our PCs to go on an electronic fantasy adventure or hold an electronic
reunion with our scattered family. At the corporate level, virtually every business has
embraced information technology. Companies in every area of business are using IT to
o
ffer better services and gain a competitive advantage.


THE COMPUTER ADVENTURE

Gaining computer competency is just the beginning

your computer adventure lasts a

lifetime. Information technology is changing every minute of the day.


6

VOCABULARY 1.1

Informat
ion technology (IT
)


A collective reference to the integration of computing

technology and information processing.

Information society


A society in which the generation and dissemination of information
becomes the central focus of commerce.

Knowledge wo
rker


Someone whose job function revolves around the use, manipulation, and
broadcasting of information.

Personal computer
, or
PC



A small computer designed for use by an individual. See also
microcomputer.

Internet


A worldwide network of computers, wi
th its marvelous resources and applications.


Electronic mail (e
-
mail
)


A computer application whereby messages are transmitted via data
communications to "electronic mailboxes" (also called e
-
mail). (Contrast with voice message
switching.)

Newsgroups


T
he electronic counterpart of a wall
-
mounted bulletin board that enables

Internet users to exchange ideas and information via a centralized message database.

Chat



An Internet application that allows one to enter a virtual chat room and converse in real
ti
me with people who are linked to the Internet.

Information superhighwa
y


A metaphor for a network of high
-
speed data communication links
that will eventually connect virtually every facet of our society.

Information technology competency (IT competency
)


A fundamental understanding of the
technology, operation, applications, and issues surrounding computers.

Input


Data entered into a computer system for processing.

Output


The presentation of the results of processing.

Hardware


The physical devices t
hat comprise a computer system. (Contrast with software.)

Software


The programs used to direct the functions of a computer system. (Contrast with
hardware; related to program.)

Programs


(1) Computer instructions structured and ordered in a manner that,

when executed,
causes a computer to perform a particular function. (2) The act of producing computer software.
(Related to software.)

Spam



unsolicited e
-
mail

User



The individual providing input to the computer or using computer output.


ANSWERS TO SEC
TION SELF
-
CHECK QUESTIONS

1
-
1.1 To be IT
-
competent, you must be able to write computer programs. (T/
F
)


1
-
1.2 Hardware refers collectively to computers and computer equipment.
(T
/F)


1
-
1.3 The term used to describe the integration of computing technology a
nd information

processing is:
(a) information technology
, (b) information handling, (c) software,

or (d) data tech.


1
-
1.4 A person whose job revolves around the use, manipulation, and dissemination of

information is called: (a) an office wunderkind,
(b) a

knowledge worker
, (c) a

data expert, or (d) an info being.


1
-
1.5 Generally, what is the presentation of the results of processing called:
(a) output
, (b)
printout, (c) outcome, or (d) download?


1
-
1
-
6 Mail sent electronically is called: (a) snail mail,
(b) quick mail,
(c) e
-
mail
, or (d) e
-
news.


7

ANSWERS TO SECTION DISCUSSION AND PROBLEM SOLVING QUESTIONS

1
-
1.1 Information technology has had far
-
reaching effects on our lives. How have the

computer and IT affected your life?
(IT has enabled Internet
-
based
banking,

telephony communication, shopping, etc.)


1
-
1.2 What is your concept of information technology competency? In what ways do

you think achieving information technology competency will affect your domestic

life? Your business life?
(IT competency mea
ns that I will:



Be able to make the computer work for me.



Be able to interact with the computer


that is, generate input to the computer and
interpret output from it.



Be comfortable in cyberspace.



Understand the impact of computers on society, now and in
the future.



Be an intelligent consumer of computers and computer equipment.



Be an intelligent consumer of software and other non hardware
-
related computer
products and services.



Be conversant in the language of computers and information technology.)


1
-
1.3

At what age should information technology competency education begin? Is society
prepared to provide IT education at this age? If not, why?
(Students are already beginning
to learn computers before learning to read.)


1
-
1.4

Discuss how the complexion of
jobs will change as we evolve from an industrial society
into an information society. Give several examples.
(In the future, all jobs will require a
certain amount of computer knowledge. Robots or computers may control or operate
machines that were once ex
clusively operated or controlled by human beings. Production
workers may be displaced and forced to learn how to work with data and information in a
knowledge
-
based field.)


1
-
2 DATA AND INFORMATION

Data

(the plural of datum) are just raw facts.
Informati
on
is data that have been collected and
processed into a meaningful form.


MANAGING DATA


To be an effective user of word processing or desktop publishing software, you need to learn
fundamental data management principles to be an effective user of PCs. M
any types of software,
including popular spreadsheet and database software, let you assemble random pieces of data in a
structured and useful manner. The principles of data management include the terms and concepts
associated with the hierarchy of data or
ganization.


The six layers of the hierarchy of data organization are bit, character, field, record, file and
database. Each succeeding layer in the hierarchy is the result of combining the elements of the
preceding level. Data are logically combined in
this fashion until a database is achieved.






8

The Hierarchy of Data Organization:



Bits



Characters



Fields



Record; Describing events or items.



Files; Related records



The database; Integrated data resource



The two most visible productivity software to
ols for data management are spreadsheet and
database.


STUDENT INVOLVEMENT EXERCISE

After defining data and information, ask students:



Where are data recorded about you? (public library, hospitals, colleges, and so on)



How and where have you created data t
oday? (for example, registering for a course,
paying a bill, using a credit card)



What happens to information as it ages? (Typically, it loses some of its value.)




PRODUCING INFORMATION


Around 1950, people began to view information as something that cou
ld be collected, sorted,
summarized, exchanged, and processed. But only during the last decade have computers allowed
us to begin tapping the potential of information.


Computers are very good at digesting data and producing information. A computer system
manipulates your
data
to produce
informatio
n. Recent advances in information technology have
opened the door to data in other formats, such as visual images. Dermatologists use digital
cameras to take close
-
up pictures of patients' skin conditions. Each pa
tient's record

on the
computer
-
based
master file
is then updated to include the digital image.


The relationship of data to a computer system is much like the relationship of gasoline to

an automobile. Data provide the fuel for a computer system.


VOCABULA
RY 1.2

Data



Representations of facts. Raw material for information. (Plural of datum.)

Information


Data that have been collected and processed into a meaningful form.

Bit


The basic unit for storage in a computer.

Character


A group of bits.

Byte


I
s usually the same as a character.

Field


The lowest level in the data hierarchy at which we can derive any meaning from the data.

Record


A collection of related fields (such as an employee record) describing an event

or an item.

File


A collection of
related records

Key field


The manner by which miles are sordid, merged and processed.

Database

The integrated data resource for an information system.

E
-
tailer



Online retailer.

Master file

The permanent source of data for a particular computer applic
ation area.

9


ANSWERS TO SECTION SELF
-
CHECK QUESTIONS

1
-
2.1 Data are the raw facts from which information is derived. (
T
/F)

1
-
2.2 The lowest level in the data hierarchy at which we can derive any meaning from the data is
the file. (T/
F
)

1
-
2.3 Which of th
e following is an encoding system: (a) Unix code,
(b) ASCII,

(c) hex, or (d)
binary?


1
-
2.4 In terms of data storage, a character is usually the same as a (a) bit,
(b) byte,

(c) code, or
(d) field.


1
-
2.5 Files are sorted, merged, and processed buy a
: (a) index field, (b) directory,
(c) key field
,
or (d) database item.


1
-
2.6 A record is a collection of files that are in some way logically related to one another. (T/
F
)


ANSWERS TO SECTION DISCUSSION AND PROBLEM SOLVING QUESTIONS

1
-
2.1 Descri
be the relationship between data and information. Give an example.

Data is raw facts and is all around us. Information is data that have been collected and
processed into a meaningful form.


1
-
2.2. How might you use a database in your job or school envir
onment?

