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Data: Data are the basic facts about entities within an
organization which provide us a very little, or no meaning until processed in some manner. Data are the raw facts about entities describing objects of relevance to an organization. Ex. Selling Price, ”XYZ”, “ABC”, 1999 etc.
Information: Relevant data when joined together processed
and converted into a meaningful form is known as information. Data is processed so that it becomes relevant to a particular decision situation. It helps in reducing uncertainty, associated with decision alternatives or choices and presented in the form in which it is found useful by the decision maker. Information should be in a proper format, and easily understood by the user. Ex. Time Table, Merit List, Pay slips etc. Data
Need of Information in Business Management:
The main area of information management covers data processing, Documentation, report generation, analysis and implementation of information in decision-making. Every business needs some information systems to perform these tasks:
1) Good information system increases the effectiveness of an
2) To improve the current organization system to improve
3) To secure the business from the changes this can occur in
4) To define long term and short term objectives for an
organization. Identify Problem Set Goals Relevant Information Good Decision Successful Goal Attainment Effective Task Performance
Characteristics of Information:
1) Completeness: Information must always be complete in
all respect. Incomplete information is less useful.
2) Action-Oriented: Information must be given in a manner
that it can be used directly for taking decision or initiating action.
information, which is complete as well as concise. Decision making process need concise information that summarizes that relevant fact.
4) Availability: Information must be stored properly and in a
classified and indexed manner, for easy retrieval.
5) Accuracy: Accuracy is the ratio of current information to
the total amount of information, produced over a period of time. Accuracy increases the cost of information.
6) Timeliness: Information has value in relation to the time
in which it is made available to the decision maker. However, information must always be delivered in time; otherwise it loses its value.
Categories of Information
Top Level Involved in Long terms strategic plans and Decisions. Involved in tactical plans and implementing the strategic plans. Level
Middle Level Lower Involved in day-to-day operational planning, decision And short term plans.
In modern civilization, business organizations are the major information processing centers. These are the places where the managers on the basis of information generated by information system make various types of decisions. Depending upon their responsibility and the level in the organization, manager will require information of different levels and categories.
Change Role of Information:
ERA1 (1960-1970): To improve business efficiency by automating basic information processes or Data processing for operational efficiency. The approach of this era was in piecemeal automation from one process to another and this led to incompatible systems, which in total reduced overall business efficiency, but apparently improved local productivity. It was realized that a
planned approach was required if overall benefits had to be maximized. ERA2 (1970-1990): To improve management effectiveness by satisfying information needs or MIS for Management effectiveness. During the latter part of 1980s Management Information System because a reality. But, we are yet to find answers to how successful organizations have been in exploiting IS/IT during this era i.e. how effective in general have management been in identifying and obtaining the benefits available? ERA3 (1990-2006): To improve competitiveness by effecting the business strategy or Strategic Information System for Business Advantages. There appear to be form main types of strategic applications of IS/IT, each of which has different management implications. 1) Those that produce more effective integration of the use of information in the key value- adding processes of the business. In addition, integration of information provides management with better overall control of the business and an ability to respond more quickly in adopting its operations consistently when business conditions and functions.
2) Those that link the organization more efficiently and effectively with its main costs means and suppliers. The use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) links improves the efficiency of handling business transaction. 3) Those that enable the business to develop and deliver new or enhanced products on services to the market. 4) Those that provide executive management with information to manage the business and its strategy more effectively.
A computer is an electronic data processing machine which accepts data from the outside world in the form of an input and manipulates, calculates, computes on the basis of a set of instructions supplied and stored in the memory and gives the required or desired results in the form of an output to the user.
Characteristics of Computer: All computers have
certain common characteristics irrespective of their type and size. Computer are not just adding machines, they are capable of doing complex activities and operations. Computer is what they are because of the following characteristics:
1) Word Length: A digital computer operates on binary
digits- 0 and 1. It can understand only in term of 0s and 1s. A binary digit is called a bit. A group of 8 bits is called a byte. The number of bits that a computer can process at a time in parallel is called its word length. Common used word lengths are 8, 16, 32 or 64 bits. Word length is the measure of the computing power of a computer.
2) Speed: Computer can calculate at very high speeds. For
example, can execute millions of instructions per second over and over again without any mistake. As the power of the computer increases, the speed also increases. For example, Supercomputer can operate at speeds measured in nanoseconds and even in gigaflop and teraflop- one thousand to one million times faster than microcomputers.
3) Storage: Computers can storage a large amount of data.
With more and more auxiliary storage devices, which are capable of storing huge amounts of data, the storage capacity of a computer is virtually unlimited. So the capability of storing and retrieving huge amounts of data in a fast and efficient manner is one of the important characteristics of computers.
