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The central processing unit (CPU), also called a processor, is

located inside thecomputer case on the motherboard. It is
sometimes called the brain of the computer, and its job is to
carry out commands. Whenever you press a key, click the
mouse, or start an application, you're sending instructions to the
The CPU is generally a two-inch ceramic square with a silicon
chip located inside. The chip is usually about the size of a
thumbnail. The CPU fits into the motherboard'sCPU socket,
which is covered by the heat sink, an object that absorbs heat
from the CPU.
A processor's speed is measured in megahertz (MHz), or
millions of instructions per second; and gigahertz (GHz), or
billions of instructions per second. A faster processor can
execute instructions more quickly. However, the actual speed of
the computer depends on the speed of many different
componentsnot just the processor.
There are many processor manufacturers for personal
computers, but the most well-known ones are Inteland AMD.


The motherboard is the computer's main circuit board. It's a

thin plate that holds the CPU, memory, connectors for the hard
drive and optical drives, expansion cards to control the video
and audio, and connections to your computer's ports (such as
USB ports). The motherboard connects directly or indirectly to
every part of the computer.

Power supply unit

The power supply unit in a computer converts the power from

the wall outlet to the type of power needed by the computer. It
sends power through cables to the motherboard and other
If you decide to open the computer case and take a look,
make sure to unplug the computer first. Before touching the
inside of the computer, you should touch a grounded metal

objector a metal part of the computer casingto discharge

any static buildup. Static electricity can be transmitted
through the computer circuits and ruin them.

RAM (random access memory)

RAM is your system's short-term memory. Whenever

your computer performs calculations, it temporarily
stores the data in the RAM until it is needed.
This short-term memory disappears when the
computer is turned off. If you're working on a document,
spreadsheet, or other type of file, you'll need to save it
to avoid losing it. When you save a file, the data is
written to the hard drive, which acts as long-term
RAM is measured in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes
(GB). The more RAM you have, the more things your
computer can do at the same time. If you don't have
enough RAM, you may notice that your computer is
sluggish when you have several programs open.
Because of this, many people add extra RAM to their
computers to improve performance.

Hard drive

The hard drive on your computer is where the software

is installed, and it's also where your documents and
other files are stored. The hard drive is long-term
storage, which means the data is still saved even if you
turn the computer off or unplug it.
When you run a program or open a file, the computer
copies some of the data from the hard drive onto
the RAM. When you save a file, the data is copied back
to the hard drive. The faster the hard drive is, the
faster your computer can start up and load programs.

Expansion cards
Most computers have expansion slots on the motherboard that
allow you to add various types of expansion cards. These are
sometimes called PCI (peripheral component interconnect)
cards. You may never have to add any PCI cards because most
motherboards have built-in video, sound, network, and other

capabilities. However, if you want to boost the performance of

your computer or update the capabilities of an older computer,
you can always add one or more cards. Below are some of the
most common types of expansion cards.

Video card

The video card is responsible for what you see on the monitor.
Most computers have a GPU (graphics processing unit) built
into the motherboard instead of having a separate video card. If
you like playing graphics-intensive games, you can add a faster
video card to one of theexpansion slots to get better

Sound card
The sound card, also called an audio card, is responsible
for what you hear in the speakers or headphones. Most
motherboards have integrated sound, but you can upgrade to a
dedicated sound card for higher-quality sound.

Network card
The network card allows your computer to communicate over a
network and access the Internet. It can either connect with
an Ethernet cable or through a wireless connection (often

called Wi-Fi). Many motherboards have built-in network

connections, and a network card can also be added to an
expansion slot.

Bluetooth card

Bluetooth is a technology for wireless communication over short

distances. It's often used in computers to communicate with
wireless keyboards, mice, and printers. It's often built into the
motherboard or included in a wireless network card. For
computers that don't have Bluetooth, a USB adapter, called
a dongle, can be purchased.

PCOS is an Optical Scanner

PCOS stands for Precinct Count Optical Scanner. It is a machine that reads votes
based on pencil markings on a special type of paper. Its maker, Smartmatic gives it
the name SAES-1800.
PCOS machines operate like LOTTO machines. When you try to bet for a lotto draw,
you mark numbers on a betting ticket. The operator will then insert your bet slip to a
machine that will read the numbers that you marked.

A PCOS machine will read ballots instead of bet slips. You will also mark numbers
using a pencil. Each number corresponds to the candidates running for the post.
Filipinos are not new to this system. We have experienced the same process in
betting for LOTTO, taking the NAT, NCAE and even in Board Exams.

PCOS is a Data Transmitter

PCOS machines are data transmitter. After the voting, the PCOS technician will send
the data accumulated by the machine to the server. This is the same process as
sending a text message from your cellphone.
There are several ways that a PCOS machine transmits its data. The first one is by
GSM transmission which is the same as SMS or text messaging. Another is by LAN
or Local Area Network which is the same as your internet connection provided by
your telephone company. The last way is the use of satellite transmission which is
done in very remote areas.

PCOS Offers Several Layers of Security

As what you can expect with an election automation device, PCOS machines are

provided with many security measures.

The first layer of security of PCOS machines is the security key. It needs to be
inserted in the machine before it can be operated.
The second security feature of PCOS machines is the encryption of the data. It
boasts a 256-bit symmetric algorithm. In order to bypass this encryption of data, you
need at least 262,700,000,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity to solve it in one year.
Another security layer is the redundant storage of data. PCOS machines will count
the votes and store the tally of the votes. Aside from the count, it will also record an
image of the ballot in its data. This data will be stored in its memory before it is sent
to the servers.

Worst Case Scenarios for PCOS Machines

Here is a list of worst case scenarios that PCOS Machines might face. For each
scenario, I explained the strategy to be used to ensure a successful election.

Power Interruption
The PCOS machine has a standby battery in case of a brown out.

No Cellphone Signal
Since PCOS relies on cellphone reception, it cannot transmit data in remote areas.
However, it can do this using satellite transmission. If that does not work, the PCOS
technician can manually bring the memory card to the municipal server.

Malfunctioning PCOS and Shortage

A shortage of PCOS machines is unlikely to happen since they are numbered and
serialized for each precinct. However, there are back up PCOS machines if there is a
malfunctioning machine.

Stolen PCOS Machines

If someone steals a PCOS machine, it can easily be traced using the serial number
and the server will not accept any signal from those machines.

Hackers and Stealing of Data from Memory Card or Wirelessly

If there is a very clever person who can get his hands on the data, he still needs to
crack the 256-bit encryption place on the data. Its like having a .docx file and you
only have Microsoft Word 2003. No matter how you do it, you cant open the file. In
this case, you need much more than MS Word 2007 to read the tally of votes.

PCOS Machines are Secure, People Might Not

The makers of the PCOS machines and its softwares placed many security
measures to ensure the credibility of the elections. However, no matter how secure
our election may be, it is still the people who will determine who will be the next
President, senators or mayor.
If the choice of the people is corrupted, the election will be a mess. No matter how
high tech or how secure the equipment we use, it is us who will make this election
clean and orderly.