Database can be used to provide information about inventory on hand, policies and
procedures, personnel information, accounting and payroll information and work
schedules. Databases can be used in preparing research papers, for learning about clas
ses
that are offered or instructors who are teaching. Databases can be used.


1.3 GOING ONLINE


Computers also bring together people from all over the world, resulting in improved
communication and cooperation.


TEACHING TIP

Explain that our global vill
age grows smaller with each passing minute because high
-
speed
communications networks digitally connect people everywhere. Expand the concept of an
information society by pointing out that we are now able to communicate electronically with
colleagues and f
riends all over the world. Because of its prominence in the media, your students
will be anxious to learn everything about networks, the Internet, and going online. These topics
will be covered in more depth in Chapters 6 and 7. If you can’t hold them off
until then, it might
be a good idea to get e
-
mail accounts for them and at least show them how to use this part of the
information superhighway.


10

STUDENT INVOLVEMENT EXERCISE



Give instructions for obtaining an e
-
mail account (either through your school,
o
rganization, or locally) to students.



Demonstrate how to compose and send e
-
mails, how to attach files to e
-
mails, how to
create an address list, etc.



Ask students to e
-
mail you with a brief introduction so that you may e
-
mail a response
back to them, thus

making the e
-
mail loop complete.



Use e
-
mails to correspond with your students about assignments, test dates, campus
activities, etc.



THE GLOBAL VILLAGE


In 1967 Marshall McLuhan said, "The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the
image
of a global village." His insightful declaration is now clearly a matter of fact. At present,
we live in a
global village
in which computers and people are linked within companies and
between countries.


The global village is an outgrowth of the
computer
network
. Most existing computers are linked
electronically to a network of one or more computers to share resources and information. When
we tap into networked computers, we can hold electronic meetings with widely dispersed
colleagues, retrieve informatio
n from the corporate database, make hotel reservations, and much,
much more.


Thanks to computer networks, we are all part of a global economy, in which businesses find
partners, customers, suppliers, and competitors around the world. The advent of this g
lobal
economy is changing society across the board, often in subtle ways.


TEACHING TIP

A good in
-
class demonstration is to log on to AOL, CompuServe, or another information network
and show some of the available information services. Go through the activi
ties of one of your
"typical" days and describe how computers impact your life. Possible examples include a
computer
-
controlled environmental system at home, microwave oven, weather forecasts,
"talking" car, automated traffic
-
control system, electronic mai
l, ATM, and home shopping via an
information network.


THE INTERNET


The Internet

(the Net)
is a worldwide network of computers that has emerged as
the
enabling
technology in our migration to a global village. It connects millions of computers in millions

of
networks in every country of the world. All colleges are on the Net; that is they have an Internet
account. The same is true of the vast majority of businesses.


GETTING CONNECTED


Typically, individuals gain access to the Internet by subscribing to
an
Internet service provider
(ISP
). As an alternative, you can subscribe to a commercial
information service
, such as
America Online
(see Figure 1

5). The services and information provided by the Net and
information services are
online
. Most homes use a
regular phone line in conjunction with a
modem to link to the Internet. When the user terminates the link, the user goes
offline
.

11


The Internet emerged from a government
-
sponsored project to promote the interchange

of scientific information.
Surfers
on th
e Internet
download
all sorts of data and digitized

objects to their personal computer. Information going the other way is said to be
uploaded
.


The spirit of sharing has prompted individuals and organizations all over the world to make
available informati
on and databases on a wide variety of topics. This wonderful distribution and
information sharing vehicle is a boon for businesses. Over the next few years look for more and
more businesses to use the Internet to generate revenue.


THE WEB AND INTERNET AP
PLICATIONS


The Internet and the World Wide Web (the Web) are used interchangeably, as the Net and the
Web. They are not the same. The Internet is a global network of computers and transmission
facilities. It is the tool that enables a variety of amazin
g applications. Perhaps the most important
Internet application is the
World Wide Web
, because it is the application (often called “the
Web”) that lets us view the information on the Internet. The information is viewed in
Web
pages.



Services available
from the publicly available Internet and the subscription
-
based information
services play a major role in shaping our information society.


VOCABULARY 1.3

Network



An integration of computer systems, terminals, and

communications links.

Internet (the Net
)



A worldwide network of computers that connects millions of computers in
millions of networks in every country in the world.

Internet service provider (ISP
)


Any company that provides individuals and organizations with
access to or presence on the Inter
net.

Service


A commercial network that provides remote users with access to a variety of
information services.

America Online (AOL
)


An online information service.

Online


Pertaining to data and/or hardware devices accessible to and under the control o
f a
computer system. (Contrast with off
-
line.)

Modem


A device used to link a telephone line with the Internet.

Offline


Pertaining to data that are not accessible by, or hardware devices that are not

connected to, a computer system. (Contrast with on
-
li
ne.)

Download


The transmission of data from a remote computer to a local computer.

MP3 players


These are the next generation of Walkmans and can store and play digital music
in MP3 format.

Upload


The transmission of data from a local computer to a re
mote computer.

World Wide Web (the Web)


Perhaps the most important Internet application. It lets
information on the Internet be viewed.


ANSWERS TO SECTION SELF
-
CHECK QUESTIONS


1
-
3.1 A global network called the Internet links millions of computers thro
ughout the

world.
(T
/F)


1
-
3.2 Uploading on the Internet is transmitting information from an Internet
-
based host

computer to a local PC. (T/
F
)

12


1
-
3.3 A computer network links computers to enable the: (a) linking of terminals and

HDTV hookups,
(b) sharing o
f resources and information
, (c) distribution of

excess processor capabilities, or (d) expansion of processing capabilities.


1
-
3.4 When the user terminates the link with a commercial information service, the user

goes:
(a) offline
, (b) on
-
log, (c) out
-
of
-
site, or (d) online.


ANSWERS TO SECTION DISCUSSION AND PROBLEM SOLVING QUESTIONS


1
-
3.1 Comment on how information technology is changing our traditional patterns of

personal communication.
(E
-
mail, automatic meeting schedulers, may be easier to

get infor
mation from a computer than a colleague, mobile fax, cellular phones)


1
-
3.2 If you are a current user of the Internet, describe four Internet services that have

been of value to you. If not, in what ways do you think the Internet might be a benefit

to you
?
(Internet services of value to students may include complete online periodical

text for use in researching term paper topics, CNNfn.com's financial data services,

online tutorials that instruct students in how to build their own Web sites, etc.)


1
-
3.3 W
hat might you want to download over the Internet?
(Students may want to download
graphics, MP3 music files, periodical abstracts, video clips for newsworthy items)



1.4 HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE ESSENTIALS


TEACHING TIP

Like medicine, metallurgy, and plumbing
, the computer profession has its own jargon. For
example, there is "oilerese" as it is used at a drilling site: "We were rigged up, running the tools,
and ready to spud when the tool pusher caught a pea picker snap
-
dragging in the doghouse."
Computerese,

however is unlike the jargon used in other areas in that it also cuts across
professional lines: People in almost every field of endeavor work with computers. In contrast,
relatively few of us need to know that spud means to start drilling a well.


STUDEN
T INVOLVEMENT EXERCISE

After explaining computerese, ask students to list some acronyms or words commonly associated

with computers. For example, in normal conversation between knowledgeable computer users
you might hear questions like these:

• Do you own
the latest Microsoft golf game on
CD
-
ROM
?

• Do you have enough
RAM
to run the new Pokemon computer game?

• Do you know how to expand your computer memory with DIMMs?

• I can access the latest
MP3
music on the Internet, can you?