4) Versatility: Computer is capable of performing almost
any task, provided the task can be reduced to a series of logical steps. Computer can communicate with other computers and can receive and send data in various forms like text, sound, video, graphics etc. This ability of computer to communicate to one another has led to the development of computer networks, Internet, WWW and so on.
5) Accuracy: The accuracy of a computer system is very
high. In most cases, the errors are due to the human factor rather than the technological flows. If a wrong input is given the output also will be wrong- GIGO Garbage In Garbage Output).
6) Automation: Once a task is initiated, Computers can
process on its own till its completion. Computers can be programmed to perform a series of complex tasks involving multiple programs. Computers are capable of these levels of automation, provided they are programmed correctly.
7) Diligence: Human beings suffer from weakness like
tiredness, Lack of Concentration etc. Humans have feeling, they become sad, depressed and bored and it will reflect on the work they do. Being a machine, a computer does not have any of these human weaknesses. They will not go into depression or loose concentration. The millionth time, computer performs with exactly the same accuracy and speed.
Application of Computer: Today, millions of people are
purchasing fully functional personal computers for individual reasons. In their homes, people use various forms of computer technology for writing memos, for keeping track of bank
accounts, for communication with friends and associates, for accessing knowledge, for purchasing goods and many other countless tasks. It is a binding fact that are computers are very productive, efficient and make our personal and professional lives more rewarding. These 'magical' machines can do just about anything imaginable; moreover they really excel in certain areas. Below is the list of some of the principal applications of the computer systems:
1. Businesses: Businessmen make bar graphs and pie charts
from tedious figures to convey information with far more impact than numbers alone can convey. Furthermore, computers help businesses to predict their future sales, profits, costs etc. making companies more accurate in their accounts. Computers may also play a vital role in aiding thousands of organisations to make judgmental and hard-provoking decisions concerning financial problems and prospective trends.
2. Education: Most good colleges in the world have
computers available for use in the classroom. It has been proved that learning with computers has been more successful and this is why numerous forms of new teaching methods have been introduced.
3. Energy: Energy companies use computers to locate oil, coal,
natural gas and uranium. With the use of these technological machines, these companies can figure out the site of a natural resource, its concentration and other related figures. Electric companies use computers to monitor vast power networks. In addition, meter readers use hand held computers to record how much energy is used each month in homes and offices.
4. Transportation: Computers are used in cars to monitor
fluid levels, temperatures and electrical systems. Computers are also used to help run rapid transit systems, load containerships and track railroads cars across the country. An important part is the air control traffic systems, where computers are used to control the flow of traffic between airplanes which needs a lot of precision and accuracy to be dealt with.
5. Money: Computers speed up record keeping and allow
banks to offer same-day services and even do-it yourself banking over the phone and internet. Computers have helped fuel the cashless economy, enabling the widespread use of credit cards, debit cards and instantaneous credit checks by banks and retailers. There is also a level of greater security when computers are involved in money transactions as there is a better chance of detecting forged cheques and using credit/debit cards illegally etc.
6. Government: Among other tasks, the government uses
computers to forecast the weather, to manage parks and historical sites, to produce social security checks and to collect taxes. The most important use of the computer system in this field is perhaps the Army, the Air Force and the Navy. The computers have to be very powerful and in order to be run they have to be very accurate and precise. E.g. in the use of missiles and other likes, every nanosecond counts, which may save trillions of lives on this planet. The government also uses computers in various simulations like the spread of influenza in a particular locality.
7. Health and Medicine: Computers are helping immensely
to monitor the extremely ill in the intensive care unit and provide cross-sectional views of the body. This eliminates the need for hired nurses to watch the patient twenty-four hours a day, which is greatly tiring. Doctors use computers to assist them in diagnosing certain diseases of the sort. This type of computer is called the Expert System, which is basically a collection of accumulated expertise in a specific area of field. Computers are now able to map, in exquisite detail, the structure of the human cold virus - the first step towards the common cold. Furthermore, computers are used greatly in managing
patients, doctors, wards and medicine records, as well as deal with making appointments, scheduling surgeries and other likes.
8. Communication with the World: The computes are
most popular for their uses to connect with others on the World Wide Web (WWW). Therefore, communication between two or more parties is possible which is relatively cheap considering the old fashioned methods. E-mailing, teleconferencing and the use of voice messages are very fast, effective and surprisingly cheaper as well. When connected to the Internet, people can gain various amounts of knowledge, and know about world events as they occur. Purchasing on the Internet is also becoming very popular, and has numerous advantages over the traditional shopping methods.
