Technology Essentials for

birdsowlSoftware and s/w Development

Dec 2, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)


Technology Essentials for
Global Information & Social
Enterprise Studies



Means of creating a better world

It's everywhere!

Why Technology?

Goals of Tech Essentials

Remove you from the abyss of anxiety

Show that technology can be easy (and fun) to use

Teach a set of skills that can be readily deployed

Disseminate the need and desire to teach oneself

The Anatomy of a Computer


The case is the physical structure that houses all
components of a computer.

Most cases will come with built
in fans to allow for cooling,
as well as internal bays to house hard drives and optical

USB and audio ports are usually provided on the exterior of
a case, with cables that need to be connected to the
motherboard to make full use of them.


A central component to a computer that links all hardware
parts together.

The CPU,RAM, and PCI cards are installed here. The
motherboard has PCI slots, in which you can install a
variety of devices such as video cards and network cards.

When building a computer from scratch, it is imperative to
research the motherboard and ensure that your CPU and
RAM will be compatible (as well as that your MB will fit in
the case).

Most motherboards come with built in audio and Ethernet
ports, with some having integrated video and wireless

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

Commonly abbreviated as CPU, this component processes
all information in the computer.

Without it, a computer cannot function. (Be wary when
installing/replacing them to not bend any pins. ONE bent
pin will result in a broken CPU).

CPU speed commonly affects load time for programs as
well as how fast data can be transferred. CPU speed is
measured in gigahertz (ghz).

Random Access Memory (RAM)

This acts as volatile storage space (meaning data is
wiped after shutting down) for the computer.

RAM is fairly cheap and easy to replace, with desktop
RAM being the cheapest to buy and easiest to install.

More RAM commonly allows for more programs to be
open at one time without seeing significant decrease in

Most RAM comes in 1gigabyte
2gb sticks. Modern PC
standards are anywhere from 2gb in laptops to 8gb in
advanced workstation desktops.

Hard Drive

The hard drive is where files are stored on a computer.
Unlike RAM, this storage does not go away after bootup.

Hard drive size increases drastically over time, and adding
new ones to increase space is very easy.

Most hard drives have moving parts, though newer flash
drives and solid state drives have no moving parts, making
them ideal for computers where hardware failure is an

based harddrives are expected to fail after ~5 years
of continual use, so backing up to external hardrives or
using a RAID configuration is ideal to not lose data.

Common sizes range from 320gb

Power Supply Unit (PSU)

Also referred to as the PSU, this is the main unit in a
computer that provides power to all computing parts.

Most PSUs have a failsafe built into them so in the event of
a power surge the PSU will blow instead of your parts.

Power Supply wattage is usually only relevent when using a
lot of power
needy components (video cards, multiple
harddrives), with 350
500W being enough to run most

Optical Drive (CD/DVD Drive)

Also referred to as an optical drive, CD/DVD drives connect
to the motherboard and allow for CD/DVDS to be read and
written to.

Some modern drives have the capacity to read BluRay
discs, though these are usually not needed for uses other
than entertainment purposes.

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

Graphics cards (also known as a graphics processing unit,
GPU) allows for a computer to render visual output to a
monitor or display.

GPUs come in two forms: dedicated and integrated.

Integrated video cards are built into the motherboard
and are usually weaker than their counterpart

Dedicated video cards are installed on the motherboards
PCI slots as individual seperate components

Modern GPU

s can be ran in tandem (see SLI and
CrossFirex) to allow for massive amounts of dedicated
video processing.

In the end a computer is
just a bunch of different
hardware components
that connect to each

A single faulty
component is sometimes
the only problem

So then whats the difference between these two?


Basically nothing

Macintosh vs. Windows (vs. Linux)



UNIX based

Fewer hardware customization options (for most Macs)

Emphasis on native software

Unable to run a lot of third
party applications

Fewer security issues

based system

majority of malware is written for a Windows system


Can be used with a majority of hardware configurations

Security issues occur more frequently

More natural vulnerabilities in OS vs. UNIX systems

More Windows users = more viruses

Heavy third
party application options

Originally designed for an office environment

Linux (Ubuntu)

UNIX based

Open source (free)

Uses processing power extremely efficiently, making it
ideal when running servers

Common Hardware Issues & Their

General smart troubleshooting tips

Search online the problem your confronting (or if nothing
shows up, word your problem differently)

Check all cable connections

Keep your software and hardware up to date

As a last resort, swap out parts for known working ones if

Power Supply

As electricity is a central component to a working
computer, a faulty power supply can cause serious damage
to a computer system.

A problematic power supply can cause some of the


Random rebooting


Unexplained lockups & freezes


Corrupted display with fuzzy and distorted picture

Other devices fail to start or just stop working

Fortunately, power supplies are cheap and relatively easy
to replace.


Bad RAM modules can lead to multiple issues, most
frequently full system lockups and extremely slow boot

RAM is easily replaced and available, and swapping out
modules for known working ones is common practice

RAM can occasionally get infected by powerful malware,
which needs to be removed by programs that can
specifically target RAM

Hard Drive

Broken platter
based hard drives will 'click' when broken,
meaning that internal hardware parts have failed

Clicking drives are often beyond repair, though expensive
data recovery services can retrieve data from these drives
on a case

Backing up is that much more important!

Viruses and Malware

What is malware?

Malware is general term describing any type of software
that is designed to access a computer system without the
informed consent of the user

Malware can be broken down into various types:

Computer Viruses





Other Malware classifications


replicating program
that uses networks to replicate

Trojan Horse

a program that
appears to have function but
instead provides back
access to a system


aka ad
software, these are software
packages that displays or
downloads advertisements
usually as a pop


a type of malware
that collects and logs small
bits of information about a
users actions, such as personal
and financial information


a keylogger is a
problem that records the
keystrokes of a user, often to
steal passwords, bank account
numbers, and other personal

Computer Virus

A computer virus is a software program that can copy itself
and infect a computer

True viruses spread from one computer to another through
a network, the Internet, or removable mediums

Most viruses are written with the intention of never being

Like biological viruses, as software systems become more
diverse, viruses have a harder time infecting systems

Because malware can be so pervasive,
it should be removed ASAP to prevent
infecting other systems

... though the best offense is
a good defense

Don't let pre
installed "trial" software
programs fool you

Windows laptops often come with a bevy of unnecessary
software programs (sometimes referred to as 'bloatware')
that generally causes more harm than good

Trial versions of anti
virus software are notorious for this,
despite that it often conflicts and decreases the efficacy of
other anti
virus programs

Good anti
malware software for Windows

Microsoft Security Essentials

MSE is, arguably, one of the best free anti
virus software
programs in the Windows environment. It protects against
almost all sorts of malware and is easy to use.

Malwarebytes' Anti
Malware (MBAM)


A powerful free malware removal program

Spybot Search & Destroy (S&D)

A popular spyware and adware removal program that can
scan both hard drives and RAM for malicious software

... so what about Macintosh?

As stated, Macs were designed with security in mind

Macs are not backwards compatible


privileges make it difficult to install
unwanted software without the user knowing

virus software is still recommended




Virus Barrier

Malware can hide in lots of different

To keep your computer in an operable state,
it's important to do some cleaning every once
in a while