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Introduction to computers pdf

  1. 1. Introductionto ComputersChapter One
  2. 2. ObjectivesObjectivesAfter completing this chapter, you will be able to:1 Explain why computer literacy is vital to success in today’s world2 Define the term, computer, and describe the relationship between dataand information3 Describe the five components of a computer: input devices, output devices,system unit, storage devices, and communications devices4 Discuss the advantages and disadvantages that users experience whenworking with computers5 Define the term, network, and identify benefits of sharing resources ona network6 Discuss the uses of the Internet and World Wide Web7 Distinguish between system software and application software8 Differentiate among types, sizes, and functions of computers in each ofthese categories: personal computers (desktop), mobile computers andmobile devices, game consoles, servers, mainframes, supercomputers, andembedded computers9 Describe the role of each element in an information system10 Explain how home users, small office/home office users, mobile users,power users, and enterprise users each interact with computers11 Discuss how society uses computers in education, finance, government,health care, science, publishing, travel, and manufacturing
  3. 3. 4 Chapter 1 Introduction to ComputersA World of ComputersComputers are everywhere: at work, at school,and at home. As shown in Figure 1-1, peopleuse all types and sizes of computers for a vari-ety of reasons and in a range of places. Whilesome computers sit on top of a desk or on thefloor, mobile computers and mobile devicesare small enough to carry. Mobile devices, suchas many cell phones, often are classified ascomputers.Computers are a primary means of local andglobal communication for billions of people.Consumers use computers to correspond withbusinesses, employees with other employees andcustomers, students with classmates and teachers,and family members and military personnel withfriends and other family members. In additionto sending simple notes, people use computersto share photos, drawings, documents, calendars,journals, music, and videos.Through computers, society has instantaccess to information from around the globe.Local and national news, weather reports, sportsscores, airline schedules, telephone directories,maps and directions, job listings, credit reports,and countless forms of educational materialalways are accessible. From the computer, youcan make a telephone call, meet new friends,share opinions or life stories, book flights,shop, fill prescriptions, file taxes, take a course,receive alerts, and automate your home.At home or while on the road, people usecomputers to manage schedules and contacts,listen to voice mail messages, balance checkbooks,pay bills, transfer funds, and buy or sell stocks.Banks place ATMs (automated teller machines)all over the world, so that customers can depositFigure 1-1 People use all types and sizes ofcomputers in their daily activities.
  4. 4. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 5and withdraw funds anywhere at anytime. Atthe grocery store, a computer tracks purchases,calculates the amount of money due, and oftengenerates coupons customized to buying patterns.Vehicles include onboard navigation systems thatprovide directions, call for emergency services,and track the vehicle if it is stolen.In the workplace, employees use computersto create correspondence such as e-mail messages,memos, and letters; manage calendars; calculatepayroll; track inventory; and generate invoices.At school, teachers use computers to assist withclassroom instruction. Students complete assign-ments and conduct research on computers in labrooms, at home, or elsewhere. Instead of attend-ing class on campus, some students take entireclasses directly from their computer.People also spend hours of leisure time usinga computer. They play games, listen to music orradio broadcasts, watch or compose videos andmovies, read books and magazines, share stories,research genealogy, retouch photos, and planvacations.As technology continues to advance, computershave become a part of everyday life. Thus, manypeople believe that computer literacy is vital tosuccess in today’s world. Computer literacy,also known as digital literacy, involves having acurrent knowledge and understanding of comput-ers and their uses. Because the requirements thatdetermine computer literacy change as technologychanges, you must keep up with these changes toremain computer literate.This book presents the knowledge you need tobe computer literate today. As you read this firstchapter, keep in mind it is an overview. Many ofthe terms and concepts introduced in this chapterwill be discussed in more depth later in the book.
  5. 5. 6 Chapter 1 Introduction to ComputersPROCESSES• Computes each item’s total price by multiplying thequantity ordered by the item price (i.e., 2 * 1.49 = 2.98).• Organizes data.• Sums all item total prices to determine order total duefrom customer (13.12).• Calculates change due to customer by subtracting theorder total from amount received (20.00 - 13.12 = 6.88).INFORMATIONDATAArrow Deli10 Park StreetMaple River, DE 20393(734) 555-2939QTY ITEM TOTAL21113Medium SodasSmall Turkey SubCaesar SaladBag of ChipsCookies2.983.494.490.991.17Total DueAmount ReceivedChange13.1220.006.88Thank You!What Is a Computer?A computer is an electronic device, operatingunder the control of instructions stored in itsown memory, that can accept data, processthe data according to specified rules, produceresults, and store the results for future use.Data and InformationComputers process data into information.Data is a collection of unprocessed items,which can include text, numbers, images, audio,and video. Information conveys meaning andis useful to people.Many daily activities either involve the use ofor depend on information from a computer. Asshown in Figure 1-2, for example, computersprocess several data items to print informationin the form of a cash register receipt.Figure 1-2 A computer processes data into information. In thissimplified example, the item ordered, item price, quantity ordered, andamount received all represent data. The computer processes the data toproduce the cash register receipt (information).Information Processing CycleComputers process data (input) intoinformation (output). Computers carry outprocesses using instructions, which are the stepsthat tell the computer how to perform a par-ticular task. A collection of related instructionsorganized for a common purpose is referred toas software. A computer often holds data, infor-mation, and instructions in storage for futureuse. Some people refer to the series of input,process, output, and storage activities as theinformation processing cycle.Most computers today communicate withother computers. As a result, communicationsalso has become an essential element of theinformation processing cycle.The Componentsof a ComputerA computer contains many electric, electronic,and mechanical components known as hardware.These components include input devices, outputdevices, a system unit, storage devices, and com-munications devices. Figure 1-3 shows somecommon computer hardware components.Input DevicesAn input device is any hardware componentthat allows you to enter data and instructionsinto a computer. Five widely used input devicesare the keyboard, mouse, microphone, scanner,and Web cam (Figure 1-3).A computer keyboard contains keys you pressto enter data into the computer. For securitypurposes, some keyboards include a fingerprintreader, which allows you to work with the com-puter only if your fingerprint is recognized.A mouse is a small handheld device. With themouse, you control movement of a small symbolon the screen, called the pointer, and you makeselections from the screen.A microphone allows you to speak into thecomputer. A scanner converts printed mate-rial (such as text and pictures) into a form thecomputer can use.A Web cam is a digital video camera thatallows you to create movies or take picturesand store them on the computer instead of ontape or film.
  6. 6. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 7printer(output device)scanner(input device)USB flash drive(storage device)modem(communications device)memory cards(storage device)card reader/writer(storage device)speakers(output device)monitor(output device)screenmicrophone(input device)mouse(input device)system unit(processor, memory,and storage devices)Web cam(input device)optical disc drive(storage device)hard disk drive(storage device)external hard disk(storage device)keyboard(input device)Output DevicesAn output device is any hardwarecomponent that conveys information to oneor more people. Three commonly used outputdevices are a printer, a monitor, and speakers(Figure 1-3).A printer produces text and graphics on aphysical medium such as paper. A monitordisplays text, graphics, and videos on a screen.Speakers allow you to hear music, voice, andother audio (sounds).System UnitThe system unit is a case that containsthe electronic components of the computerthat are used to process data (Figure 1-3).The circuitry of the system unit usually is partof or is connected to a circuit board called themotherboard.Two main components on the motherboardare the processor and memory. The processor,also called a CPU (central processing unit), isthe electronic component that interprets andcarries out the basic instructions that operatethe computer. Memory consists of electroniccomponents that store instructions waiting tobe executed and data needed by those instruc-tions. Although some forms of memory arepermanent, most memory keeps data andinstructions temporarily, which means itscontents are erased when the computer isshut off.Figure 1-3 Common computer hardware components include a keyboard, mouse, microphone, scanner, Web cam, printer, monitor,speakers, system unit, hard disk drive, external hard disk, optical disc drive(s), USB flash drive, card reader/writer, memory cards, andmodem.
  7. 7. 8 Chapter 1 Introduction to ComputersStorage DevicesStorage holds data, instructions, andinformation for future use. For example, com-puters can store hundreds or millions of cus-tomer names and addresses. Storage holds theseitems permanently.A computer keeps data, instructions, and infor-mation on storage media. Examples of storagemedia are USB flash drives, hard disks, opticaldiscs, and memory cards. A storage device records(writes) and/or retrieves (reads) items to and fromstorage media. Drives and readers/writers, whichare types of storage devices (Figure 1-3 on theprevious page), accept a specific kind of storagemedia. For example, a DVD drive (storage device)accepts a DVD (storage media). Storage devicesoften function as a source of input because theytransfer items from storage to memory.A USB flash drive is a portable storagedevice that is small and lightweight enough tobe transported on a keychain or in a pocket(Figure 1-3). The average USB flash drive canhold about 4 billion characters. You plug a USBflash drive in a special, easily accessible openingon the computer.A hard disk provides much greater storagecapacity than a USB flash drive. The averagehard disk can hold more than 320 billion char-acters. Hard disks are enclosed in an airtight,sealed case. Although some are portable, mostare housed inside the system unit (Figure 1-4).Portable hard disks are either external orremovable. An external hard disk is a separate,freestanding unit, whereas you insert andremove a removable hard disk from the com-puter or a device connected to the computer.An optical disc is a flat, round, portablemetal disc with a plastic coating. CDs, DVDs,and Blu-ray Discs are three types of opticaldiscs. A CD can hold from 650 million to1 billion characters. Some DVDs can storetwo full-length movies or 17 billion characters(Figure 1-5). Blu-ray Discs can store about46 hours of standard video, or 100 billioncharacters.Some mobile devices, such as digital cameras,use memory cards as the storage media. You canuse a card reader/writer (Figure 1-3) to transferthe stored items, such as digital photos, fromthe memory card to a computer or printer.Communications DevicesA communications device is a hardwarecomponent that enables a computer to send(transmit) and receive data, instructions, andinformation to and from one or more comput-ers or mobile devices. A widely used communi-cations device is a modem (Figure 1-3).Communications occur over cables, telephonelines, cellular radio networks, satellites, andother transmission media. Some transmissionmedia, such as satellites and cellular radio net-works, are wireless, which means they have nophysical lines or wires.Figure 1-5 A DVD in a DVD drive.Figure 1-4 Hard disks areself-contained devices. Thehard disk shown here must beinstalled in the system unit beforeit can be used.
