Eng 101 Lecture Notes

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Chapter 1

Outlook
1. Explain the five parts of an information system,
2. Distinguish application software from system software,
3. Distinguish four types of computers,
4. Explain computer connectivity.

1.1 Introduction:

People who use microcomputers are called “end users”. Today:

• Microcomputers are common tools in all areas of life. Writers write, artists draw, engineers and scientists calculate – all on microcomputers. • With the aid of computers, new forms of learning have developed – now distant learning is possible. • New ways to communicate, to find people with similar interests, and to buy goods are available. All kinds of people are using electronic mail, electronic commerce, and the internet to meet and to share ideas and products.

1.2 Information Systems:

A microcomputer is not just an equipment, i.e. not just a monitor and a keyword. Actually it is part of an information system.

An information system has five parts:
i. People: Microcomputers make people like us, end users, therefore more productive

ii. Procedures: are rules or guidelines for people to follow when using software, hardware, and data. e.g. User manuals written by specialists.

iii. Software: Software is another name for a program or programs. A program is the step-by-step instructions that tell the computers how to do its job. The purpose of software is to convert data (unprocessed facts) into information (processed facts). It is the software that processes the data to create information.

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iv. Hardware: It is the collection of equipment, e.g. keyboard, mouse, monitor, system unit, and other devices. Hardware is controlled by software.

v. Data: Data consists of the raw, unprocessed facts, including text, numbers, images, and sounds, e.g. your quiz, midterm and final marks are raw facts. After data is processed through the computer it becomes information that is your final grade. To be competent end users, you must understand the essentials of information technology (IT), including software, hardware and data.

1.3 Types of Softwares:

Software is another name for programs. Programs are the instructions that tell the computer how to process data into the form you want.

Two major kinds of software are: System software and Application Software.

System software includes all the programs needed for a computer and its peripheral devices to function smoothly. The most important system software program is the operating system, which interacts with the application software and the computer.

Popular operating systems (OS) are:
• Microsoft Windows
• Macintosh OS
• DOS
• Linux
• Unix

Each has their strengths and weaknesses.

Application software generally refers to all of the programs that enable us to use the computer for our work., e.g. word processing, data analysis, navigating on internet by using browser.

1.4 Hardware:

There are four types of computers:

i. Supercomputers: Most powerful type; high processing capacity. For example used in NASA and research.

ii. Mainframe computers: Although not nearly as powerful as supercomputers, they are capable of great processing speeds, and data storage.

iii. Minicomputers: Known as midrange computers. For example some compainies use them for specific purposes, i.e. production departments to monitor certain manufacturing processes and assembly-line operations.

iv. Microcomputers: Most widely used and fastest growing type of computers, e.g. desktop, notebook and Personal Digital assistant (Palm Pilot). 1.5 Connectivity and the Internet

Connectivity is the capability of your microcomputer to share information with other computers.

Anetwork is a communications system connecting two or more computers, e.g. the largest network in the world is the internet.

Tutorial Questions

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