TEACHING TIP

Your students
might find the definition of a computer as defined by the Pennsylvania Crimes
Code to be more detailed than the traditional textbook definition of a computer. The Code states
that a computer is "An electronic, magnetic, optical, hydraulic, organic, or othe
r high
-
speed data
processing device or system that performs logic, arithmetic, or memory functions and includes all
input, output, processing, storage, software, or communication facilities connected or related to
the device in a system or network."

13


Almos
t everyone in our information society has a basic understanding of what a computer is and
what it can do.


HARDWARE BASICS


The main piece of hardware is the computer. The
compute
r, also called a
processo
r, is
an
electronic device that can interpret and

execute programmed commands for input, output,
computation, and logic operation
s.


A
computer system
has four fundamental components:
input
,
processing
,
output
, and
storage
(see Figure 1
-
6). The processor, or computer, provides the intelligence for the c
omputer system,
performing all computation and logic operations. In everyday conversation people simply say
"computer" when they talk about a computer system. We’ll be following this conversational
standard throughout this course. We’ll refer specifically
to the processor when discussing that
part of the computer system that does the processing.


A computer system's
configuration
describes its internal components and its
peripheral devices
.
Each of the components in a computer system can take on a variety o
f forms.
Output
can be
routed to a television
-
like
monitor
, audio speakers
(soft copy
) or a
printer (hard copy
) (see
Figure 1

6). Data can be entered to a computer system for processing (input) via a
keyboard
, a
microphone or a point
-
and
-
draw device.


St
orage of data and software in a computer system is either
temporary
or
permanent
.

Random
-
access memory (RAM)
provides temporary storage of data and programs during
processing within solid
-
state
integrated circuits
, or
chips
.

Permanently installed and inter
changeable
disks
provide permanent storage for data and
programs. A computer system is comprised of its internal components and its
peripheral
devices
.


SOFTWARE BASICS


Software
refers to any program that tells the computer system what to do. The more yo
u
understand about the scope and variety of available software, the more effective you will be as a
user.


Software falls into two categories,



System software.

System software

programs take control of the PC on start
-
up and then
play a central role in ev
erything that happens within a computer system by managing,
maintaining and controlling resources.



Application software.

Application software

is designed and created to perform specific
personal, business or scientific processing tasks.


STUDENT INVOLVEME
NT EXERCISE

After explaining the difference between system software and application software, ask the
students to list some systems software and some applications software.


14

COMPUTER SYSTEMS BASICS


At one end of the power spectrum is the low end personal

computer that costs less than $500.00
and at the other is the powerful
supercomputer

that may cost more than an office building. The
personal computer is designed to serve one person at a time. In contrast a supercomputer can
handle the processing needs

of thousands of users at a time or perform processing that would take
thousands of PCs.


Over the past five decades computers have taken on as many handles as there were niche needs.
To day, computers are generally grouped in these categories: notebook

PCs, desktop PCs,
wearable PCs, hand
-
held computers, thin clients, workstations, server computers and super
computers.


In most computer networks, one or more central computers, called
server computers
, manage
the resources on a network and perform a vari
ety of functions for the other computers on the
network, called
client computers
. PCs, workstations and thin clients are linked to the server
computer to form the network.
Thin clients

are somewhat less than full featured PCs and they
are clients of serv
er computers for certain resources, such as storage and some processing.


Any general purpose computer can be a server computer. But manufacturers build a special class
of computers, called server computers, which are designed specifically for the server
function.


PCs, workstations, "servers," and supercomputers are computer systems. Each offers

many
input/output
, or I/O, alternatives. All computer systems, no matter how small or large,
have the same fundamental capabilities


input
,
processing
,
output
, and
storage
.


The differences in the various categories of computers are very much a matter of scale.

Try thinking of a supercomputer as a wide body jet, and a personal computer as a commuter
plane. Besides obvious differences in size, the various types
of computers differ

mostly in the manner in which they are used.


TEACHING TIP



The term client/server was introduced so quickly that no one ever bothered to define it.
Consequently, client/server means different things to different people.



The move toward
client/server computing has had a major impact on end
-
user budgeting.
Only 15 years back, user spending for information technology was minimal. Now, it is a
major budget item, including everything from LAN software to network server computers.



Review distr
ibuted processing and how it relates to client/server processing.



Any part of a computer system or network that permits the free flow of information from
one component to another without the need for inefficient transformations of data is said
to have a se
amless interface.



VOCABULARY 1.4

Computer


An electronic device capable of interpreting and executing programmed commands

for input, output, computation, and logic operations.

Processor


The logical component of a computer system that interprets and ex
ecutes program
instructions.

Computer system



A collective reference to all interconnected computing hardware, including
processors, storage devices, input/output devices, and communications equipment.

15

Monitor



A television
-
like display for soft
-
copy out
put in a computer system.

Printer



A device used to prepare hard
-
copy output.

Soft copy



Temporary output that can be interpreted visually, as on a monitor. (Contrast

with hard copy.)

Hard copy



A readable printed copy of computer output. (Contrast with

soft copy.)

Keyboard



A device used for key data entry.

Point
-
and
-
draw device



An input device, such as a mouse or trackpad, used to
point
to

and select a particular user option and to
dra
w.

Mouse



A point
-
and
-
draw device that, when moved across a desk
top a particular distance and
direction, causes the same movement of the cursor on a screen.

Random
-
access memory (RAM
)


The memory area in which all programs and data must reside
before programs can be executed or data manipulated.

Integrated circuits



Thousands of electronic components that are etched into a tiny silicon

chip in the form of a special
-
function electronic circuit. (Also known as chips.)

Chip



Thousands of electronic components that are etched into a tiny silicon chip in the

form of a spe
cial
-
function electronic circuit. (Also known as integrated circuit.)

Disk



A secondary storage medium for random
-
access data storage available in permanently
installed or interchangeable formats.

Peripheral device



Any hardware device other than the pro
cessor.

System software



Software that is independent of any specific applications area.

Applications software



Software designed and written to address a specific personal, business,
or processing task.

Supercomputer



The category that includes the lar
gest and most powerful computers.

Server computer



Any type of computer, from a PC to a supercomputer, which performs a
variety of functions for its client computers, including the storage of data and

applications software. (See also client computer.)

Cli
ent computer



Typically a PC or a workstation which requests processing support

or another type of service from one or more server computers. (See also server

computer.)

Thin clients


These are somewhat less than full
-
featured PCs and they are clients of

server
computers for certain resources such as storage and some processing.

Input/Output (I/O
)


A generic reference to input and/or output to a computer.


ANSWERS TO SECTION SELF
-
CHECK QUESTIONS


1
-
4.1 Output on a monitor is soft copy and output on a pri
nter is hard copy.
(T/
F)


1
-
4.2 Supercomputers have greater computing capacity than mainframe computers.

(T
/F)


1
-
4.3 Only personal computers offer a variety of I/O alternatives. (T/
F
)


1
-
4.4 Applications software takes control of a PC on start
-
up and then

controls all system
software activities during the computing session. (T/
F
)


1
-
4.5 A printer is an example of which of the four computer system components? (a)

input,
(b) output
, (c) processor, or (d) storage.


1
-
4.6 Integrated circuits are also called (a
) slivers,
(b) chips
, (c) flakes, or (d) electronic

sandwiches.


16

1
-
4.7 Which component of a computer system executes the program? (a) input, (b) output,
(c)
processor
or (d) storage


ANSWERS TO SECTION DISCUSSION AND PROBLEM SOLVING QUESTIONS

1
-
4.1 List as

many computer and information technology terms as you can (up to 30)

that are used in everyday conversations at the office and at school.
(Internet, e
-
mail,

Web site, ISDN, CD
-
ROM, CD
-
R, input, output, storage, processing, chips, Pentium, IBM,
Microsoft,
Bill Gates, T
-
1 line, fiber optics, satellite, DVD, etc.)


1
-
4.2 Describe an ideal applications software package that might help you meet your

personal or business information processing needs.
(An ideal software package

would have an understandable, easy
-
to
-
use graphical user interface, an extensive

help feature, be compatible with multiple operating systems, etc.)