  8. 8. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 9Advantages and Disadvantagesof Using ComputersSociety has reaped many benefits from usingcomputers. A user is anyone who communi-cates with a computer or utilizes the informa-tion it generates. Both business and home userscan make well-informed decisions becausethey have instant access to information fromanywhere in the world. Students, another typeof user, have more tools to assist them in thelearning process.Advantages of Using ComputersBenefits from using computers are possiblebecause computers have the advantages ofspeed, reliability, consistency, storage, andcommunications.• Speed: When data, instructions, andinformation flow along electronic circuitsin a computer, they travel at incredibly fastspeeds. Many computers process billionsor trillions of operations in a single second.Processing involves computing (e.g., adding,subtracting), sorting (e.g., alphabetizing),organizing, displaying images, recording audio,playing music, and showing a movie or video.• Reliability: The electronic components inmodern computers are dependable andreliable because they rarely break or fail.• Consistency: Given the same input andprocesses, a computer will produce the sameresults — consistently. A computing phrase —known as garbage in, garbage out — pointsout that the accuracy of a computer’s outputdepends on the accuracy of the input. Forexample, if you do not use the flash on a digitalcamera when indoors, the resulting picturesthat are displayed on the computer screen maybe unusable because they are too dark.• Storage: A computer can transfer data quicklyfrom storage to memory, process it, and thenstore it again for future use. Many computersstore enormous amounts of data and makethis data available for processing anytime it isneeded.• Communications: Most computers today cancommunicate with other computers, oftenwirelessly. Computers with this capability canshare any of the four information processingcycle operations — input, process, output, andstorage — with another computer or a user.Disadvantages of Using ComputersSome disadvantages of computers relate tohealth risks, the violation of privacy, publicsafety, the impact on the labor force, and theimpact on the environment.• Health Risks: Prolonged or improper computeruse can lead to injuries or disorders of the hands,wrists, elbows, eyes, neck, and back. Computerusers can protect themselves from these healthrisks through proper workplace design, goodposture while at the computer, and appropriatelyspaced work breaks. Two behavioral healthrisks are computer addiction and technologyoverload. Computer addiction occurs whensomeone becomes obsessed with using acomputer. Individuals suffering from technologyoverload feel distressed when deprived ofcomputers and mobile devices. Once recognized,both computer addiction and technologyoverload are treatable disorders. Read Ethics &Issues 1-1 for a related discussion.ETHICS & ISSUES 1-1Most people enjoy the benefits that technologybrings to their lives, such as increased productivity.A growing problem, however, is observed amongthose suffering the effects of technology overload.People overloaded with technology often feeluncomfortable or nervous when they cannot usethe Internet or a cell phone for even a short lengthof time. Some mental health experts believe thattechnology overload is a health problem that can betreated just as other compulsions are treated. Whilesome disagreement exists over the specific defini-tion, the general consensus is that a person has aproblem with technology overload when the overuseof technology negatively impacts health, personallife, and professional life. For some, technologyoverload often leads to less time spent with familyand has proven to be as potent a cause for divorceas gambling or substance abuse. Experts suggestbalancing the use of technology in one’s life and lis-tening to others if they suggest that the overuse oftechnology is causing personal problems.What steps can people or society take to cope withtechnology overload? How might one determine if heor she suffers from technology overload? How cantechnology companies help to alleviate the problemof technology overload? Should those identified astechnology addicts be able to receive health insurancebenefits for counseling services? Why or why not?How Can People Best Cope withTechnology Overload?Ethics & IssuesFor the complete text ofthe Ethics & Issues boxesfound in this chapter, visitthe Computer ConceptsCourseMate Web site atwww.cengagebrain.comand then navigate to theChapter 1 Ethics & Issuesresource for this book.
  9. 9. 10 Chapter 1 Introduction to Computers• Violation of Privacy: Nearly every life eventis stored in a computer somewhere . . . inmedical records, credit reports, tax records,etc. In many instances, where personal andconfidential records were not protectedproperly, individuals have found theirprivacy violated and identities stolen.• Public Safety: Adults, teens, and childrenaround the world are using computersto share publicly their photos, videos,journals, music, and other personalinformation. Some of these unsuspecting,innocent computer users have fallenvictim to crimes committed by dangerousstrangers. Protect yourself and yourdependents from these criminals bybeing cautious in e-mail messages andon Web sites. For example, do not shareinformation that would allow others toidentify or locate you and do not discloseidentification numbers, passwords, or otherpersonal security details.• Impact on Labor Force: Although computershave improved productivity in many waysand created an entire industry with hun-dreds of thousands of new jobs, the skills ofmillions of employees have been replacedby computers. Thus, it is crucial thatworkers keep their education up-to-date. Aseparate impact on the labor force is thatsome companies are outsourcing jobs toforeign countries instead of keeping theirhomeland labor force employed.• Impact on Environment: Computermanufacturing processes and computerwaste are depleting natural resourcesand polluting the environment. Whencomputers are discarded in landfills, theycan release toxic materials and potentiallydangerous levels of lead, mercury, and flameretardants.Green computing involves reducing theelectricity consumed and environmentalwaste generated when using a computer.Strategies that support green computinginclude recycling, regulating manufacturingprocesses, extending the life of computers,and immediately donating or properlydisposing of replaced computers. When youpurchase a new computer, some retailersoffer to dispose of your old computerproperly.Networks and the InternetA network is a collection of computers anddevices connected together, often wirelessly,via communications devices and transmissionmedia. When a computer connects to a network,it is online.Networks allow computers to share resources,such as hardware, software, data, and informa-tion. Sharing resources saves time and money.In many networks, one or more computersact as a server. The server controls access tothe resources on a network. The other com-puters on the network, each called a client orworkstation, request resources from the server(Figure 1-6). The major differences between theserver and client computers are that the serverordinarily has more power, more storage space,and expanded communications capabilities.Many homes and most businesses andschools network their computers and devices.Most allow users to connect their computerswirelessly to the network. Home networksusually are small, existing within a singleInstructions: Find the true statement below.Then, rewrite the remaining false statementsso that they are true.1. A computer is a motorized device thatprocesses output into input.2. A storage device records (reads) and/orretrieves (writes) items to and fromstorage media.3. An output device is any hardwarecomponent that allows you to enter dataand instructions into a computer.4. Computer literacy involves having acurrent knowledge and understanding ofcomputers and their uses.5. Computers have the disadvantages of fastspeeds, high failure rates, producing con-sistent results, storing small amounts ofdata, and communicating with others.6. Three commonly used input devices are aprinter, a monitor, and speakers.Quiz Yourself Online: To further check yourknowledge of pages 4 through 10, visit theComputer Concepts CourseMate Web siteat, navigate to theChapter 1 Quiz Yourself resource for thisbook, and then click Objectives 1 – 4.QUIZ YOURSELF 1-1Green ComputingFor more information, visit theComputer Concepts CourseMateWeb site at,navigate to the Chapter 1 WebLink resource for this book, andthen click Green Computing.
  10. 10. structure. Business and school networkscan be small, such as in a room orbuilding, or widespread, connectingcomputers and devices across a city,country, or the globe. The world’slargest computer network is the Internet.Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 11Figure 1-6 A server manages theresources on a network, and clientsaccess the resources on the server.This network enables three separatecomputers to share the same printer,one wirelessly.clientclientserverprinterFigure 1-7 The Internet is the largest computer network, connecting millions of computers and devices around the world.The InternetThe Internet is a worldwidecollection of networks that connectsmillions of businesses, governmentagencies, educational institutions, andindividuals (Figure 1-7).
