You are on page 1of 136

FACULTY OF MEDIA, INFORMATION & COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY

DIPLOMA IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

INFORMATION SYSTEMS 511


YEAR 1

SEMESTER 1

Registered with the Department of Higher Education as a Private Higher Education Institution
under the Higher Education Act, 1997. Registration Certificate No. 2000/HE07/008
FACULTY OF MEDIA INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
QUALIFICATION TITLE
DIPLOMA IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
LEARNER GUIDE
MODULE: INFORMATION SYSTEMS 511
(1ST SEMESTER)
PREPARED ON BEHALF OF
PC TRAINING & BUSINESS COLLEGE (PTY) LTD
AUTHOR: NONHLANHLA NGOBESE
EDITOR: KHAUHELO MAHLAKENG
FACULTY HEAD: ISAKA REDDY
Copyright 2015
PC Training & Business College (Pty) Ltd
Registration Number: 2000/000757/07
All rights reserved; no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means,
including photocopying machines, without the written permission of the Institution.

LESSON PLAN ALIGNED TO MOBILE CONTENT [MOODLE]


SECTION

SUBJECT MATTER

INTRODUCTION TO USING THE COMPUTER

1.1

Computer Literacy & Information Literacy

1.2

What is Information Literacy?

1.3

Why is Information Literacy important?

1.4

How will I use Information Literacy?

1.5

What is an Information System?

1.6

Components of an Information Systems

1.7

Communication Networks

1.8

Categories of Computers

1.9

Types of PCs

SOFTWARE

2.1

Computer Software

2.2

Types of Software

2.3

The role of the Operating System & User Interface

2.4

Allocating System Resources

2.5

Monitoring System Activities

2.6

What is a User Interface?

2.7

What happens when you switch on a computer?

2.8

The Boot Process

2.9

Important Operating System Files

2.10

File & Disk Management

2.11

Single Program & Multitasking of Operating System

2.12

Common Operating Systems

2.13

The History of Windows

2.14

The Windows Operating Systems

2.15

Language Types

2.16

Introduction to Software Applications

2.17

Graphics & Multimedia Equipment

2.18

Software for Communication

DIPLOMA IN
INFORMATION
TECHNOLOGY

Lesson 1

Lesson 2-3

Lesson 4-6

2.19

Learning aids & support tools

THE SYSTEMS UNIT

3.1

Introduction to systems unit

3.2

The components of a system unit

3.3

Different types of memory

3.4

How data is represented in a computer?

3.5

Storage Device

INPUT AND OUTPUT

4.1

Defining Input

4.2

Output Devices

4.3

Definition of Output

4.4

Display Devices

4.5

Video Adapter Cards

4.6

The Printer

4.7

Audio Output

DATA STORAGE & WAREHOUSING

5.1

Introduction to data storage

Lesson 7-9

Lesson 10

Lesson 11

Lesson 12

INTERACTIVE ICONS USED IN THIS LEARNER GUIDE

Learning Outcomes

Study

Read
Writing Activity

Think Point

Review Questions

Research

Glossary

Case Study

Bright Idea

Key Point

Problem(s)

Web
Resource
Multimedia Resource

ONE | INTRODUCTION TO USING THE COMPUTER

Learning Outcomes

1. Define and explain the difference between computer literacy &


information literacy
2. Know different components of an information system
3. Define what a computer is and list the various components of a
computer & their respective functions
4. Explain the operations of the information processing cycle, namely:
input, process, output & storage
5. List & discuss the factors that contribute to the processing power
of computers
6. Understand the key concepts of speed, reliability, accuracy, storage
& communications
7. List the various categories of computers
8. Know the differences between the different categories of
computers & their respective purposes

1.1 COMPUTER LITERACY AND INFORMATION LITERACY


Computer literacy is being able to use a computer for the
required purpose to produce required results.

LEARNER OUTCOME 1
is covered in Sections 1.1 to 1.5
[consider siting the book]

1.2 WHAT IS INFORMATION LITERACY?


Information Literacy is the ability to identify what information is needed, understand how the
information is organized, identify the best sources of information for a given need, locate those
sources, evaluate the sources critically, and share that information. It is the knowledge of
commonly used research techniques.
1.3 WHY IS INFORMATION LITERACY IMPORTANT?
Information literacy is critically important because we are surrounded by a growing ocean of
information in all formats. Not all information is created equal: some is authoritative, current,
reliable, but some is biased, out of date, misleading, and false. The amount of information available
6

is going to keep increasing. The types of technology used to access, manipulate,


and create information will likewise expand.
1.4 HOW WILL I USE INFORMATION LITERACY SKILLS?
Information literacy skills are used for academic purposes, such as research
papers and group presentations. They're used on the jobthe ability to find,
evaluate, use and share information is an essential skill. Consumer decisions, such
as which car or vacuum cleaner to purchase, are critical. You'll also use these skills
by participating fully in a democratic society as an informed citizen by
understanding issues and voting.
1.5 WHAT IS AN INFORMATION SYSTEM?
An information system is not only the technology that an organization uses, but
also the way in which the organization interact with the technology and the way
in which the technology works with the organizations process such as gathering
raw data, storing it, processing this data and making information available to the
user or to an organization.
1.6 COMPONENTS OF AN INFORMATION SYSTEM
1.6.1 End User
The aim of an information system is to
enable the end users to operate more
productively.

LEARNING OUTCOME 2
Is covered in section 1.6

1.6.2 Hardware
This is the physical equipment devices used by people to communicate with each
other such as Keyboard mouse, printer and Central Processing Unit.
1.6.3 Software
This is a program or a set of instructions that control the functioning of the
computer.
1.6.4 Data
Data is raw unprocessed facts and once the computer processes data it is then
called information.
7

1.6.5 Information
Information is a collection of facts organized in such a way that they have
additional value beyond the value of the facts themselves.
1.6.6 Procedures
These are predetermined guidelines for users to follow when using the hardware
and software.
1.7 COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
The purpose of a communications
network is to allow moving information
from one point to another inside the
LEARNING OUTCOME 3
organization. The information could be
Is covered in sections 1.7.1 and 1.7.2
stored on a device, such as a personal
computer in the network; it could be generated live outside the network, such as
speech, or could be generated by a process on another piece of information, such
as automatic sales transactions at the end of a business day. The device does not
necessarily have to be a computer; it could be a hard disk, a camera or even a
printer on the network. Due to a large variety of information to be moved, and
due to the fact that each type of information has its own conditions for
intelligibility, the computer network has evolved into a highly complex system.
1.7.1 What Is A Computer?
A computer is an electronic device that manipulate data, process it to produce
information as output which is stored for later use.
1.7.2 The Four Functions Of A Computer
Every computer, whether microcomputer, mini-computer or mainframe has four
main functions, namely input, processing, output and storage, as indicated in the
figure on the next page:

Figure 1 The four functions of a computer


As the Figure 1 above indicates, data about business transactions and other events are captured
into the computer through input devices such as the keyboard, the mouse, the microphone and
the modem, whereupon it is processed by the CPU (Central Processing Unit). Data entered into the
system is subjected to processing activities such as calculating, comparing, sorting, classifying and
summarizing. The above activities organize, analyze and manipulate data, thus converting it into
information for end-users. As the CPU is processing data it
temporarily stores it in the Primary Storage (also called the Main
Memory). The data that has been processed is presented to users
in a way that they can understand through output devices such as
the monitor, the printer, speakers and the modem. Here
IDEA
information is transmitted to end-users and made available to
them by the output activity. The goal of information systems is the You can start any program by
using the start button.
production of appropriate information products for end-users,
Complete
the following three
which can be messages, reports, forms, and graphic images. The
steps to start a web browser.
phrase in a way that they can understand is deliberately inserted
1. Click the start
above, because computers talk only in terms of 1s and 0s, the sobutton
called machine language.
2. Click all programs
Finally a computer stores its results for later use in storage devices
such as the hard disk drive (HDD), the floppy disk drive (FDD), the
CD Rom drive, the DVD Rom drive etc. This ability to store results
for future use and the ability to access these results quickly gives
the computer tremendous power in comparison to a human
being.

3. Click the internet


explorer
An internet explorer window
will be opened.

1.7.3 The Information Processing Cycle


The four functions of a computer discussed above also form what is called an
information processing cycle i.e., Input Processing Output Storage. As the
dotted arrow in Figure 1 above indicates, it becomes a cycle when the Storage
devices are used as input devices to provide input to the computer. In other
words, the work that you did three days ago can become input today and the
whole cycle of Input Processing Output Storage starts again.
The Figure 1 can be summarised as follows:
A. INPUT - This is the activity of
gathering and capturing raw data. For
example, in producing a payroll, the
LEARNING OUTCOME 4 & 5
number of hours every employee
Is covered in sections 1.7.3
works must be collected and captured
before the payroll is run.
B. PROCESSING Involves
converting or transforming data into useful output, thus making calculations,
comparisons and taking alternative action and storing data for future use.
C. OUTPUT - Involves producing useful information, usually in the form of
documents and reports. For example pay slips, managers reports, etc.
D. STORAGE - Involves the keeping of the output for backup purposes. For
example filing the printed reports, saving the on USB, CDs etc.
E. FEEDBACK - is also very important in the above cycle. This feedback is the
output that is used to make changes to input or processing activities. For example
errors or problems might make it necessary to correct input data or change a
process.
1.7.4 Why A Computer Is So Powerful?
A computers power is derived from its capability of performing the information
processing cycle (input, process, output and storage) with amazing speed
reliability and accuracy; its capacity to store huge amounts of data and
information; and its ability to communicate with other computers.
1.7.4.1 Speed
Inside
the
system
LEARNING OUTCOME 6
Is covered in sections 1.7.4
unit, operations
occur
through electronic circuits.
When data and instructions, and information flow along these circuits, they
travel at close to the speed of light. This allows billions of operations to be
carried out in a single second.
10

1.7.4.2 Reliability And Consistency


The electronic components in modern computers are dependable because they
have a low failure rate. The high reliability of the components enables the
computer to produce constant results.
1.7.4.3 Accuracy
Computers can process large amounts of data and generate error free results,
provided that the data is entered correctly. If inaccurate data is entered, the
resulting output will be incorrect. This computing principle is known as Garbage
in Garbage out (GIGO) - points out that the accuracy of a computers output
depends on the accuracy of the input.
1.7.4.4 Storage Capacity
A computer can store huge amounts of data.
1.7.4.5 Communication
Most computers today have the ability of communicating with each other.
Computers with this capability can share any of the four information processing
cycle operations- input, process, output and storage.
1.7.4.6 Programmability
A computer has also got the capability to be programmed.
1.8 CATEGORIES OF COMPUTERS
The six major categories of computers are personal computers, handheld
computers, Internet appliances, mid-range servers, mainframes and
supercomputers.

11

1.8.1 Personal Computer

A personal computer (PC) is any general -purpose computer whose size,


capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is
intended to be operated directly by an end user with no intervening computer
operator. Thi s is in contrast to the batch processing or time
-sharing models
which allowed large expensive mainframe systems to be used by many people,
usually at the same time, or large data processing systems which required a fulltime staff to operate efficiently.
A personal computer may be a desk top computer, a laptop, a tablet PC, or a
handheld PC (also called a palmtop). The most common microprocessors in
personal computers are x86 -compatible CPUs. Software applications for
personal computers include word proces sing, spreadsheet databases, Web
browsers and e -mail clients, games, and myriad personal productivity and
special-purpose software applications. Modern personal computers often have
high-speed or dial -up connections to the Internet allowing access to the W orld
Wide Web and a wide range of other resources.
A PC may be used at home or in an office. Personal computers may be connected
to a Local Area Networks (LAN), either by a cable or a wireless connection.
While early PC owners usually had to write their own programs to do anything
useful with the machines, today's users have access to a wide range of
commercial and non -commercial software, which is provided in ready -to-run or
ready-to-compile form. Since the 1980s, Microsoft and Intel have dominated
much of the personal computer market with the Wintel platform.
1.9 TYPES OF PCS

12

1.9.1 Workstation

Processor from early 1990s


A workstation is a high-end personal computer designed for technical or scientific
applications. Intended primarily to be used by one person at a time, they are
commonly connected to a local area network and run multi-user operating
systems. Workstations are used for tasks such as computer-aided design, drafting
and modelling, computation-intensive scientific and engineering calculations,
image processing, architectural modelling, and computer graphics for animation
and motion picture visual effects.
1.9.2 Desktop Computer

Prior to the wide spread of PCs a computer that could fit on a desk was considered
remarkably small. Today the phrase usually indicates a particular style of
computer case. Desktop computers come in a variety of styles ranging from large

13

vertical tower cases to small form factor models that can be tucked behind an LCD
monitor. In this sense, the term 'desktop' refers specifically to a
horizontallyoriented case, usually intended to have the display screen placed on
top to save space on the desk top. Most modern desktop computers have
separate screens and keyboards.
Single unit PCs (also known as all-in-one PCs) is a subtype of desktop computers,
which combine the monitor and case of the computer within a single unit. The
monitor often utilizes a touch screen as an optional method of user input;
however detached keyboards and mice are normally still included. The inner
components of the PC are often located directly behind the monitor, and many
are built similarly to laptops.
1.9.3 Laptop

A laptop computer or simply laptop, also called a notebook computer or


sometimes a notebook, is a small personal computer designed for portability.
Usually all of the interface hardware needed to operate the laptop, such as USB
ports (previously parallel and serial ports), graphics card, sound channel, etc., is
built in to a single unit. Laptops contain high capacity batteries that can power the
device for extensive periods of time, enhancing portability. Once the battery
charge is depleted, it will have to be recharged through a power outlet. In the
interest of saving power, weight and space, they usually share RAM with the video
channel, slowing their performance compared to an equivalent desktop machine.
One main drawback of the laptop is sometimes, due to the size and configuration
of components, relatively little can be done to upgrade the overall computer from
its original design. Internal upgrades are either not manufacturer recommended,
can damage the laptop if done with poor care or knowledge, or in some cases
impossible, making the desktop PC more modular. Some internal upgrades, such
as memory and hard disks upgrades are often easy, a display or keyboard upgrade
is usually impossible. The laptop has the same access as the desktop to the wide
variety of devices, such as external displays, mice, cameras, storage devices and

14

keyboards, which may be attached externally through USB ports and other less
common ports such as external video.
A subtype of notebooks, called sub notebooks, are computers with most of the
features of a standard laptop computer but smaller. They are larger than
handheld computers, and usually run full versions of desktop/laptop operating
systems. Notebooks are sometimes considered in this category, though they are
sometimes separated in a category of their own (see below).
1.9.4 Notebook

Notebooks (also called mini notebooks or sub notebooks) are a rapidly evolving
category of small, light and inexpensive laptop computers suited for general
computing and accessing web-based applications; they are often marketed as
"companion devices," that is, to augment a user's other computer access. At their
inception in late 2007 as smaller notebooks optimized for low weight and low
cost notebooks omitted key features (e.g., the optical drive), featured smaller
screens and keyboards, and offered reduced specification and computing power.
Over the course of their evolution, notebooks have ranged in size from below 5 in
to over 13 in, and from ~1 kg (2-3 pounds). Often significantly less expensive than
other laptops, by mid-2009, notebooks had been offered to users "free of charge",
with an extended service contract purchase. In the short period since their
appearance, notebooks have grown in size and features, now converging with
new smaller, lighter notebooks.