1
-
4.3 RAM and disks enable storage of data on a computer system. Why don’t we simplify and
have just RAM or just disks? (
RAM is temporary sto
rage and disk is permanent storage.
With only RAM nothing could be stored permanently and with disks everything would be
stored permanently).


1.5 PERSONAL COMPUTERS TO SUPERCOMPUTERS:


TEACHING TIP

Topics 1
-
4 and 1
-
5 work together to give your students a
n overview of computers in general.
First, in topic 1
-
4, computers are described in terms of physical size and processing capacities.
Then, topic 1
-
5 gives some examples of how the different categories of computers are being used.
Stress that, in spite of
their differences, all categories of computers work to do the same things:
input, processing, output, and storage. For more information, processing and storage will be
covered in greater depth in Chapters 3 and 4. Input and output is included in Chapter 5.

Figure
1
-
16 illustrates the most common components of a personal computer. Your students could use
this page as a study guide to learn their new vocabulary.


Every day, more computers are sold then existed in the entire world 30 years ago.


PERSONAL COMPU
TERS


In 1981, IBM introduced its
IBM PC
and it legitimized the personal computer as a business tool.
Most of today's personal computers (over 80 percent) have evolved from these original PC
-
compatibles. Long removed from the IBM PC, they are also called
W
intel PCs
because they use
the Microsoft
Windows 9x/Me/2000

(a collective reference to Microsoft
Windows 95, Windows
98, Windows NT or Windows 2000
) control software and an Intel Corporation or Intel
-
compatible
processor. Each of the Microsoft
Windows 9x/
Me/2000
family of
operating systems

controls all
hardware and software activities on Wintel PCs.


TEACHING TIP

Between 1981 and 1982 the number of computers in the world doubled. IBM became a player in
the PC market in 1981.


17

A
platform
defines a standard

for which software is developed. Specifically, a platform is

defined by two key elements:



The processor (for example, Intel Pentium II or Motorola PowerPC)



The operating system (for example, Windows NT or Mac OS)


One person at a time uses a PC. Note that

the terms
personal compute
r,
PC
,
microcompute
r, and
micro
are used interchangeably in practice. The personal computer is actually a family of
computers, some are small and portable and some are not meant to be moved. The most common
PCs, the notebook and

desktop, have a full keyboard, a monitor and can function as stand
-
alone
systems. (see FIGURE 1
-
8)


TEACHING TIP



The micro has had a tremendous impact on business computing. Almost overnight, end
users graduated from being dependent users to being creator
s and implementors.
Managing the explosion of end user computing may be the single greatest challenge
facing the business community.



Functionally, today's multiuser micro can be equated to the mini of the early 1980s.



The first Apple micro computer, the ge
nesis of personal computing, was turned down by
both Hewlett
-
Packard and Atari. Both made a mistake.



In 1982 the editors of
Time

chose the computer as
Time's

"Man of the Year" because they
felt it would change the way people live.



Notebook PCs


Until rec
ently, people in the business world often purchased two PCs, a notebook PC for its
portability and a desktop PC for its power and extended features. Now, notebook PCs offer
desktop level performance. Each year, an increasing percentage of people choose to
buy notebook
PCs as their only PC. Today, close to half of all personal computers purchased for use in
business are notebooks.


Notebook PCs are light (a few pounds up to about 8 lbs.), compact and portable. Notebook PCs,
which also are called
laptop P
Cs
, are about the size of a 1 inch thick notebook. They have
batteries and can operate with or without an external power source, on an airplane or a wilderness
trail.


Some user conveniences, however, must be sacrificed to achieve portability. For instanc
e, input
devices, such as keyboards and point
-
and
-
drop devices, are given less space in portable PCs and
may be more cumbersome to use. Generally, notebook PCs take up less space and have a smaller
capacity for permanent storage of data and programs. Lap
top battery life can be as little as a few
hours for older models to 20 hours for state
-
of
-
the
-
art rechargeable lithium batteries.


Another notebook option, called the
port replicato
r, works like the docking station in that the
notebook PC is inserted into

it and removed as needed. Once inserted the notebook can use the
port replicator
ports
and whatever is connected to them. Port replicators also provide bigger
speakers, an AC power source, and some include a network connector.


18

DESKTOP PCS


The ubiquitou
s desktop PCs are not considered portable because they rely on an outside power
source and are not designed for frequent movement. The system unit for the early desktop PCs
was designed to lay flat on a desk to provide a platform for the monitor. Today’s

tower system
unit with its smaller footprint (the surface space used by the unit) has made the early models
obsolete.


CONFIGURING A PC


PC users often select, configure, and install their own system. The configuration of a

microcomputer or what you put i
nto and attach to your computer can vary enormously.

Nowadays, the typical off
-
the
-
shelf PC is configured to run multimedia applications.

Multimedia applications
integrate text, sound, graphics, motion video, and/or animation.


The typical PC includes the
following components (FIGURE 1
-
9).


1.

A motherboard (a single circuit board that includes the processor and other electronic
components)

2.

A keyboard for input

3.

A point
-
and
-
draw device for input (usually a mouse)

4.

A monitor for soft copy (temporary) output

5.

A pri
nter for hard copy (printed) output

6.

A permanently installed high
-
capacity hard
-
disk drive for permanent storage of data and
programs

7.

A floppy disk drive into which an interchangeable diskette, or floppy disk, is inserted

8.

A CD
-
ROM drive into which an interc
hangeable CD
-
ROM, which looks like an audio
CD, is inserted

9.

A microphone (audio input)

10.

A set of speakers (audio output)


Virtually all PCs give users the flexibility to configure the system with a variety of peripheral
devices (input/output and storage).


WEARABLE PCS


Thousands of mobile workers could benefit from using a computer if only the computer were
lighter, freed their hands and didn’t tether them to a desk or a power outlet. Now a new
generation of wearable PCs promise to extend the trend begun b
y notebook and handheld
computers.


In an effort to crate truly personal computers that meld a computer and its user, designers have
divided the wearable PCs components into cable
-
connected modules that fit into headsets, drape
across shoulder, hang aro
und the neck and fasten around the waist, forearm or wrist. Lightweight
(two pounds or less), the components are covered in soft plastic and strapped on with Velcro.


Certainly the trend is toward increasingly smaller PCs. Some say that an emerging trend

is
toward increasingly wearable PCs. It this trend holds, it’s inevitable that vendors will be as
concerned with fashion as they are with functionality.


19

Perhaps the most intriguing concept in wearable computers is the Body Net, which will be a
network o
f wearable computers strategically located over the body.


HANDHELD COMPUTERS


Handheld computers are just that, computers that can be held in your hand. Handheld computers
come in various shapes and sizes to address variety of functions. They are called
by many names,
including palmtop PCs, personal digital assistants (PDAs), connected organizers, personal
communicators, mobile business centers, and Web phones. Handheld computers weigh only a
few ounces, can operate for days on their batteries and can fi
t in a coat pocket or a handbag.


The increase in the number of handheld computers in use is a by
-
product of our information
society’s transformation to a mobile, geographically dispersed workforce that needs fast, easy,
remote access to networked resourc
es, including e
-
mail.


Mobile workers have found handheld computers that use electronic pens in conjunction with a
combination monitor/drawing pad very useful. These types of handheld computers, which are
sometimes called
pen
-
based computers,

do not have
keyboards.


Speech recognition software, which allows the user to enter spoken words into the system, is
being integrated into high
-
end handheld computers. Speech recognition is much faster than
handwritten input.


Generally handheld computers support a v
ariety of personal information management systems. A
PIM might include appointment scheduling and calendar, e
-
mail, fax, phone number
administration, to
-
do lists, tickler files, “post
-
it” notes, diaries and so on. Some handhelds can
support a variety of
PC
-
type applications such as spreadsheets and personal financial
management.