  11. 11. More than one billion people around theworld use the Internet daily for a variety ofreasons, some of which are listed below andshown in Figure 1-8:• Communicate with and meet otherpeople• Conduct research and access a wealth ofinformation and news• Shop for goods and services• Bank and invest• Participate in online training• Engage in entertaining activities, suchas planning vacations, playing onlinegames, listening to music, watchingor editing videos, and reading booksand magazines• Download music and videos• Share information, photos, and videos• Access and interact with Web applicationsPeople connect to the Internet to shareinformation with others around the world.E-mail allows you to send and receive mes-sages to and from other users (read Ethics& Issues 1-2 for a related discussion). Withinstant messaging, you can have a live conver-sation with another connected user. In a chatroom, you can communicate with multipleusers at the same time — much like a groupdiscussion. You also can use the Internet tomake a telephone call.Businesses, called access providers, offerusers and organizations access to the Internetfree or for a fee. By subscribing to an accessprovider, you can use your computer and acommunications device, such as a modem,to connect to the many services of theInternet.The Web, short for World Wide Web,is one of the more popular services on theInternet. Think of the Web as a global libraryof information available to anyone connectedThe InternetFor more information,visit the Computer ConceptsCourseMate Web site,navigate to the Chapter 1Web Link resource for this book,and then click The Internet.Figure 1-8 Home and business users access the Internetfor a variety of reasons.12 Chapter 1 Introduction to Computerscommunicateresearch and access informationshopbank and invest
  12. 12. online training entertainmentETHICS & ISSUES 1-2Using e-mail and other techniques on the Internet, scam artists are employing atechnique known as phishing to try to steal your personal information, such as creditcard numbers, banking information, and passwords. For example, an e-mail messagemay appear to be a request from your bank to verify your Social Security number andonline banking password. Instead, the information you submit ends up in the handsof the scammer, who then uses the information for a variety of unethical and illegalacts. Sadly, the result often is identity theft. You can help to deter identity theft inseveral ways: 1) shred your financial documents before discarding them, 2) do notclick links in unsolicited e-mail messages, and 3) enroll in a credit monitoring service.Consumer advocates often blame credit card companies and credit bureaus for laxsecurity standards. Meanwhile, the companies blame consumers for being too gullibleand forthcoming with private information. Both sides blame the government for poorprivacy laws and light punishments for identity thieves. But while the arguments goon, law enforcement agencies bear the brunt of the problem by spending hundreds ofmillions of dollars responding to complaints and finding and processing the criminals.Who should be responsible for protecting the public from online identity theft? Why?Should laws be changed to stop it, or should consumers change behavior? What isan appropriate punishment for identity thieves? Given the international nature of theInternet, how should foreign identity thieves be handled? Why?What Should Be Done about Identity Theft?to the Internet. The Web contains billionsof documents called Web pages. A Webpage can contain text, graphics, animation,audio, and video. The nine screens shownin Figure 1-8 are examples of Web pages.Web pages often have built-in connections,or links, to other documents, graphics,other Web pages, or Web sites. A Web siteis a collection of related Web pages. SomeWeb sites allow users to access music andvideos that can be downloaded, or trans-ferred to storage media in a computer orportable media player. Once downloaded,you can listen to the music through speak-ers, headphones, or earbuds, or view thevideos on a display device.Many people use the Web as a meansto share personal information, photos, andvideos with the world. For example, you cancreate a Web page and then make it available,or publish it, on the Internet for others to videosWeb applicationshare informationIntroduction to Computers Chapter 1 13
  13. 13. 14 Chapter 1 Introduction to ComputersYou also can join millions of peopleworldwide in an online community, called asocial networking Web site or an online socialnetwork, that encourages members to sharetheir interests, ideas, stories, photos, music, andvideos with other registered users (Figure 1-9).Some social networking Web sites are collegeoriented, some business oriented, and others aremore focused. A photo sharing community, forexample, is a specific type of social networkingWeb site that allows users to create an onlinephoto album and store and share their digitalphotos. Similarly, a video sharing community isa type of social networking Web site that allowsusers to store and share their personal videos.Hundreds of thousands of people today alsouse blogs to publish their thoughts on the Web.A blog is an informal Web site consisting of time-stamped articles in a diary or journal format,usually listed in reverse chronological order. Asothers read the articles in a blog, they reply withtheir own thoughts. A blog that contains videoclips is called a video blog. A microblog, such asTwitter, allows users to publish short messages,usually between 100 and 200 characters, forothers to read. To learn more about creatingand using blogs, complete the Learn How To2 activity on pages 50 and 51.Podcasts are a popular way people verballyshare information on the Web. A podcast isrecorded audio stored on a Web site that can bedownloaded to a computer or a portable mediaplayer such as an iPod. A video podcast is apodcast that contains video and usually audio.At a convenient time and location, the userlistens to or watches the downloaded podcast.A Web application is a Web site that allowsusers to access and interact with software fromany computer or device that is connected to theInternet. Examples of software available as Webapplications include those that allow you tosend and receive e-mail messages, prepare yourtaxes, organize digital photos, create documents,and play games.Web sites such as social networking Web sites,blogs, and Web applications are categorized asWeb 2.0 sites. The term Web 2.0 refers to Websites that provide a means for users to sharepersonal information (such as social networkingWeb sites), allow users to modify the Web sitecontents (such as some blogs), and/or have soft-ware built into the site for users to access (such asWeb applications).FacebookFor more information, visitthe Computer ConceptsCourseMate Web site,navigate to the Chapter 1Web Link resource forthis book, and then clickFacebook.What U.S. Web sites are visitedmost frequently?A recent survey found that Google’s Web siteis visited most frequently, with Microsoft andYahoo! not far behind. The chart below showsthe five most frequently visited Web sites, aswell as the approximate number of uniquevisitors per month.Source: ClickZFor more information, visit the ComputerConcepts CourseMate Web site, navigate to theChapter 1 FAQ resource for this book, andthen click Top Web Sites.FAQ 1-1Source: ClickZTop U.S. Web SitesNumberofUniqueMonthlyVisitors20,000,00040,000,00060,000,00080,000,000100,000,000120,000,000140,000,000160,000,000GoogleMicrosoftYahoo!AOLNewsCorp.Online0An FAQ (frequently asked question) helps youfind answers to commonly asked questions.Web sites often post an FAQ section, andeach chapter in this book includes FAQ boxesrelated to topics in the text.Figure 1-9 Facebook is a popular social networking Web site.
  14. 14. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 15Computer SoftwareSoftware, also called a program, consists of aseries of related instructions, organized for acommon purpose, that tells the computer whattasks to perform and how to perform them.You interact with a program through its userinterface. The user interface controls how youenter data and instructions and how informationis displayed on the screen. Software today oftenhas a graphical user interface. With a graphicaluser interface (GUI pronounced gooey), youinteract with the software using text, graphics,and visual images such as icons. An icon is aminiature image that represents a program, aninstruction, or some other object. You can usethe mouse to select icons that perform operationssuch as starting a program.The two categories of software are systemsoftware and application software. Figure 1-10shows an example of each of these categories ofsoftware, which are explained in the followingsections.System SoftwareSystem software consists of the programsthat control or maintain the operations of thecomputer and its devices. System software servesas the interface between the user, the applica-tion software, and the computer’s hardware.Two types of system software are the operatingsystem and utility programs.Operating System An operating system isa set of programs that coordinates all theactivities among computer hardware devices.It provides a means for users to communicatewith the computer and other software. Many oftoday’s computers use Microsoft’s Windows, thelatest version of which is shown in Figure 1-10,or Mac OS, Apple’s operating system.When a user starts a computer, portions ofthe operating system are copied into memoryfrom the computer’s hard disk. These parts ofthe operating system remain in memory whilethe computer is on.Figure 1-10 Today’s system software and application software usually have a graphical user interface.WindowsFor more information, visitthe Computer ConceptsCourseMate Web site,navigate to the Chapter 1Web Link resource forthis book, and then clickWindows.applicationsoftwaresystem softwareicons
  15. 15. 16 Chapter 1 Introduction to ComputersUtility Program A utility program allows auser to perform maintenance-type tasks usuallyrelated to managing a computer, its devices,or its programs. For example, you can use autility program to transfer digital photos to anoptical disc. Most operating systems includeseveral utility programs for managing diskdrives, printers, and other devices and media.You also can buy utility programs that allow youto perform additional computer managementfunctions.Application SoftwareApplication software consists of programsdesigned to make users more productive and/or assist them with personal tasks. A widelyused type of application software related tocommunications is a Web browser, which allowsusers with an Internet connection to access andview Web pages or access programs. Otherpopular application software includes wordprocessing software, spreadsheet software,database software, and presentation software.Many other types of application softwareexist that enable users to perform a varietyof tasks. These include personal informationmanagement, note taking, project management,accounting, document management, computer-aided design, desktop publishing, paint/imageediting, photo editing, audio and video editing,multimedia authoring, Web page authoring,personal finance, legal, tax preparation, homedesign/landscaping, travel and mapping, educa-tion, reference, and entertainment (e.g., gamesor simulations, etc.).Software is available at stores that sell com-puter products (Figure 1-11) and also online atmany Web sites.Installing and Running ProgramsWhen purchasing software from a retailer, youtypically receive a box that includes an opticaldisc(s) that contains the program. If you acquiresoftware from a Web site on the Internet, youmay be able to download the program; that is, theprogram transfers from the Web site to the harddisk in your computer.The instructions in software are placed onstorage media, either locally or online. To usesoftware that is stored locally, such as on a harddisk or optical disc, you usually need to install thesoftware. Web applications that are stored online,by contrast, usually do not need to be installed.Installing is the process of setting up softwareto work with the computer, printer, and otherhardware. When you buy a computer, it usually hassome software preinstalled on its hard disk. Thisenables you to use the computer the first time youturn it on. To begin installing additional softwarefrom an optical disc, insert the program disc in anoptical disc drive and follow the instructions tobegin installation. To install downloaded software,the Web site typically provides instructions for howto install the program on your hard disk.Figure 1-11Stores that sellcomputer productshave shelvesstocked withsoftware for sale.Who plays video games?The introduction of computer and video games thatcater to a broader audience has greatly increasedthe number of people who play them.According tothe Entertainment Software Association, approxi-mately 68 percent of the U.S. population plays videogames. Of these, 40 percent are women. Further,25 percent of Americans over 50 play video games,and the average game player is 35 years old.For more information, visit the Computer ConceptsCourseMate Web site at,navigate to the Chapter 1 FAQ resource for thisbook, and then click Game Demographics.FAQ 1-2
