Computer Literacy

Prof. Alejandro Ruiz
National College Bayamon PR

Computer Literacy
The Vocabulary of computing is all around you. Before the advent of computers, memory was the mental ability to recall previous experiences; storage was an area where you kept out-of season clothing; communication was the act of exchanging opinions and information through writing, speaking, or signs. In today’s world, these words and countless others have taken on new meanings as part of the common terminology used to describe computers and their use.

• When you hear the word computer initially you may think of the computers we have in this class. • Take into consideration than in the course of a couple of days, you may encounter many other computers; like cordless telephones, VCR’s, Handheld Video Games, cameras, stereo systems.

• Computers help you with your banking (ATMs) • Keeps tracks of purchases and calculates transactions in stores • Cars are equipped with computers to operate electrical systems such as temperature control and anti-theft system.

Computer: Definition
• Computer:
– Is an electronic machine operating under the control of instructions stored in its own memory, that can accept data (input), manipulate the data according to specified rules (process), produce results (output), and store the results for future use.

• Data:

Data vs. Information: Definition
– Is a collection of unorganized facts, which can include words, numbers, images, and sounds. – Computers manipulate and process data to create information.

• Information
– Is data that is organized, has meaning, and is useful. Examples are reports, newsletters, receipt, pictures, invoice, check…

Input / Output
• Input: data entered into a computer. • Output: processed results. • A computer processes input to produce output.

Information Processing Cycle
• Storage: area on a computer where information can be stored for future uses. • Information Processing Cycle
– Input – Process – Output – Storage

User: Definition
User: A person that communicates with a computer or uses the information it generates.

Hardware / Software
• Hardware:
– The electric, electronic, and mechanical equipment that makes up a computer.

• Software:
– Series of instructions that tells the hardware how to perform tasks. – Without software, hardware is useless.

Computer Components
• Hardware components work together with software to perform calculations, organize data, and communicate with other computers. • These hardware components include input devices, output devices, a system unit, storage devices, and communication devices.

Computer Components
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Computer Components

Input Devices: Definition
• Input Devices:
– Allows a user to enter data and commands into the memory of a computer.
• • • • Keyboard Mouse Microphone Camera

Output Devices: Definition
• Output Device:
– Used to convey the information generated by a computer to a user.
• Printer • Monitor • Speakers

System Unit
• Box-like case made from metal or plastic that houses the computer electronic circuitry. • The circuity in the system unit usually is part of or is connected to a circuit board called motherboard.

Two main components of the Motherboard • (CPU) Central Procecssing Unit or procesor:
– Is the electronic device that interprets and carries out the instructions that operate the computer.

• Memory:
– Series of electronic elements that temporarily holds data and instructions while they are being processed by the CPU.

Processor and Memory
• Both are Chips.
– Chip is an electronic device that contains many microscopic pathways designed to carry electrical current.

Peripheral Device
• Peripheral Device
– Any external device that attaches to the system unit.

Storage Device
• Storage holds data, instructions, and information for future use. • Storage differs from memory in that it can hold these items permanently , whereas memory holds these items only temporarily while they are being processed.

Storage Device
• Is used to record and retrieve data, instructions, and information to and from a storage medium.
– Floppy Disk Drive – Hard Disk Drive – CD-ROM Drive – DVD-ROM Drive

Storage medium
• Storage Medium:
– Is the physical material on which data, instructions and information is stored.
• Floppy Disks • Hard Drive Disks • CD-DVD ROM Disks

Communications Devices
• Enable computer users to communicate and to exchange items such as data, instructions, and information with another computer. • Comunication devices transmit these items over transmission media such as cables, telephone lines, other means.
– Modems – Network (NIC) Cards

Why is a Computer so Powerful? A computer’s power is derived from its capability of performing the information processing cycle operations (input/process/output/storage) with amazing speed, reliability, accuracy, capacity of storing huge amounts of data, and ability to communicate with other computers.

Why is a computer powerful?

• • • • •

Speed Reliability Accuracy Storage Communications

Computer Software
• Software = Computer Programs • Instructions that tells the hardware what to do. • Execute a program = begin performing a program. • Installing software in order to run program.

System Software
• Consists of programs that control the operations of the computers and its devices. • Serves as the interphase between a user and the hardware
– Operating Systems – Utility Programs

Operating Systems
• Contains instructions that coordinate all of the activities of hardware devices. • Also contains instructions that allow you to run application software. • Windows XP utilizado en el 80% de las maquinas del mundo al 2005.

Utility Programs
• Type of system software that performs a specific task, usually related to managing a computer, devices and programs.
– Uninstaller Program – Games

User Interfase
• Part of the software with which you interact. The user interface controls how data and Instructions are entered and how information is presented on the screen. • Many of today’s software programs have (GUI) Graphical User Interfase, which allows the user to interact with the software using visual images such as icons.