THIN CLIENT


In contrast to the conventional PC, the thin client is designed to function only when it is linked to
a server computer (normally part of an organization’s internal

network of computers). First, it
has a relatively small processor and considerably less RAM than modern personal computers.
Second, it does not have a permanently installed disk.


WORKSTATIONS


Speed is one of the characteristics that distinguish a work
station from a PC. The work station is
for “power users”


engineers doing
computer
-
aided design or CAD
(using the computer in a
design process), scientists and researchers who do “number crunching,” graphics designers,
multimedia content developers and s
o on.


A typical workstation will support a large
-
screen color monitor capable of displaying high
-
resolution graphics.


The capabilities of today’s high
-
end PCs are very similar to those of low
-
end workstations.
Eventually the distinction between the two
will disappear and we will be left with a computer
category that is a cross between a PC and a workstation.


20

SERVER COMPUTERS


At the center of most networks is one or more server computers.


Generalized Computing: A Bygone Era


Through the 1980s, huge ma
inframe computers performed most of the processing activity within
a computer network. Today, PCs and workstations offer more computing capacity per dollar than
do mainframe computers.


During the era of centralized mainframe computers, users communicat
ed with a centralized host
computer through dumb terminals that had little or no processing capability. Now, the trend in
the design of computer networks is toward client/server computing.


Client/Server Computing


In client/server computing, processing c
apabilities are distributed throughout the network, closer
to the people who need and use them.



A server computer performs a variety of functions for its client computers, including data
storage and application software.



The client computer requests proces
sing support or another type of service from on or
more server computers.


In client/server computing, application software has two parts


the
front end

and the
back end
.



The front end application software performs processing associated with the user int
erface
and application processing can be done locally.



The back end application software performs processing tasks in support of its client
computers.


Many people share the server computer’s processing capabilities and computing resources.
Server compute
rs are usually associated with enterprise
-
wide systems


that is, computer
-
based
systems that service departments, plants, warehouses and other entities throughout an
organization.



Typically, users communicate with one or more server computers through a
PC, a workstation, a
thin client or a
terminal
. A terminal has a keyboard for input and a monitor for output.


Client/server environments with heavy traffic, such as American Online or a large company,
might use a
proxy server computer.

This computer sits

between the client PC and a normal
server, handling many client requests and routing only those request that it cannot handle to the
real server.

21


TEACHING TIP



In 1957 an IBM 704 computer rented for $33,250 per month (the equivalent of more than
$100,000

today). However, its processing capacity was considerably less than a modern
high end PC that can be purchased for under $2000.



As fast and powerful as minis and mainframe computers are, some tasks can still be time
consuming. One major airline has a syst
em that is designed to minimize the amount of
paid time that crews spend waiting for flights. The incredibly complex model takes 150 to
200 hours of mainframe processor time each month. The model must factor in such
constraints as union rules, seniority, F
AA regulations, and so on.


TEACHING TIP



Point out companies in your area that have one or more mainframe computer systems. To
get the students used to hearing vendor names and model numbers, mention the vendors
and models for those you know.



If possible,
schedule a tour of the school's computer center and/or computer lab(s). When
you get there, divide the class into groups of five to eight. Ask for help from computer
center personnel and lab assistants in describing the function and operation of the
variou
s pieces of hardware. In this way, each group can rotate from device to device,
spending five to eight minutes at each "station" (disks, console, processor, and so on).
Instructors and computer center lab staff should demonstrate whenever possible (open
ca
binet doors, mount tapes and disks, make inquiries at the console, boot PCs, and so
on). If available, a hardware configuration/network chart showing all of the school's
educational support hardware would be helpful to students.



SUPERCOMPUTERS


During th
e early 1970s, engineering and scientific communities had a desperate need for

more powerful computers. In response to that need, computer designers began work on

what are now known as supercomputers.


Supercomputers primarily address
processor
-
bound
appli
cations.

Representative supercomputer applications:



Enable the simulation of airflow around an airplane at different speeds and altitudes.



Simulate auto accidents on video screens.



Study how oceans and the atmosphere interact to produce weather phenomena.



Solve how the proteins are formed in the human body.



Create the advanced graphics used to create special effects for movies.



Sort through and analyze mountains of seismic data gathered during oil explorations.



Simulate the delivery of babies.

22


TEACHING TI
P

Input/output

bound operation



Limited by I/O speeds



Primarily administrative jobs



Processor
-
bound operation



Limited by processor speed



Primarily scientific jobs


TEACHING TIP



A top
-
of
-
the
-
line supercomputer costs about the same as the average fighter jet.



It's now on the scrap pile of technology history, but the last iteration of the Strategic
Defense Initiative (SDI), or "Star Wars," introduced an interesting application for
supercomputers. Rather than deploying relatively few massive defense satellites,
100,000
"brilliant pebbles" would be deployed. The "brilliant pebbles" satellites, which would
weigh less than 100 pounds and have the power of a supercomputer, would identify and
track hostile missiles.


VOCABULARY 1.5

IBM Personal Computer (IBM PC
)


IBM
's first personal computer (1981). This PC was

the basis for PC
-
compatible computers.

Wintel PC



A personal computer using a Microsoft
Windows
operating system in conjunction
with an Intel Corporation or Intel
-
compatible processor.

Operating system



The
software that controls the execution of all applications and system
software programs.

Platform



A definition of the standards by which software is developed and hardware is

designed.

Desktop PC



A non portable personal computer that is designed to rest
on the top of a

desk. (Contrast with laptop PC and tower PC.)

Notebook PC



A notebook
-
size laptop PC.

Laptop PC


Another name for a notebook PC.

Port replicator



A device to which a notebook PC can be readily connected to give the PC
access to whatever
external peripheral devices are connected to its common ports

(keyboard, monitor, mouse, network, printer, and so on).

Docking station



A device into which a notebook PC is inserted to give the notebook PC
expanded capabilities, such as a high
-
capacity di
sk, interchangeable disk options, a

tape backup unit, a large monitor, and so on.

Port



An access point in a computer system that permits communication between the

computer and a peripheral device.

System unit


Contains the processor, disk storage and ot
her components of the PC.

Multimedia applications


Applications that integrate text, sound, graphics, motion video,
and/or animation.

Motherboard


A single circuit board that includes the processor and other electronic
components.

Hard disk drive



A per
manently installed, continuously spinning magnetic storage medium
made up of one or more rigid disk platters. (Same as fixed disk; contrast with inter
-
changeable
disk.).

Floppy disk drive



A disk drive that accepts either the 3.5
-
inch or 5.25
-
inch diskett
e.

Diskette



A thin interchangeable disk for secondary random
-
access data storage (same as floppy
disk).

23

Floppy disk



A thin interchangeable disk for secondary random
-
access data storage (same as
diskette).

CD
-
ROM drive



A storage device into which an i
nterchangeable CD
-
ROM is inserted for
processing.

CD
-
ROM



Compact
-
Disk
-
Read
-
Only Memory] A type of optical laser storage media.

DVD
-
Video


[Digital Video Disk] A format for movies.

Wearable PC



PC components that are cable
-
connected modules that fit int
o headsets, drape
across shoulders, hang around the neck and fasten around the waist, forearm or wrist.

Handheld computers



Any personal computer than can be held comfortably in a person's hand

(usually weighs less than a pound). (See also personal digita
l assistant.)

Pen
-
based computers


Handheld computers that do not have keyboards, but allow users to
select options, enter data and draw with a pen.

Speech recognition



Software that allows the user to enter spoken words into the system.

Personal informa
tion management (PIM) system



Software application designed to help users
organize random bits of information and to provide communications capabilities, such as e
-
mail
and fax.