  16. 16. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 17Once installed, you can run the program. Whenyou instruct the computer to run an installedprogram, the computer loads it, which means theprogram is copied from storage to memory. Oncein memory, the computer can carry out, or execute,the instructions in the program so that you can usethe program. Figure 1-12 illustrates the steps thatoccur when a user installs and runs a program. Tolearn more about starting and closing programs,complete the Learn How To 1 activity on page 50.Step 1: INSTALLWhen you insert a program disc, such as a photoediting program, in the optical disc drive for thefirst time, the computer begins the procedure ofinstalling the program on the hard disk.Step 2: RUNOnce installed, you can instruct the computer torun the program.The computer transfers instructionsfrom the hard disk to memory.Step 3: USEThe program executes so that you can use it.This program enables you to edit photos.optical discinstructions transferto memoryInstalling and Running a Computer ProgramFigure 1-12 This figure shows how to install and run a computer program.How do I know if computer software will run on mycomputer?When you buy a computer, the box, the manufacturer’s Web site, or theorder summary will list the computer’s specifications. Similarly, when youbuy software, the software box or the product’s Web site lists specifica-tions. Your computer’s specifications should be the same as or greater thanthe software specifications.For more information, visit the Computer Concepts CourseMateWeb site at, navigate to the Chapter 1 FAQresource for this book, and then click Computer Software.FAQ 1-3
  17. 17. 18 Chapter 1 Introduction to ComputersSoftware DevelopmentA programmer, sometimes called a computerprogrammer or developer, is someone whodevelops software or writes the instructions thatdirect the computer to process data into infor-mation. When writing instructions, a program-mer must be sure the program works properlyso that the computer generates the desiredresults. Complex programs can require thou-sands to millions of instructions.Programmers use a programming language orprogram development tool to create computerprograms. Popular programming languagesinclude C++, Java, JavaScript, Visual C#, andVisual Basic. Figure 1-13 shows some of theVisual Basic instructions a programmer maywrite to create a simple payroll program.Categories of ComputersIndustry experts typically classify computers inseven categories: personal computers (desktop),mobile computers and mobile devices, gameconsoles, servers, mainframes, supercomput-ers, and embedded computers. A computer’ssize, speed, processing power, and price deter-mine the category it best fits. Due to rapidlychanging technology, however, the distinctionamong categories is not always clear-cut. Thistrend of computers and devices with technolo-gies that overlap, called convergence, leads tocomputer manufacturers continually releasingnewer models that include similar functionalityand features. For example, newer cell phonesoften include media player, camera, and Webbrowsing capabilities. As devices converge, usersneed fewer devices for the functionality thatthey require. When consumers replace outdatedcomputers and devices, they should dispose ofthem properly.Figure 1-14 summarizes the seven categoriesof computers. The following pages discusscomputers and devices that fall in each category.Instructions: Find the true statement below.Then, rewrite the remaining false statements sothat they are true.1. A resource is a collection of computersand devices connected together viacommunications devices and transmissionmedia.2. Installing is the process of setting up softwareto work with the computer, printer, and otherhardware.3. Popular system software includes Webbrowsers, word processing software,spreadsheet software, database software,and presentation software.4. The Internet is one of the more popularservices on the Web.5. Two types of application software are theoperating system and utility programs.Quiz Yourself Online: To further check yourknowledge of pages 10 through 18, visitthe Computer Concepts CourseMate Website at, navigate tothe Chapter 1 Quiz Yourself resource for thisbook, and then click Objectives 5 – 7.QUIZ YOURSELF 1-2Figure 1-13 A programmerwrites Visual Basic instructionsto create the Payroll Informationwindow.Figure 1-13a(Visual Basic programinstructions)Figure 1-13b(window appearswhen user runsprogram)
  18. 18. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 19Categories of ComputersCategory Physical SizeNumber ofSimultaneouslyConnected Users General Price RangePersonal computers(desktop)Fits on a desk Usually one (can bemore if networked)Several hundred toseveral thousand dollarsMobile computers andmobile devicesFits on your lap or inyour handUsually one Less than a hundreddollars to severalthousand dollarsGame consoles Small box or handhelddeviceOne to several Several hundred dollarsor lessServers Small cabinet Two to thousands Several hundred to amillion dollarsMainframes Partial room to a fullroom of equipmentHundreds to thousands $300,000 to severalmillion dollarsSupercomputers Full room of equipment Hundreds to thousands $500,000 to severalbillion dollarsEmbedded computers Miniature Usually one Embedded in the priceof the productFigure 1-14 This table summarizes some of the differences among the categories of computers. Theseshould be considered general guidelines only because of rapid changes in technology.Personal ComputersA personal computer is a computer that canperform all of its input, processing, output,and storage activities by itself. A personalcomputer contains a processor, memory, andone or more input, output, and storage devices.Personal computers also often contain acommunications device.Two popular architectures of personalcomputers are the PC (Figure 1-15) and theApple (Figure 1-16). The term, PC-compatible,refers to any personal computer based onthe original IBM personal computer design.Companies such as Dell, HP, and Toshibasell PC-compatible computers. PC andPC-compatible computers usually use aWindows operating system. Apple computersusually use a Macintosh operating system(Mac OS).Two types of personal computers are desktopcomputers and notebook computers.Figure 1-15 PC and PC-compatible computers usually use aWindows operating system.Figure 1-16 Apple computers, such as the iMac,usually use a Macintosh operating system.
  19. 19. 20 Chapter 1 Introduction to ComputersDesktop ComputersA desktop computer is designed so that thesystem unit, input devices, output devices, andany other devices fit entirely on or under a deskor table (Figures 1-15 and 1-16 on the previouspage). In many models, the system unit is a talland narrow tower, which can sit on the floorvertically — if desktop space is limited.Some desktop computers function as a serveron a network. Others, such as a gaming desktopcomputer and home theater PC, target a specificaudience. The gaming desktop computer offershigh-quality audio, video, and graphics with opti-mal performance for sophisticated single-user andnetworked or Internet multiplayer games. A hometheater PC (HTPC) combines the features of ahigh-definition video/audio entertainment systemwith a desktop computer that is designed to beconnected to a television and includes a Blu-rayDisc, digital video recorder, and digital cable tele-vision connectivity. These high-end computerscost more than the basic desktop computer.Another expensive, powerful desktop computeris the workstation, which is geared for work thatrequires intense calculations and graphics capa-bilities. An architect uses a workstation to designbuildings and homes. A graphic artist uses aworkstation to create computer-animatedspecial effects for full-length motion picturesand video games.Mobile Computersand Mobile DevicesA mobile computer is a personal computeryou can carry from place to place. Similarly,a mobile device is a computing device smallenough to hold in your hand.The most popular type of mobile computeris the notebook computer. The followingsections discuss the notebook computer andwidely used mobile devices.Notebook ComputersA notebook computer, also called a laptopcomputer, is a portable, personal computer oftendesigned to fit on your lap. Notebook computersare thin and lightweight, yet they can be as pow-erful as the average desktop computer. A netbook,which is a type of notebook computer, is smaller,lighter, and often not as powerful as a traditionalnotebook computer. Most netbooks cost less thantraditional notebook computers, usually only afew hundred dollars. An ultra-thin is another typeof notebook computer that is lightweight andusually less than one-inch thick. Some notebookcomputers have touch screens, allowing you tointeract with the device by touching the screen,usually with the tip of a finger.On a typical notebook computer, the keyboard ison top of the system unit, and the monitor attachesto the system unit with hinges (Figure 1-17). Thesecomputers weigh on average from 2.5 to morethan 10 pounds (depending on configuration),which allows users to transport the computersfrom place to place. Most notebook computerscan operate on batteries ora power supplyor both.Are PCs or Apple computers more popular?While PCs still are more popular than Apple computers, Apple computer saleshave been rising consistently during the past few years. In fact, Apple com-puter sales now account for more than 20 percent of all computer sales in theUnited States, with that number estimated to grow for the foreseeable future.For more information, visit the Computer Concepts CourseMate Web site, navigate to the Chapter 1 FAQ resource for thisbook, and then click Personal Computer Sales.FAQ 1-4Does the term, workstation, havemultiple meanings?Yes. In the computer industry, a workstation can be ahigh-powered computer or a client computer on a network.In an office environment, a workstation can refer to a workarea assigned to an employee.For more information, visit the Computer ConceptsCourseMate Web site at,navigate to the Chapter 1 FAQ resource for this book,and then click Workstation.FAQ 1-5optical disc driveFigure 1-17 On a typical notebook computer, the keyboard ison top of the system unit, and the display attaches to the systemunit with hinges.displayhingekeyboard
  20. 20. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 21Tablet PCs Resembling a letter-sized slate,the Tablet PC, or tablet computer, is a spe-cial type of notebook computer that you caninteract with by touching the screen with yourfinger or a digital pen. A digital pen looks like asmall ink pen but uses pressure instead of ink.Users write or draw on a Tablet PC by pressinga finger or digital pen on the screen, and issueinstructions by tapping on the screen. Onedesign of Tablet PC, called a convertible tablet,has an attached keyboard. Another design,which does not include a keyboard, is calleda slate tablet (Figure 1-18) and provides othermeans for typing. Some Tablet PCs also sup-port voice input so that users can speak intothe computer.Tablet PCs are useful especially for takingnotes in lectures, at meetings, conferences, andother forums where the standard notebookcomputer is not practical.Mobile DevicesMobile devices, which are small enoughto carry in a pocket, usually do not have diskdrives. Instead, these devices store programsand data permanently on special memoryinside the system unit or on small storagemedia such as memory cards. You often canconnect a mobile device to a personal computerto exchange information between the computerand the mobile device.Some mobile devices are Internet-enabled,meaning they can connect to the Internetwirelessly. With an Internet-enabled device,users can chat, send e-mail and instant mes-sages, and access the Web. Because of theirreduced size, the screens on mobile devicesare small, but usually are in color.Popular types of mobile devices are smartphones and PDAs, e-book readers, handheldcomputers, portable media players, and digitalcameras.Smart Phones and PDAs Offering theconvenience of one-handed operation, a smartphone (Figure 1-19) is an Internet-enabledphone that usually also provides personalinformation management functions such asa calendar, an appointment book, an addressbook, a calculator, anda notepad. In additionto basic phone capa-bilities, a smart phoneallows you to send andreceive e-mail messagesand access the Web —usually for an additionalfee. Some smart phonescommunicate wirelesslywith other devices orcomputers. Many alsofunction as a portablemedia player and includebuilt-in digital camerasso that you can sharephotos or videos withothers as soon as youcapture the image.Many smart phonesalso offer a variety ofapplication softwaresuch as word processing,spreadsheet, and games,and the capability ofconducting live videoconferences.Many smart phoneshave keypads that con-tain both numbers andletters so that you canuse the same keypadto dial phone numbersFigure 1-18 The iPad is a widely used slate tablet.Figure 1-19 Some smart phones have touchscreens; others have mini keyboards.