Types of Computers: Computers come in a variety of types
designed for different purposes, with different capabilities and costs. 1. Microcomputers: A microcomputer is a computer that has a microprocessor chip as its CPU. They are often called personal computers because they are designed to be used by one person at a time. Personal computers are typically used at home, at school, or at a business. Popular uses for microcomputers include word processing, surfing the web, sending and receiving
e-mail, spreadsheet calculations, database management, editing photographs, creating graphics, and playing music or games. Personal computers come in two major varieties, desktop computers and laptop computers: Desktop computers are larger and not meant to be portable. They usually sit in one place on a desk or table and are plugged into a wall outlet for power. The case of the computer holds the motherboard, drives, power supply, and expansion cards. The computer usually has a separate monitor (either a CRT or LCD) although some designs have a display built into the case. A separate keyboard and mouse allow the user to input data and commands. Laptop or notebook computers are small and lightweight enough to be carried around with the user. They run on battery power, but can also be plugged into a wall outlet. They typically have a built-in LCD display that folds down to protect the display when the computer is carried around. They also feature a built-in keyboard and some kind of built-in pointing device (such as a touch pad). While some laptops are less powerful than typical desktop machines, this is not true in all cases. Laptops, however, cost more than desktop units of equivalent processing power because
the smaller components needed to build laptops are more expensive. 2. Workstations: A workstation is a powerful, high-end microcomputer. They contain one or more microprocessor CPUs. They may be used by a single-user for applications requiring more power than a typical PC (rendering complex graphics, or performing intensive scientific calculations). 3. Minicomputers: A minicomputer is a multi-user computer that is less powerful than a mainframe. This class of computers became available in the 1960’s when large scale integrated circuits made it possible to build a computer much cheaper than the then existing mainframes. 4. Mainframes: A mainframe computer is a large, powerful computer that handles the processing for many users simultaneously (up to several hundred users). Users connect to the mainframe using terminals and submit their tasks for processing by the mainframe. Mainframes typically cost several hundred thousand dollars. They are used in situations where a company wants the processing power and information storage in a centralized location. Mainframes are also now being used as high-capacity server computers for networks with many client workstations.
5. Supercomputers: Supercomputers are extremely large computer installations that are typically used for scientific and engineering applications such as nuclear research, weather forecast and other complex graphics simulations that require a tremendous amount of computing power. They are built using thousands of processors and have a huge amount of primary and secondary memory. They comprise multiple systems that use parallel processing techniques. As of now, the fastest super computer is the Earth Simulator that is used for climate modeling. It can perform 35 trillion floating point operations per second. Supercomputers take up a whole building for installation and cabling and require huge amounts of power. The most popular supercomputer manufacturers are Cray, SGI, NEC and IBM. Currently, the top 5 supercomputers are: Earth Simulator situated at Yokohama, built by NEC, 35.86 teraflops ASCI Q situated at Los Alamos, built by HP, 13.88 teraflops MCR Linux Cluster situated at Livermore, built by Linux Networx/Quadrics, 7.634 teraflops ASCI White situated at Livermore, built by IBM, 7.304 teraflops SeaBorg situated at Berkeley, built by IBM, 7.304 teraflops
Functional Components of a Computer
Hardware and software are two main functional components of a computer. Hardware consists of the mechanical and electronic derive, which we can see and touch. The software consists of programs, the operating system and the data that reside in the memory and storage devices. Storage Device Input Device Processor (CPU) Memory Computer Hardware divides into two categories: Processing hardware, processing hardware, which consists of the central processing unit (CPU) and the peripheral devices. Peripheral devices allow people to interact with the CPU. Central Processing Unit (CPU): A CPU is the most important part of any computer system. It is also called as the brain or nerve of a computer. The CPU executes all operations and instrucations prepared and submitted by the user. The CPU consists of two parts, namely, Arithmetic and Logic Unit (ALU) and the Control Unit (CU). In a microcomputer, both are the microprocessor chips. Output Device
ALU Control Unit
Memory Control Unit (CU): The Control Unit performs to carry out program instructions. It directs the movement of electronic signals between memory-, which temporarily holds data, instructions and processed information, and the ALU. It also directs these control signals between the CPU and input/output devices. Arithmetic -Logic Unit (ALU): ALU performs two types of operations- arithmetic and logical. Arithmetic operations are the fundamental mathematical operations consisting of adding, subtraction, multiplication and division. Logical operation consist of comparisons (<=, =>, ==, != etc.)
Software: Computers seem to perform amazing feats as they
process information and display output almost instantly; but behind the scenes, they are really very simpleminded devices. All they do is plod along executing long strings of instructions that were previously written by a clever human programmer.
The thing that makes a computer’s performances seem so amazing is that it executes these instructions very quickly, accurately, and tirelessly. Computers aren’t smart; they are just FAST. But computers can’t do ANYTHING without step-by-step instructions written out for them. These lists of instructions are called programs. Programs (and the associated data) are known as software. Software needs to be installed onto a computer before it can be used. There are two major categories of software: System software and Application software.
