Published on February 16, 2014
COMPUTING AND COMMUNICATION RESOURCES April Dawn L. Rico
OUTPUT DEVICES Most familiar output devices: Monitor Printer Although there has been much attention to the concept of a “paperless office”
The images on a computer screen are greatly affected by Screen resolutions. Screen Resolutions refers to the number of Pixels; individual dots of lights on the monitor that are presented. Today screen resolutions of 1600x1200 and greater are common. That means there are 1,600 dots on each of 1,200 lines on the screen. The high resolution of computer screens allows the practical use of icons; symbols that represents an action to be performed by the computer so that the graphical use interface (GUI) “gooey” has become the dominant interface.
The monitor sizes are measured along the diagonal of the screen. Monitors with 17-19 inch diagonals are common with most current popular computers. A 17 inch monitor displays over 70% more information than a 13 inch monitor.
PRINTERS The key characteristics of printer change are: 1. Resolution for printing 2. The speed of printing 3. Color Common printers today use either laser or ink jet technologies. LASER PRINTERS: are essentially copier machines. INK-JET PRINTERS: spray ink onto the surface of the paper.
ADVANTAGES OF INK-JET PRINTERS They are mechanically small and generally lower on cost than laser printers. They can produce color output at a relatively low cost. Inexpensive ink-jet printers produce about 15 black and white pages per minute. Color printing is about half the speed of black and white printing.
LASER PRINTERS Color laser printers have speeds of about 20 pages per minute while models that print only black and white copies may print 50 pages per minute.
There are significant differences in the speed and resolution of printing among printer models. COST is the main factor.
MULTIMEDIA The main evolution of input and output devices is in the direction of multimedia, or the use of more than a single medium at a time. A significant portion of today’s computer users would be denied access to computer-based information systems if multimedia were not available. Children and marginally literate adults need the multimedia capabilities of computers in order to effectively use the resource. Sounds, such as voice communications for instructions and user input, and video images are important for computer interaction with these groups of computer users.
PERSONAL COMPUTING DEVICES Personal computing has long been associated with microcomputers. Microcomputers were initially called personal computers. Microcomputers were not networked together when they first appeared; every microcomputer user used the resource only for his or her personal computing. Now individual users of a microcomputer can share files, printers, and other resources when connected by a network.
Today, personal computing is being reassociated with devices that are more personal to the user. Handheld PC’s, pocket PC’s, table PC’s, personal digital assistants, and cell phone’s with interactive messaging capabilities are the new tools of personal computing.
TABLETS, HANDHELD AND POCKET PCS These personal computing devices are rapidly coming together as a single product. Almost all use a version of Microsoft word, processing, presentation and spreadsheet software. internet browser software, calendars, e-mail, and other software also come with these devices. These devices allow users great flexibility for personal productivity. The key feature of these products is MOBILITY. Notebook computers (LAPTOP) are mobile but they are still bulky.
PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANTS Personal digital assistants generally called PDA’s are devices that perform some computing but mainly personal organizational tasks. Calendars, contact lists and notes are features most people associate with then PDAs.
BRANDS PALM (www.palm.com) and HANDSPRING (www.handspring.com) are the two most popular vendors of PDAs with palm being the most frequently sold brand. The devices include viewers for word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation files. The PDAs do not allow users to create or modify such documents, only to view the documents. Another PDA, the BLACKBERRY. Gained its popularity by being one of the first PDAs to effectively utilize seamless communications roaming across the US, Europe and Asia.
CELL PHONES WITH INTERACTIVE MESSAGING The distinction between cell phones and PDAs is becoming blurred. Popular cell phone manufacturers (Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson, etc) build an ability into their phones to display text messages and small images on their display screen. The phones keypad becomes the input device, although some users find scrolling through the values on the phones keypad to be tedious. Its keypad and display screen act as input and output devices.
SOFTWARE Two basic types of Software: a. System – required to use the computer. b . Application – processes the user’s data. Application can be obtained in a prewritten form or produced in a custom fashion for a particular user.
SYSTEM SOFTWARE Performs certain fundamental tasks that all users of a particular computer require. These are tasks that relate to the hardware and not to the applications that the firm performs. It is impossible to use a modem computer without using some of its system software. System software is usually prepared by the manufacturers of the hardware or by a firm that specializes in producing software.
THE OPERATING SYSTEM (O.S.) Manages the computers processes, functioning as an interface connecting the user, the application software and the hardware. Examples of OS for microcomputers are Windows XP and MAC OS. OS for smaller computer typically run on more than one manufacturers processor. The OS for a large mainframe computer, such as IBM’s OS/390, is proprietary and not shared with other computer manufacturers. UNIX is an unusual OS in that version run on both microcomputers and mainframes.
UTILITY PROGRAM A utility program, often simply called a utility, is an operating system routine that enables the user to perform certain basic data processing operations that are not unique to a particular user’s applications. Utilities enables users to copy files, erase files, sort the contents of files, merge two or more files together, and prepare (format) storage media for use. Other utilities allow the computer operations manager to recover lost or corrupted files, example is the deleted video scandals recorded on computers. Monitor the performance of the system and even control the flow of data between users and computers.
APPLICATION SOFTWARE When the first computer were developed there were no programming languages. Programmers would load several zeros and ones into the memory of the computer to control its operation. This was extremely time consuming. Translators, programming languages that translate the programmers instruction to zeros and ones used by the computer, were developed to provide a more friendly way to instruct the computer.
COBOL, C and C++, JAVA, and VISUAL BASIC are a few examples of programming languages. FOURTH GENERATION LANGUAGE (4GL) : Is one that expresses what is to be done by the computer without explicitly defining how the tasks will take place. 4GL software has made the power of computing resources much more accessible to managers.
PREWRITTEN APPLICATION SOFTWARE Prewritten Application Software, sometimes called off-the-shelf software. Is produced by suppliers and sold to users. Users can utilize software developed by experienced programmers without either hiring the programmers or learning how to program themselves.
TWO VERY IMPORTANT BENEFIT OF PREWRITTEN APPLICATION SOFTWARE 1. It is available now. The business does not have to wait three weeks or six months for programmers to develop it. 2. Prewritten Software is less expensive than custom software.
CUSTOM APPLICATION SOFTWARE There are occasions when a business organization has operations that are unique. In these cases, the business might have its own programmers or a consulting group of programmers write the application software to meet its needs. Such software is called custom application software.
THE ROLE OF USER FRIENDLY SOFTWARE Computer software that is simple and intuitive to use is frequently said to be user friendly. User Friendly means that the application has been carefully engineered so that the varied talents and skills of a wide range of users can be accommodated. It is far more difficult to make software “user friendly” than to make it “programmer friendly”.
USER FRIENDLY CHARACTERISTICS 1. Guided dialogue to direct the user concerning what data is needed, the data format and similar issues. 2. Menus, step-down lists of commands and icons: these multiple ways to accomplish the same task provide guidance to novice users while at the same time allowing more proficient users to take shortcuts to task achievement. 3. Templates and fill-out forms. 4. Context sensitive help. 5. Graphical interface application is written, a standardization of the use of icons, their location on the interface, and their meaning must exist among a wide variety of applications.
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