You are on page 1of 21

SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

QUESTION 1 What are differences between Windows and Linux operating systems? Compare both of the operating systems in terms of; • desktop environment, • accessibility and usability, • stability and performance, • security • ability of gaming technology. In your opinion, which one is the best operating system can be implemented for university level or do we need an interoperatability for both of the operating systems? Discuss further. [Total marks: 50 Marks]

QUESTION 2 One of the latest and interesting development in computer technology is the surface computing. What do you know about this technology? Give some examples of applications currently developed using this technology. In your opinion, how this technology can be implemented in the university and describe some examples of applications that can be developed using this technology. [Total marks: 40 Marks]


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

Differences Between Windows and Linux Operating Systems
Microsoft Windows is a series of software operating systems produced by Microsoft. Microsoft first introduced an operating environment named Windows in November 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal computer market, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced previously. At the 2004 IDC Directions conference, IDC Vice President Avneesh Saxena stated that Windows had approximately 90% of the client operating system market. The most recent client version of Windows is Windows Vista. The current server version of Windows is Windows Server 2008. Linux is an operating system that was initially created as a hobby by a young student, Linus Torvalds, at the University of Helsinki in Finland. Linus had an interest in Minix, a small UNIX system, and decided to develop a system that exceeded the Minix standards. He began his work in 1991 when he released version 0.02 and worked steadily until 1994 when version 1.0 of the Linux Kernel was released. The kernel, at the heart of all Linux systems, is developed and released under the GNU General Public License and its source code is freely available to everyone. It is this kernel that forms the base around which a Linux operating system is developed. There are now literally hundreds of companies and organizations and an equal number of individuals that have released their own versions of operating systems based on the Linux kernel. Therefore, Microsoft Windows is a proprietary OS while Linux is a free open source OS. Linux and Windows differ in philosophy, cost, ease of use, versatility, and stability, with each seeking to improve in their perceived weak areas. Comparisons of the two tend to reflect the origins, historic user base and distribution model of each. Typically, some major areas of perceived weaknesses regularly cited have included the poor “out-of-box” usability of the Linux desktop for the mass-market and poor system stability for Windows. Both are areas of rapid development in both fields.


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

Linux vs Windows: Desktop Environment
Desktop environment offers much easier interactivity between the users and the operating system functions and services. In most cases, a desktop environment offers convenient interfaces, mostly in terms of GUI to regular users by using input and output devices such as the mouse, keyboard and so on. Linux, at its core is a textual-based desktop environment, similar in nature to its parent, Unix. However, there are two GUI technology that can offer Linux users the graphical and more friendlier Desktop Environment. They are GNOME and KDE which offer desktop environment and management support to the Linux kernel, including However, the Linux core can operate independently of its desktop environment support.

KDE Desktop Environment

GNOME Desktop Environment


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

Windows, starting from Windows 95 offers an integrated approach to both of DOS kernel and the desktop environment. Prior to that, DOS and the GUI environment like the Windows 3.1 are considered as separate and optional extension to the DOS kernel. Starting from Windows 95 however, when people refer to DOS, actually they are refering to Windows and vice versa. They are almost non-separable. DOS mode however, are still available under Windows environment in much controlled virtual mode. There are however issues concerning Linux for desktop environment. Since Linux is an open source software, various vendors offer variants of desktop functionalities and even different internal command structures. There are obvious differences among Debian, Red Hat, Mandrake, Suse, Ubuntu and others in terms of desktop management.

Linux vs Windows: Accessibility and Usability
Accessibility and usability are both issues in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). It deals with GUI and interactivities between the users and the OS or the systems. Accesibility deals with how the users with different physical capabilities gain access to the OS functions and services. Usability deals with the functionality of the interface: Learnability, Efficiency, Memorability, Errors & Recovery, and Satisfaction. In terms of accesibility, both OSes offer almost identical features and functions, such as standard keyboard and mouse, magnifier, changing the font size, on-screen keyboard and similar features. In terms of usability, Windows is found to be the most favoured and used OS in the user desktop environment. Research has shown that nearly 90% of world’s users computing are using Windows operating systems in different versions. This impliedly shows that Windows is second to none in terms of usability. This is further strenghtened by the strong support from software and application developers and vendors and hardware manufacturers that tightly bind their products to Windows-based operating systems.