1. System Software:
System software controls a computer’s operations and manages a computer’s resources. System software includes the operating system, utilities, and computer programming tools. The operating system (O.S.) controls the allocation of hardware resources such as memory space and CPU processing time, and handles the basic input and output (I/O) for data flowing from and to storage devices (such as hard disks) and peripherals (such as keyboard). The operating system allows application software to access system resources without the applications having to know the details about the system hardware. The operating system often allocates resources and processing time between
several programs which are running at once, which is called multitasking. Multitasking allows you to perform multiple tasks at the same time, such copying a chart from an open Excel document and pasting it into a report you have open in Word, all while your web browser is downloading a large file from the Internet in the background. It is the OS that plays traffic cop in this situation, deciding which program gets time on the CPU when, and handles the flow of data. The operating system also includes software that provides the user with an operating environment for interacting with the computer. An operating environment could be a command-line interface (requiring the user to type in commands to control the computer), or it could be a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows users to interact with the computer using a mouse to point and click on icons, buttons, menus, etc. System software also includes the software needed to access a peripheral device connected to the computer. Such software is called a device driver, and it controls I/O to the peripheral. The device drivers may come already installed in the OS, or you may have to install or update a driver when you add a new peripheral device. System software may also include security software, such as Virus checkers and firewalls. A virus checker searches files for
potentially harmful programs such as viruses, worms, or Trojan horses that are written by malicious programmers. Viruses and similar programs can perform disastrous activities on your computer system, such as erasing your hard disk. A firewall, or similar program, protects your computer from unauthorized access over a network or telecom connection. Utilities are programs that perform a very specific task, usually related to managing system resources such as disk drives, printers, etc. Unlike application software, utilities tend to be smaller in size and perform activities related to the computer system (scanning for viruses, manipulating file settings, scanning for disk errors, etc.). Some utilities are memoryresident programs that are loaded into RAM and operate in the background. System software also includes the tools used to write other programs. These include compilers, assemblers, and debuggers for various computer programming languages. A programming language allows a person to write computer instructions in a language that is easier for a human to understand, but which is then converted into the low level numerical instruction codes that a computer processor unit can execute. Some programming languages include C, C++, Java,
2. Application Software
Application software runs on top of the operating system and allows the user to perform a specific task, such as word processing a letter, calculating a payroll in a spreadsheet, manage a database of information, reading e-mail messages, or manipulating digital photographs. Most applications allow the production and editing of documents (which are the data files created by the application programs). The document files (such as a report created in Word, or a PowerPoint presentation, or a budget spreadsheet) can then be printed, displayed on a screen, or transmitted to other locations. Some common applications used on personal computers include: A word processor (such as MS Word) allows entering and formatting text (as well as some graphics) to create reports, letters, etc. Formatting options include changing the text size, font (typeface), line spacing, and page margins. You may also define styles that are named formatting specifications that allow you to apply and update consistent formatting throughout a long document. You can also use document templates that contain pre-made formatting, styles, and content to allow you to create a document quickly without repeating work unnecessarily. Unlike
the first word processors, modern versions use a “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) approach wherein the display on the screen tries to mimic as closely as possible the printed result you will get. Word processors also handle block operations on chunks of text, such as copying, cutting, and pasting paragraphs or lines (the blocks of information) from one place to another. Word processors include dictionary software to perform spellchecking (and can also do grammar-checking and act as a thesaurus to provide alternate words of similar meaning). Word processors also incorporate functions to search your document contents, or to search & replace one word with another. You will usually find clip art (small pre-made graphics) collections available in most word processors. In fact, may of the functions above (copy & paste, search, defining styles, etc.) are also available in most of the applications discussed below. Word and the other products of the Microsoft Office Suite of programs (including Excel, Access, and PowerPoint) can exchange data using OLE (Object Linking and Embedding). This integration of the programs allows you to copy a chart from Excel into a Word document, but have the chart remain linked to the original data; if you open
the Excel sheet later and change the numbers, the chart in Word will also reflect that change. Spreadsheet software (such as MS Excel) allows the user to do numerical calculations and produce charts of the results. In a spreadsheet program, the user works in a worksheet consisting of rows and columns (labeled with numbers and letters). The intersection of each row and column is a cell that can contain text, numbers, or formulas. The formulas use the contents of other cells to calculate new results; but the formulas use the cell reference (the row & column location of the cell) and not the contents of the cell. So if the contents of a cell is changed, all dependent formulas automatically recalculate their results. Database management software (such as MS Access) allows users to manipulate large amounts of information and retrieve any part of the information that is of interest. A structured database contains data tables that are arranged in a uniform structure of records and fields. An example would be a listing of a company’s customers (and the information about each one), and a listing of all orders placed by those customers. Graphics software (such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator) is used to create digital media art images and illustrations, or to edit digital images from scanners or digital cameras.
Presentation software (such as MS PowerPoint) is used to create presentations of slides containing text and graphics (and also incorporating sound and visual effects). These presentations can be projected from a computer display projection unit, or the slides can be printed out onto transparencies.
