Computer Basics

# Computer Basics - Computer Basics Abbe Forman Introduction...

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Computer Basics Abbe Forman Introduction The digital revolution is upon us. Technology and especially computers are now considered ubiquitous meaning that they are so much a part of our lives and our environments that we hardly notice their presence. It is no longer unusual to see someone sitting on a park bench with a laptop computer, checking email or doing homework. We no longer give a second thought to a person walking down the street talking on a cell phone. Chances are we may not even see the phone. Yesterday’s technology can be purchased cheaply on EBay; today’s technology will be obsolete in the blink of an eye, and tomorrow’s technology can be almost anything we can imagine or want it to be. While many people think that technology is too hard to learn about, it really is in our best interest to know a little something about the devices that occupy so much of our time. With each new device we need to learn how to operate the device, how to make it work better or do what we want it to do, how to fix the device, and how maintain our safety when we use the device. So, with that in mind, we can start to think about the basics of computers, to maximize our use of the technology. One of the most important and foundational concepts to know is data process information. Data are considered raw: facts, numbers, objects, ideas, etc, and can be thought of as synonymous with input . Information is processed data that is of use to the user (us). Each user may have a different need for information so part of the process is creating information that is individualized. Therefore, information can also be called output . Process is what happens to the data to turn it into information, the creation of something useful to the user. It is important to understand that computers process data and information as binary. Binary is as series of 1s and 0s that represent all characters distinctly. The binary representation of the number 100 is 0110 0100. Each of the 1s and 0s represents on bit and eight bits equals one byte . Binary can be described as having two distinct states; on or off, yes or no. This can be seen when we look at a digital signal: Picture courtesy of http://www.skullbox.net/dva.php Figure 1. Digital signal Human hear and speak in analog format. Analog is a continuous wave: Picture courtesy of http://www.skullbox.net/dva.php

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Figure 2. Analog signal In order for the computer to understand, all input must be converted to a digital format. On the other end, in order for us to understand, output must be converted to analog format. There are a number of codes that are used to achieve these ends. ASCII, EBCDIC, and Unicode are used to represent character data. ASCII code is the most commonly used code. However, with the increase in globalization more and more people are communicating via the computer. ASCII is not a large enough code to represent all of the characters of the different languages used around the world. In order to accommodate such a large character set, Unicode was created. Unicode is
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## This note was uploaded on 03/29/2011 for the course CIS 0835 taught by Professor Forman during the Spring '11 term at Temple.

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Computer Basics - Computer Basics Abbe Forman Introduction...

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