Computer
-
aided design (CAD)


Use of computer graphics in design, drafting, a
nd
documentation in product and manufacturing engineering.

Resolution



Referring to the number of addressable points on a monitor's screen or the

number of dots per unit area on printed output.

Client/server computing



Processing capabilities are distrib
uted throughout the network, closer
to the people who need and use them.

Front
-
end application software



Performs processing associated with the user interface and
applications processing that can be done locally.

Back
-
end applications software



Performs

processing tasks in support of its client computers.

Enterprise
-
wide system



Information systems which provide information and processing
capabilities to workers throughout a given organization.

Terminal



Any device capable of sending and receiving data

over a communications channel.

Proxy server computer


The computer that sits between the client PC and a normal server,
handling many clients requests and routing only those requests that it cannot handle to the real
server.

Processor
-
bound



The amount
of work that can be performed by the computer system is limited
primarily by the speed of the computer.


ANSWERS TO SECTION SELF
-
CHECK QUESTIONS


1
-
5.1 The power of a PC is directly proportional to its physical size. (T/
F
)


1
-
5.2 The four size categories o
f conventional personal computers are miniature,

portable, notebook, and business. (T/
F
)


1
-
5.3 Workstation capabilities are similar to those of a low
-
end PC. (T
/F
)


1
-
5.4 Server computers usually are associated with enterprise
-
wide systems. (
T
/F)


1
-
5.5 W
hat has I/O capabilities and is designed to be linked remotely to a host computer?
(a)
terminal
, (b) printer, (c) port, or (d) mouse


1
-
5.6 Supercomputers are oriented to what type of applications? (a) I/O
-
bound,
(b)

processor
-
bound
, (c) inventory manageme
nt, or (d) word processing


24

1
-
5.7 A notebook PC can be inserted into which of these to enable functionality similar to a
desktop PC? (a) slate, (b) port hole, (c) runway, or
(d) port replicator


1
-
5.8 What is the name given to those applications that comb
ine text, sound, graphics, motion
video, and/or animation? (a) videoscapes, (b) motionware,
(c) multimedia
, or (d)
anigraphics


1
-
5.9. Spoken words are entered directly into a computer system via: (a) key entry, (b) OCR, (c)
Morse code, or
(d) speech recog
nition.


1
-
5.10 The trend in the design of computer networks is toward: (a) distributed transmittion,
(b)
client/server computing
, (c) CANs, or (d) centralized mainframe computers?


1
-
5.11 A client computer requests processing support or another type of
service from one or
more: (a) sister computers,
(b) server computers
, (c) customer computers, or (d) IT
managers?


ANSWERS TO SECTION DISCUSSION AND PROBLEM SOLVING QUESTIONS


1
-
5.1 If you could purchase only one personal computer, which would you buy, a
notebook PC or
a tower PC? Why?
(Students may opt to purchase a notebook PC because it is small,
powerful, and portable. Students may opt to purchase a tower PC because the mouse is
easier to use, you can attach more hardware to it, the portability feat
ure is not desirable.)


1
-
5.2 Explain circumstances that would cause you to choose a docking station over a port
replicator.
(Students may wish to use a docking station to give a notebook PC expanded
capabilities, such as a high
-
capacity disk, interchangea
ble disk options, a tape backup unit,
a large monitor, and so on. Students may wish to use a port replicator to be readily
connected to give the PC access to whatever external peripheral devices are connected to
its common ports (keyboard, monitor, mouse,
network, printer, and so on.)


1
-
5.3 Speculate on how one of these professionals would use a handheld PC: a police officer, an
insurance adjuster, a delivery person for a courier service, or a newspaper reporter.
(A
police officer could use a handheld PC t
o record data while giving speeding tickets; an
insurance adjuster could easily make electronic notes about the condition of an automobile
at the accident scene; the UPS delivery man could have customers sign an electronic
handheld when he/she makes a pac
kage delivery; and a newspaper reporter could easily
take notes on his/her handheld PC at a news conference.)


1
-
5.4 Management at a large company with 1000 three
-
year
-
old PCs, all on a network, is debating
whether to replace the PCs with network computer
s or with new PCs. Each has its
advantages. Name the single most important advantage for each option.
(Student answers
will vary but should include issues dealing with distributed processing and cost.)


1
-
5.5 Give at least two reasons that a regional bank
might opt to buy two mainframe computers
rather than one supercomputer.
(Input bound operations and backup.)



25

1.6 COMPUTER SYSTEM CAPABILITIES

What a computer can and cannot do.


PROCESSING PAYROLL


TEACHING TIP

The payroll system may not be familiar to
students, but perhaps they can relate the concepts
introduced in this topic to an inventory system or something else. At this introductory level, use
personal experiences that your students may have had as further examples.

The payroll system enables input

and processing of pertinent payroll
-
related data to produce
payroll checks and a variety of reports.


TEACHING TIP

Explain each computer function as it relates to the computerized payroll system.



Input: hours worked



Storage: personnel master file



Processi
ng: payroll program



Output: payroll checks


The payroll system is supported on a
local area network (LAN
). A
server computer
performs a
variety of functions for the other computers on the LAN, called
client computers
.


WHAT CAN A COMPUTER DO?

Computers pe
rform two operations: input/output and processing operations.


TEACHING TIP

Each year, computer makers continue to manufacture computers that do more for less money. In
1955 the cost of executing 1770 typical data processing instructions was $14.54. In 19
65 the cost
was 47 cents. Today the cost is less than a penny.


Input/Output Operations

Before processing begins, commands and/or data must be “read”

from an input device and/or
storage device. Once commands and data have been processed, they are “written
” to a magnetic
disk or to an output device, such as a monitor or printer.


Figure 1
-
12, hours
-
worked data are "read" into the computer system (Activity 2). These

data are "written" to magnetic disk storage for recall later (Activity 3). Data are "read"

f
rom the personnel master file on magnetic disk, processed (Activity 4), and "written" to

the printer to produce the payroll checks (Activity 6).


26

Processing Operations: Doing Math And Making Decisions


Computers can perform only computations and logic ope
rations.


TEACHING TIP



To demonstrate how slow manual processing tasks can be, ask each student (or a group
of about 20, in a large class) for the total number of children in their immediate families.
Manipulate these data on the board to create the averag
e and range.



Then, note that it would take ten trillion clerks to replace the processing capabilities of
all the computers in the United States.


Computation Operations


Computers can add (+), subtract (
-
), multiply (*), divide (/), and do exponentiation (
^).

Compute gross pay for 40 hours at $15 per hour:

The actual program instruction:

Pay = 40 hours worked * $15/hour = $600

PAY = HOURS_WORKED * PAY_RATE

The computer would then recall values for HOURS_WORKED and PAY_RATE from

the personnel master file and

calculate PAY.


Logic Operations


The computer's logic capability enables comparisons between numbers and between words. The
computer must use its
logic capability
to decide if an employee is due overtime pay.

The actual instruction:

Are hours worked > (g
reater than) 40?

IF HOURS_WORKED > 40 THEN PAY_OVERTIME


THE COMPUTER'S STRENGTH


Computers are fast, accurate, consistent, and reliable.


Speed


Computers perform various activities by executing instructions. Operations are measured in
milliseconds
,
micro
seconds
,
nanoseconds
, and
picoseconds
(one thousandth, one millionth, one
billionth, and one trillionth of a second, respectively.)


TEACHING TIP

Grace Hopper's famous "nanosecond" (an 11.8
-
inch length of electrical wire). Electricity and
light travel this

distance in a nanosecond.


Accuracy


Computations are accurate within a penny, a micron, a picosecond, or whatever level of

precision is required. The vast majority of computer errors can be traced to human errors.

27


TEACHING TIP



The MTBF (mean time befor
e failure) for first
-
generation computers was about two
hours. Today computer systems at all levels may go for years without failing. The
average mean time to repair (MTTR) for micros is in excess of two years.