Application Software
• Programs designed to perform specific tasks for users.
– Word Processing Software – Spreadsheet Software – Database Software – Presentation Graphics Software – Games – Electronic mail, accounting, project management

• Packaged Software: Designed to meet the need of a wide variety of users, not just a single user or company. • Custom Software: Programs developed at the user’s request to perform specific functions. • Shareware: software that is distributed freely for a trial period. • Freeware: Software that is provided at no cost to a user, individual or company. • Public-domain software: free software that has been donated for public use and has no copyright restrictions.

Software Development
• Computer Programmers:
– People who write software programs. – Write the necessary instructions to direct computer processing data into information. – Instructions in the correct sequence. – Systems Analyst- manages the development of a program, working with both the user and the programmer to determine and design the desired output of a program.

Programming Languages
• • • • • • • DOS C C++ COBOL Visual Basic HTML Java

Networks and Internet
• Network: Collection of computers and devices connected together via communications media and devices such as cables telephone lines, modems, or other means. • Sometimes a network may be wireless: which means uses no physical lines or wires. • When your computer is connected to a network, you are said to be online. • Computers are networked together so users can share resources, such as hardware devices, software programs, data and information. Sharing resources save time and money.


• World’s largest network • Worldwide collection of networks that links together millions of computers by means of modems, telephone lines, wireless technology, and other communications devices.
– – – – – Sending emails Accessing a wealth of information Shopping Conferencing Accesing of sources of entertainment and leisure

(ISP) Internet Service Provider
• An organization that supplies connections to the Internet for a monthly fee.
– (AOL) American Online – Onelink PR – Liberty Cable Vision – Coquinet – Caribenet – Ayustar

• WWW = World Wide Web
– Billions of web pages – Web Browsers read and display the pages
• • • • IE Fire Fox Netscape Opera

Computer Category
• Four mayor categories:
– PC, Minicomputers, Mainframe, Supercomputers

(PC) Personal Computer
• Computer that can perform all of its input, processing, output, and storage activities by itself; that is, it contains at least one input device, one output device, one storage device, memory and procesor.

Major categories of PCs: – Desktop Computers: designed so the system unit, input devices, output devices, and other devices fit entirely under a desk.
• • • • • • Tower Horizontal All-in-one Workstation Stand-alone Server

– Portable Computers: personal computer that is small enough to carry.
• Laptops • Noteboks • (PDA) Personal Digital Assistant

• More powerful and larger than a workstation computer. • Can support up to 4,000 connceted users at the same time. • It is accessed frequently via terminal, which is a device with a monitor and keyboard (dumb terminals – because info is stored on the microcomputer (server)).

• Mainframe:
– Is a large, expensive, very powerful computer that can handle hundreds of thousands of connected users simultaneously. Also acts as server.

Super Computers
• Super Computer:
– Is the fastest, most powerful computer and also the most expensive. – Capable of processing 64 billion instructions in a single second. – Weather forecasting, nuclear energy research, petroleum exploration.

Computer Users

• • • • • • • • • Why is computer literacy important? What is a computer? What are the components of a computer? Why is a Computer a Powerful tool? What are the Categories of Computer Software? What is the purpose of a Network? How is the Internet Used? What are the categories of computers? How are computers used?

Why is Computer Literacy Important?

• To be succesful in todays worls, it is crucial to have knowledge and understanding of computers and their uses. • This knowledge is called Computer Literacy.

What is a computer?
• A computer is an electronic machine, operating under the control of instructions stored under the control of instructions stored in its own memory, that can accept data (input), manipulate data (process), produce results (output), and store the results for future use (storage). • Data / Information:
– Information is processed data – Data is raw

What are the components of a Computer? • Hardware
– Input device – Output device – System unit – CPU – Memory – Storage Devices – Communications Devices

Why is a computer a powerful tool? A computers’ power can be derived from its capability of performing the information processing cycle operations with speed, reliability, accuracy, capacity to store huge amounts of data, instructions, and its ability to communicate information with other computers.

What are the categories of Computer Software? • Software is the series of instructions that tells the hardware of a computer what to do.
– System Software:
• Operating System • Utility Programs

– Application Software: specific tasks like word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentations, ect.

What is the purpose of a Network?

• A network is a collection of computers and devices connceted together via communications media. Computers are networked so users can share resources such as hardware devices, software programs, data and information.

How is the Internet Used?
• The world’s largest network is the Internet, which is a worldwide collection of networks that links together millions of computers. • The Internet is used to:
– Send messages – Obtain info – Shopping – Entertainment and leisure

What are the categories of computers?
• PCs
– Desktop – Portable Computer

• Minicomputers • Mainframe • Supercomputers

How are Computers Used?
• Home Users: entertainment, communications, research and education, web access, shopping, finance, word processing and spreadsheets. • Small Business Users: utilize productivity software as well as communications software. • Large Business users: automated systems. • Power Users: design plans, produce publications, graphic art, multimedia.

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