15

1.9.5 Tablet PC

A tablet PC is a Notebook or slate-shaped mobile computer, first introduced by


Pen Computing in the early 90s with their Pen Go Tablet Computer and
popularized by Microsoft. Its touch screen or graphics tablet/screen hybrid
technology allows the user to operate the computer with a stylus or digital pen,
or a fingertip, instead of a keyboard or mouse. The form factor offers a more
mobile way to interact with a computer. Tablet PCs are often used where normal
notebooks are impractical or unwieldy, or do not provide the needed
functionality.
As technology and functionality continue to progress, prototype tablet PCs will
continue to emerge. The Microsoft Courier, a personal business device, has two
7" monitors that support multi-touch gestures, Wi-Fi capabilities and has a builtin
camera. The device looks to be a replacement to traditional planners while
offering what most digital planners cannot, two pages and large writing spaces.
1.9.6 Ultra-Mobile PC

The ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) is a specification for a small form factor of tablet PCs.
It was developed as a joint development exercise by Microsoft, Intel, and
Samsung, among others. Current UMPCs typically feature the Windows XP,
Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Linux and operating system.

16

1.9.7 Pocket PC

A pocket PC is a hardware specification for a handheld-sized computer (personal


digital assistant) that runs the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system. It
may have the capability to run an alternative operating system like NetBSD or
Linux. It has many of the capabilities of modern desktop PCs.
1.9.8 Mid-range Servers
A mid-range server is more powerful and larger than a workstation computer.
Mid-range servers can often support up to 4000 connected computers at the
same time. Users often access a minicomputer via a terminal. A terminal is a
monitor and keyboard. Such terminals are known as dumb terminals because
they have no processing power they cannot act as stand-alone computers and
they need the minicomputer connected to them at all times.

17

1.9.9 Mainframe Computers

Mainframes (often colloquially referred to as Big Iron) are powerful computers used mainly by
large organizations for critical applications, typically bulk data processing such as census, industry
and consumer statistics, enterprise resource planning, and financial transaction processing.
The term originally referred to the large cabinets that housed the central processing unit and main
memory of early computers. Later the term was used to distinguish high-end commercial machines
from less powerful units.
Most large-scale computer system architectures were firmly established in the 1960s and most
large computers were based on architecture established during that era up until the advent of Web
servers in the 1990s. There were several minicomputer operating systems and architectures that
arose in the 1970s and 1980s, but minicomputers are generally not considered mainframes. (UNIX
arose as a minicomputer operating system; Unix has scaled up over the years to acquire some
mainframe characteristics.) Many defining characteristics of "mainframe" were established in the
1960s, but those characteristics continue to expand and evolve to the present day.

18

Writing Activity
Now that you are familiar with basic knowledge on
computers and information literacy, you are ready to
appreciate the many uses of computers and information.
You are required to explain information systems, compare
and contrast between computer literacy and information
literacy. You are also expected to define the information
process cycle.

19

Review Questions

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Explain why it is important to be Computer literate.


Define the terms computer.
Identify the component of the computer.
Explain why computer is so powerful tool.
Differentiate amongst the various categories of computers.
Discuss the application of computers in the categories
mentioned.

20

KEY TERMS USED IN SECTION 1


All-in-one PC A sub-type of desktop computers, which combine the
monitor and case of the computer within a single unit. The monitor
often utilizes a touch screen as an optional method of user input;
however detached keyboards and mice are normally still included.
Application software allows end users to accomplish one or more
specific (not directly computer development related) tasks.
Arithmetic Logic Unit Performs the arithmetic comparison and
logical operations.
Cache memory Most of todays computers improve their processing
time by using cache. Cache helps speed the process of the computer
by storing frequently used instructions and data. The rationale is that
the processor is likely to request these items over and over again.
When the processor needs an instruction it first searches cache.
Central Processing Unit (CPU) The CPU interprets and carries out
basic instruction that operates a computer. The CPU is also called a
processor, significantly impacts on overall computing power and
manages most of the computer operations. Most of the devices
connected to the computer communicate with the CPU in order to
carry out a task.
Complementary metal oxide semi-conductor (CMOS) Is used to
store configuration information about the computer e.g. type of disk
drives, keyboard, monitor, etc.
A Compact Disk (CD) is a flat round portable metal storage medium
that is usually 4.75 inches in diameter and less than one-twentieth of
an inch thick. Compact disks store items such as data instructions,
and information by using microscopic pits and land that are in the
middle layer of the disc. A high - powered laser light creates the pits.
A compiler program rewrites the program into machine language
that the CPU can understand. This is done all at once and the
program is saved in this new form. A compiled program is generally
considerably larger than the original.
Computer is an electronic device that manipulate data, process it to
produce information as output which is stored for later use.

22

22

23

24

Computer Aided Design (CAD) is a sophisticated type of application


software that assists the user in creating engineering architectural
and scientific designs
Computer literacy being able to use a computer for the required
purpose to produce required results
Control Unit executes the instructions given to the computer, it
coordinates and directs most of the activities in the computer
Data Raw unprocessed facts and once the computer processes data it
is then called information.
Desktop The area on the display screen where icons are grouped is
often referred to as the desktop because the icons are intended to
represent real objects on a real desktop.
Desktop Computer horizontally-oriented case, usually intended to
have the display screen placed on top to save space on the desk top
Desktop Publishing Software allows you to create sophisticated
documents using a combination of text, graphics and brilliant
colours; professional graphic designers use it
Dot matrix printers are impact printers and they work much like the
typewriter. They produce characters on paper by impacting an inked
ribbon with a matrix of tiny pins in their print heads. When a
particular pin in the print head receives a voltage it juts out and hits
the inked ribbon, which in turn comes in contact with paper. When
the voltage from the same pin mentioned above is switched off, the
pin retracts and another pin is given voltage and the process goes on
and on. Depending on the character being written on paper, different
sets of pins will receive voltage and others will not. Transistors on the
printer main board control the pins. Dot matrix printers are
becoming less popular, while inkjet and laser printers are becoming
more popular even for home users. Dot matrix printers are relatively
cheaper to purchase and operate, But they make a lot of noise,
produce documents of low quality, cannot print colour and are
extremely slow.
A graphical user interface (GUI) is a type of user interface item that
allows people to interact with programs in more ways than typing
such as computers; hand-held devices such as MP3 Players, Portable
25

Media Players or Gaming devices; household appliances and office


equipment with images rather than text commands. A GUI offers
graphical icons, and visual indicators, as opposed to text-based

26

27

interfaces, typed command labels or text navigation to fully


represent the information and actions available to a user. The actions
are usually performed through direct manipulation of the graphical
elements
A hard disk usually consists of several inflexible, circular disks, called
platters, on which items are stored electronically. A platter in a hard
disk is made of aluminum, glass, or ceramic and is coated with a
material that allows items to be magnetically recorded on its surface.
Hardware referrers to the physical equipment devices used by people
to communicate with each other such as keyboard, mouse, printer
and Central Processing Unit.
Information A collection of facts organized in such a way that they
have additional value beyond the value of the facts themselves.
Information system The way in which the organization interacts with
its technology and the way in which the technology works with the
organizations process such as gathering raw data, storing it,
processing this data and making information available to the user or
to an organization
Inkjet printers work by firing streams of ink from a cartridge directly
onto paper. The cartridge has tiny holes called nozzles through which
ink can be squirted out. The quality of the printout depends on the
dpi ratio (the dots per inch ratio is a measure of print resolution).
Both inkjet printers and laser printers are capable of printing
highresolution text and graphics (300 dpi or more).
Input the activity of gathering and capturing raw data. For example,
in producing a payroll, the number of hours every employee works
must be collected and captured before the payroll is run
Keyboard It is the primary input devices on the computer. You enter
data into the computer by pressing the keys on the keyboard.
A laptop computer or simply laptop, also called a notebook
computer or sometimes a notebook, is a small personal computer
designed for portability. Usually all of the interface hardware needed
to operate the laptop, such as USB ports (previously parallel and
serial ports), graphics card, sound channel, etc., is built in to a single
unit.
28

29

Machine Languages The language of the CPU (The central processing


unit of the computer, which is the part that does the "thinking"). The
lowest level language. Composed of 0's and 1's
Mainframes (often colloquially referred to as Big Iron) are powerful
computers used mainly by large organizations for critical
applications, typically bulk data processing such as census, industry
and consumer statistics, enterprise resource planning, and financial
transaction processing.
A computers memory is used to store data, instructions and
information. The computers memory stores basically three things:
The operating system and other system software used to operate the
computer; Application programs designed to carry out a specific task
e.g. word processing; and The data being processed by the
application programs.
A mid-range server is more powerful and larger than a workstation
computer. Mid-range servers can often support up to 4000
connected computers at the same time. Users often access a
minicomputer via a terminal.
The computer monitor is the most important output device. Strange
as it may look, a computer can work without a monitor but we
cannot work with a computer without a monitor.
The motherboard / system board is the circuit board to which many
of the electronic components are attached to.
Mouse is an input device used to control the movement of the
pointer. The top of the mouse has one to four buttons, and some
have a wheel on it and the bottom of the mouse is flat and contains a
multi directional mechanism usually a small ball.
Output Involves producing useful information, usually in the form of
documents and reports. For example pay slips, managers reports,
etc.
A personal computer (PC) is any general-purpose computer whose
size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for
individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end
user with no intervening computer operator.
30

Pointing device A device, such as a mouse or trackball that enables


you to select objects on the display screen.

31

32

Printer The function of a printer is to take a soft copy (or electronic


copy) on your computer and transfer it onto paper (a hard copy).
Processing Involves converting or transforming data into useful
output, thus making calculations, comparisons and taking alternative
action and storing data for future use.
Random Access Memory (RAM) When the computer is powered on,
certain operating system files are loaded from storage devices onto
RAM. These files remain in RAM as long as the computer is running.
RAM is volatile, means items stored in RAM are lost when the
computer is turned off. For this reason any item that needed for
future use needs to be saved.
Read Only Memory (ROM) The name given to memory chips that
can store data that can only be read. The data stored on ROM chips
cannot be modified hence the name read only. ROM is non-volatile
i.e. the contents of the computer is not lost when the computer is
turned off. ROM stores information such as the sequence of
instructions the computer follows to load the operating system and
other information when you first turn the computer on.
Scanners allow you to transfer pictures, photographs and text into
your computer. This is an example of going from a hard copy to a soft
copy (or digital image). You can then take that digital image (also
called a bitmap) and use it in a paint program like Paint, print it out
or send it out as a fax. With Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
software you can convert printed documents such as newspaper
articles to text that you can use in your word processor.
Software a program or a set of instructions that control the
functioning of the computer.
Storage Involves the keeping of the output for backup purposes. For
example filing the printed reports, saving the on USB, CDs etc.
A tablet PC is a Notebook or slate-shaped mobile computer, first
introduced by Pen Computing in the early 90s with their Pen Go
Tablet Computer and popularized by Microsoft. Its Touch screen or
graphics tablet/screen hybrid technology allows the user to operate
the computer with a stylus or digital pen, or a fingertip, instead of a
keyboard or mouse.
33

The ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) is a specification for a small form factor


of tablet PCs. It was developed as a joint development exercise by
Microsoft, Intel, and Samsung, among others. Current UMPCs

34

typically feature the Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, or


Linux and operating system.
The user interface (of a computer program) refers to the graphical,
textual and auditory information the program presents to the user,
and the control sequences (such as keystrokes with the computer
keyboard, movements of the computer mouse, and selections with
the touch screen) the user employs to control the program.
Windows You can divide the screen into different areas. In each
window, you can run a different program or display a different file.
You can move windows around the display screen, and change their
shape and size at will
A workstation is a high-end personal computer designed for
technical or scientific applications.
A Zip Disk is a type of portable magnetic media that can store from
100 MB to 750 MB of data. The larger capacity Zip disks hold about
500 times more than a standard floppy disk.