Compiler: A compiler is a program that translates a source
program written in some high-level programming language (such as Java) into machine code for some computer architecture (such as the Intel Pentium architecture). The generated machine code can be later executed many times against different data each time.
Interpreter: An interpreter reads an executable source
program written in a high-level programming language as well as data for this program, and it runs the program against the data to produce some results.
Differences: Interpreters and compilers are written in some
high-level programming language and they are translated into machine code. An interpreter is generally slower than a compiler because it processes and interprets each statement in a program as many times as the number of the evaluations of this statement. For example, when a for-loop is interpreted, the statements inside the for-loop body will be analyzed and
evaluated on every loop step. Some languages, such as Java and Lisp, come with both an interpreter and a compiler.
Hardware: Input Devices:
Keyboard: The computer keyboard is used to enter text information into the computer, as when type the contents of a report. The keyboard can also be used to type commands directing the computer to perform certain actions. Commands are typically chosen from an on-screen menu using a mouse, but there are often keyboard shortcuts for giving these same commands. In addition to the keys of the main keyboard (used for typing text), keyboards usually also have a numeric keypad (for entering numerical data efficiently), a bank of editing keys (used in text editing operations), and a row of function keys along the top (to easily invoke certain program functions).
Pointing Devices: The graphical user interfaces (GUIs) in use today require some kind of device for positioning the onscreen cursor. Typical pointing devices are: mouse, trackball, touch pad, graphics tablet, joystick, and touch screen. Mouse: The mouse pointing device sits on work surface and is moved with hand. In older mice, a ball in the bottom of the mouse rolls on the surface as move the mouse, and internal rollers sense the ball movement and transmit the information to the computer via the cord of the mouse. The newer optical mouse does not use a rolling ball, but instead uses a light and a small optical sensor to detect the motion of the mouse by tracking a tiny image of the desk surface. Optical mice avoid the problem of a dirty mouse ball, which causes regular mice to roll unsmooth if the mouse ball and internal rollers are not cleaned frequently. Touch pad: Most laptop computers today have a touch pad pointing device. You move the on-screen cursor by sliding your finger along the surface of the touch pad. The buttons are located below the pad, but most touch pads allow you to perform “mouse clicks” by tapping on the pad itself. Joysticks: Joysticks and other game controllers can also be connected to a computer as pointing devices. They are generally
used for playing games, and not for controlling the on-screen cursor in productivity software. Scanners: A scanner is a device that images a printed page or graphic by digitizing it, producing an image made of tiny pixels of different brightness and color values which are represented numerically and sent to the computer. Scanners scan graphics, but they can also scan pages of text which are then run through OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software that identifies the individual letter shapes and creates a text file of the page's contents.
CRT Monitor: The traditional output device of a person computer has been the CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitor. Just like a television set the CRT monitor contains a large cathode ray tube that uses an electron beam of varying strength to “paint” a picture onto the color phosphorescent dots on the inside of the screen. CRT monitors are heavy and use more electrical power than flat panel displays, but they are preferred by some graphic artists for their accurate color rendition, and preferred by some gamers for faster response to rapidly changing graphics. Monitor screen size is measured diagonally across the screen, in inches. The resolution of the monitor is the maximum number of
pixels it can display horizontally and vertically (such as 800 x 600, or 1024 x 768, or 1600 x 1200). Most monitors can display several resolutions below its maximum setting. Pixels (short for picture elements) are the small dots that make of the image displayed on the screen. The spacing of the screen’s tiny phosphor dots is called the dot pitch (dp), typically .28 or .26 (measured in millimeters). A screen with a smaller dot pitch produces sharper images. Flat Panel Monitor: A flat panel display usually uses an LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen to display output from the computer. The LCD consists of several thin layers that polarize the light passing through them. The polarization of one layer, containing long thin molecules called liquid crystals, can be controlled electronically at each pixel, blocking varying amounts of the light to make a pixel lighter or darker. Other types of flat panel technology exist (such as plasma displays) but LCD’s are most commonly used in computers, especially laptops. Older LCD’s had slow response times and low contrast, but active matrix LCD screens have a transparent thin film transistor (TFT) controlling each pixel, so response, contrast, and viewing angle are much improved. Flat panel displays are much lighter and less bulky than CRT monitors, and they consume much less power. They have been