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications


Just like MacOS, Windows operating systems ia an excellent example of GUI technology. We can safely say that Windows is a matured technology in terms of usability. They are easy to learn, with rich help features, mistake-tolerant, easy to learn and remember. The graphical elements and objects making up the entire Windows are consistent throughout the presentations. Transitions from one Windows version to another version is seemless, where graphical elements of the two offer consistent lookand-feel. That enhances learnability and ease of use. The figure below that even with different version of Windows, the presentation and appearance of Microsoft Word 2003 will be similar and consistent. User interaction with software is usually consistent between versions, releases, and editions.

Microsoft Word 2003 in Windows 98 and Windows XP.


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

Linux however, does not offer any one standard interface. Many vendors offer their own interfaces and graphic technologies beside GNOME and KDE for the desktop. In addition to that, windowing technologies for Linux may come from different LnF or Look-and-Feel such as Motif, Metal, MacOS and so on. Some vendors like Ubuntu, offer both GNOME and KDE desktop experience. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the presentation of Linux interface would be similar in functions and looks. But once one particular windowing technology is used, there should be no major problem for the users except when they have to switch to other GUI systems. In Linux, the quality of graphical design varies between desktop environments and distributions. The two biggest desktop environments, GNOME and KDE have clearly defined interface guidelines, which tend to be followed consistently and clearly. These provide consistency and a high grade of customizability in order to adapt to the needs of the user. Distributions such as Ubuntu, SuSE, Fedora or Mandriva take this one step further, combining well-functioning usability and safety. However, inconsistencies may appear, since GNOME-based programs, following different guidelines, look somewhat different from KDE programs. Some applications developed by other version of Linux (e.g. Ubuntu) may behave unexpectedly under other versions, even when they share similar version of Linux core. In terms of ease-of-use, Windows is equally as good as any other operating systems, if not better than MacOS in small margin. If compared to Linux, however, Windows offer more features and services that are more convenient and more userfriendly than Linux. One example is the use of Windows installer where applications to be installed will go through a series of convenient and controlled steps. This will avoid user mistakes, prevent system corruptions and guaranteed safe installations. On the other hand, Linux however is not as easy as Windows. Applications that need to be installed will have to go a series of manual and complex series of installations steps. Different vendors offer different features in the installation process and application managers. Linux however do have one application installer called “sudo”, RPM or APT. at the kernel level. But it is not convenient since the users may have to understand some technicalities of Linux and manual oerations may be required of the users.


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

Linux vs Windows: Stability and Performance
Linux can run for years without needing to be restarted. In fact, most Internet servers run Linux, and they rarely ever need to restart. Of course, with any major update, it's inevitable that a system should reboot to ensure it's operating properly. The point is: if Linux is used, people could theoretically leave their system running for obscene periods of time and never worry about those spontaneous reboots (the kind you get with Windows). This is the main reason why networking and internet applications favor Linux over Windows Server / XP for their systems. From a Windows user perspective: a week is a long time between reboots. In fact, it's not too uncommon to experience a 'glitch' that requires a reboot three or four times a week. Simply put, Windows is not a stable system in comparison to Linux. The kernel inherits the stability of UNIX due to its modular architecture (acknowledged to be stable). Linux terminal emulators and frontend “Window Managers” stabilities vary widely, but are generally stable. Mechanisms to terminate badly behaving applications exist at multiple levels. Because Linux can use a text based system if the graphics system fails, the graphics system can be easily restarted following a crash without a whole system reboot. In terms of performance, Windows use a CPU scheduler based on a multilevel feedback queue, with 32 priority levels defined. The kernel may change the priority level of a thread depending on its I/O and CPU usage and whether it is interactive (i.e. accepts and responds to input from humans), raising the priority of interactive and I/O bounded processes and lowering that of CPU bound processes, to increase the responsiveness of interactive applications. The scheduler was modified in Windows Vista to use the cycle counter register of modern processors to keep track of exactly how many CPU cycles a thread has executed, rather than just using an interval-timer interrupt routine. Linux kernel 2.6 once used a scheduling algorithm favoring interactive processes. Here "interactive" is defined as a process has short bursts of CPU usage rather than long ones. It is said that a process without root privilege can take advantage of this to monopolize the CPU, when the CPU time accounting precision is low. However, the new CFS, the completely fair scheduler, addresses this problem.