  21. 21. 22 Chapter 1 Introduction to Computersand enter messages. Others have a built-in minikeyboard on the front of the phone or a key-board that slides in and out from behind thephone. Some have touch screens, where youpress objects on the screen to make selectionsand enter text through an on-screen keyboard.Others include a stylus, which is similar to adigital pen but smaller and has less functionality.Instead of calling someone’s smart phone orcell phone, users often send messages to othersby pressing buttons on their phone’s keypad,keys on the mini keyboard, or images on an on-screen keyboard. Types of messages users sendwith smart phones include text messages, instantmessages, picture messages, and video messages.• A text message is a short note, typically fewerthan 300 characters, sent to or from a smartphone or other mobile device.• An instant message is a real-time Internetcommunication, where you exchangemessages with other connected users.• A picture message is a photo or other image,sometimes along with sound and text, sentto or from a smart phone or other mobiledevice. A phone that can send picturemessages often is called a camera phone.• A video message is a short video clip, usuallyabout 30 seconds, sent to or from a smartphone or other mobile device. A phone thatcan send video messages often is called avideo phone.A PDA (personal digital assistant), which oftenlooks like a smart phone, provides personalinformation management functions such as acalendar, an appointment book, an address book,a calculator, and a notepad. A PDA differs froma smart phone in that it usually does not providephone capabilities and may not be Internet-enabled, support voice input, have a built-incamera, or function as a portable media player.As smart phones and PDAs continue a trendof convergence, it is becoming increasingly dif-ficult to differentiate between the two devices.This has led some manufacturers to refer toPDAs and smart phones simply as handhelds.E-Book Readers An e-book reader (shortfor electronic book reader), or e-reader, is ahandheld device that is used primarily for read-ing e-books (Figure 1-20). An e-book, or digi-tal book, is an electronic version of a printedbook, readable on computers and other digitaldevices. In addition to books, users typically canpurchase and read other forms of digital mediasuch as newspapers and magazines.Most e-book readers have a touch screen andare Internet-enabled. These devices usually aresmaller than tablet computers but larger thansmart phones.Handheld Computers A handheldcomputer, sometimes referred to as anUltra-Mobile PC (UMPC), is a computer smallenough to fit in one hand. Many handheldcomputers communicate wirelessly with otherdevices or computers and also include a digitalpen or stylus for input.Some handheld computers have miniatureor specialized keyboards. Many handheldcomputers are industry-specific and servethe needs of mobile employees, such asmeter readers and parcel delivery people(Figure 1-21), whose jobs require them tomove from place to place.Figure 1-20 An e-book reader.Camera PhoneFor more information, visitthe Computer ConceptsCourseMate Web site,navigate to the Chapter 1Web Link resource forthis book, and then clickCamera Phone.How popular is text messaging?A recent study indicates that people are using their smart phones and cell phones for voice communications andtext messaging more frequently than in previous years. Because of the increase in smart phone sales and theease with which individuals can send text messages, approximately two billion text messages are sent each day.For more information, visit the Computer Concepts CourseMate Web site at,navigate to the Chapter 1 FAQ resource for this book, and then click Text Messaging.FAQ 1-6
  22. 22. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 23Some portable media players are Internet-enabled so that you can access Web sites andsend e-mail messages directly from the device.Many offer personal information managementfunctions such as a calendar and address book,and include a variety of games and other appli-cation software.Portable media players usually include a setof earbuds, which are small speakers that restinside each ear canal. Some portable mediaplayers have a touch screen, while others havea touch-sensitive pad that you operate with athumb or finger, to navigate through digitalmedia, adjust volume, and customize settings.Digital Cameras A digital camera is a devicethat allows users to take pictures and storethe photographed images digitally, instead ofon traditional film (Figure 1-23). While manydigital cameras look like a traditional camera,some are built into smart phones and othermobile devices.Although digital cameras usually have someamount of internal storage to hold images, mostusers store images on small storage media suchas memory cards. Digital cameras typically allowusers to review, and sometimes modify, imageswhile they are in the camera. Some digital cam-eras connect to or communicate wirelessly witha computer or printer, allowing users to printor view images directly from the printer. Somememory cards can connect to a network wire-lessly, so that you can transfer photos directlyfrom the memory card in the camera to theInternet without requiring a computer.Often users prefer to download images fromthe digital camera to the computer. Or, you canremove the storage media such as a memorycard from the digital camera andinsert it in a card reader in orattached to the computer.Figure 1-21 This handheld computer is alightweight computer that enables deliverypeople to obtain and record information abouttheir deliveries.Digital CamerasFor more information, visitthe Computer ConceptsCourseMate Web site,navigate to the Chapter 1Web Link resource for thisbook, and then click DigitalCameras.earbudsFigure 1-22 The iPod, shown here,is a popular portable media player.Figure 1-23 With adigital camera, users canview photographed imagesimmediately through a smallscreen on the camera to see ifthe picture is worth keeping.Portable Media Players A portable mediaplayer is a mobile device on which youcan store, organize, and play digital media(Figure 1-22). For example, you can listen tomusic; watch videos, movies, and televisionshows; and view photos on the device’s screen.With most, you download the digital mediafrom a computer to the portable media playeror to media that you insert in the device.
  23. 23. 24 Chapter 1 Introduction to ComputersGame ConsolesA game console is a mobile computingdevice designed for single-player or multi-player video games (Figure 1-24). Standardgame consoles use a handheld controller(s)as an input device(s); a television screen as anoutput device; and hard disks, optical discs,and/or memory cards for storage. Weighingon average between two and nine pounds,the compact size of game consoles makesthem easy to use at home, in the car, in ahotel, or any location that has an electricaloutlet. Three popular models are Microsoft’sXbox 360, Nintendo’s Wii (pronounced wee),and Sony’s PlayStation 3. Read InnovativeComputing 1-1 to find out how the medicalfield uses the Nintendo Wii.A handheld game console is small enough tofit in one hand, making it more portable thanthe standard game console. With the handheldgame console, the controls, screen, and speakersare built into the device. Because of theirreduced size, the screens are small — threeto four inches. Some models use cartridges tostore games; others use a memory card or aminiature optical disc. Many handheld gameconsoles can communicate wirelessly withother similar consoles for multiplayer gaming.Two popular models are Nintendo DS Lite andSony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP).In addition to gaming, many game consolemodels allow users to listen to music, watchmovies, keep fit, and connect to the Internet.Game consoles can cost from a couple hundreddollars to more than $500.Wii a Welcome Medical Skill BuilderA patient awaiting laparoscopic proceduresmay be less tense knowing that the surgeonshave honed their dexterity and coordinationusing a NintendoWii. Preliminarystudies havefound that doc-tors can improvetheir fine motorcontrol by play-ing video gamesthat emphasizesubtle handmovements used in minimally invasivesurgeries. Researchers are developing Wiisurgery simulators that will allow doctorsto practice their skills at home or in breakrooms at hospitals.The Wii game system is finding a medicalhome in other nontraditional places. Physicaltherapists urge arthritic patients to useWiihabilitation to build endurance andincrease their range of motion. Therapeuticrecreation with the Wii’s sports gamesmay help patients recovering from strokes,fractures, and combat injuries.Researchers in a testing lab in Californiaare experimenting with using the Wii’smotion-activated controls in non-gamingapplications, such as allowing doctors toexplain X-ray images to patients.For more information, visit the ComputerConcepts CourseMate Web site, navigate to theChapter 1 Innovative Computing resourcefor this book, and then click Medical Wii.INNOVATIVE COMPUTING 1-1Figure 1-24 Game consoles provide hours of video game entertainment.handheld gameconsolegame console
  24. 24. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 25ServersA server controls access to the hardware,software, and other resources on a network andprovides a centralized storage area for programs,data, and information (Figure 1-25). Servers cansupport from two to several thousand connectedcomputers at the same time.In many cases, one server accesses data, infor-mation, and programs on another server. Inother cases, people use personal computers orterminals to access data, information, and pro-grams on a server. A terminal is a device with amonitor, keyboard, and memory.MainframesA mainframe is a large, expensive, powerfulcomputer that can handle hundreds or thou-sands of connected users simultaneously (Figure1-26). Mainframes store tremendous amounts ofdata, instructions, and information. Most majorcorporations use mainframes for business activi-ties. With mainframes, enterprises are able tobill millions of customers, prepare payroll forthousands of employees, and manage thousandsof items in inventory. One study reported thatmainframes process more than 83 percent oftransactions around the world.Mainframes also can act as servers in a networkenvironment. Servers and other mainframes canaccess data and information from a mainframe.People also can access programs on the main-frame using terminals or personal computers.SupercomputersA supercomputer is the fastest, most powerfulcomputer — and the most expensive (Figure1-27). The fastest supercomputers are capableof processing more than one quadrillion instruc-tions in a single second. With weights thatexceed 100 tons, these computers can store morethan 20,000 times the data and information ofan average desktop computer.Applications requiring complex, sophisticatedmathematical calculations use supercomputers.Large-scale simulations and applications in medi-cine, aerospace, automotive design, online bank-ing, weather forecasting, nuclear energy research,and petroleum exploration use a supercomputer.Figure 1-26Mainframe computerscan handle thousandsof connectedcomputers andprocess millionsof instructions persecond.Figure 1-25A server controlsaccess to resourceson a network.Figure 1-27 This supercomputer, IBM’s Roadrunner, can process morethan one quadrillion instructions in a single second.