more expensive than CRTs in the past, but the price gap is narrowing. Printers: Printers are devices used to transfer digital images from computers onto paper. Depending upon the printing mechanism used, a printer can print text, graphics and even high quality photographs. It can be connected to the computer using printer and USB ports. The driver software that is used by the PC to communicate with the printer usually comes bundled along. Ink Jet Printer: The most common type of printer for home systems is the color ink jet printer. These printers form the image on the page by spraying tiny droplets of ink from the print head. The printer needs several colors of ink (cyan, yellow, magenta, and black) to make color images. Some photo-quality ink jet printers have more colors of ink. Ink jet printers are inexpensive, but the cost of consumables (ink cartridges and special paper) makes them costly to operate in the long run for many purposes. Laser Printer: A laser printer produces good quality images by the same technology that photocopiers use. A drum coated with photosensitive material is charged, and then an image is written onto it by a laser (or LEDs) which makes those areas lose the charge. The drum then rolls through toners (tiny plastic particles
of pigment) that are attracted to the charged areas of the drum. The toner is then deposited onto the paper, and then fused into the paper with heat. Most laser printers are monochrome (one color only, usually black), but more expensive laser printers with multiple color toner cartridges can produce color output. Laser printers are faster than ink jet printers. Their speed is rated in pages per minute (ppm). Laser printers are more expensive than ink jets, but they are cheaper to run in the long term if you just need good quality black & white pages. Dot Matrix: A Dot matrix printers use small electromagnetically activated pins in the print head, and an inked ribbon, to produce images by impact. These printers are slow and noisy, and are not commonly used for personal computers anymore. Line printers: These printers contain a chain of characters or pins that print an entire line at a time. Line printers are very fast, but produce low quality print. Thermal printer: An inexpensive printer that works by pushing heated pins against heat sensitive paper. The image is marked onto paper and prints in a single colour. Plotters: A plotter is a vector graphics printing device that connects to a computer. Pen Plotters print their output by moving a pen across the surface of a piece of paper. This means
that plotters are restricted to line art, rather than raster graphics as with other printers. They can draw complex line art, including text, but do so very slowly because of the mechanical movement of the pens.
Memory: Every computer system requires memory to function,
as data and instructions are first placed in the memory before execution. A computer system uses two modes of data storage primary and secondary. Primary memory consists of integrated circuit chips that use electricity to store information. It is termed as Random Access Memory (RAM), since a byte of data can be retrieved from it in a fixed period of time, irrespective of its position in the chip. However, primary memory is volatile the information is available as long as the system is powered on. Secondary storage is used to store information even when the system is powered off. These devices use magnetic and optical storage technologies to store data permanently. Hard disks and CD ROMs are examples of secondary storage devices. Primary Memory: RAM, or Random Access Memory, is a volatile type of memory which loses its information when power is not present. RAM is where your software and data is stored when your computer is on. SRAM is an older type of memory; it stands for Static Random Access Memory. It is an older type of RAM and stores
information using transistors. DRAM, or Dynamic Random Access Information, stores information using capacitors. ROM is Read-Only Memory which is a form of non-volatile memory, meaning it keeps its information even when there is no power. It is also read only, so you cannot write to it. It contains the setup program and POST (Power On Self Test) software. PROM, Programmable Read Only Memory; this is a programmable type of ROM. It cannot be erased or changed once it is recorded. EPROM, Erasable PROM, data can be erased using a UV light on a special window on the chip. This chip can be reprogrammed. EEPROM, Electronically Erased PROM, can be erased using a special electrical charge. Chips can then be reprogrammed after erased. Most modern day BIOS's are stored in EEPROM. Cache Memory: Cache memory refers to the Random Access Memory used by the processor to speed up the execution of instructions. Modern processors have it present on the processor die itself as Level1 (L1) and Level 2 (L2) cache. Normally, it operates at the same speed as that of the processor. Upon the execution of an instruction, the processor looks for the next instruction and the required data in the cache memory, rather than the main memory. If the required instruction were present in the cache itself, the speed up would be tremendous. However,
cache memory is much more expensive as compared to the main memory. Hence, they are present in small amounts usually between 16 KB to 1 MB that are divided between L1 and L2, where L1 is more closer to the processor than L2. Secondary Memory: Secondary memory on a computer is storage for data and programs not in use at the moment. In addition to punched cards and paper tape, early computers also used magnetic tape for secondary storage. Tape is cheap, either on large reels or in small cassettes, but has the disadvantage that it must be read or written sequentially from one end to the other. Common secondary storage devices are the hard disk and floppy disks.
The hard disk has enormous storage capacity The hard disk is usually contained in the systems unit The hard disk is used for long-term storage of Data and programs on the hard disk are organized into
compared to main memory.
of a computer.
programs and data.
files--named sections of the disk. A hard disk might have a storage capacity of 40 gigabytes (GB). This is about 300 times the amount of storage in main memory (assuming 128 megabytes of main memory.)
However, a hard disk is very slow compared to main memory. The reason for having two types of storage is this contrast: Primary memory Secondary memory 1. Fast 1. Slow 2. Expensive 2. Cheap 3. Low capacity 3. Large capacity 4. Connects directly 4. Not connected to the processor directly to the processor Floppy disks are mostly used for transferring software between computer systems and for casual backup of software. They have low capacity, and are very, very slow compared to other storage devices.