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

Linux vs Windows: Security
In terms of security, Linux is better than those of Windows. This is because Linux inherit so much security features from its parent UNIX, such as built-in encryption, multi-level and multi-layered password protections, better account management, strong workgroup security and so on. This is due to the excellent networking and TCP/IP capabilities being offered by Linux if compared to Windows. Linux have a “user, group, other” approach to filesystem permissions at a minimum. Access Control Lists are available on some filesystems, which extends the traditional Unix-like permissions system. Security patches like SELinux and PaX add Role-Based Access Controls, which add even finer-grained controls over which users and programs can access certain resources or perform certain operations. Some distributions, such as Fedora, CentOS, and Red Hat use SELinux out of the box, although most do not. Most Linux distributions provide different user accounts for the various daemons. In common practice, user applications are run on unprivileged accounts, to provide least user access. In some distributions, administrative tasks can only be performed through explicit switching from the user account to the root account, using tools such as su and sudo. Windows NT uses NTFS-based Access Control Lists to administer permissions, using tokens. On Windows XP and prior versions, most home users still ran all of their software with Administrator accounts, as this is the default setup upon installation. The existence of software that would not run under limited accounts and the cumbersome runas mechanism forced many users to use administrative accounts. This gives users full read and write access to all files on the filesystem. Windows Vista changes this by introducing a privilege elevation system called User Account Control that works on the principle of Least user access. When logging in as a standard user, a logon session is created and a token containing only the most basic privileges is assigned. In this way, the new logon session is incapable of making changes that would affect the entire system. When logging in as a user in the Administrators group, two separate tokens are assigned. The first token contains all privileges typically awarded to an administrator, and the second is a restricted token similar to what a standard user would receive. User applications, including the Windows Shell, are then started with the restricted token, resulting in a reduced privilege 8

SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

environment even under an Administrator account. When an application requests higher privileges or "Run as administrator" is clicked, UAC will prompt for confirmation and, if consent is given, start the process using the unrestricted token As the design flaws of Windows are consistently exploited, the stability of the operating system is under constant scrutiny. These flaws are not exclusive to virus and worm exploitation but also to how Windows interacts with other technology. Windows is infamous for not working well with third party vendor products causing slow processing time and system crashes. Additionally, allowing end-users full administrative control of their machine can often times result in the inadvertent corruption of system data providing further instability. According to Kaspersky Lab, more than 11,000 malware programs for Windows were discovered in the second half of 2005. Botnets - networks of infected computers controlled by malicious persons - with more than one million computers have been witnessed. Users are advised to install and run anti-malware programs. There are only 800 malware reported for Linux. But to simply say that Linux is more secured than Windows systems is literally not correct. At some level, Windows are vulnerable to exploits and malware due to the lack of precautions on the users side. This is especially true especially in the desktop environment where careless users are using their computers. But in terms of networking security, Linux is offering more security features and is by far, more excellent than Windows.