  25. 25. 26 Chapter 1 Introduction to ComputersEmbedded ComputersAn embedded computer is a special-purposecomputer that functions as a component in alarger product. Embedded computers are every-where — at home, in your car, and at work. Thefollowing list identifies a variety of everydayproducts that contain embedded computers.• Consumer Electronics: mobile and digitaltelephones, digital televisions, cameras,video recorders, DVD players and recorders,answering machines• Home Automation Devices: thermostats,sprinkling systems, security monitoringsystems, appliances, lights• Automobiles: antilock brakes, engine controlmodules, airbag controller, cruise control• Process Controllers and Robotics: remotemonitoring systems, power monitors,machine controllers, medical devices• Computer Devices and Office Machines:keyboards, printers, fax and copy machinesBecause embedded computers are componentsin larger products, they usually are small andhave limited hardware. These computersperform various functions, depending on therequirements of the product in which theyreside. Embedded computers in printers, forexample, monitor the amount of paper in thetray, check the ink or toner level, signal if apaper jam has occurred, and so on. Figure 1-28shows some of the many embedded computersin cars.Cars equipped with wireless communicationscapabilities, called telematics, include suchfeatures as navigation systems, remotediagnosis and alerts, and Internet access.Tire pressure monitoring systemssend warning signals if tire pressureis insufficient.Drive-by-wire systems sense pressureon the gas pedal and communicateelectronically to the engine how muchand how fast to accelerate.Adaptive cruise controlsystems detect if cars infront of you are too closeand, if necessary, adjustthe vehicles throttle,may apply brakes, and/orsound an alarm.Advanced airbag systems have crash-severity sensors thatdetermine the appropriate level to inflate the airbag, reducingthe chance of airbag injury in low-speed accidents.Figure 1-28 Some of the embedded computers designed to improve your safety, security, and performance in today’sautomobiles.
  26. 26. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 27Elements of anInformation SystemTo be valuable, information must be accurate,organized, timely, accessible, useful, and cost-effective to produce. Generating information froma computer requires the following five elements:• Hardware• Software• Data• People• ProceduresTogether, these elements (hardware, software,data, people, and procedures) comprise aninformation system. Figure 1-29 shows how eachof the elements of an information system in anenterprise might interact.The hardware must be reliable and capable ofhandling the expected workload. The softwaremust be developed carefully and tested thor-oughly. The data entered into the computermust be accurate.Most companies with mid-sized and largecomputers have an IT (information technology)department. Staff in the IT department shouldbe skilled and up-to-date on the latest technol-ogy. IT staff also should train users so that theyunderstand how to use the computer properly.Today’s users also work closely with IT staff inthe development of computer applications thatrelate to their areas of work.Finally, all the IT applications should havereadily available documented procedures thataddress operating the computer and using itsprograms.Step 1IT staff (people) develop processes (procedures)for recording checks (data) received from customers.Step 2Employees (people) in the accounts receivable departmentuse a program (software) to enter the checks (data) inthe computer.Step 3The computer (hardware) performs calculations requiredto process the accounts receivable data and stores the resultson storage media such as a hard disk (hardware).Step 4Customer statements, the information, print on a corporateprinter (hardware).How the Elements of an Information System in an Enterprise Might InteractFigure 1-29 This figure shows how the elements of an information system in an enterprise might interact.Women in TechnologyFor more information, visitthe Computer ConceptsCourseMate Web site,navigate to the Chapter 1Web Link resource for thisbook, and then click Womenin Technology.
  27. 27. 28 Chapter 1 Introduction to Computerspersonal financial managementWeb accessExamples of Computer UsageEvery day, people around the world rely ondifferent types of computers for a variety ofapplications. To illustrate the range of uses forcomputers, this section takes you on a visual andnarrative tour of five categories of users:• Home user• Small office/home office (SOHO) user• Mobile user• Power user• Enterprise userHome UserIn an increasing number of homes, the computerno longer is a convenience. Instead, it is a basicnecessity. Each family member, or home user,spends time on the computer for different reasonsthat include personal financial management, Webaccess, communications, and entertainment(Figure 1-30).On the Internet, home users access a hugeamount of information, conduct research, take col-lege classes, pay bills, manage investments, shop,listen to the radio, watch movies, read books, filetaxes, book airline reservations, make telephonecalls, and play games (read Innovative Computing1-2 to find out how some retailers use the Internetto help the environment). They also communicatewith others around the world through e-mail, blogs,instant messages, and chat rooms using personalcomputers, smart phones, and other mobile devices.Home users share ideas, interests, photos, music, andvideos on social networking Web sites (read Ethics& Issues 1-3 for a related discussion). With a digitalcamera, home users take photos and then send theelectronic images to others. Using a Web cam, homeusers easily have live video calls with friends, familymembers, and others.Many home users have a portable media player,so that they can download music or podcasts, andlisten to the music and/or audio at a later timeMinorities inTechnologyFor more information, visitthe Computer ConceptsCourseMate Web site,navigate to the Chapter 1Web Link resource forthis book, and then clickMinorities in Technology.entertainmentFigure 1-30 Thehome user spends timeon a computer for avariety of reasons.communications
  28. 28. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 29through earbuds attached to the player. They alsousually have one or more game consoles to playvideo games individually or with friends andfamily members.Today’s homes also typically have one or moredesktop computers. Many home users networkmultiple desktop computers throughout thehouse, often wirelessly. These small networksallow family members to share an Internet con-nection and a printer.Home users have a variety of software. Theytype letters, homework assignments, and otherdocuments with word processing software.Personal finance software helps the home userwith personal finances, investments, and familybudgets. Other software assists with preparingtaxes, keeping a household inventory, setting upmaintenance schedules, and protecting homecomputers against threats and unauthorizedintrusions.Reference software, such as encyclopedias,medical dictionaries, or a road atlas, providesvaluable information for everyone in the family.With entertainment software, the home user canplay games, compose music, research genealogy,or create greeting cards. Educational softwarehelps adults learn to speak a foreign language andyoungsters to read, write, count, and spell.E-Receipts Save Paper, Organize LifeYou may need to find a new use for the old shoeboxes that arestoring your receipts. Some environmentally conscious retailersare providing a service that issues receipts electronically sothat consumers never will need to hunt for a little white slipof paper when returning an item or declaring an expense forincome taxes.Digital receipts, also called e-receipts, are sent automaticallyto an e-mail account or Web site where they can be sorted ordeleted. One service links a consumer’s credit cards to a receiptaccount on a specific Web site, so that every time the cards areswiped for a purchase, a receipt is sent to the consumer’s account.More than 70 percent of consumerssay they would prefer having an e-receiptrather than a paper receipt. According toone estimate, nine million trees would besaved if no paper receipts were issued forone year.For more information, visit the ComputerConcepts CourseMate Web site, navigate to theChapter 1 Innovative Computing resourcefor this book, and then click Digital Receipts.INNOVATIVE COMPUTING 1-2ETHICS & ISSUES 1-3In recent years, social networking Web siteusage by children and adults explodedas a new means of communicating andsocializing. Not surprisingly, the problemsassociated with this exciting way to inter-act with others mirror some problems insociety in general. Problems include bully-ing, smear campaigns against individuals,and inappropriate contact between adultsand minors. Recently, a high-school-agedgirl secretly left the country with the intentof marrying an adult in a foreign countrywhom she met on a social networkingWeb site. Fortunately, authorities in theforeign country intercepted her at theairport