System Configurations: Each configuration includes a
particular set of parts or components (both hardware and software) in a specific arrangement. A similar term, architecture, also describes the layout and interactions of the components of a computer system. Each system configuration will have a specification that lists the details about the components included in that particular system. Typical Specification for a Desktop Computer System:
Processor: Intel® Pentium® 4 processor, 3 GHz, with 800 MHz front side bus, 512KB Level 2 Cache. Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional.
Memory: 512MB DDR SDRAM at 400 MHz (expandable to 4 GB). Hard drive: 250 GB Serial ATA, 7 ms seek time, 7200 RPM, 512KB cache. Floppy drive: 3.5" 1.44 MB. Optical drive: 12x DVD-ROM / 48x CD-RW combo drive. Expansion slots: 1 AGP and 5 PCI. External ports: Six USB 2.0 (two on front panel), one Parallel, one Serial, two PS/2, and one IEEE 1394. Modem: 56K PCI FAX/modem. card: 256MB RADEON™ 9800 AGP graphics card. 17" CRT (16" viewable), 1,024 x 768, .27 dp. card: Sound Blaster® Audigy™2 card w/Dolby 5.1 Bose® B775 surrounds sound speaker system Ethernet 10/100
5. 6. 7. 8.
11. Monitor: 12. Sound
Keyboard: 101-key multi-function keyboard Logitech® MX™ 500 optical mouse with scroll
Tower case with 6 expansion bays (two for internal-
Application Software: Microsoft® Office Professional 2003.
An operating system (OS) is the software that manages the sharing of the resources of a computer and provides programmers with an interface used to access those resources. An operating system processes system data and user input, and responds by allocating and managing tasks and internal system resources as a service to users and programs of the system. Operating systems perform basic tasks, such as recognizing input from the keyboard, sending output to the display screen, keeping track of files and directories on the disk, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers. Operating systems can be classified as follows:
1. Single User: Single-user allows one single user to login at a time. There is no user account database which makes the level of security low and so users cannot protect their files from being viewed, copied or deleted. Examples of this type are DOS. 2. Multi-user: Allows two or more users to run programs at the same time. Some operating systems permit hundreds or even thousands of concurrent users. 3. Multiprocessing: Supports running a program on more than one CPU. 4. Multitasking: Allows more than one program to run concurrently. 5. Multithreading: Allows different parts of a single program to run concurrently. 6. Real time: Responds to input instantly. General-purpose operating systems, such as DOS and UNIX, are not real-time.
MS DOS: MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System), like
any other operating system, manages the flow of information to and from the various parts of the computer system. DOS Functions: MS-DOS includes commands that perform the following tasks: Manage files and directories Maintain disks
Configure hardware Optimize the use of memory Customize MS-DOS
DOS Architecture: MS-DOS is partitioned into layers to isolate the logic of the operating system and the user perception of the system from the hardware it is running on. These layers are: BIOS ( Basic Input Output System ) DOS Kernel Command Processor (Shell).
1. BIOS: The BIOS is specific to the individual computer system and is provided by the manufacturer of the system. It contains software to handle the devices such as Console display or Keyboard (CON), Printer (PRN), System Clock etc. Most of these primitive BIOS functions are located in the ROM ( Read Only Memory ) so that they can be used by other applications and the system start-up program. 2. DOS Kernel: The Kernel is software supplied by Microsoft that provides a collection of hardware independent services called system functions. These functions include: File and record management Memory management
Execution of system related programs Character device input/output 3. Command Processor (Shell): Shell is the user interface to the operating system. It processes and executes the user commands, including loading and executing of other programs from the disk.
System Start-up: When you switch on the computer, the
system start-up program from ROM carries out the POST (Power-On Self Test). The BIOS is read into RAM during system initialization as a part of a file named IO.SYS. The DOS kernel (MSDOS.SYS file), followed by the DOS shell (COMMAND.COM file) are then read into memory from the secondary storage device (i.e. either a floppy disk or a hard disk). This process is known as booting the system. While booting the system the secondary storage device from where the IO.SYS, kernel and shell are loaded is referred to as the boot disk. The first floppy drive in the system is generally referred to as the drive A, the second floppy drive as the drive B, and the hard disk drive as the drive C. Depending on the boot disk used, the system at the end of booting prompts the user by displaying either A or C on the monitor. When you get either A or C prompt, it indicates that the system is now ready to accept commands from the user. To boot
the system, your boot disk or boot diskette should have the following files: IO.SYS MSDOS.SYS COMMAND.COM Directories and Subdirectories: A disk can hold several hundreds of files. Organizing files into directories and subdirectories on a disk is like storing office files in drawers (directories) and its compartments (subdirectories) within a file cabinet (disk). Generally, a directory would contain a group of related files. If you have several reports like daily, weekly, monthly reports and expense statements like fixed expenses, daily expenses, then you can create two subdirectories REPORT and EXPENSE. The daily, weekly, monthly reports can then be stored in the expenses can be REPORT subdirectory The fixed, daily stored in the EXPENSE subdirectory. Files: Each file in MS-DOS is uniquely identified by its name and its location. The location in turn has two components, the logical drive that contains the file and the directory on the drive where the file name can be found. The string specifying the filename, its drive, and its directory is called as the path.