Linux vs Windows: Ability of Gaming Technology.
Starting with Windows 98, Windows offer its own powerful gaming technologies called the Direct-X for 2D and 3D accelerated applications. This technology is very popular among developers and further enhance the popularity of Windows among the game developers. With the exceptions of id software’s Quake, there exists countless vendor and developer supports and provide the gaming libraries and engines that are predominantly Dirext-X – based. Most of the games today are most likely to be developed first on the Windows machines before being ported to other OS such as Linux.


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

Linux however is pale in comparison in gaming technologies. With poor libraries and vendor support (such as the 3D-card and sound card drivers), Linux remains dormant in gaming technology. There are no specialized libraries for Linux to support complex gaming technologies except those of community-developed, unstable libraries. Only few significant games have been fully developed under Linux. However, with Linux strong linked to native C and C++, several developers are slowly moving to Linux as a development platform due to the ability of another big-name graphic technology (even better than the Direct-X) – the OpenGL. Interoperability Between Linux and Windows In general, both Linux and Windows can exist on the same machine but they cannot directly communicate and interact with each other. A program written for Linux will not run under Windows and vice versa. For example, Microsoft makes a version of Office for Windows and another version for the Mac. They are two different products, each capable of only running on the operating system it was designed for. There is no version of Microsoft Office for Linux. On the other hand, some programs, such as Firefox, are available for multiple operating systems. Firefox runs on Linux, Windows, Macs and more. Open Office competes with Microsoft Office and comes in versions for Windows (all the way from Windows 98 up to Vista), GNU/Linux ("Linux"), Sun Solaris, Mac OS X (under X11), and FreeBSD. The process of making a new version of a program that will run on a different operating system is called "porting". But there are other ways to get a program to run on an operating system other than the one it was designed for. The solution to Interoperability: Virtual Machines The most ambitious approach is to install one operating system inside another. Perhaps the most popular example of this is with Intel based Macintosh computers. Software from Parallels (Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac) and from VMware (Fusion) lets you run Windows at the same time as Mac OS X. In this example, the Mac OS X is referred to as the host or native operating system, it's the one that gets run when the computer is


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

turned on. Windows is referred to as the guest operating system. This approach is called Virtual Machines. Assorted virtual machine software is available that lets Linux, Macs and Windows operate as either the host or guest operating system. In a guest copy of Windows, running under either Linux or Mac OS X as the host OS, you can install any and all Windows programs. Somewhat like a split personality, one computer can run two (or more) operating systems at the same time. VMware was the first to market with a virtual machine product (also called VMware) for personal computers. Virtual PC, has competed with VMware for a long time. Parallels is a more recent competitor. Virtual Machine products from these companies differ in their supported host and guest operating systems. Win4Lin is virtual machine software that only supports Linux as the host OS and only supports Windows (95, 98, Me, 2000 or XP) as the guest OS.

Linux vs Windows: One for Campus Network
Given the dominance of Windows and Linux as the most prevalent operating systems available, the debate as to which platform holds superiority thunders on. With Linux strongly becoming the arch nemesis of the “Windows Empire”, mud slinging between the two communities has been consistent and fierce. Windows claims Linux is burdened with security issues, insufficient technical support, inconsistent interfaces, and instability. Linux developers, on the other hand, accuse Windows of being more susceptible to attack, unstable, inflexible, promoting vendor lock-in, and of lesser quality. As in everything else, the truth is always somewhere in the middle. Both have their advantages and disadvantages when implemented in a corporate environment. Similarly, each operating system has the ability to adeptly perform the functions they claim to do, but most decision-makers desire the most for their money. Linux, is an OS that heavily inherits from the most well-known networking OS in the history of networking and distributed computing – the UNIX. Therefore, choosing Linux for campus and university networking will be the wiser choice. Linux ia more natural to TCP/IP networking. In fact, TCP/IP is Linux/UNIX and vice versa. It also offers a rich set of networking features, libraries, functions and APIs that cannot be matched by any Windows OS, even by the so-called Windows Server / NT. For one 11

SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

thing, Windows does not directly and naturally a TCP/IP-based technology, but does support it through internal conversion. Windows is literally a NetBios-based / NetBEUI networking technology. For server management, Linux is again, ahead of Windows. Linux-based servers can operate much longer without being reset or restarted. This is just perfect for running a server which requires a consistent and error-prone networking OS. This is another reason why most organizations choose Linux for their server and networking operations, rather than Windows. Finally, Linux is an open source software. Literally, it means that high-level customization can be expected in designing and installing the softwares, applications and even hardware of the entire network. Organizations are not bound only to certain vendors or softwares that may offer limited or unsuitable functionalities for their network. Companies, therefore will have much more choices and alternatives for their network design and implementation. On the other hand, Windows is a proprietary software. That means, many applications, softwares and even hardwares are bound to Microsoft’s own products or similar products from Microsoft-endorsed companies. Therefore, it is concluded that Linux is more suitable for university and serious networking environment, if compared to Windows.

Both OSes have their own strengths and weaknesses. Windows offers much more friendlier interfaces and functionalities and excels in the desktop environment, where users of no or less experience can easily learn and use it for their computing activities. This should explain why Windows is dominating 90% of the OS global market. With ever-growing, on-going vendor support, we can expect Windows to keep on dominating the PC market for the years to come. Linux however is intended for far more advanced users. It is a powerful and excels in terms of distributed computing, security and serious internet activities of corporates. It is less susceptible to security threats, robust and more stable for managing and maintaining the whole network.


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

The Surface Computing
What Is Surface Technology?
Surface technology is developed as a software and hardware combination technology that allows a user, or multiple users, to manipulate digital content and everyday objects by the use of natural motions, hand gestures, or physical objects. The main element interactivity is carried out by using the touch-sensitive screen that can resemble, if not similar, with hands-on experience of everyday object manipulation. Recent minor innovations in the surface computing field are attributed to Apple, Inc and to Microsoft Corporation. Apple had demonstrated surface computing interfaces intended for professional use since 2006, with no expected product release date. Microsoft unveiled plans for the Microsoft Surface in May 2007. The Microsoft Surface seems to be closer to production, with devices intended for consumer use at large establishments such as hotels and casinos. Much earlier work in this area was done at the University of Toronto, Alias Research, and MIT

A surface computer from Microsoft’s Surface

How it Works
Surface technology enables a level of interaction previously unattainable with conventional hardware. The system is composed of a horizontal touchscreen under a coffee table-like surface, with cameras mounted below to detect user interaction activities. All interface components such as dialogs, mouse pointer, and windows, are


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

replaced with circles and rectangles outlining "objects" that are manipulated via drag and drop. The "objects" in question can be either virtual objects displayed on the screen, or physical objects such as cellphones, digital cameras, and PDAs placed on the screen. Physical objects are automatically identified and connected to the Surface computer upon their placement on the screen. With no interface text, the Surface computer can be used by speakers of any language and any competency level.

Another example of Microsoft Surface

Surface's main feature is the apparent simplicity with which common computing tasks can be performed. Most operations are performed without dialogs or wizards. For instance, pictures in a digital camera placed on the surface are automatically downloaded to the device and displayed on the screen. Transferring those pictures to another device, such as a compatible cellphone, simply requires the user to place the cellphone on the surface and to drag the pictures in it's direction. While the potential security implications of this type of interaction are obvious, and Microsoft's solutions to the issue are vague at best. Devices are identified by a one-byte "domino" tag on their sides, which is easily forged with a pencil. Although the underlying bluetooth and wifi technologies are considered safe for the transfer of the data itself, the ease in which documents can be accidentally or maliciously copied is alarming. This is typical of Microsoft products, which generally sacrifice security for convenience and simplicity of use.