The name of each person in the United States
is processed, on the average, between 100
and 500 times a day. Is all data accurate and is the information being maintained
appropriate?


STUDENT INVOLVEMENT EXERCISE



Most "computer" errors eventually are traced to human error, but the computer is almost
a
lways blamed. The perfect scapegoat never talks back or complains.



Ask students to bring to class any newspaper articles that chronicle computer
-
related
foul
-
ups, crime, or legislation.


Consistency


Computers always do what they are programmed to do. Thei
r ability to produce consistent results
gives us the confidence we need to allow computers to process mission
-
critical information.


Reliability


Anything below 99.9 percent
uptime
is usually unacceptable. For some companies, any
downtime
is unacceptable.
These companies provide
backup
computers that take over
automatically should the main computers fail.


Communications


Computers can communicate with other computers and, by extension, with us. Using physical
and wireless links, computers are able to shar
e resources, including processing capabilities, all
forms of data and information, and various peripheral devices (printers, scanners).


Memory Capability


Computer systems have total and instant recall of data and an almost unlimited capacity to store
the
se data.


VOCABULARY 1.6

Local area network (LAN
)


A system of hardware, software, and communications channels
that connects devices on the local premises. (Contrast with wide area network.)

Milliseconds



One thousandth of a second.

Microseconds



One mi
llionth of a second.

Nanoseconds



One billionth of a second.

Picoseconds



One trillionth of a second.

Backup



Pertaining to equipment, procedures, or databases that can be used to restart the system
in the event of system failure.


28

ANSWERS TO SECTION S
ELF
-
CHECK QUESTIONS


1
-
6.1 On a LAN, the client computer stores all data and applications software used by

the server computer. (T/
F
)


1
-
6.2 The operational capabilities of a computer system include the ability to do both


logic and computation operations.

(T
/F)


1
-
6.3 A microsecond is 1000 times longer than a nanosecond.
(T
/F)


1
-
6.4 Downtime is unacceptable in some companies.
(T
/F)


1
-
6.5 In a LAN, a server computer performs a variety of functions for its:
(a) client computers
,
(b) subcomputers, (c) LAN e
ntity PC, or (d) work units.


1
-
6.6 Which of the following would be a logic operation?
(a) TODAY<BIRTHDATE
,

(b) GROSS
-
TAX
-
DEDUCT, (c) HOURS*WAGE, or (d) SALARY/12



ANSWERS T0 SECTION DISCUSSION AND PROBLEM SOLVING QUESTIONS


1
-
6.1 Discuss the relationship

between the server computer and its client computers.
(The server
provides processing, memory, storage, and access to common peripheral devices for client
computers)


1
-
6.2 Compare the information processing capabilities of human beings to those of comput
ers
with respect to speed, accuracy, reliability, consistency, and memory capability.
(The speed
of light, 100 percent accuracy, 99.9 percent uptime, totally consistent, and total instant
recall)


1
-
6.3 Within the context of a computer system, what is mean
t by read and write?
(Loading data
into the computer’s memory


input


and producing soft copy or hard copy output.)


1
-
6.4 Identify and briefly describe five computation and five logic operations that might be
performed by a computer during the processin
g of college students throughout the
academic year.
(Five computations may include: calculation of cumulative GPA, tuition
and fees invoice, credit hours taken, financial aid received, pay received for hours worked
as a student assistant. Five logic operat
ions may include: Did hours enrolled exceed the
maximum hours permitted? Did hours worked exceed 40 hours? Does student qualify for a
tuition waiver? Does student qualify for out
-
of
-
state tuition? etc.)



29

1.7 HOW DO WE USE COMPUTERS?

TEACHING TIP

This top
ic is an overview of many applications of computers performing a variety of tasks. It
gives you the opportunity to discuss some unfamiliar ways that computers are impacting the
information society. In addition to these tasks, current periodicals and newspa
pers may be a
good source for emerging technologies and their applications. Many of your students may have
examples of edutainment software to show to the rest of the class. It might be difficult to get
samples of the other types of programs, but software
vendors may have promotional videotapes
that you can use.


The uses of computers are limitless.


INFORMATION SYSTEMS


The bulk of existing computer power is dedicated to
information systems
. This includes all uses
of computers that support the administrati
ve aspects of an organization, such as airline reservation
systems, student registration systems, hospital patient
-
billing systems and countless others.


Information systems process personal data on an ongoing basis, often without our knowledge. As
you re
ad this, some organization’s information system information system has identified you as a
target of commerce and will be sending you an unsolicited e
-
mail, called
spam
, or a printed
brochure in the near future.


TEACHING TIP

Many doctors in individual and

partnership practices have installed microcomputer
-
based
information systems. A typical system would keep patient records, maintain patient appointment
schedules, print and reconcile invoices, evaluate doctor productivity, provide cash and revenue
reports
, print insurance claims forms, and generate and print office correspondence.


TEACHING TIP

Information systems that perform highly specialized tasks are called expert systems. An expert
system helps salespeople configure and order components for computer
systems. Another expert
system monitors patient data in a hospital and, when needed, diagnoses and recommends
treatment, alerting the appropriate group(s) as to what needs to be done (pharmacists, nurses,
doctors, labs, and so on). An AT&T system, called A
CE, helps technicians locate faults in
telephone cables. The military has an expert system that helps officers analyze intelligence data
and apply information to battlefield strategies.


PERSONAL COMPUTING


A variety of domestic and business applications f
orm the foundation of
personal computing
.
Everything from personal finance to education to entertainment.


TEACHING TIP

Describe each of these software packages briefly in the context of an application: For example,
sales data are maintained on a database
package, manipulated and summarized on a
spreadsheet, visually presented in a bar graph, described by word processing, and sent to all
offices via data communications.

30


Some of the most popular productivity tools:



Word processin
g.
Word processing software
enables users to enter and edit text in
documents in preparation for output.



Presentation
.
Presentation software

lets you create professional
-
looking images for
group presentations, self
-
running slide shows, reports and for other situations that require
a
presentation of organized, visual information.



Spreadsheet
.
Spreadsheet software
permits users to work with the rows and columns of
data.



Database
.
Database software
permits users to create and maintain a database and to
extract information from the databa
se.



Desktop publishing.
Desktop publishing software
allows users to produce
camera
-
ready documents
from the confines of a desktop.



Communication
s.
Communications software
is a family of software applications that
enable users to communicate with remote co
mputers and devices.



Personal Information management
.
PIM software

is an umbrella term that encompasses
a variety of personal management and contact information programs.


TEACHING TIP

Almost two
-
thirds of the adult population in the United States have a
PC within their families.
Five years ago the number one use of personal computers was word processing. It’s now third,
behind e
-
mail and seeking information over the Internet (using Internet browsers). However, if
you look only at teenagers, about one
-
thir
d use PCs only for gaming. The main reason cited by
those who do not own a PC for not buying one is simply lack of interest.


Software suites

are bundles of complementary software that include, to varying degrees, several
or all of the productivity softwar
e mentioned above.


COMMUNICATION


Computers are communications tools that give us the flexibility to communicate electronically
with one another and with other computers. For example, we can set up our computers to send e
-
mail birthday greetings to our fr
iends and relatives automatically. We can log on to a commercial
information service (like America Online or CompuServe) to chat online (via keyed
-
in text) with
one person or a group of people. Recent software innovations allow us to talk to people in remo
te
locations, using only our PCs and a link to the Internet. Communications applications and
concepts are discussed and illustrated in detail throughout the book.

31


TEACHING TIP

Computers are changing our lives in many ways. Some people prefer microcompute
r weddings,
complete with virtual flowers. The first of which was performed in 1981. Most of the text is
displayed on the monitor and read by the bride and groom. All obligatory "I do's" were entered
as "Y." Another computer controls the music, and the sys
tem occasionally responds with a
digitized version of the real minister's voice.