The ROOT Directory: Every disk has two kinds of directories the ROOT directory and OTHER subdirectories The ROOT directory is always present and subdirectories of ROOT directory can be created and nested to any level. If a directory is created within a directory then it is called a subdirectory. Therefore, except the ROOT directory, all other directories are subdirectories. The ROOT directory is denoted by a backslash (\). All directories, except the ROOT, must be given a name. A directory can contain files and/or subdirectories. Command Types: MS-DOS shell provides 3 categories of commands: Internal Commands External Commands Batch Files or Command Files
Internal Commands: The internal commands are directly executed from the RAM. These commands are part of the COMMAND.COM file which is loaded into the RAM at the time of booting. For example, VER, DIR, REN, DEL, COPY etc.
The DIR Command: This command displays a list of files and subdirectories within a specific directory. It displays:
Disk's volume label - given by the user. Serial number - generated by the system. Directory or filename with the filename extension. File size in bytes. Date and time the file was last modified. Total number of files listed. Cumulative size of the files listed. Free space in bytes remaining on the disk. To see the contents of a directory one screen at a time, use the /P switch as follows: C:\>DIR /P You will be prompted to press any key to proceed to the next screen (s). To see the listing in a wide format with five file/directory names on each line, use the /W switch as follows: C:\>DIR /W Individual file sizes, date and time of last modification are not displayed. You may also specify a drive and/or path to view its file and subdirectory names : C:\>DIR A:
displays the list of files and subdirectories of the current directory of drive A. C:\>DIR C:\DBASE displays the list of files and subdirectories of the subdirectory \DBASE. b) COPY: This command creates a duplicate of one or more files. While copying within the same directory a new name has to be specified. While copying into another drive/directory the same name could be preserved. When using a COPY command you type the location and filename of the file you want to copy from (Source), followed by the location and the filename of the file you want to copy to (Destination). COPY Source Destination To copy the contents of OLDFILE.DAT to NEWFILE.DAT: C:\>COPY OLDFILE.DAT NEWFILE.DAT If NEWFILE.DAT does not exist, it is created. If not, its existing contents are overwritten. If OLDFILE.DAT does not exists then you will get a message File not found - OLDFILE.DAT
0 file(s) copied c) TYPE: This command displays the contents of a text file on the screen. If you display a binary file or a file created by a program you may see strange characters on the screen. C:\>TYPE MYDATA.DAT Displays the contents of the file MYDATA.DAT Wildcard characters cannot be used with this command. d) RENAME or REN: This command changes the name of a file or files. C:\>REN NEW.DAT TRY.DAT The name of NEW.DAT is changed to TRY.DAT. If TRY.DAT already exists, DOS displays the following message: Duplicate file name or file not found. 2) External commands: The external commands are the names of the programs stored in the disk files. Before these programs can be executed they must be loaded from the disk into the RAM. For example, CHKDSK, FORMAT, BACKUP etc.
FORMAT: The FORMAT command creates a new ROOT directory and a File Allocation Table (FAT) for the disk. It also checks for the bad areas on the disk and deletes all the data on the disk. In order for MS-
DOS to be able to use a new disk you must use this command to format the disk. To format a new floppy disk, use C:\DOS>FORMAT A: As FORMAT is an external command your current directory at the time of issuing the command should be the directory containing the file FORMAT.COM or FORMAT.EXE The formatted capacity of the disk will depend on the type of the disk and the drive. b) CHKDSK: Displays the status report for a disk, with the following details: The total disk space. Number of bytes occupied by the hidden files Number of bytes occupied by the subdirectories. Number of bytes occupied by the user files Number of bytes in bad sectors Number of bytes in each allocation unit (Cluster) total allocation units on the disk The number of free allocation units Total bytes in the main memory (RAM) Number of bytes free on RAM
C:\DOS>CHKDSK C: Will check and display the status of the hard disk. If the drive is not specified the current drive is assumed. C:\DOS>CHKDSK C:/V will display the name of each file in every directory as the disk is checked. 3) Batch commands: Batch files are text files that contain a list of internal, external or batch commands which are executed in sequence when the batch file is executed (by typing in the name of the file). AUTOEXEC.BAT is a batch file which gets executed automatically on booting. This file contains certain start-up instructions. All the batch files will have an extension .BAT.
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