35

TWO | SOFTWARE

Learning Outcomes

1. Explain the uses and different types of widely used software


applications
2. Define and describe a User interface & a GUI
3. Define an operating system & describe its functions
4. List & describe the major operating systems being used today
5. Know the different types of computer languages
6. List software applications and communication software

2.1 COMPUTER SOFTWARE

36

Computer software, or just software, is the collection of computer programs


and related data that provide the instructions telling a computer what to do. The
term was coined to contrast to the old term hardware (meaning physical
devices). In contrast to hardware, software is intangible, meaning it "cannot be
touched". Software is also sometimes used in a more narrow sense, meaning
application software only. Sometimes the term includes data that has not
traditionally been associated with computers, such as film, tapes and records.
Examples of computer software include:

Application software includes end-user applications of computers such as


word processors or Video games, and ERP software for groups of users

Middleware controls and co-ordinates distributed systems


Programming languages define the syntax and semantics of computer
programs. For example, many mature banking applications were written in the
COBOL language, originally invented in 1959. Newer applications are often
written in more modern programming languages

System software includes operating systems, which govern computing


resources. Today large applications running on remote machines such as
Websites are considered to be system software, because the end-user interface
is generally through a Graphical user interface(GUI), such as a web browser

Test ware is software for testing hardware or a software package


Firmware is low-level software often
stored
on
electrically
programmable
memory
devices.
Firmware is given its name because it is
treated like hardware and run ("executed")

LEARNING OUTCOME 1
Is covered in section 2.1 to 2.5

by other software programs


Shrink
ware is the older name given to consumer bought software, because it was often
sold in retail stores in a shrink wrapped box

Device drivers control parts of computers such as disk drives, printers, CD


drives, or computer monitors
Programming tools help conduct computing tasks in any category listed above.
For programmers, these could be tools for debugging, or reverse engineering
older legacy systems in order to check source code compatibility.
2.2 TYPES OF SOFTWARE

37

Practical computer systems divide software systems into three major classes: system software,
programming software and application software, although the distinction is
arbitrary, and often blurred.
2.2.1 System Software
System software helps run the computer hardware and computer system. It
includes a combination of the following:

Device Drivers
Operating Systems
Servers
Utilities

Window Systems

The purpose of systems software is to unburden the applications programmer


from the often complex details of the particular computer being used, including
such accessories as communications devices, printers, device readers, displays
and keyboards, and also to partition the computer's resources such as memory
and processor time in a safe and stable manner. Examples are - Microsoft
Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
2.2.2

Programming Software

Programming software usually provides tools to assist a programmer in writing


computer programs, and software using different programming languages in a
more convenient way. The tools include:

Compilers
Debuggers
Interpreters
Linkers
Text Editors

An Integrated development environment (IDE) is a single application that


attempts to manage all these functions.
2.2.3

Application Software

Application software allows end users to accomplish one or more specific (not
directly computer development related) tasks. Typical applications include:

Industrial Automation

38

Business Software
Video Games
Quantum Chemistry and Solid State Physics Software
Telecommunications (i.e. The Internet And Everything That Flows On It)
Databases
Educational Software
Medical Software
Molecular Modeling Software
Image Editing
Spreadsheets
Simulation software
Word Processing
Decision Making Software

2.3 THE ROLE OF THE OPERATING SYSTEM AND USER INTERFACE


2.3.1 What is an Operating System?
Definition: An Operating System (OS) is software that governs the interaction
between application programs and hardware. The application programs
cannot communicate with the hardware directly and consequently, rely on the
Operating System to communicate with hardware on their behalf. The
Operating System also manages and controls the computers resources such as
the CPU, memory and the hard disk and handles the input and output of data.
It coordinates the operation of all the hardware and software components of
the computer system.
The Operating System is responsible for starting application programs running
and finding the resources that they need. When an application program is
running, the Operating System manages the details of the hardware for it. For
example, when you type characters on the keyboard, the Operating System
determines which application program they are intended for and does the
work of getting them there.
Modern Operating Systems usually come with a user interface that enables
users to interact with the Operating Systems themselves and with application
programs.
You could liken the Operating System of a computer to a shopkeeper who
keeps a shop in order by attending to customers, handling supplier deliveries,
stocking the shelves, doing the book keeping and so on. The Operating System
usually operates behind the scenes, thereby protecting the user from the
39

mundane housekeeping chores. Consequently, the user does not have to know all the complex
low-level tasks that are involved in interacting with hardware. In short, the purpose of the
Operating System is to make it simpler to use a computer.
Computer users need only to know how to perform high-level functions, such as opening and
working with programs, copying and deleting files and so on. However, they need not worry about
low-level functions such as looking up the physical location of the file in the disks file allocation
table (FAT), finding the pointer address of the first block and segment, positioning the read/write
head in the proper location, reading the data to the initial disk cacheWell, I think you get the
point!
All these complex low-level housekeeping chores are transparent to the user, i.e., for the user to
operate a computer he does not need to know that all these functions are taking place in the
background.

Figure 2-1 Relationship between the user, applications, the OS and


hardware

40

2.3.2 Operating Systems


Between the hardware and the application software lays the operating system.
The operating system is a program that conducts the communication between
the various pieces of hardware like the video card, sound card, printer, the
motherboard and the applications.
2.3.3 Functions of Operating System
Today most operating systems perform the following important functions:
1. Processor management, that is, assignment of processor to different tasks
being performed by the computer system.
2. Memory management, that is, allocation of main memory and other storage
areas to the system programmes as well as user programmes and data.
3. Input/output management, that is, co-ordination and assignment of the
different output and input device while one or more programmes are being
executed.
4. File management, that is, the storage of file of various storage devices to
another. It also allows all files to be easily changed and modified through the
use of text editors or some other files manipulation routines.
5. Establishment and enforcement of a priority system. That is, it determines
and maintains the order in which jobs are to be executed in the computer
system.
6. Automatic transition from job to job as directed by special control
statements.
7. Interpretation of commands and instructions.
8. Coordination and assignment of compilers, assemblers, utility programs,
and other software to the various user of the computer system.
9. Facilities easy communication between the computer system and the
computer operator (human). It also establishes data security and integrity.
2.4 ALLOCATING SYSTEM RESOURCES
The operating system directs the traffic inside the computer, deciding what
resource will be used and for how long.

41

Time

Time in the CPU is divided into time slices which are


measured in milliseconds. Each task the CPU does is
assigned a certain number of time slices. When time
expires, another task gets a turn. The first task must wait
until it has another turn. Since time slices are so small, you
usually can't tell that any sharing is going on. Tasks can be
assigned priorities so that high priority (foreground) tasks
get more time slices than low priority (background) tasks.

Memory

Memory must be managed also by the operating system.


All those rotating turns of CPU use leave data waiting
around in buffers. Care must be taken not to lose data!!
One way to help out the traffic jam is to use virtual
memory. This includes disk space as part of main memory.
While it is slower to put data on a hard disk, it increases
the amount of data that can be held in memory at one
time. When the memory chips get full, some of the data is
paged out to the hard disk. This is called swapping.
Windows uses a swap file for this purpose.

Input
output

and Flow control is also part of the operating system's


responsibilities. The operating system must manage all
requests to read data from disks or tape and all writes to
these and to printers.
To speed up the output to printers, most operating
systems now allow for print spooling, where the data to
be printed is first put in a file. This frees up the processor

42

for other work in between the times data is going to the


printer. A printer can only handle so much data at a time.
Without print spooling you'd have to wait for a print job
to finish before you can do anything else. With it you can
request several print jobs and go on working. The print
spool will hold all the orders and process them in turn.
2.5 MONITORING SYSTEM ACTIVITIES
Time

Time in the CPU is divided into time slices which are measured in
milliseconds. Each task the CPU does is assigned a certain number of time
slices. When time expires, another task gets a turn. The first task must wait
until it has another turn. Since time slices are so small, you usually can't tell
that any sharing is going on. Tasks can be assigned priorities so that high
priority (foreground) tasks get more time slices than low priority
(background) tasks.

Memory

Memory must be managed also by the operating system. All those rotating
turns of CPU use leave data waiting around in buffers. Care must be taken
not to lose data!! One way to help out the traffic jam is to use virtual
memory. This includes disk space as part of main memory. While it is slower
to put data on a hard disk, it increases the amount of data that can be held
in memory at one time. When the memory chips get full, some of the data
is paged out to the hard disk. This is called swapping. Windows uses a swap
file for this purpose.

Input
output

and Flow control is also part of the operating system's responsibilities. The
operating system must manage all requests to read data from disks or tape
and all writes to these and to printers.
To speed up the output to printers, most operating systems now allow for
print spooling, where the data to be printed is first put in a file. This frees
up the processor for other work in between the times data is going to the
printer. A printer can only handle so much data at a time. Without print
spooling you'd have to wait for a print job to finish before you can do
anything else. With it you can request several print jobs and go on
working. The print spool will hold all the orders and process them in turn.

43

must set up the permissions list of who can have access to what programs
and what data.
System
performance

A user or administrator can check to see whether the computer or network


is getting overloaded. Changes could be made to the way tasks are allocated
or maybe a shopping trip is in order! System performance would include
response time (how long it takes for the computer to respond when data is
entered) and CPU utilization (comparing the time the CPU is working to the
time it is idle.)

System security

Some system security is part of the operating system, though additional


software can add more security functions. For multiple users who are not
all allowed access to everything, there must be a logon or login procedure
where the user supplies a user ID and a secret password. An administrator

2.6 WHAT IS A USER INTERFACE


In computer science and human-computer interaction, the user interface (of a computer program)
refers to the graphical, textual and auditory information the program presents to the user, and the
control sequences (such as keystrokes with the computer keyboard, movements of the computer
mouse, and selections with the touch screen) the user employs to control the program.
2.6.1 Graphical User Interface
A graphical user interface (GUI) is a type of user interface item that allows people to interact with
programs in more ways than typing such as computers; hand-held devices such as MP3 Players,
Portable Media Players or Gaming devices; household appliances and office equipment with
images rather than text commands. A GUI offers graphical icons, and visual indicators, as opposed
to text-based interfaces, typed command labels or text navigating
A symbol that appears on the display screen and that you move to select objects and commands.
Usually, the pointer appears as a small angled arrow. Text processing applications, however, use
an I-beam pointer that is shaped like a capital.
A device, such as a mouse or trackball that enables you to select objects on the Menus Most
graphical user interfaces let you execute commands by selecting a choice from a menu.

44

2.7 WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SWITCH ON A COMPUTER?

45

themselves up by the bootstraps (bootstraps is an old word for shoestrings).


Once the operating system is up and running, it can be used to start up any
other program.
If for any reason the Operating System cannot be loaded, you will not be able
to use your computer because you cannot communicate with it. Reasons for the
Operating System not being loaded vary from the Operating System being
corrupted by a virus, for example, to the hard disk crashing and so on.
When the computer has booted (loaded the OS) successfully, the Operating
System will then start running silently. Mostly it is managing the user interface,
waiting for some input to tell it what to do.
2.8 THE BOOT PROCESS
When you first turn your computer on, it locates the ROM BIOS chip on your
motherboard. This BIOS chip has a program that was burnt into it at the factory
and it is this program that knows where to look for and how to access, the
different hardware resources, and the Operating System.
The program code on the BIOS chip is loaded into main memory and the
computer sequentially executes the same instructions. It carries out a power on
self-test of several hardware devices such as the video adapter card and other
cards in the expansion slots. It copies their configurations into main memory,
and does a quick memory count.
The program then compares the information it has gathered with the
information stored in the CMOS chips setup program. If there are any
discrepancies, it halts the boot process and informs the user.

Finally the computer has to locate the Operating System. It looks in the floppy
drive first. If there is a disk in drive a, it must have Operating System files on it.
If it does, the Operating System is loaded into main memory. If the disk does
not contain any system files, the computer will halt and display the following
error message:

Non-system disk. Insert boot disk and press any key when
ready.

46

If there is no disk in the floppy drive, the computer checks the hard drive for the
Operating System files and, once found, continued to load the Operating System
into main memory.
2.9 IMPORTANT OPERATING SYSTEM FILES
The program mentioned in the above section, in loading the Operating System,
precisely locates and loads in memory a hidden system file on your boot disk,
called IO.SYS. After IO.SYS has been loaded in memory it also locates another
hidden system file called MSDOS.SYS and loads it as well. MSDOS.SYS in turn
locates a file called Command.com, the command interpreter, and loads it. This
file is the only Operating System file that is not hidden and is always located in
the root directory of your boot disk.
There are two other files worth mentioning, although they are not part of the
Operating System, namely, Config.sys and Autoexec.bat
Config.sys is a user-configurable text file that usually contains device drivers and
system setup values.
Autoexec.bat is another user-configurable text file that is used to set system
environment variables e.g. screen and memory settings. Autoexec.bat is the
right place to put commands that you want to be executed every time the
computer starts up. If these two files are not present the Operating System will
skip them, but as long as they are available, they are run every time your
computer starts up.
2.10 FILE AND DISK MANAGEMENT
2.10.1 What is a File?
A file is collection of characters or bytes or information treated as a single unit.
A file has a name and an extension e.g. sales.xls. Sales are the name of the file
and xls is the extension given by the application program MS Excel. It is the user
who decides on the name of the file and it is the program that gives the
extension to that file the different types of files and the extension determines
the type of file.