TEACHING TIP

Some information systems raise ethical concerns. At the New York Stock Exchange, terminals
have replaced the trading post, and EFT has replaced the trading slip.

Computers have changed
investor thinking and have opened the door to short
-
term speculation. As a result, the market is
very vulnerable to rumor. (Some people have even likened the stock market to a gambling
casino.) Before long we'll all be able to buy a
nd sell securities from our living rooms 24 hours a
day.


SCIENCE, RESEARCH, AND ENGINEERING


Engineers and scientists routinely use the computer as a tool in
experimentation
,
design
,

and
development
. There are at least as many science and research applica
tions for the

computer as there are scientists and engineers. One of these applications is computer
-
aided design
(CAD), which involves using the computer in the design process. CAD systems enable the
creation and manipulation of an on
-
screen graphic image.

CAD systems provide a sophisticated
array of tools, enabling designers to create three
-
dimensional objects that can be flipped, rotated,
resized, viewed in detail, examined internally or externally, and much more. Photographs in this
chapter and throughou
t the book illustrate a variety of CAD applications.


TEACHING TIP

Chicago has taken traffic control past the automation of traffic signals. In an experiment, the
Federal Highway Administration is placing driver's side computers in over 4,000 automobiles i
n
the Chicago network. A global positioning system satellite and sensors embedded in the road
enable the Federal Highway Administration to monitor the location and movement of traffic over
a 200 square
-
mile area. Participating drivers will have access to r
eal
-
time traffic information
and routing advice via a radio.


EDUCATION AND REFERENCE


Learning resources are being developed and delivered on CD
-
ROM and via the Internet to
relatively inexpensive personal computers, each capable of multidimensional commun
ication
(sound, print, graphics, and animation). The result is a phenomenal growth of technology as an
educational tool in the home, in the classroom, and in business. Computer
-
based education and
online classes will not replace teachers anytime soon, but
educators agree that CD
-
ROM
-
based
computer
-
based training (CBT) and Internet
-
based distance learning are having a profound
impact on traditional modes of education. Available CBT programs can help you learn
keyboarding skills, increase your vocabulary, stu
dy algebra, learn about the makeup of the atom,
practice your Russian, and learn about computers. These are just the tip of the CBT iceberg.



32

TEACHING TIP



Thirty percent of all educational software is developed for use by children under seven
years of ag
e.



The "electronic classroom" may be just around the corner (within the decade). But, what
will happen to teachers? Are computers forcing teachers to give up their traditional role
or are they opening the door to alternative modes of teaching?



Computers ar
e destined to be the teacher's aid of the 21st century.


Entertainment and Edutainment


There are thousands of commercial applications created specifically to tickle our fancy and
entertain us. You can play electronic golf. You can buy a computer chess opp
onent in the form of
a board, chess pieces, and a miniature robotic arm that moves the pieces (you have to move your
own pieces). You can "pilot" an airplane to Paris and battle Zorbitrons in cyberspace. Carmen
Sandiego, the debonair thief of computer game
s and television fame, thrills children with the
chase to find her and her accomplices, while teaching them history and geography. Software that
combines
ed
ucation and ente
rtainmen
t, such as "Carmen Sandiego," has been dubbed
edutainment software
.


The amo
unt of computing capacity in the world is doubling every two years. The number and
sophistication of applications are growing rapidly with the increase in the number of computers
and their capabilities. Tomorrow, there will be applications that are unheard

of today.


VOCABULARY 1.7

Information systems



A computer
-
based system that provides both data processing capability
and information for managerial decision making.

Spam



This is the term for unsolicited e
-
mail.

Personal computing



A computing environm
ent in which individuals use personal computers
for domestic and/or business applications.

Word processing software



Software used by a computer for entering, storing, manipulating,
and printing text.

Documen
t


A generic reference to whatever is currentl
y displayed in a software package's work
area or to a permanent file containing document contents.

Object


This is the term for anything within a document that can be selected and manipulated.

Presentation software



Software used to prepare information f
or multimedia presentations in
meetings, reports, and oral presentations.

Spreadsheet software



Refers to software that permits users to work with rows and

columns of data.

Database softwar
e


Software that permits users to create and maintain a database
and to
information from the database.

Desktop publishing software



Software that allows users to produce near
-
typeset
-
quality copy
for newsletters, advertisements, and many other printing needs, all from the confines of a desktop.

Communications software



(1) Software that enables a microcomputer to emulate a terminal
and to transfer files between a micro and another computer. (2) Software that enables
communication between remote devices in a computer network.

Internet browser


Software that enables a u
ser to tap into the resources of the Internet.

Software suites


Bundles of various complementary productivity software that use a common
interface and are integrated for easy transfer of information among programs.


33

ANSWERS TO SECTION SELF
-
CHECK QUESTIONS


1
-
7.1 Desktop publishing refers to the capability of producing camera
-
ready documents from the
confines of a desktop.
(T
/F)


1
-
7.2 More computing capacity is dedicated to information systems than to CBT. (
T
/F)


1
-
7.3 The PC productivity tool that manipul
ates data organized in rows and columns is called a:
(a) database record manager, (b) presentation mechanism, (c) word processing document,
or
(d) spreadshee
t.


1
-
7.4 What type of software combines education and entertainment? (a) video games, (b)
Nintendo
,
(c) edutainmen
t, or (d) click
-
and
-
learn


1
-
7.5 Which PC productivity tool would be helpful in writing a term paper?
(a) word processing
,
(b) presentation, (c) spreadsheet, or (d) communications


1
-
7.6 The foundation of personal computing over the last
decade has been 3
-
D computing
games. (T/
F
).


1
-
7.7 Various programs within a given software suite have a common interface.(
T
/F)


1
-
7.8 Which of the following is not a software suite? (a) Borland’s Business Suite,
(b) Corel
WordPerfect 9
, (c) Lotus Smar
tSuite 9, or (d) Microsoft Office 2000



ANSWERS TO SECTION DISCUSSION AND PROBLEM SOLVING QUESTIONS

1
-
7.1 The use of computers tends to stifle creativity. Argue for or against this statement.
(Students
may argue that computers stifle creativity. Everythin
g is point and click. All one has to do
is take someone else's digitized ideas and cut and paste them into a document or Web page
to be saved as their own. Students may argue that computers promote creativity. Computers
give users a way to capture and mani
pulate images with digital cameras, digital video
recorders, special software (Adobe Photo Shop) etc., thus fostering creativity.)


1
-
7.2 Comment on how computers are changing our traditional patterns of recreation. (
To many,
the micro is a means of recrea
tion. For others, productivity improvements

enable them to
spend more time in recreational activities.)


1
-
7.3 Of the productivity software described in this chapter, choose the two that will have (or
currently have) the most impact on your productivity. E
xplain why you chose these two.
(Students may list any of the commonly used word processors: Word, WordPerfect.
Students may list any of the popular spreadsheet packages: 1
-
2
-
3, Excel, Quattro Pro.
Students may list any of the Internet browser software: Mi
crosoft Internet Explorer,
Netscape.)


1
-
7.4 Explain why software packages in a software suite are complementary.
(They are designed
with a common interface and to allow easy sharing of content and data between the various
applications which make up the
suite.)


34

1
-
7.5 The dominant software suite is Microsoft Office, in its various versions. However, some
analysts claim that alternative software suites are as good or better than it. Under what
circumstances would a company with 5000 PCs opt to go with a
Microsoft competitor?
(A
company with 5000 PCs may opt to use a Microsoft competitor because it may need
specialized software that is currently not marketed by Microsoft. For example, it may need
custom
-
made inventory management software or custom
-
made acc
ounting system
software. It may be more beneficial for them to run these software packages on a Linux or
other operating system platform.)