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

Current Application: Microsoft’s Surface
Current application of surface technology is dominated by the computing industry, or particularly end-user computing. This technology is first made available to the public by Microsoft. Microsoft notes four main components being important in Surface's interface: • • • • direct interaction, multi-touch contact, a multi-user experience, and object recognition. Direct interaction refers to the user's ability to simply reach out and touch the interface of an application in order to interact with it, without the need for a mouse or keyboard. Multi-touch contact refers to the ability to have multiple contact points with an interface, unlike with a mouse, where there is only one cursor. Multi-user is a benefit of multi-touch -- several people can orient themselves on different sides of the surface to interact with an application simultaneously. Object recognition refers to the device's ability to recognize the presence and orientation of tagged objects placed on top of it. The technology allows non-digital objects to be used as input devices. In one example, a normal paint brush was used to create a digital painting in the software. This is made possible by the fact that, in using cameras for input, the system does not rely on restrictive properties required of conventional touchscreen or touchpad devices such as the capacitance, electrical resistance, or temperature of the tool used. The computer's "vision" is created by a near-infrared, 850-nanometerwavelength LED light source aimed at the surface. When an object touches the tabletop, the light is reflected to multiple infrared cameras with a net resolution of 1280 x 960, allowing it to sense, and react to items touching the tabletop. Surface is a 30-inch (76 cm) display in a table-like form factor, 22 inches (56 cm) high, 21 inches (53 cm) deep, and 42 inches (107 cm) wide. The Surface tabletop is acrylic, and its interior frame is powder-coated steel. The software platform runs on a custom version of Windows Vista and has wired Ethernet 10/100, wireless 802.11 b/g, and Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity. Surface applications are written using either Windows Presentation Foundation or Microsoft XNA technology. At Microsoft's MSDN Conference, Bill Gates told developers of "Maximum" setup the Microsoft Surface was going to have: 15

SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

• • •

Intel Core Quad Xeon "WoodCrest" @ 2.66GHz 4GB DDR2-1066 RAM 1TB 7200RPM Hard Drive It has a custom motherboard form factor about the size of two ATX

motherboards. Guests at Harrah’s Entertainment’s Las Vegas properties, including Caesars Palace and the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, can explore the wide variety of dining, entertainment, night life and gaming experiences available at its network of area casinos. Using the interactive virtual concierge in Microsoft Surface, guests can reserve tickets to an Elton John concert, review the menu at chic eatery Bradley Odgen, take a tour of the world-famous PURE nightclub, book a luxurious spa treatment or redeem Total Rewards loyalty program credits for a broad range of merchandise. The virtual concierge can directly connect users to amenities available at any of Harrah’s seven Las Vegas casinos, allowing guests to “visit” multiple venues and plan their itineraries without ever getting up from their table.

Microsoft Surface being used as a gambling table. Credit Card information from the real credit card can be charged on the fly by using fingers, to betting pool


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

Potential Applications Of Surface Computing
Surface technology or computing presents a lot of application potentials to other fields as well. Education With surface technology, students can enjoy much more riched learning experience. Students can directly and naturally access the object being studied and manipulate them as they will. By using touch screen, their interactivity would become more rich and natural. This will give new learning experience to the students and can give way to new method of learning and teaching. With multi-touch screen, various objects can be manipulated in parallel all at once. For example, engineering students can make their drawings on the screen, while reading their references and listening to music or browsing the internet all by the convenient of their fingers and touches. Although this may seem like a normal PC usage situation, surface computing is however far more powerful than a single PC. It offers much higher interactivity and response level than a normal PC.

Microsoft Surface at work

Entertainment In entertainment, various ambitious surface technology has been shown through movies. The most famous is the one featured in the movie ‘Minority Report’. In the movie, the casts use the mirror-like screen and use their fingers and hand movements as the input and manipulation method. Although this technology is still experimental, the


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

possibility is there and it won’t be long before such technology can reach the general public.

A scene from Minority Report showing the imagenery use of advance surface and holographic technology.