and sent her home. Some parentsclaim that the government should interveneto ensure better monitoring of inappropri-ate behavior.While some social network-ing Web site companies have stepped upmonitoring, they often claim that they arenot responsible for the behavior of indi-viduals, and parents and individuals shouldbe responsible for inappropriate actions.Many individuals feel that the problems aresimply a matter of personal responsibilityand following some simple guidelines, suchas the “golden rule.”Should social networking Web sites doa better job of telling their users what issafe or unsafe information to share? Whyor why not? What role should parentsplay in overseeing their child’s involve-ment in social networking Web sites?Why? Should police or other governmentauthorities be responsible for maintain-ing order on social networking Web sitesin the same way they are charged withmaintaining order in society in general?Why or why not?Who Should Look Out for the Safety of Social Networking Web Site Users?How many households do not use the Internet or relatedtechnologies?A recent survey estimates that 18 percent of U.S. households have noInternet access. Furthermore, about 20 percent of U.S. heads of house-holds have never sent an e-mail message. The chart below illustrates thelack of experience with computer and Internet technology.For more information, visit the Computer Concepts CourseMateWeb site at, navigate to the Chapter 1 FAQresource for this book, and then click Experience with Technology.FAQ 1-7Lack of Experience with Technology0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30%Never searched for informationon the InternetNever sent or receivede-mail messagesNever looked up a Web siteon the InternetNever used a computerto create documentsSource: Parks Associates
  29. 29. 30 Chapter 1 Introduction to ComputersFigure 1-31a (Web access)Figure 1-31 People witha home office and employeesin small offices typically use apersonal computer for some orall of their duties.Small Office/Home Office UserComputers assist small business and homeoffice users in managing their resources effec-tively. A small office/home office (SOHO)includes any company with fewer than 50employees, as well as the self-employed whowork from home. Small offices include local lawpractices, accounting firms, travel agencies, andflorists. SOHO users typically have a desktopcomputer to perform some or all of their duties.Many also have smart phones or other mobiledevices to manage appointments and contactinformation.SOHO users access the Internet — oftenwirelessly — to look up information suchas addresses, directions, postal codes, flights(Figure 1-31a), and package shipping rates orto send and receive e-mail messages or maketelephone calls.Many have entered the e-commerce arena andconduct business on the Web. Their Web sitesadvertise products and services and may providea means for taking orders. Small business Websites sometimes use a Web cam to show the worlda live view of some aspect of their business.To save money on hardware and software,small offices often network their computers. Forexample, the small office connects one printer toa network for all employees to share.SOHO users often work with basic businesssoftware such as word processing and spreadsheetprograms that assist with document preparationand finances (Figure 1-31b). They are likely touse other industry-specific types of software. Anauto parts store, for example, will have softwarethat allows for looking up parts, taking ordersand payments, and updating inventory.Figure 1-31b (spreadsheet program)
  30. 30. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 31Figure 1-33 This graphic artist uses a powerful computer to developcomputer games.Mobile UserToday, businesses and schools are expandingto serve people across the country and aroundthe world. Thus, increasingly more employeesand students are mobile users, who work on acomputer or mobile device while away from amain office, home office, or school (Figure 1-32).Examples of mobile users are sales representa-tives, real estate agents, insurance agents, meterreaders, package delivery people, journalists, con-sultants, and students.Mobile users often have mobile computersand/or mobile devices. With these computersand devices, the mobile user connects to othercomputers on a network or the Internet, oftenwirelessly accessing services such as e-mail andthe Web. Mobile users can transfer informa-tion between their mobile device and anothercomputer, such as one at the main office orschool. For entertainment, the mobile user playsvideo games on a handheld game console andlistens to music or watches movies on a portablemedia player.The mobile user works with basic businesssoftware such as word processing. With presen-tation software, the mobile user can create anddeliver presentations to a large audience by con-necting a mobile computer or device to a videoprojector that displays the presentation on a fullscreen. Many scaled-down programs are availablefor mobile devices such as smart phones.Power UserAnother category of user, called a power user,requires the capabilities of a workstation or othertype of powerful computer. Examples of powerusers include engineers, scientists, architects, desk-top publishers, and graphic artists (Figure 1-33).Power users often work with multimedia, combin-ing text, graphics, audio, and video into one appli-cation. These users need computers with extremelyfast processors because of the nature of their work.The power user’s workstation often containsindustry-specific software. For example, engineersand architects use software to draft and designfloor plans, mechanical assemblies, or vehicles. Adesktop publisher uses software to prepare mar-keting literature. A graphic artist uses software tocreate sophisticated drawings. This software usu-ally is expensive because of its specialized design.Power users exist in all types of businesses.Some work at home. Their computers typicallyhave network connections and Internet access.Figure 1-32 Mobile users have a variety of mobile computers and devices sothat they can work, do homework, send messages, connect to the Internet, orplay games while away from a wired connection.handheldgameconsolenotebook computersmart phoneTablet PC
  31. 31. 32 Chapter 1 Introduction to ComputersEnterprise UserAn enterprise has hundreds or thousandsof employees or customers that work in or dobusiness with offices across a region, the coun-try, or the world. Each employee or customerwho uses a computer in the enterprise is anenterprise user (Figure 1-34).Many large companies use the words,enterprise computing, to refer to the huge net-work of computers that meets their diversecomputing needs. The network facilitatescommunications among employees at all loca-tions. Users access the network of servers ormainframes through desktop computers, mobilecomputers, and mobile devices.Enterprises use computers and the computernetwork to process high volumes of transactionsin a single day. Although they may differ in sizeand in the products or services offered, all gener-ally use computers for basic business activities.For example, they bill millions of customers,prepare payroll for thousands of employees, andmanage thousands of items in inventory. Someenterprises use blogs to open communicationsamong employees, customers, and/or vendors.Enterprises typically have e-commerceWeb sites, allowing customers and vendorsto conduct business online. The Web sitealso showcases products, services, and othercompany information.The marketing department in an enter-prise uses desktop publishing software toprepare marketing literature. The accountingdepartment uses software for accounts receiv-able, accounts payable, billing, general ledger,and payroll activities.The employees in the information technology(IT) department keep the computers and the net-work running. They determine when the com-pany requires new hardware or software.Enterprise users work with word processing,spreadsheet, database, and presentation soft-ware. They also may use calendar programs topost their schedules on the network. And, theymight use smart phones or mobile devices tomaintain contact information. E-mail programsand Web browsers enable communicationsamong employees, vendors, and customers.Many employees of enterprises telecom-mute. Telecommuting is a work arrangementin which employees work away from a com-pany’s standard workplace and often commu-nicate with the office through the computer.Employees who telecommute have flexiblework schedules so that they can combinework and personal responsibilities, such aschild care.Putting It All TogetherThe previous pages discussed the hardwareand software requirements for the home user,small office/home office user, mobile user,power user, and enterprise user. The table inFigure 1-35 summarizes these requirements.Figure 1-34 An enterprise can have hundreds or thousands of users in offices across a region, thecountry, or the world.Enterprise ComputingFor more information, visitthe Computer ConceptsCourseMate Web site,navigate to the Chapter 1Web Link resource forthis book, and then clickEnterprise Computing.
  32. 32. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 33Categories of UsersUser Hardware SoftwareHome • Desktop or notebook computer• Smart phone or other mobile device• Game consoles• Business (e.g., word processing)• Personal information manager• Personal finance, online banking, tax preparation• Web browser• E-mail, blogging, instant messaging, chat rooms, and onlinesocial networking• Internet telephone calls• Photo and video editing• Reference (e.g., encyclopedias, medical dictionaries, road atlas)• Entertainment (e.g., games, music composition, greeting cards)• Education (e.g., tutorials, childrens math and reading software)Small Office/Home Office • Desktop or notebook computer• Smart phone or other mobile device• Shared network printer• Business (e.g., word processing, spreadsheet, database)• Personal information manager• Company specific (e.g., accounting, legal reference)• Network management• Web browser• E-mail• Internet telephone callsMobile • Notebook computer equipped witha wireless modem, or a netbook orTablet PC• Video projector• Smart phone or other mobile device• Handheld game consoles• Business (e.g., word processing, note taking, presentation)• Personal information manager• Web browser• E-mailPower • Workstation or other powerfulcomputer with multimediacapabilities• Smart phone or other mobile device• Desktop publishing• Multimedia authoring• Computer-aided design• Photo, audio, and video editing• Personal information manager• Web browser• E-mailEnterprise • Server or mainframe• Desktop or notebook computer• Industry-specific handheld computer• Smart phone or other mobile device• Business (e.g., word processing, spreadsheet, database)• Personal information manager• Accounting• Network management• Web browser• E-mail• BloggingFigure 1-35 Today, computers are used by millions of people for work tasks, school assignments, and leisure activities. Differentcomputer users require different kinds of hardware and software to meet their needs effectively.Small Office/Home OfficebilMobilePowerEnterpriseHome
  33. 33. 34 Chapter 1 Introduction to ComputersComputer Applicationsin SocietyThe computer has changed society today asmuch as the industrial revolution changed societyin the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.People interact directly with computers infields such as education, finance, government,health care, science, publishing, travel, andmanufacturing. In addition, they can reap thebenefits from breakthroughs and advances inthese fields. The following pages describe howcomputers have made a difference in people’sinteractions with these disciplines. ReadLooking Ahead 1-1 for a look at how embeddedcomputers may improve the quality of life.EducationEducation is the process of acquiringknowledge. In the traditional model, peoplelearn from other people such as parents,teachers, and employers. Many forms ofprinted material such as books and manualsare used as learning tools. Today, educatorsalso are turning to computers to assist witheducation (Figure 1-36).Many schools and companies equip labsand classrooms with computers. Some schoolsrequire students to have a mobile computer ormobile device to access the school’s network orInternet wirelessly. To promote education bycomputer, many vendors offer substantial stu-dent discounts on software.Sometimes, the delivery of education occursat one place while the learning occurs at otherlocations. For example, students can take a classon the Web. Some classes are blended; that is,part of the learning occurs in a classroom andthe other part occurs on the Web. More than70 percent of colleges offer distance learningclasses. A few even offer entire degrees online.FinanceMany people and companies use computersto help manage their finances. Some use financesoftware to balance checkbooks, pay bills, trackpersonal income and expenses, manage invest-ments, and evaluate financial plans. This softwareusually includes a variety of online services. Forexample, computer users can track investmentsand do online banking. With online banking,users access account balances, pay bills, and copymonthly transactions from the bank’s computerright into their personal computers.Many financial institutions’ Web sites alsooffer online banking. When using a Web siteinstead of finance software on your computer,all your account information is stored onthe bank’s computer. The advantage is youFigure 1-36 In some schools, students have mobilecomputers on their desks during classroom lectures.Embedded Computers May ImproveQuality of LifeThe weather forecast may be as close as yourfingertips if plans to integrate embedded computersin everyday objects become a reality. Researchersare envisioning an umbrellawith an embedded cell phonein the handle that will dialand then download the localforecast. The handle will glowgreen for good weather andflash red for imminent storms.Dancers can pin a smallflower with an embeddedmotion-detecting computer to their clothes. Whenthey move, the embedded computer senses actionand then synchronizes the tempo of music to thismovement. Other embedded computers woven intoclothing can monitor heart and breathing rates.Wearing hidden embedded computers can helpthe elderly and people recovering from accidentsand surgeries monitor their walking stride andpace. When their steps are uneven, the embed-ded computer can sound a warning and perhapsprevent a fall. Other embedded computers can givesubtle feedback on the quality of physical activity.For more information, visit the ComputerConcepts CourseMate Web site, navigate to theChapter 1 Looking Ahead resource for thisbook, and then click Embedded Computers.t7cLOOKING AHEAD 1-1motion-detecting co
  34. 34. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 35can access your financial records from anywherein the world (Figure 1-37).Investors often use online investing to buyand sell stocks and bonds — without using abroker. With online investing, the transactionfee for each trade usually is much less thanwhen trading through a broker.GovernmentA government provides society with directionby making and administering policies. To pro-vide citizens with up-to-date information, mostgovernment offices have Web sites. People inthe United States access government Web sitesto file taxes, apply for permits and licenses,pay parking tickets, buy stamps, report crimes,apply for financial aid, and renew vehicleregistrations and driver’s licenses. To providethese services, some Web sites require usersprovide personal information (read Ethics &Issues 1-4 for a related discussion).Employees of government agencies usecomputers as part of their daily routine. NorthAmerican 911 call centers use computers todispatch calls for fire, police, and medical assis-tance. Military and other agency officials usethe U.S. Department of Homeland Security’snetwork of information about domestic securitythreats to help protect against terrorist attacks.Law enforcement officers have online access tothe FBI’s National Crime Information Center(NCIC) through in-vehicle notebook comput-ers, fingerprint readers, and mobile devices(Figure 1-38). The NCIC contains more than52 million missing persons and criminal records,including names, fingerprints, parole/probationrecords, mug shots, and other information.Figure 1-37 An online banking Web site.ETHICS & ISSUES 1-4The chief executive officer of a largecomputer software company oncedeclared, “Privacy is dead, deal with it.”While a vast majority of people demandincreased privacy, many of those samepeople do not hesitate to surrender per-sonal information in exchange for someshort-term benefit. In a recent study, one-third of Internet users admitted to makingdetailed personal information availableon the Internet. Personal information hasbecome similar to a currency that peoplegive up in order to obtain a benefit.Benefits might be in the form of increasedconvenience, increased security, moneysavings, or social connections online. Forexample, increased convenience may bein the form of an automated toll collec-tion device that also can track the user’slocation and speed, and allow the govern-ment to maintain a record of the user’swhereabouts. Insistence on safety or secu-rity may mean tolerating video camerasin many public and private places. Theuse of a grocery store affinity card savesa few dollars but also allows the store totrack an individual buyer’s every purchase.Signing up for an online social networkoften requires the divulgence of personalinformation so that the service bettercan locate other members with similarinterests. In each of these examples, somemeasure of privacy is sacrificed.Should people limit the amount of personalinformation they exchange? Why or whynot? What are the dangers and disadvan-tages of giving up some amount of privacyin exchange for a short-term benefit? Whatare some possible alternatives to exchang-ing privacy for a perceived benefit? Shouldcompanies or government organizations berequired to purge your personal informa-tion if you request so? Why or why not?Should You Surrender Privacy for Convenience, Security, Money, or Social Connections?Figure 1-38 Law enforcement officials have in-vehicle computersand mobile devices to access emergency, missing person, and criminalrecords in computer networks in local, state, and federal agencies.
  35. 35. 36 Chapter 1 Introduction to ComputersHealth CareNearly every area of health care today usescomputers. Whether you are visiting a family doc-tor for a regular checkup, having lab work or anoutpatient test, or being rushed in for emergencysurgery, the medical staff around you will be usingcomputers for various purposes:• Hospitals and doctors use computers and mobiledevices to maintain and access patient records.• Computers monitor patients’ vital signs inhospital rooms and at home.• Robots deliver medication to nurse stations inhospitals.• Computers and computerized devices assistdoctors, nurses, and technicians with medicaltests (Figure 1-39).• Doctors use the Web and medical software toassist with researching and diagnosing healthconditions.• Doctors use e-mail to correspond with patients.• Pharmacists use computers to file insuranceclaims.• Surgeons implant computerized devices, such aspacemakers, that allow patients to live longer.• Surgeons use computer-controlled devicesto provide them with greater precision duringoperations, such as for laser eye surgery androbot-assisted heart surgery.Many Web sites provide up-to-date medical,fitness, nutrition, or exercise information. TheseWeb sites also maintain lists of doctors anddentists to help you find the one that suits yourneeds. They have chat rooms, so that you cantalk to others diagnosed with similar conditions.Some Web sites even allow you to order prescrip-tions online.Two forms of long-distance health careare telemedicine and telesurgery. Throughtelemedicine, health-care professionals in separatelocations conduct live conferences on the com-puter. For example, a doctor at one location canhave a conference with a doctor at another loca-tion to discuss a bone X-ray. Live images of eachdoctor, along with the X-ray, are displayed oneach doctor’s computer.With telesurgery, also called remote surgery, asurgeon performs an operation on a patient whois not located in the same physical room as thesurgeon. Telesurgery enables surgeons to directrobots to perform an operation via computersconnected to a high-speed network.ScienceAll branches of science, from biology toastronomy to meteorology, use computersto assist them with collecting, analyzing, andmodeling data. Scientists also use the Internetto communicate with colleagues aroundthe world.Breakthroughs in surgery, medicine, andtreatments often result from scientists’ use ofcomputers. Tiny computers now imitate func-tions of the central nervous system, retina ofthe eye, and cochlea of the ear. A cochlearimplant allows a deaf person to listen. Electrodesimplanted in the brain stop tremors associatedwith Parkinson’s disease. Cameras small enoughto swallow — sometimes called a camera pill —take pictures inside your body to detect polyps,cancer, and other abnormalities (Figure 1-40).A neural network is a system that attemptsto imitate the behavior of the human brain.Scientists create neural networks by connectingthousands of processors together much likethe neurons in the brain are connected. Thecapability of a personal computer to recognizespoken words is a direct result of scientificexperimentation with neural networks.Figure 1-39 Doctors, nurses, technicians, and othermedical staff use computers and computerized devices toassist with medical tests.
  36. 36. Introduction to Computers Chapter 1 37Step 1A patient swallows a tiny capsule thatcontains a miniature disposable camera,lights, a transmitter, and batteries.Thecamera is positioned at the clear end ofthe capsule.Step 2As the capsule moves through the inside of thepatient’s body, the camera snaps about 50,000pictures, which are transmitted to a recordingdevice worn as a belt on the patient’s waist.Step 3The doctor transfers the data on therecording device to a computer sothat it can be processed and analyzed.How a Camera Pill WorksFigure 1-40 This figure shows how a camera pill works.Figure 1-41 Manymagazine and newspaperpublishers make thecontent of their publicationsavailable online.PublishingPublishing is the process of making worksavailable to the public. These works includebooks, magazines, newspapers, music, film, andvideo. Special software assists graphic designersin developing pages that include text, graphics,and photos; artists in composing and enhancingsongs; filmmakers in creating and editing film;and journalists and mobile users in capturingand modifying video clips.Many publishers make their works availableonline (Figure 1-41). Some Web sites allow youto copy the work, such as a book or music, toyour desktop computer, mobile computer, smartphone, or other mobile device.