47

2.10.2 Types of File

Application or Programme Files


Driver Files
Systems Files
Document or Text Files
Sound Files
Video or Animation Files
Graphic or Image Files

48

Keeping track of what files are where is a major job. If you can't find a file, it
doesn't help to know that it is safe and secure somewhere. So an operating
system comes with basic file management commands. A user needs to be able
to create directories for storing files.
(Dumping everything in one pile soon becomes the needle
-in-the-haystack
story.) A user needs to copy, move, delete, and rename files. This is the category
of operating system functions that the user actually sees the most. A more
technical task is that of disk management. Under some operating systems your
hard disk can be divided up, or
partitioned into several virtual disks . The
operating system treats each virtual disk as though it were a physically separate
disk. Managing several physical and/or virtual disks can get pretty complex,
especially if some of the Disks are set up with different operating systems.
(Some folks are never satisfied with just one of anything!)
2.11

The first allows only one program to run at a time. This means that if you are
working in a spreadsheet and want to write a memo, you must shut down the
spreadsheet application and open up a word processor. This is annoying,
especially if you need to quote some data from the spreadsheet in your memo!
So new operating systems were designed that allowed multiple programs to
run at the same time.
The simplest form is multi-tasking. What this really means is that the programs
are taking turns with the processor. It allows a
single user to have the
spreadsheet and the word processor open at the same time, and even more.
Now the user can see to copy data from one to the other. Much better!!
The computer must decide on how many time slices each program gets. The
active program gets the most. Next is a program that are doing things but which
SINGLE PROGRAM AND MULTITASKING OF OPERATING SYSTEM 49

aren't the foreground program. Last is a program that is open but aren't doing

anything. They need a little bit of time every now and then to see if they are
supposed to do something yet.
The next step up in complexity is multiple users. On a network several users can
be using the same computer or even the same program on that computer. This
is called time-sharing.
If a computer has multiple CPUs, it can do multiprocessing. Rather than a single
CPU giving out turns to various programs, the different CPUs can work
simultaneously. Speed increases immensely. Of course cost does, too!
It is possible for a computer to use more than one operating system through the
use of virtual machines. "Virtual" means it's not really there. But programs
written for different operating systems are fooled into thinking their required
operating system is present.
2.12
COMMON
OPERATING SYSTEMS

LEARNING OUTCOME 4
Is covered in section 2.12 to 2.14

Originally the operating system was created by each company that


manufactured a processor and
motherboard. So each operating system was proprietary, that is, unique to each
manufacturer. Problem: changing to a new computer meant your software had
to be replaced! Not good marketing. So there was pressure early on to
standardize things so that software could be transferred to the new (and of
course better!) computer. This required more standardization in operating
systems.
The winner in the PC market was MS-DOS, Microsoft's Disk Operating System,
and its twin at IBM, PC-DOS, also written by Microsoft. Now it's hard to recall
those days when each computer had its own unique operating system. More on
DOS Commands.
2.13 THE HISTORY OF WINDOWS
When Microsoft Windows was developed, about two decades ago, it was not
really an Operating System; it was more of an operating environment. Windows
would rely on DOS to boot the system and was then launched through a
statement that the user had to include in his Autoexec.bat file, i.e.
C:\Windows\Win.com
Windows came of age in the early 90s with the release of Windows for
Workgroups version 3.11, the first version of Windows to have networking
capability. The author still recalls this version of Windows with fond memories.
50

In December 1995, Microsoft launched a version of Windows that was truly an Operating System
in its own right. It did not need DOS to boot the computer for it, it would
accomplish that own its own. However, DOS still existed within it. This new
Operating System included a fully-fledged Web Browser called Internet Explorer.
Hitherto, Netscape Navigator had been the dominant Web Browser, but by
releasing Windows 95 bundled with Internet Explorer, Microsoft had placed a
fatwa on Netscapes head. Throughout its history, Microsoft has demonstrated
its vision, strong survival instincts, and an uncanny ability to forecast what the
market wants. In line with this philosophical observation, Microsoft has a proven
track record as a super-efficient killer of competitors.
2.14 THE WINDOWS OPERATING SYSTEM
The Windows Operating System boasts a GUI (pronounced gooey) interface. The
user interacts with Windows by clicking on small graphic images on the screen
called icons. With Windows there is no need to carry commands in your head
any more (Contrast DOS)? Most of the icons are designed in such a way that they
are suggestive of their function. The computer icon, for example, is an image
depicting a desktop computer and the My Briefcase icon in an image of a real
brief case. As a result of this, Windows is several times more user-friendly than
DOS. Through Windows, Microsoft has managed to demystify computers. In the
Old days of cryptic Operating Systems like UNIX, computers were solely for
power users like Engineers and Scientists. With Windows computers are truly
for everyone, including the semi-literate.
Windows 95 and Windows 98 are actual operating systems on their own. The
previous versions of Windows use DOS as the operating system and adding a
graphical user interface which will do multitasking. But with Windows 95,
Microsoft released an operating system that can take advantage of the 32-bit
processors.

Windows Me (Windows Millennium Edition) is an upgrade of Windows 98,


release date Sept. 14, 2000. The system resources required for this operating
system are significantly higher than previous versions of Windows.
Windows NT (the NT apparently came from New Technology) is an operating
system for client-server type networks. The latest version of NT has a user
interface that is practically identical to Windows 95. Since Windows NT is
designed for the higher demands of networks, it has higher demands itself for
disk space and memory.
Windows 2000 is an upgrade of Windows NT rather than of Windows 98
51

Windows XP an upgrade to Windows 2000. It comes in two versions - Home and


Professional. The Professional version contains all the features of the Home
version plus more business features, like networking and security features.
Windows CE is for small devices like palmtop and handheld computers. Late
versions of a number of major applications are available to run on these devices.
You can link your small computer to a regular one to synchronize documents
and data.
Windows 7 is the latest public release version of Microsoft Windows, a series of
operating systems produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers,
including home and business desktops, laptops, notebooks, tablet PCs, and
media centre PCs. Windows 7 was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009,
and reached general retail availability on October 22, 2009, less than three years
after the release of its predecessor, Windows Vista. Windows 7's server
counterpart, Windows Server 2008 R2, was released at the same time. Unlike its
predecessor, who introduced a large number of new features, Windows 7 was
intended to be a more focused, incremental upgrade to the Windows line, with
the goal of being fully compatible with applications and hardware with which
Windows Vista is already compatible. Presentations given by Microsoft in 2008
focused on multi-touch support, a redesigned Windows Shell with a new
taskbar, referred to as the Super bar, a home networking system called Home
Group and performance improvements. Some applications that have been
included with prior releases of Microsoft Windows, including Windows
Calendar, Windows Mail, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Photo Gallery,
are not included in Windows 7; most are instead offered separately as part of
the free Windows Live Essentials suite.
2.15 LANGUAGE TYPES
LEARNING OUTCOME 5
Programming has changed a lot since the
Is covered in section 2.15
first computers were created. The original
programs were very simple and straight
forward compared to today's elaborate databases, word processors, schedulers,
and action games.

Different computer languages have been created with which to write these
increasingly complex computer programs. They can be categorized based on
how close to normal speech they are, and thus how far from the computer's
internal language.

52

Machine Languages

The language of the CPU (The central processing


unit of the computer, which is the part that does
the "thinking"). The lowest level language.
Composed of 0's and 1's.

Assembly Languages

Abbreviations for machine language.

High-Level Languages

Use program statements - words and algebra-type


expressions. Developed in the 50's and 60's. After a
program is written in one of the high-level
languages, it must be either compiled or
interpreted.
A compiler program rewrites the program into
machine language that the CPU can understand.
This is done all at once and the program is saved in
this new form. A compiled program is generally
considerably larger than the original.
An interpreter program translates the program
statements into machine language one line at a
time as the program is running. An interpreted
program will be smaller than a compiled one but
will take longer to execute.

4th Generation Languages 4GL. Very high-level languages. These are results
oriented and include database query languages.
There are fewer options for programmers, but the
programs are much easier to write than in lower
level languages. These too must be compiled or
interpreted.
Natural Languages

5th Generation Languages. We don't really have


any programming languages yet that use natural
language. In such a language you would write
statements that look like normal sentences. For
example, instead of odd-looking code you would
write "Who are the salesmen with sales over
$20,000 last month?"

53

2.16 INTRODUCTION TO SOFTWARE APPLICATIONS


Scientists. With Windows computers are truly for everyone, including the semiliterate.
Application software can be used for the following purposes:
(1) As a productivity/business tool
(2) To assist with graphics and multimedia projects
(3) To support household activities for personal business, or
for education
(4) To facilitate communication

LEARNING OUTCOME 6
Is covered in sections 2.16 to 2.18

Graphic
Productivity/Business
Design/Multimedia

Home/
Personal/
Educational

Word
Processing

Computer Aided
Design

Integrated
Software

Spread Sheet

Desktop
Publishing

Personal Finance

Database

Paint/Image
Editing

Legal

Presentation
Graphics

Video and Audio


Editing

Tax Preparation

Personal
Information
Manager
Software Suite
Project
Management
Accounting

Multimedia
Authoring

Desktop
Publishing

Web Page
Authoring

Paint/Image
Editing

Home Design/
Landscaping
Educational/
Reference/
Entertainment

2.16.1 Productivity/Business Software Packages


This software is designed to make people more effective and efficient while performing daily
activities. Table below lists some of the more popular Productivity Software.

54

Software
Application

Popular Packages

Word
Processing

Microsoft Word
Corel Word Perfect
Lotus Word Pro
Microsoft Pocket Word

Spread Sheet

Microsoft Excel
Corel Quattro Pro
Lotus 1-2-3
Microsoft Pocket Excel

Database

Microsoft Access
Corel Paradox
Lotus Approach
Microsoft Visual FoxPro
Oracle

Presentation
Graphics

Microsoft Power-point
Corel Presentations
Lotus Freelance Graphics

Personal
Information
Manager

Microsoft Outlook
Corel CENTRAL
Lotus Organizer
Microsoft Pocket Outlook
Palm Desktop
Palm Multi-Mail

Microsoft Office
Corel WordPerfect Office
Lotus Smart Suite

Project
Management

Microsoft Project
Primavera Sure-Track Project Manager

Accounting

Intuit Quick Books


Peachtree Complete Accounting

Software Suite

55

2.17 GRAPHICS AND MULTIMEDIA EQUIPMENT


In addition to productivity software, many individuals also work with software
designed specifically for their field of work. Power users such as engineers,
architects, desktop publishers, and graphic artists for example use powerful
software that allows them to work with graphics and multimedia.
Here is a list of the popular graphics and multimedia equipment:
Computer Aided Design (CAD) is a sophisticated type of application
software that assists the user in creating engineering architectural and
scientific designs
Desktop Publishing Software allows you to create sophisticated
documents using a combination of text, graphics and brilliant colours;
professional graphic designers use it
Image Editing Software allows you to create images and edit existing
images as well as the one you have created
Video and Audio editing Software allows you to edit segments of audio
and video clips
Multimedia Authoring Software also called auto ware, allows you to
combine text, graphics, audio, video and animation into an interactive
presentation
Web Page Authoring Software helps users of all skill levels create web
pages that include graphical images, video, audio, animation and other special
effects
2.18

SOFTWARE FOR COMMUNICATION

One of the most valuable aspects of software is its capability of supporting


communication. Certain applications are specifically designed to facilitate
communication thus allowing you to share information with others.
The following is a list of some communication software:
Groupware identifies any type of software that helps groups of people on
the network collaborate on projects and share information
E-mail is the transmission of messages via a computer network such as a
local area network or internet
FTP is a method of downloading and uploading the files to the internet.
Web browser allows you to access or view web pages

56

Chat rooms permit users to chat with each other via the computer. Newsgroups also called
a discussion, is an online area on the web where users conduct written discussions about a
particular subject.
Instant messaging (IM) is a real-time communications service that notifies you when one or
more people are online and then allows you to exchange messages or files with them or join a
private chat room.
A videoconference is a meeting between two or more geographically separated people who
use a network on the Internet to transmit audio and video data.

Case Study
In 2000, Crystal Flash decided to revamp its outdated sales practices
that led to customers being called on by more than one salesperson,
creating heavy administrative workloads. A committee consisting of
representatives from sales, marketing and information systems was
formed to determine how to establish a more uniform and efficient
set of sales processes. The group focused on implementing a sales
management software application. After six months of work, they
decided that a custom sales management application would be too
expensive due to the required consulting, hardware, ongoing
maintenance and licensing fees. They spend the next six months
reviewing and evaluating existing sales management software
packages. The solution they chose was Salesnet Sales Force
Automation, a software application that runs on saver hardware
owned and operated by Salesnet, a sales software application
service provider.
The Salesnet Process Builder software module enables sales
organizations to define and build their own sales processes. Crystal
Flash was able to define a set of standard sales processes that will
reinforce effective selling and closing behaviors among all its sales
reps. No longer are Crystal Flashs sales reps spending time
completing unnecessary paperwork. They are able to use the
softwares calendar, scheduling, and contact management features
to support greater teamwork. In addition, use of the software
enables Crystal Flashs managers to access real-time information
about sales team activities and to obtain sales reports, forecasts and
customer information.

57

Sales reps can access the Internet-based application through


desktop PCs, by dialing up through notebook computers or
wirelessly on smaller devices. Because Salesnet is a hosted
application, there is no upfront capital investment in software,
hardware, IT resources, or ongoing maintenance fees. As a result
Crystal Flash saved up to $100,000 over other solutions. (Source:
Principles of Information Systems (2003) by Ralph M Stair and
George W Reynolds).

58

Review Questions

1.
Which problems did Crystal Flash face before they engaged
Salesnet Sales Force Automation software?
2.
What are the benefits of this new system for Crystal Flash?
3.
What is a User Interface? Describe how Crystal Flash would
interface with this new software for effective communication?
4.
Why did Crystal Flash abandon the use of a custom sales
management application software?

59

KEY TERMS USED IN SECTION 2

4th Generation Language 4GL. Very high-level languages. These are


results oriented and include database query languages. There are
fewer options for programmers, but the programs are much easier to
write than in lower level languages. These too must be compiled or
interpreted.
Application software allows end users to accomplish one or more
specific (not directly computer development related) tasks.
Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) Performs the arithmetic comparison and
logical operations.
Cache memory Most of todays computers improve their processing
time by using cache. Cache helps speed the process of the computer
by storing frequently used instructions and data. The rationale is that
the processor is likely to request these items over and over again.
When the processor needs an instruction it first searches cache.
CMOS (Complementary metal oxide semi-conductor) Is used to
store configuration information about the computer e.g. type of disk
drives, keyboard, monitor, etc.
A compiler program rewrites the program into machine language
that the CPU can understand. This is done all at once and the
program is saved in this new form. A compiled program is generally
considerably larger than the original.
Computer Aided Design (CAD) A sophisticated type of application
software that assists the user in creating engineering architectural
and scientific designs
Control Unit Executes the instructions given to the computer, it
coordinates and directs most of the activities in the computer
Desktop Publishing Software Allows you to create sophisticated
documents using a combination of text, graphics and brilliant
colours; professional graphic designers use it

61

E-mail The transmission of messages via a computer network such as


a local area network or internet
A graphical user interface (GUI) is a type of user interface item that
49 allows people to interact with programs in more ways than typing

62

63

such as computers; hand-held devices such as MP3 Players, Portable


Media Players or Gaming devices; household appliances and office
equipment with images rather than text commands. A GUI offers
graphical icons, and visual indicators, as opposed to text-based
interfaces, typed command labels or text navigation to fully
represent the information and actions available to a user. The actions
are usually performed through direct manipulation of the graphical
elements
A hard disk usually consists of several inflexible, circular disks, called
platters, on which items are stored electronically. A platter in a hard
disk is made of aluminum, glass, or ceramic and is coated with a
material that allows items to be magnetically recorded on its surface.
High-Level Languages use program statements - words and
algebratype expressions. Developed in the 50's and 60's. After a
program is written in one of the high-level languages, it must be
either compiled or interpreted.
Icons Small pictures that represent commands, files, or windows. By
moving the pointer to the icon and pressing a mouse button, you can
execute a command or convert the icon into a window. You can also
move the icons around the display screen as if they were real objects
on your desk.
Image Editing Software Allows you to create images and edit existing
images as well as the one you have created
Instant messaging (IM) A real-time communications service that
notifies you when one or more people are online and then allows
you to exchange messages or files with them or join a private chat
room.
An interpreter program translates the program statements into
machine language one line at a time as the program is running. An
interpreted program will be smaller than a compiled one but will take
longer to execute.
Machine Languages The language of the CPU (The central processing
unit of the computer, which is the part that does the "thinking"). The
lowest level language. Composed of 0's and 1's

64

Menus Most graphical user interfaces let you execute commands by


selecting a choice from a menu.

65

66

Multimedia Authoring Software Also called auto ware, allow you to


combine text, graphics, audio, video and animation into an
interactive presentation.
An Operating System (OS) is software that governs the interaction
between application programs and hardware. The application
programs cannot communicate with the hardware directly and
consequently, rely on the Operating System to communicate with
hardware on their behalf. The Operating System also manages and
controls the computers resources such as the CPU, memory and the
hard disk and handles the input and output of data. It coordinates the
operation of all the hardware and software components of the
computer system.
Pipelining In some Computers the CPU executes only one instruction
at a time. The second instructions wait until completion of first
instruction. With Pipelining the CPU begins executing the second
instruction before it completes the first instruction thus results in
faster processing
Pointer A symbol that appears on the display screen and that you
move to select objects and commands. Usually, the pointer appears
as a small angled arrow. Text -processing applications, however, use
an I-beam pointer that is shaped like a capital
Pointing device A device, such as a mouse or trackball that enables
you to select objects on the display screen.
Programming software usually provides tools to assist a programmer
in writing computer programs, and software using different
programming languages in a more convenient way.
System software helps run the computer hardware and computer
system.
Terminal A monitor and keyboard. Such terminals are known as
dumb terminals because they have no processing power they
cannot act as stand alone computers and they need the
minicomputer connected to them at all times.
The user interface (of a computer program) refers to the graphical,
textual and auditory information the program presents to the user,
and the control sequences (such as keystrokes with the computer
67

keyboard, movements of the computer mouse, and selections with


the touch screen) the user employs to control the program.

68

Video and Audio editing Software Allows you to edit segments of


audio and video clips
Web Page Authoring Software Helps users of all skill levels create
web pages that include graphical images, video, audio, animation and
other special effects
Wikipedia for Kids The search box above searches Wikipedia "Simple
Edition" for kids and those learning English.

69

THREE | THE SYSTEM UNIT

Learning Outcomes

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Define a systems unit and identify its components


Describe the use and functions of these components
Describe how a CPU processes data
Differentiate between RAM and ROM; and explain their uses and
characteristics
Explain what a machine language is and its purpose
Define a bit and explain how data is represented in a computer
Explain how different bit patterns are used to represent
characters
Explain the use of the binary, decimal and hexadecimal number
systems

70

3.1 INTRODUCTION TO THE SYSTEM UNIT

A system unit is sometimes called a box or

LEARNING OUTCOME 1
Is covered in sections 3.1 to 3.2

main unit /the main part of a personal


computer. The system unit includes the
chassis, microprocessor, main memory, bus,
and ports, but does not include the keyboard
or monitor, or any peripheral devices. The
system unit which houses electronic
components is a box-like case that is made of
plastic or metal and is designed to protect
the components from damage. On a desktop
computer, the electronic components and
storage devices are inside the unit and the
peripherals are situated on the outside.
However, on a laptop most of the
components are housed inside.
71

3.2 THE COMPONENTS OF A SYSTEM UNIT


3.2.1 The Motherboard
The motherboard / system board is the
circuit board to which many of the
electronic components are attached to. One
LEARNING OUTCOME
Is covered in sections 2.16 to 2.18
of the components attached to the
motherboard is a chip. A chip is a small
piece of semi-conductor on which one or
more integrated circuits (IC) are attached.
An IC is a microscopic pathway that can carry electrical current and may contain
millions of transistors. The motherboard contains different types of chips and
one of the most important chips is the Central Processing unit (CPU).

Control Unit: Executes the instructions given to the computer, it


coordinates and directs most of the activities in the computer
72

3.2.2
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
The CPU interprets and carries out basic
instruction that operates a computer. The
CPU is also called a processor, significantly
impacts on overall computing power and
manages most of the computer operations.
Most of the devices connected to the
computer communicate with the CPU in
order to carry out a task.
3.2.3

LEARNING OUTCOME 3
Is covered in section 3.2.2

Components of the CPU

operations.
Pipelining: In some Computers the CPU executes only o ne instruction at a
time. The second instructions wait until completion of first instruction. With
Pipelining the CPU begins executing the second instruction before it completes
the first instruction thus results in faster processing.

below?

Think Point
Since the dawn of the computing age,
people have wondered if a computer will
ever be capable of thoughts. As
computer processors and software
become more powerful, the questions is
debatable more hotly. Can computers
think? Why or why not? If computers
cannot think right now, might they be
able to think in the future? Why? How
important are common sense and the
ability to think?

73
Arithmetic Logic Unit: Performs the arithmetic comparison and logical

System Clock: The CPU relies in a small chip called the System Clock to
control the timing of all computer operations. Title and number of the
figure

74

3.2.4 Memory
While performing a processing operation, a processor needs a place to temporarily
store instructions to be executed and the data to be used with those instructions.
A computers memory is used to store data, instructions and information. The
computers memory stores basically three things:
The operating system and other system software used to operate the
computer

75

76

Application programs designed to carry out a specific task e.g. word

LEARNING OUTCOME 5, 6, 7, 8
Is covered in sections 3.4 and 3.5

LEARNING OUTCOME 4
Is covered in section 3.3

77

processing
The data being processed by the application programs.

3.3

DIFFERENT TYPES OF MEMORY

Random Access Memory (RAM) - When the computer is powered on, certain operating
system files are loaded from storage devices onto RAM. These files remain in RAM as long as the
computer is running. RAM is volatile, means items stored in RAM are lost when the computer is
turned off. For this reason any item that needed for future use needs to be saved.

Cache Most of todays computers improve their processing time by using cache. Cache
helps speed the process of the computer by storing frequently used instructions and data. The
rationale is that the processor is likely to request these items over and over again. When the
processor needs an instruction it first searches cache.

Read Only Memory (ROM) - is the name given to memory chips that can store data that
can only be read. The data stored on ROM chips cannot be modified hence the name read only.
ROM is non-volatile i.e. the contents of the computer is not lost when the computer is turned off.
ROM stores information such as the sequence of instructions the computer follows to load the
operating system and other information when you first turn the computer on.

Complementary
metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) - is used to store configuration
information about the computer e.g. type of disk drives, keyboard, monitor, etc.

3.4

HOW DATA IS REPRESENTED IN A COMPUTER

To fully understand the way a computer processes data, it is important to understand the way the
data is represented in the computer. Computers are digital i.e. they understand only two discrete
states: on and off. This is because electronic goods only have two states i.e. on and off. These two
states can be represented easily by using two digits 0 for off and 1 for on.
The number system referred to above is called the binary system, because of its two digits 0 and
1. Each on or off digit is called a bit (binary digit) and represents the smallest unit of data a
computer can handle. By itself a bit is not very informative but when 8 bits are grouped together
as a unit they are called a byte. A byte is very informative because it contains enough different
combinations of 0s and 1s to represent 256 individual characters including, numbers, upper and
lower case letters of the alphabet, punctuation and other characters such as the Greek alphabet.

78

3.5

STORAGE DEVICES

3.5.1 What are Bits?


Every computer has electronic devices called transistors inside it. A
transistor is basically an electronic switch that is either on or off. In the
computer world the on is represented by a 1 (one) and the off is
represented by a 0 (zero). If it were possible to peer inside the bowels of a
computer, one would see millions of transistors in different states, some on
and some off. Binary mathematics was chosen to model what takes place in
the bowels of a computer because the electronic devices that make up a
computer are bi-stable (two states). Just as unary stands for one, binary
stands for two.
The 0s and 1s that are used to represent information inside a computer are
called binary digits or bits for short. One bit can represent only two unique
states, i.e., on and off.
A good analogy would be a light bulb. It is either on or off. If you wanted to
use one light bulb in your bedroom to communicate a message to a friend
who lives across the street you would only be able to communicate two facts
i.e.
On means I am in and I am reading and off means I am out.
In the above scenario you would not be able to communicate a third fact like
I am in and I am playing poker. So once your friend sees the light on, he
would assume (wrongly off course) that you are in and you are reading.
Therefore, with only one bit we would not be able to represent the alphabet,
for example, because we have twenty-six uppercase letters and twenty-six
lowercase letters, which give fifty-two unique states.
To avoid confusion in the computer industry, the American National
Standards Institute (ANSI), developed a code to represent keyboard
characters, called the ASCII code. ASCII stands for American Standard Code
for Information Interchange.
For example the letter A is 01000001 in ASCII code. The original ASCII code
used 7 bits to represent characters and one bit for error correction. The bit
used for error correction is called the parity bit.
79

Seven bits gave the original ASCII code


the ability to represent 2 characters
i.e., 128 characters. IBM, however,
later developed another code called
IDEA
the extended ASCII code, which uses all
the 8 bits in a byte to represent
A byte is a group of 8 bits.
characters (no parity bit is employed).
A Kilobyte (KB) is 1024
This extended ASCII code is able to
bytes of information
represent 256 characters, i.e. 2.The 8
(Approx. 1000 bytes).
A Megabyte (MB) is 1024 bits that form one character constitute
a byte. Inside a computer, the word
Kilobytes or 1024 X 1024
bytes (Approx. a million
ACE, for example will be represented
bytes)
as
A Gigabyte (GB) is 1024
follows:
Megabytes or 1024 X 1024
010000010100001101000101

X 1024 bytes (Approx. a


billion bytes).
So the word ACE is made up of 3 bytes
A Terabyte (TB) is 1024
and will obviously occupy 3 bytes of
Gigabytes.

storage space on a secondary storage


device, provided it is typed as pure
text. Secondary
storage devices such as floppy disks and hard disks store information on them
permanently (Contrast RAM). Even if power is switched off data stored on a
secondary storage device will not be erased. It will remain there and can be
accessed days, weeks, months or even years later.
Please do not confuse memory with storage space on a secondary storage
device. Memory refers to the amount of RAM installed in your system,
whereas storage space refers to the capacity of your hard disk or floppy disk,
whichever the case maybe. The capacity of a floppy disk or hard disk is
measured in bytes, kilobytes, megabytes or even gigabytes. But what are
these bytes? Do they bite?

Please Note: 1024 = 210


1024 X 1024 =220
1024 X 1024 X 1024 =240
Do not confuse Kilobyte (KB) with Kilobit (Kb) and Megabyte (MB) with
Megabit (Mb). Speeds over networks and modem speeds for example are
measured in Kilobits per second or Megabits per second (Kbps or Mbps).
80

Data is stored on secondary storage devices in the form of files. A file is a


related set of bytes that has been given a name and is stored on a storage
device such as a floppy disk, a hard disk or CD ROM.

81

82

83

Review Questions

1. What is System Unit? Explain the components of System Unit 2.


What is Central Processing Unit? Explain the components of Central
Processing Unit?
3.
What is Memory? Explain different types of Memory?
4.
Explain how data is represented in a Computer?
5.
Define terms:
a.
Motherboard
b.
Control Unit
c.
Arithmetic Logic Unit
d.
Pipelining
e.
System Clock
f.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
g.
Cache
h.
ROM (Read Only Memory)
i.
CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semi-conductor)
j.
Bit
k.
Byte

84

KEY TERMS USED IN SECTION 3


Application software allows end users to accomplish one or more
specific (not directly computer development related) tasks.
Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) Performs the arithmetic comparison and
logical operations.
Cache memory Most of todays computers improve their processing
time by using cache. Cache helps speed the process of the computer
by storing frequently used instructions and data. The rationale is that
the processor is likely to request these items over and over again.
When the processor needs an instruction it first searches cache.
CMOS (Complementary metal oxide semi-conductor) Is used to
store configuration information about the computer e.g. type of disk
drives, keyboard, monitor, etc.
A compiler program rewrites the program into machine language
that the CPU can understand. This is done all at once and the
program is saved in this new form. A compiled program is generally
considerably larger than the original.
Computer Aided Design (CAD) A sophisticated type of application
software that assists the user in creating engineering architectural
and scientific designs
Control Unit Executes the instructions given to the computer, it
coordinates and directs most of the activities in the computer
Desktop Publishing Software Allows you to create sophisticated
documents using a combination of text, graphics and brilliant
colours; professional graphic designers use it
E-mail The transmission of messages via a computer network such as
a local area network or internet
A graphical user interface (GUI) is a type of user interface item that
allows people to interact with programs in more ways than typing
such as computers; hand-held devices such as MP3 Players, Portable
Media Players or Gaming devices; household appliances and office
equipment with images rather than text commands. A GUI offers 86
graphical icons, and visual indicators, as opposed to text-based

interfaces, typed command labels or text navigation to fully


62
represent the information and actions available to a user. The actions

87

88

are usually performed through direct manipulation of the graphical


elements
A hard disk usually consists of several inflexible, circular disks, called
platters, on which items are stored electronically. A platter in a hard
disk is made of aluminum, glass, or ceramic and is coated with a
material that allows items to be magnetically recorded on its surface.
High-Level Languages use program statements - words and
algebratype expressions. Developed in the 50's and 60's. After a
program is written in one of the high-level languages, it must be
either compiled or interpreted.
Icons Small pictures that represent commands, files, or windows. By
moving the pointer to the icon and pressing a mouse button, you can
execute a command or convert the icon into a window. You can also
move the icons around the display screen as if they were real objects
on your desk.
Image Editing Software Allows you to create images and edit existing
images as well as the one you have created
Instant messaging (IM) A real-time communications service that
notifies you when one or more people are online and then allows
you to exchange messages or files with them or join a private chat
room.
An interpreter program translates the program statements into
machine language one line at a time as the program is running. An
interpreted program will be smaller than a compiled one but will take
longer to execute.
Machine Languages The language of the CPU (The central processing
unit of the computer, which is the part that does the "thinking"). The
lowest level language. Composed of 0's and 1's
Menus Most graphical user interfaces let you execute commands by
selecting a choice from a menu.
Multimedia Authoring Software Also called auto ware, allow you to
combine text, graphics, audio, video and animation into an
interactive presentation.

89

An Operating System (OS) is software that governs the interaction


between application programs and hardware. The application
programs cannot communicate with the hardware directly and

90

consequently, rely on the Operating System to communicate with


hardware on their behalf. The Operating System also manages and
controls the computers resources such as the CPU, memory and the
hard disk and handles the input and output of data. It coordinates the
operation of all the hardware and software components of the
computer system.
Pipelining In some Computers the CPU executes only one instruction
at a time. The second instructions wait until completion of first
instruction. With Pipelining the CPU begins executing the second
instruction before it completes the first instruction thus results in
faster processing
Pointer A symbol that appears on the display screen and that you
move to select objects and commands. Usually, the pointer appears
as a small angled arrow. Text -processing applications, however, use
an I-beam pointer that is shaped like a capital
Pointing device A device, such as a mouse or trackball that enables
you to select objects on the display screen.
Programming software usually provides tools to assist a programmer
in writing computer programs, and software using different
programming languages in a more convenient way.
System software helps run the computer hardware and computer
system.
Terminal A monitor and keyboard. Such terminals are known as
dumb terminals because they have no processing power they
cannot act as stand-alone computers and they need the
minicomputer connected to them at all times.
The user interface (of a computer program) refers to the graphical,
textual and auditory information the program presents to the user,
and the control sequences (such as keystrokes with the computer
keyboard, movements of the computer mouse, and selections with
the touch screen) the user employs to control the program.
Wikipedia for Kids The search box above searches Wikipedia "Simple
Edition" for kids and those learning English.

91

FOUR | INPUT AND OUTPUT

Learning Outcomes

1. List the various types of input and how the computer uses them
2. Define input and output
3. Explain how to use the various function keys of a keyboard and
describe its features
4. Know how a mouse and the various other pointing devices are
used and how they operate
5. Describe the different methods of source data automation
6. List and describe the various types of output devices
7. Describe the various types of printed output
8. Recognize and identify different types of display devices
9. List and explain the differences between impact and non impact
printers

92

4.1 DEFINING INPUT


Input is any data or instructions you enter into the memory of the computer.
Once input is in memory, the CPU can access it and process the input into
output.
There are four types of inputs:
Data is a collection of unorganized facts that can include words, numbers
and pictures. A computer manipulates and processes data into information
Program, is a series of instructions that tells a computer how to perform the
tasks necessary to process data into information
Command, is an instruction given to a computer program. A command is
issued when typing in a keyword or pressing any special keys on the keyboard
User response, is an instruction you give to the computer by replying to the
question posed by the computer program, such as Do you want to save the
changes made?
4.1.1 Input Devices
An input device is any hard ware device that allows you to enter data, programs
or commands, and user responses into the computer. Input devices include
keyboard, pointing devices, scanners, reading devices, and digital cameras,
audio and video input devices.

Keyboard
It is the primary input devices on the
computer. You enter data into the
computer by pressing the keys on the
keyboard.

LEARNING OUTCOME 1, 2, 3 & 4


Is covered in section 4.1 to 4.3

There
are
different
types of keyboards for Personal Computers,
Handheld Computers and Computer appliances.
1) Enhanced Keyboard: This is a normal keyboard for personal computers
having 12 functions keys on the top, 2 ctrl keys, 2 alt keys etc.
2) Cordless Keyboard: This is a battery-powered device that transmits data
using wireless technology
3) Inbuilt Keyboard: This is a like enhanced keyboard but it is built in for
Laptops,
Notebooks etc
93

4) Portable Keyboard: This is a pocket sized portable keyboard, which can


attach and remove from a handheld computer.
Pointing Devices
A pointing device is any input device that allows you to control a pointer on the
screen. In a graphical user interface a pointer is a small symbol on the screen.
Types of pointing devices:
Mouse is an input device used to control the movement of the pointer. The
top of the mouse has one to four buttons, and some have a wheel on it and the
bottom of the mouse is flat and contains a multi directional mechanism usually
a small ball.
As the mouse is moved over a horizontal surface a pointer moves on the
computer screen. In most programs you will use the left mouse button to make
a selection. The right mouse button is used to bring up a context-sensitive
submenu of special commands.
Types of Mice
PS/2 Mouse the PS/2 connector used by this type of mouse is the same as the
PS/2 connector used by the keyboard.
Serial Mouse this type of mouse connects to the System Unit using a DB-9
female connector.
USB Mouse a newer type of mouse connects to the System Unit using a USB
port.
Cordless Mouse another new type of mouse is the cordless type, which has no
cable connecting it to the system unit but uses infrared light to communicate
with the System Unit.

94

Bus Mouse this type of mouse is virtually obsolete. It used to come with its own expansion

95

card and would connect to the motherboard through this expansion card. The rationale behind
the introduction of this mouse was to free up a COM port for use with another serial device,
such as a modem. It became obsolete however because it would waste a whole expansion slot
and it would take up an Interrupt Request-channel (IRQ)
The Microphone
The microphone is another input device. It allows the computer to receive and record sound. The
microphone is necessary for voice recognition software and any type of software that needs to
record sound.
The Scanner
Scanners allow you to transfer pictures, photographs and text into your computer. This is an
example of going from a hard copy to a soft copy (or digital image). You can then take that digital
image (also called a bitmap) and use it in a paint program like Paint, print it out or send it out as a
fax. With Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software you can convert printed documents such
as newspaper articles to text that you can use in your word processor.

Trackball is a stationary pointing


device with
top. To move the pointer using the trackball you

ball mechanism on the

Think Point
rotate the ball mechanism using you thumb, finger or the palm of A biometric face recognition
system

your hand
recognizes the customers face. At

Touch Pad is a small, flat, large sporting events, airports, and rectangular pointing
device that is other public areas, face recognition sensitive to pressure and motion. systems
scan visitors faces and To move the pointer you slide your compare their faces to wanted or
finger across the surface of the pad known criminals.

Pointing

Stick

sensitive pointing device

is

Would you mind constant monitoring pressure

by face recognition systems? Why?

Which types of criminals should face shaped


like
a
pencil eraser. recognition systems be used to locate? Because of its small size the
device Why? How would you react if you was positioned
between
the
were
improperly detained due to a keyboard
keys. To
move the
mistake made by a face
recognition pointer you push the pointing stick
system?

to the direction you want the pointer to move with your finger

Joystick and Wheel used


mostly for games. It is a vertical lever mounted on a base. You move the lever in different directions
to control the action of the vehicle or player

96

Light Pen is a handheld input device that can detect the presence of light. Some light pens

97

require a specially designed monitor

Touch Screen, interaction with the computer is done through touching areas of the screen
with your fingers, which in turn acts as the input device

Stylus, electronic pen is used to input data into the computer. The pen can be used to point
at onscreen objects and write or draw objects and many handheld computer supports handwriting
input through a stylus
The Modem
A modem, sometimes classified as a communication device, is an input as well as an output device.
The word modem is actually a contraction of the words Modulator-Demodulator.
The function of a modem is to connect computers to the Internet. The reason why a modem is
required is that computers use digital signals (1s and 0s) whereas telephone lines use analogue
signals. A modem is therefore required to convert digital signals to analogue signals.
A process called modulation for placement on the telephone wire. Before the signals reach the
computer on the receiving end, they need to be converted from analogue to digital again.
A process called demodulation. Every modem is capable of doing both modulation and
demodulation.
Modem speeds started at 2.4 Kbps (Kilobits per second) and progressed as follows: 4.8 Kbps, then
9.6 Kbps, then 19.2 Kbps, then 33.6 Kbps up to 56 Kbps, which is the fastest analogue modem
speed to date. The Kbps unit is usually abridged to K, so you may hear of a 56 K modem more
often than a 56 Kbps modem. In the old days the unit of measurement of modem speed was the
baud rate, so 2.4 Kbps was referred to as 2400 baud.
The Digital Camera
Digital cameras allow you to take digital photographs. The images are stored in the memory of the
camera and can be later downloaded into the computer. Some cameras can also capture sound
and video.
Scanners and Reading Devices
Some devices make the input process more efficient by eliminating the manual entry of data.
Instead of the person entering the data using a keyboard or pointing device, these devices capture
data from the source document, which is the original form of the document.
Types of Scanners and Reading devices:

98

Optical Scanner, simply called a scanner, is a light sensitive input device that reads printed

99

text and graphics and then transmits the results into a form the computer can understand.

Optical Character recognition is technology that involves reading typewritten, computer


printed or handwritten characters from ordinary documents and translating them into a form that
the computer can understand.

Optical mark recognition (OMR) devices read hand- drawn marks such as small circles or
rectangles.

Bar Code Scanner uses laser beams to read barcodes. A bar code is a set of vertical lines
and spaces of different widths.

Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) reader is used to read text printed with
magnetized ink. MICR is exclusively used in the banking industry for check processing.

4.2

OUTPUT DEVICES

An output device is a device that is used to get data out of the computer system to the outside
world (the human world).
The Monitor
The computer monitor is the most important output device. Strange as it may look, a computer
can work without a monitor but we cannot work with a computer without a monitor.
100

Audio and Video Input


Audio Input is the process of entering music, speech or sound effects. To
record high quality personal sound your computer must have a soundcard.
Sound is entered via a device such as a microphone, tape player, or audio CD
player which plugs into the port of your computer.
Video Input is the process of entering a full motion recording into a
computer and storing the video onto a hard disk or some other medium. To
capture the video you must plug a video camera into a video capture card which
is an expansion card that converts analogue signal into digital signal so that the
computer can understand.

Input Devices for Handheld Computers


The primary input data method on most is the stylus. A handheld computer
typically includes a basic stylus. With the stylus you can enter data in two ways:
use an on screen keyboard or use hand writing recognition software.
Another way of input to handheld computer is you can attach a full sized
keyboard to your handheld computer (Portable keyboard)
Another way is you can type on the desktop and you can transfer the data
to the handheld computer
4.3 DEFINITION OF OUTPUT
Output is data that has been processed into a useful form called information.
You may choose to view this information on a monitor, print it on a printer, or
listen to it through speakers or headsets. There are four common types of
outputs:
Text consists of characters that are used to create words, sentences or
paragraphs
Graphics are digital representations of non-text information such as
drawings, charts and photographs. Graphics can also be animated, giving them
the illusion of motion
Audio is music speech or any other sound
Video consists of images that are played back at speeds that provide the
appearance of full motion

101

4.4

DISPLAY DEVICES

LEARNING OUTCOME 6 & 7


are covered in section 4.4

102

Display device is an output device that visually conveys text, graphics and video information.
Information shown on a display device is called soft copy, because the information exists
electronically and is displayed for a temporary period only. Display devices include:
CRT Monitors: Cathode Ray Tube monitors (CRT) are popular for desktop computers.
Flat Panel Display Devices: Flat-panel Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) models are used mostly for
portable computers but are also starting to be used with desktop computers. They are expensive
but take up less desk space, give out no radiation and do not flicker. Laptops, Notebooks, Handheld
Computers, eBooks, Mobile Phones comes under LCD models
High Definition Television

The monitor receives signals from a video display adapter card inside the computer and it gives the
user a graphical or textual display. A complete display system consists of a video display adapter
and a monitor. A video display adapter (also called video card) is an expansion card that provides
a data pathway from the motherboard to the monitor.
A computer monitor looks somewhat like a TV screen and displays images composed of dots called
pixels or picture elements. The numbers of dots that make up an image, determine the sharpness
and clarity or resolution of the image. For example, a resolution of 800 pixels x 600 pixels will give
a sharper and clearer picture than a resolution of 640 pixels x 480 pixels.
Whereas
Cathode
Ray
Tube monitors (CRT) are popular for desktop
computers, flat-panel Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) models are used mostly for portable
computers but are also starting to be used with desktop computers.
They are expensive but take up less desk space, give out no radiation and do not flicker. Monitors
can be monochrome or colour, though colour is almost universal these days except in palm-size
computers.
When choosing a monitor, you want a high-resolution, Non-Interlaced monitor (NI). The so-called
NI monitor does not flicker when it refreshes or redraws the image on the screen. The most
common monitor size is 14 (measured diagonally). However, if you can afford it, a 15 or better
still a 17, is recommended.

103

4.5 VIDEO ADAPTER CARDS

In the old days PC Monitors were basically monochrome in nature, i.e.


capable of producing only one colour. Subsequent to the monochrome
monitor a video adapter card called a
Colour Graphics Adapter ( CGA)
introduced colour to the personal computer. It coul d achieve resolutions of
320 x 200 and had a palette of 16 colours. With the introduction of the
Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA) by IBM, monitors were able to achieve a
resolution of 650 x 350 pixels and could display 16 colours from a palette of
64.
For some time in the computer industry, colours were produced digitally by
the use of three electron guns,
one red, one green and one blue
(RGB). These monitors were
driven by 8 bit adapter cards and
could produce a total of 16
Think Point
Digital billboards often display public
colors. Shortly after this, IBM
service advertisements, amber alerts
came up with the idea
of
or other valuable informations.
developing an analogue display
Are digital billboards any more of a
system that could produce 64
distraction than other driving
different levels of intensity. This
distractions? Should the government
new Video Graphics Array
regulate digital billboards? What type
(VGA) adapter was capable of a
of regulations, if any, should
resolution of 640 x 480 pixels
governments apply to digital
and could display up to 256
billboards and which level of
colours from a palette of 26
government should regulate them?
000.This
technology
soon
Have you seen a digital billboard, and
if so, do you feel that the billboard
became the de facto standard
was a distraction?
for almost every video adapter
card and monitor being
developed.
The Super Video Graphical Array (SVGA) standard later succeeded the VGA
standard. More features and enhancements were added to the VGA 104
technology.

105

Suggested
Resolution

Standard
Monochrome
Adapter (MDA)

Maximum
Possible Colors

Display

Video Graphics
Array (VGA)
Extended Graphics Array
(XGA)
Super Video
Array (SVGA)

Graphics

Beyond SVGA

SVGA could achieve resolutions of 800 x 600 with 256 colours or 1024 x 768 with 16 colours.
However, with further enhancements, SVGA cards are now capable of resolutions of up to 1280 x
1024 with a palette of over sixteen million colours.

106

IBM also developed another video


technology
called extended
Graphics Array (XGA) that could
LEARNING OUTCOME 9
perform better than both VGA and
Is covered in section 4.6
SVGA.
However,
this
video technology was
proprietary i.e. it could only work on
one
manufacturers computer architecture, i.e. IBMs, and this limited its survival
and growth.
4.6

THE PRINTER

Another very important output device is the printer. The function of a printer
is to take a soft copy (or electronic copy) on your computer and transfer it
onto paper (a hard copy).

Without a printer you would be able to type your curriculum vitae (CV) on the
computer, for example, but you wouldnt be able to carry it to show a
prospective employer. Imagine! There are three main types of printers i.e. dot
matrix, inkjet and laser.

Dot matrix printers are impact printers and they work much like the typewriter.
They produce characters on paper by impacting an inked ribbon with a matrix
of tiny pins in their print heads. When a particular pin in the print head receives
a voltage it juts out and hits the inked ribbon, which in turn comes in contact
with paper. When the voltage from the same pin mentioned above is switched
off, the pin retracts and another pin is given voltage and the process goes on
and on. Depending on the character being written on paper, different sets of
pins will receive voltage and others will not. Transistors on the printer main
board control the pins. Dot matrix printers are becoming less popular, while
inkjet and laser printers are becoming more popular even for home users. Dot
matrix printers are relatively cheaper to purchase and operate, but they make
a lot of noise, produce documents of low quality, cannot print colour and are
extremely slow.
Inkjet printers work by firing streams of ink from a cartridge directly onto paper.
The cartridge has tiny holes called nozzles through which ink can be squirted
out. The quality of the printout depends on the dpi ratio (the dots per inch ratio
is a measure of print resolution). Both inkjet printers and laser printers are
capable of printing high-resolution text and graphics (300 dpi or more).The
main advantages of inkjet printers are:
107

They make very little noise and are therefore suitable for an office
environment
They are relatively cheaper than laser printers
The most popular laser printer manufacturer is Hewlett Packard.
Laser Printer: The main advantages of a laser printer are:
They produce a very high print quality
They can print colour of high quality (although colour laser printers are still
very Pricey)
They are very quiet in their operation
They print with a very high printing speed
On the other hand however, laser printers have the following notable
disadvantages:
They are very expensive to purchase
They are also expensive to operate
A printer is an output device that produces text and graphics on a physical
medium such as paper or transparency film. Printed information is called
hardcopy because the information exists physically and is a more permanent
form of output than that presented on a display device. There are basically two
types of printers:
Impact Printers form characters and graphics on a piece of paper by striking a
mechanism against an ink ribbon that physically contacts the paper. Because of
the striking activity, impacts printers are generally are noisy. There are two
types of impact printers i.e. Dot Matrix and Line Printers.

Non-impact Printers forms characters and graphics on a piece of paper without


actually striking the printer. Some spray ink, while others use heat and pressure
to create images. Because these printers do not strike the paper they are
generally quieter then the impact printers. The three commonly used nonimpact printers are Ink-jet, Photo Printers, laser, thermal printers, Portable
Printer, Label and Postage Printers and Wireless Printers.
4.6.1

Viewing the Progress of Printing

If you have sent a number of documents to be printed, you may wish to review
their progress. You can do this from the desktop Print Manager. There are two
ways to do this:
108

Open the printers window (start- printers and faxes) and select the printer that you are
currently using and open it. A window appears which shows you the progress of
the various print jobs you have sent to this printer

When you start to print, a printer icon opens in the Taskbar at the bottom
right of your screen (next to the clock in the most cases). The icon remains on the
Taskbar as long as there are files being printed. When printing is complete, it
disappears
4.6.2 Pausing, Restarting, or Deleting a Print Job
From the Print Manager screen, you can also pause or purge printing. This can be
useful if, for example, you have a long print queue and suddenly have something
urgent to print, or if the printer jams and you need to stop printing. To do this,
either click the printer menu or right click a specific file. In either case, select what
you want to do.
4.6.3 Installing a Printer
If youre new printer is plugged and play, then if you plug it into the correct port
and turn it on, windows automatically defects it and installs it. The different types
of printer port are outside the scope of this book, but the documentation with
your printer should make clear which port to use- the plug and sockets are
different for each kind of port. If you do not have a plug and play printer, you can
use Add Printer Wizard. Choose start printer and faxes-window has the option
Add a printer at the top. If you using the Classic view, you see an Add new printer
icon.
In either case, click the option to open the Add Printer Wizard and follow the
instructions. You will be asked for the manufacturer and model of printer. You
may also be asked to insert the installation disk that came with your printer. You
may also ask if you want to share the printer with other networks users, and you
will be given the option to print a test page.

4.6.4 Changing the Default Printer


Your system always has a default printer, but you can change this by taking the
following steps:

Choose start- printers and faxes. The printers and faxes window will open.
Which printers are listed depends on how your system and network has been set
up.
109

Select the printer that you want to make the default. (Perhaps you have
changed your printer, installed another, or want to run a series of jobs on a
printer that is currently not the
default.)
Choose File- Set as default printer
LEARNING OUTCOME 8
or right click the printer icon and
Is covered in section 4.7
select Set as a default printer from
the menu that displays. If there is a
tick alongside this, then this printer is already the default printer.
Close the printers window. The next time you print from an application,
your new default printer will be highlighted.
4.7

AUDIO OUTPUT

Audio is music, speech or any other, sound. Audio Output Devices are the
components of the computer that produces music, speech or any other sounds
such as beeps.
Most personal computers only have small internal speakers that output only low
quality sound. For this reason, many personal computer users add higher quality
stereo speakers to their computers.

110

111

Review Questions

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

What is input? Explain the types of input.


What is input device? What are the kinds of input devices?
What is keyboard? Describe the different types of keyboards.
What are the various types of pointing devices? Explain.
What is output? Define the common types of output?
What is the display device? Explain with examples.
What is a printer? What are the types of printers? Explain.
Define the terms:
a.
Data
b.
Program
c.
Command
d.
User response
e.
Keyboard
f.
Enhanced keyboard
g.
Portable keyboard
h.
Cordless keyboard
i.
Inbuilt keyboard
j.
Trackball
k.
Touch pad
l.
Pointing stick
m.
Joystick and wheel
n.
Light pen
o.
Touch screen
p.
Stylus
q.
Microphone
r.
Modem
s.
Digital camera
t.
Impact printer

112

KEY TERMS USED IN SECTION 4


Application software allows end users to accomplish one or more
specific (not directly computer development related) tasks.
Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) Performs the arithmetic comparison and
logical operations.
Cache memory Most of todays computers improve their processing
time by using cache. Cache helps speed the process of the computer
by storing frequently used instructions and data. The rationale is that
the processor is likely to request these items over and over again.
When the processor needs an instruction it first searches cache.
CMOS (Complementary metal oxide semi-conductor) Is used to
store configuration information about the computer e.g. type of disk
drives, keyboard, monitor, etc.
A compiler program rewrites the program into machine language
that the CPU can understand. This is done all at once and the
program is saved in this new form. A compiled program is generally
considerably larger than the original.
Computer Aided Design (CAD) A sophisticated type of application
software that assists the user in creating engineering architectural
and scientific designs
Control Unit Executes the instructions given to the computer, it
coordinates and directs most of the activities in the computer
Desktop Publishing Software Allows you to create sophisticated
documents using a combination of text, graphics and brilliant
colours; professional graphic designers use it
E-mail The transmission of messages via a computer network such as
a local area network or internet
A graphical user interface (GUI) is a type of user interface item that
allows people to interact with programs in more ways than typing
such as computers; hand-held devices such as MP3 Players, Portable
114
Media Players or Gaming devices; household appliances and office
equipment with images rather than text commands. A GUI offers

graphical icons, and visual indicators, as opposed to text-based


interfaces, typed command labels or text navigation to fully
79
represent the information and actions available to a user. The actions

115

116

are usually performed through direct manipulation of the graphical


elements
A hard disk usually consists of several inflexible, circular disks, called
platters, on which items are stored electronically. A platter in a hard
disk is made of aluminum, glass, or ceramic and is coated with a
material that allows items to be magnetically recorded on its surface.
High-Level Languages use program statements - words and
algebratype expressions. Developed in the 50's and 60's. After a
program is written in one of the high-level languages, it must be
either compiled or interpreted.
Icons Small pictures that represent commands, files, or windows. By
moving the pointer to the icon and pressing a mouse button, you can
execute a command or convert the icon into a window. You can also
move the icons around the display screen as if they were real objects
on your desk.
Image Editing Software Allows you to create images and edit existing
images as well as the one you have created
Instant messaging (IM) A real-time communications service that
notifies you when one or more people are online and then allows
you to exchange messages or files with them or join a private chat
room.
An interpreter program translates the program statements into
machine language one line at a time as the program is running. An
interpreted program will be smaller than a compiled one but will take
longer to execute.
Machine Languages The language of the CPU (The central processing
unit of the computer, which is the part that does the "thinking"). The
lowest level language. Composed of 0's and 1's
Menus Most graphical user interfaces let you execute commands by
selecting a choice from a menu.
Multimedia Authoring Software Also called auto ware, allow you to
combine text, graphics, audio, video and animation into an
interactive presentation.
117

An Operating System (OS) is software that governs the interaction


between application programs and hardware. The application
programs cannot communicate with the hardware directly and

118

consequently, rely on the Operating System to communicate with


hardware on their behalf. The Operating System also manages and
controls the computers resources such as the CPU, memory and the
hard disk and handles the input and output of data. It coordinates the
operation of all the hardware and software components of the
computer system.
Pipelining In some Computers the CPU executes only one instruction
at a time. The second instructions wait until completion of first
instruction. With Pipelining the CPU begins executing the second
instruction before it completes the first instruction thus results in
faster processing
Pointer A symbol that appears on the display screen and that you
move to select objects and commands. Usually, the pointer appears
as a small angled arrow. Text -processing applications, however, use
an I-beam pointer that is shaped like a capital
Pointing device A device, such as a mouse or trackball that enables
you to select objects on the display screen.
Programming software usually provides tools to assist a programmer
in writing computer programs, and software using different
programming languages in a more convenient way.
System software helps run the computer hardware and computer
system.
Terminal A monitor and keyboard. Such terminals are known as
dumb terminals because they have no processing power they
cannot act as stand-alone computers and they need the
minicomputer connected to them at all times.
The user interface (of a computer program) refers to the graphical,
textual and auditory information the program presents to the user,
and the control sequences (such as keystrokes with the computer
keyboard, movements of the computer mouse, and selections with
the touch screen) the user employs to control the program.
Wikipedia for Kids The search box above searches Wikipedia "Simple
Edition" for kids and those learning English.

119

FIVE | STORAGE

120

Learning Outcomes

1. Define storage
2. Identify the major storage devices
3. Describe how special purpose storage devices such as smart cards
are used.

5.1 INTRODUCTION TO DATA STORAGE


Storage refers to the media on which data, instructions and information are
kept as well as the devices that record and retrieve these items. This section
explains various storage media and storage devices. Following completion of
this chapter you will have an understanding of all four operations in the

Storage also called secondary storage


or auxiliary or mass storage holds
LEARNING OUTCOME 1, 2 &3
items such as data, instructions and
Is covered in section 5.1
information for future use. Storage is
non-volatile, which means that items
in storage are retained even when
power is removed from the computer. A
storage medium is the physical
material on which items are kept. One commonly used storage medium is a
disk, which is a round, flat piec e of metal or plastic with a magnetic coating on
which items can be written. A storage device is the mechanism used to record

5.1.1

Floppy Disk

For some time in the computer world, floppy disks were the best w
ay of
transporting data from one computer to another. However, this has changed as
the threat of computer viruses being transported along with the data, has

Floppy disks come in two different sizes 5 1/4 inch (almost obsolete) and 31/2
inch. The 51/4 inch disk is quite flexible (like afloppy hat), hence the name floppy
121
disk. The 31/2 inch disk is a bit more rigid than its 51/4 inch counterpart and some

information processing cycle: input, processing,


output and storage.
with caution.

and retrieve items to and from a storage


medium.

become significant.
people have resorted to calling it a Stiffy disk.
However this term is nonstandard and is not
used in well-respected international text books,
so use it

5.1.2

Zip Disk Storage


The following table summarizes floppy disks
sizes and capacities:

5.1.3

Hard Disk Storage


122

Disk Size & Density

Capacity

Equivalent 8.5 X 11
Printed Pages

5.25 DSDD

360 KB

180

5.25 DSHD

1.2 MB

600

3.5 DSDD

720 KB

360

3.5 DSHD

1.44 MB

720

CD

700 MB

A small library

DVD
4.5 GB
A feature length movie
DSDD stands for Double Sided Double Density
DSHD stands for Double Sided High Density

At the moment, the 3.5 DSHD 1.44 MB floppy disk has been adopted as a de
facto industry standard. If you were to buy a PC today, most likely it will come
with this floppy disk drive size and capacity.

A Zip Disk is a type of portable magnetic media that can store from 100 MB to
750 MB of data. The larger capacity Zip disks hold about 500 times more than a
standard floppy disk.

When personal computers were first introduced, software programs and their
related files required relatively small amounts of storage space which could easily fit onto a floppy
disk. As software became more advanced and included graphical user interfaces and multimedia,
file sizes and storage requirements increased. Todays hard disks- provide far larger storage
capacities and much faster access times then any floppy disk. A hard disk usually consists of several
inflexible, circular disks, called platters, on which items are stored electronically. A platter in a hard
disk is made of aluminum, glass, or ceramic and is coated with a material that allows items to be
magnetically recorded on its surface. On hard disks the platters, the read/write heads and the
mechanism for moving the head across the surface of the disk are enclosed in an airtight container
to prevent it from contamination. The hard disk in most desktop computers is housed inside the
systems unit. Such hard disks, which are not portable, are considered fixed disks. Nowadays hard
disks are also removable.

123

5.1.4 The Hard Disk Drive (HDD)

A hard disk drive (usually called hard disk) is a high-capacity, high-speed,


magnetic storage device that is housed inside the system unit of your
computer.
A typical hard disk can be accessed in about 10 milliseconds, whereas a floppy
disk can take several seconds to be accessed. Of course a hard disk is much
slower than main memory, which has a typical access time of 60 nsec. A hard
disk is much slower than main memory because whereas the operation of
main memory involves electronic processes, a hard disks operation involves
mechanical motion.
Hard disks store the majority of information on todays modern computer. All
other storage devices play an ancillary role.
5.1.5

Compact Disk Storage

A Compact Disk (CD) is a flat round portable metal storage medium that is
usually 4.75 inches in diameter and less than one-twentieth of an inch thick.
Compact disks store items such as data instructions, and information by using
microscopic pits and land that are in the middle layer of the disc. A high powered laser light creates the pits.
The compact discs operate by reflecting light through the bottom of the discs,
which is either solid gold or silver in color. The reflected light is converted into
a series of bits that the computer can process. Land causes the light to reflect,
which is read as binary digit 1. Pit absorbs the light; this absence of light is
read as binary digit 0.
Think Point
At an ever increasing rate, companies
and individuals store Web sites and
data in the cloud.
Should data kept in the cloud be
treated the same way as items that
are kept in ones home? Why? Should
the government be able to access your
data in the cloud without your
knowledge or permission? Why or
why not? What types and amount of
personal data are you comfortable
storing in cloud? Why?

A Compact Disc stores items in a single track that


spirals from the center of the disc to the edge of
the disc. As with a hard disc, this single track is
divided into evenly sized sectors in which items
124

are stored. A CD ROM is used to read the


information from a CD.
Although CD ROMs have huge storage capacities,
but nowadays even a CD is not large enough for
many of todays software. To meet these
tremendous storage requirements some
software moved from the CD to the DVD.
A capacity compact disc is capable of storing from
4.7GB to 17GB. Not only is the capacity of a DVD
greater than a CD but the quality of the DVD surpasses that of a CD. In order to
read a DVD you need a DVD ROM drive.

Although the majority of data, instructions, information are stored on floppy


disks, hard disks, compact disks and PC cards, other more specialized means for
storing these items are also used. These include smart cards, micro-films and
microfiche. Each of these media is discussed below.

A smart card which is similar in size to a credit card, stores data on a thin
microprocessor embedded in the card.

Microfilm or Microfiche are used to store microscopic images of documents on


roll or sheet film. The images are recorded onto the film using a device called
computer output microfilm (COM) recorder. The stored images are so small,
microfilm or microfiche reader can only read them.

125

126

Review Questions

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

What is Data Storage?


What are the devices for Data Storage? Explain
Differentiate between Storage and Memory
What is a floppy? How do you take care about floppies?
Explain how data is stored on a floppy disk?
Explain how data is stored on compact disks?
Define terms:
a. Storage
b. Storage Medium
c. Floppy
d. Zip Disk Storage
e. Hard Disk
f. Compact Disk (CD)
g. Digital Versatile Disk (DVD)
h. Smart Cards
i. Microfilm

127

KEY TERMS USED IN SECTION 5


Application software allows end users to accomplish one or more
specific (not directly computer development related) tasks.
Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) Performs the arithmetic comparison and
logical operations.
Cache memory Most of todays computers improve their processing
time by using cache. Cache helps speed the process of the computer
by storing frequently used instructions and data. The rationale is that
the processor is likely to request these items over and over again.
When the processor needs an instruction it first searches cache.
CMOS (Complementary metal oxide semi-conductor) Is used to
store configuration information about the computer e.g. type of disk
drives, keyboard, monitor, etc.
A compiler program rewrites the program into machine language
that the CPU can understand. This is done all at once and the
program is saved in this new form. A compiled program is generally
considerably larger than the original.
Computer Aided Design (CAD) A sophisticated type of application
software that assists the user in creating engineering architectural
and scientific designs
Control Unit Executes the instructions given to the computer, it
coordinates and directs most of the activities in the computer
Desktop Publishing Software Allows you to create sophisticated
documents using a combination of text, graphics and brilliant
colours; professional graphic designers use it
E-mail The transmission of messages via a computer network such as
a local area network or internet
A graphical user interface (GUI) is a type of user interface item that
allows people to interact with programs in more ways than typing
such as computers; hand-held devices such as MP3 Players, Portable
129
Media Players or Gaming devices; household appliances and office
equipment with images rather than text commands. A GUI offers

graphical icons, and visual indicators, as opposed to text-based


interfaces, typed command labels or text navigation to fully
87
represent the information and actions available to a user. The actions

130

131

are usually performed through direct manipulation of the graphical


elements
A hard disk usually consists of several inflexible, circular disks, called
platters, on which items are stored electronically. A platter in a hard
disk is made of aluminum, glass, or ceramic and is coated with a
material that allows items to be magnetically recorded on its surface.
High-Level Languages use program statements - words and
algebratype expressions. Developed in the 50's and 60's. After a
program is written in one of the high-level languages, it must be
either compiled or interpreted.
Icons Small pictures that represent commands, files, or windows. By
moving the pointer to the icon and pressing a mouse button, you can
execute a command or convert the icon into a window. You can also
move the icons around the display screen as if they were real objects
on your desk.
Image Editing Software Allows you to create images and edit existing
images as well as the one you have created
Instant messaging (IM) A real-time communications service that
notifies you when one or more people are online and then allows
you to exchange messages or files with them or join a private chat
room.
An interpreter program translates the program statements into
machine language one line at a time as the program is running. An
interpreted program will be smaller than a compiled one but will take
longer to execute.
Machine Languages The language of the CPU (The central processing
unit of the computer, which is the part that does the "thinking"). The
lowest level language. Composed of 0's and 1's
Menus Most graphical user interfaces let you execute commands by
selecting a choice from a menu.
Multimedia Authoring Software Also called auto ware, allow you to
combine text, graphics, audio, video and animation into an
interactive presentation.
132

An Operating System (OS) is software that governs the interaction


between application programs and hardware. The application
programs cannot communicate with the hardware directly and

133

consequently, rely on the Operating System to communicate with


hardware on their behalf. The Operating System also manages and
controls the computers resources such as the CPU, memory and the
hard disk and handles the input and output of data. It coordinates the
operation of all the hardware and software components of the
computer system.
Pipelining In some Computers the CPU executes only one instruction
at a time. The second instructions wait until completion of first
instruction. With Pipelining the CPU begins executing the second
instruction before it completes the first instruction thus results in
faster processing
Pointer A symbol that appears on the display screen and that you
move to select objects and commands. Usually, the pointer appears
as a small angled arrow. Text -processing applications, however, use
an I-beam pointer that is shaped like a capital
Pointing device A device, such as a mouse or trackball that enables
you to select objects on the display screen.
Programming software usually provides tools to assist a programmer
in writing computer programs, and software using different
programming languages in a more convenient way.
System software helps run the computer hardware and computer
system.
Terminal A monitor and keyboard. Such terminals are known as
dumb terminals because they have no processing power they
cannot act as stand-alone computers and they need the
minicomputer connected to them at all times.
The user interface (of a computer program) refers to the graphical,
textual and auditory information the program presents to the user,
and the control sequences (such as keystrokes with the computer
keyboard, movements of the computer mouse, and selections with
the touch screen) the user employs to control the program.
Wikipedia for Kids The search box above searches Wikipedia "Simple
Edition" for kids and those learning English.

134

SIX | ADDENDUM: CASE STUDY FOR


DISCUSSION

135

CASE STUDY FOR DISCUSSION

You work as an intern in the Information Technology department for the


Star Journal, a local newspaper. The newspapers board of directors
recently approved a budget for redesigning the interior of its century-old
building as part of an inner-city rehabilitation project. Your manager has
been asked to recommend the type of transmission media (hardwire or
wireless) to use for the newspapers local area network. He has asked you
to submit a feature/benefit report that summarizes the advantages of
wired versus wireless transmission for the building.

Which transmission media would have a greater startup cost?


Which transmission media do you think is most secure?
Do the walls in the building present a problem for a wireless
network?
Does a wireless network present any health hazards?

Be prepared to discuss your findings in a class. (Source: Shelly, Cashman


and Vermaat, 2012).

136