Similarly, animations should benefit most from surface technology. Currently, animators and 3-D designers use touch-screen and pen to animate their artwork before they can be manipulated directly. By using surface technology, animators and graphic artists can directly channeled their natural talent by using their fingers to draw and to manipulate various objects, instead of using the touch pen, which is unnatural with their artistic ability. This will make them work faster and more productive. Therefore production time and costs. In music, music and sound engineers can cut down their work time simply by switching to surface technology. Normally, editing, mixing and synthesizing are done on separate occasions and on separate machines. By using surface technology, the sound engineers can have an integrated over the works involved since it can offer multi-user and multi-touch solutions to the sound engineers. Domestic Consumers of domestic product can also manipulate from the surface technology. Various home and kitchen appliances can be controlled easily from simply touches on the available touch-screen. What makes it different than other touch-screen technology, is that surface technology is more capable of manipulating controls of elecronic and


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

electrical appliances, since what lies beneath them are customizable softwares, rather than common controllers. In addition, with multi-touch screen, a user can do and command multiple machines and work all at the same time. That means, household chores can be done more efficiently and effectively. More time can be saved and the users can then spend more quality time for other family matters. This will offer great flexibilites to the users since they can do more than one jab and manipulate more than one objects with only their fingers. They can combine work with entertainment and maintainence since surface technology is available to them at the convenient of a table. What they are having from the table are a powerful software applications and procesing capabilities and enjoying the powerful features of a real PC to their kitchen.

Surface Technology For The University
Although Surface Technology has not yet reached this country, we can expect that demands for such appealing technologies will be good. But as it pioneering and still experimental at large, prices will not be cheap. For OUM, it is recommended that Surface Technology be implemented first at the management and administration level before it is implemented at the student level. With Surface Technology, staff can be used to implement multiple jobs since they can easily access multiple information at the same time. PPW / PPU administrators can answer to multiple queries and thus, can reduce their burden. Workflow can be significantly improved and the staff should become more efficient and productive. For example, while answering to the phone calls, the administrator can look for the information from the screen and can check for confirmation from the management. At student level, setting up a Surface access centre is not at all a bad idea. Since a ‘table’ can be shared by 4 persons at the same time, OUM can save a lot on costs and space. Similarly, the use of this surface table can enhance learning since it encourage collaborative learning and improve the group dynamics of the students. Students sharing the same table can directly form a temporary group and exchange information and notes. With everything on the table, such as applications, internet,


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications

networking and softwares, Surface Technology can trully become an excellent tool for both OUM and the students.

This idea is nothing new and is not the only company eyeing the new market, but it has never been more than a prototype until recently being exhibited at the All Things Digital conference. Microsoft Surface made several appearances in movies like the futuristic movies Minority Report and The Island. This new technology, the brainchild of Stevie Bathiche and Andy Wilson, is breaking down the traditional barriers of people and technology by providing an effortless interaction with digital media. It is apart of Intel’s vision of the near future where devices work seamlessly together. This innovative computer has price tags running $10,000 a unit. Microsoft however expects prices to plummet over the next three to five years to the point that it will be available for every home. It is estimated that Surface technology, not necessarily Microsoft Surface, will see dramatic growth and enhancement in the near future. Potential applications have been experimented and various vendors have already taken the challenge. It will not be long before we can see ‘smart tables’ serving people at our local bistros and kopitiam shops.


SHAMSOL AZHAR BIN MOHAMAD (740628025961001) CDCA2103 Information Technology & Its Applications


No Author (2007). CDCA2103 Information Technologies & Applications. Course Module: Kuala Lumpur: Open University Malaysia. Microsoft Surface website. Available at: Comparison of Windows and Linux. Available online at: (browsed 12th June, 2008 Usability. Available at: (Browsed 10th June, 2008) Douglas Godbey (13/10/2006). Linux vs Windows: Stability. Available at: 6/20061013_linux_vs_windows_stability.htm (browsed 11th June, 2008) What is the Microsoft Surface. Available at: Microsoft Surface. Available at: