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Unformatted text preview: Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 1 O bjectives After you read this chapter, you will be able to: 1. Understand computer components and computer types (page 3). 2. Acquire a computer (page 6). 3. Evaluate security software (page 8). 4. Understand home networking (page 11). 5. Access the Internet (page 14). 6. Understand bits and bytes (page 16). 7. Identify character coding (page 16). 8. Identify input devices (page 17). 9. Identify output devices (page 20). 10. Identify storage devices (page 23). 11. Customize Windows Vista and Windows XP (page 26). 12. Manage folders and files (page 33). 13. Identify types of productivity software (page 38). 14. Acquire software (page 41). Computing Concepts 1 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 2 CASE STUDY Peaches ’n Cream Orchard Ann Clemmons’s grandfather began a local fruit orchard 50 years ago in his small hometown. At one time he sold fruit only from a roadside stand, but now the business has grown into a profitable fruit farm that sells many types of fruit. The family-owned farm not only grows fruit, but sells it in an adjoining store, along with fruit preserves, baked goods, and small gift items. After her grandfather’s retirement, Ann took over the business. She has some very specific ideas about developing a more efficient manner of processing sales and maintaining store records. She is especially concerned with the recording of sales and inventory, a task that is currently completed on paper in such a way that she is never absolutely certain of what items are in the shop and how much fruit has moved through the store. She also wants ready access to the Internet, so that she can research suppliers and purchase nursery products. Because the orchard is located on the edge of a fastgrowing community of young families, sales have really picked up. The increase in sales is also attributed to Ann’s emphasis on marketing and her insistence on quality fruit production. Ann is now faced with a dilemma. Not only is she completely convinced that the orchard must be computerized, but she is dealing with employees who are not technology-savvy. Although she could replace some of the employees with younger, more technologically-adept hires, Ann is committed to working with the people that her grandfather relied on and trusted. Ann knows that although she can afford to purchase a top-flight, networked computer system, such a system will be of little use if her employees reject it. She wisely decides to educate her staff, beginning with the store employees, on the benefits of computerizing the orchard records. Case Study Your Assignment • Read the chapter, taking note of computer components, networking fundamentals, and software applications. • Consider how Ann could use a computer system to automate her inventory and sales records, as well as how to access the Internet. • Develop suggestions that you might give Ann with respect to purchasing computer equipment, what type of software to install, how to access the Internet, and what security measures are necessary. • Summarize your thoughts in a typed one- to two-page report, describing a general computer system that you would recommend to support the orchard. Include any thoughts on how to network (connect) computers and give a suggested method of accessing the Internet. Also, mention recommended security measures that will help ensure a safe computing environment. Finally, suggest software applications that will support inventory records and other documentation. • If using a word processor, save your report as chap1_case_peaches. • Print the report. 2 CHAPTER 1 | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 3 Computer Shopping If you are considering purchasing a computer, you probably have very specific ideas about how you plan to use it. Just as you would not buy a car without first thinking about what you can afford to spend and how the car will be used, you should only buy a computer after you identify the tasks that you want to accomplish and after you ensure that the computer under consideration is capable of supporting those tasks. Buying a new computer is not a simple task, but if you are knowledgeable about computer equipment options and confident in your grasp of computer terminology, you might even find the task enjoyable. In this section, you will learn how to identify computer components, such as RAM, ROM, the CPU, and storage media. You will also explore ways to acquire a computer. Understanding Computer Components and Computer Types Regardless of computer brand, model, or size, all computers share common components, including RAM, ROM, hard drive, CPU, monitor, and storage devices (CD, DVD). The operating system is software that enables the computer to function. Computers are usually identified by the operating system, such as Windows, Apple, or Linux. The CPU (processor) is responsible for coordinating all computer activities, including input, output, and processing (calculations). RAM (random access memory) stores data and programs that are currently in use. Its contents change, depending upon the task currently underway. For example, you might use a word processing program to compose a document and save it. When you close the word processor, it is no longer open in RAM. However, the word processor and data file (document) remain on the hard drive, a hardware unit that stores programs and data permanently (or until you physically remove them). Because its contents are subject to change, RAM is also called volatile memory. ROM (read-only memory), also referred to as nonvolatile memory, is memory in which programs are prerecorded. Some programs, such as those that accept input from the keyboard or that assist in checking system components when a computer is powered on, are absolutely necessary and should never be erased. Those programs are stored in ROM, and cannot be rewritten or modified. You might compare RAM to a white board on which contents can change; ROM, however, is more like a street sign, on which letters are painted. The street sign can be read, but not changed. The monitor is the television-like screen on which output is displayed. You can store data files on a CD or DVD so that you can take the files to other computers or store them away from the computer. As you consider purchasing a computer, you will select either a desktop or laptop computer. Depending upon your lifestyle and computing tasks, you might find the mobility of a laptop attractive, or you might prefer the desktop’s comparable processing power and affordability. Regardless of computer brand, model, or size, all computers share common components, including RAM, ROM, hard drive, CPU, monitor, and storage devices (CD, DVD). An operating system is system software that controls basic computer operations. The CPU (processor) is the computer component that is considered the “brain” of the computer, coordinating all input, output, and processing activities. CPU stands for central processing unit. RAM (random access memory) is computer memory that stores all open programs. Contents are only maintained as long as there is a constant supply of electricity. Much like a filing cabinet, a hard drive stores programs and data files. A constant supply of electricity is not necessary to ensure the maintenance of hard drive contents. ROM (read-only memory) is computer memory that cannot be changed. It stores critical programs, such as those necessary to boot the computer. A desktop computer is a modular, stationary computer comprised of a system unit, keyboard, monitor, and mouse. A laptop computer is a portable computer, usually smaller in physical size but more costly than a desktop. Select an Operating System Every computer must have an operating system. The operating system is software that performs certain basic processing tasks, freeing you to more fully enjoy your computer. For example, the operating system checks major system components each time you power on the computer, making sure that everything is functioning properly. It accepts input from a keyboard and displays output on a monitor. It saves files to a storage medium, such as a CD or DVD. Without an operating system, your computer could not function. One of the first things you will consider when purchasing a computer is the type of operating system. You have undoubtedly heard of Apple and Windows, which are two competing operating systems. But, even within the Windows environment, you |Computer Shopping|Computing Concepts 3 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 4 will need to be aware of different Windows versions. If you purchase a computer today, it will most likely include Windows Vista. Earlier computers (prior to 2007) were sold with Windows XP or another Windows version. Computers that are capable of running Windows Vista (or those that already include it) carry the Windows Vista Capable PC logo. Certain minimum hardware requirements are necessary before a computer can run Windows Vista. For a “premium” Vista experience, including the new Aero Glass shell, your computer should include a processor speed of at least 1GHz, 1GB of RAM, a DirectX 9 graphics processor with 128MB of graphics memory, 15GB free hard drive space, a DVD-ROM drive, audio output capability, and Internet access. Other operating systems are discussed later in this chapter. Select a Processor The motherboard is a circuit board housed in the system unit. It contains the CPU (central processing unit) and RAM. Processor speed is usually measured in billions of hertz, or gigahertz (GHz). Among the specifications that you will consider when purchasing or upgrading a computer is the CPU (or processor) as well as processor speed. The processor is a computer component that is housed on the motherboard. Because it directs all computer activities, the processor is often considered the brain of the computer. Intel, a name with which you are probably familiar, is a leading producer of processors. Other processors are produced by AMD, a competitor of Intel. Processor speed is measured in gigahertz (billions of hertz, abbreviated GHz)—a 1.8 gigahertz processor can handle 1.8 billion commands per second. In order to run the newest operating system and application software, your computer’s processor should run at a speed of at least 2GHz. In 2005, Intel released its first dual core processor. A dual core processor can handle twice the commands of its predecessor because of its ability to multitask. Intel likens the dual core processor to a four-lane highway, whereas the traditional processor is considered a two-lane highway. Purchasing a dual core processor is highly recommended, and its affordability will allow you to stay within budget. Select Random Access Memory One of the most important computer specifications to consider is RAM, or random access memory. You might compare RAM to a classroom whiteboard. Your instructor can write and erase class notes at will, with the whiteboard contents changing as classes come and go. The whiteboard is temporary storage, a term also often applied to RAM. As long as your computer is powered on, RAM holds programs and data with which you are currently working. As your tasks change, so do the contents of RAM. Obviously, the more memory you have installed in your computer, the more programs and files you can have open. When you consider purchasing software, you should read the software system requirements. Each item of software requires a certain amount of RAM; if your computer does not have the required RAM, you cannot run the software. When selecting a computer, purchase as much RAM as you can afford—at this point you should not settle for less than 1GB of RAM. If you find that your computer is a little low on RAM, you can most likely add more memory very affordably. Therefore, before you decide that your computer is outdated and in need of replacement, check to see if you can upgrade its memory. Select a Hard Drive Due to the rise in popularity of downloadable audio and video files, it is important that a computer’s hard drive be large enough to support multimedia files as well as software applications, operating system, and word processing documents. All personal computers include a hard drive, which is a storage device housed in the system unit. As software is installed, it is saved to the hard drive. You can also save items that you create, such as documents and photographs, on the hard drive. The nice thing about saving items to the hard drive is that they are retained there even when computer power is off. A hard drive works much like a filing cabinet, and is often referred to as permanent storage. Unlike other forms of storage, such as CDs and 4 CHAPTER 1 | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 5 DVDs, the hard drive is not portable—you cannot remove it from the computer and take it to another. Hard drive space is measured in gigabytes. Hard drive space is currently affordable, so purchasing a large hard drive of 200 gigabytes or greater should not substantially increase the cost of your new computer. Choose Between a Laptop and Desktop Computer As you consider purchasing a computer, you will first have to decide between a desktop and a laptop computer. A desktop computer is larger and more modular than a laptop. It consists of a system unit (containing a processor, hard drive, additional drives [CD, DVD], and RAM), a keyboard, a monitor, and a mouse. Because of its size, it is a stationary unit. It remains in one place, usually connected to peripherals, such as a printer and scanner. A desktop computer is shown in Figure 1.1. Figure 1.1 A Desktop Computer Unlike a desktop computer, a laptop is small, with all components contained within one unit. As shown in Figure 1.2, a laptop computer is portable, affording a degree of mobility that is very attractive to anyone who is often on the move. You will pay a price for that mobility, however, as laptops generally cost more than comparable desktops. A laptop can travel with you while you are away on vacation, relaxing at the local coffee house, or even studying in the library. Furthermore, if your laptop contains a wireless network card, you can access the Internet from any public wireless network. Many coffee shops and book stores allow you to access the Internet at no cost, but others charge an hourly or daily usage fee. Colleges, universities, and libraries are increasingly offering free wireless access. Figure 1.2 A Laptop Computer |Computer Shopping|Computing Concepts 5 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 6 Gaming PCs If you enjoy playing games on a computer, you will want a computer with copious amounts of RAM and a fast processor. In addition, a gaming computer should include a high-end video card and sound card. True gamers might want to consider buying a PC from a company focused on creating high-end machines designed for gaming. Acquiring a Computer Purchasing a computer is a major, often costly, decision. The choice of where to buy a computer depends on your level of proficiency, confidence, and awareness of computer concepts. If you are a relatively experienced computer user, you might consider purchasing online, perhaps even specifying your own computer requirements (customizing a system). If, however, you are less sure of your computer proficiency, you will appreciate the assistance of an experienced sales staff and the post-sale service provided by a retail establishment. Perhaps you are so skilled that you want to put together your own computer from parts. All of those purchasing options are available to you, from the security of a local computer store to the flexibility of online purchasing, to the creativity of building your own computer. You can even purchase a computer from an online auction site, such as eBay. Purchase from a Local Computer Store or Retail Outlet Local retail stores or computer shops are good places to visit if you want to select from several computer models and have not yet decided on your exact specifications. A competent sales staff is often available to answer your questions and suggest computer models. You might also enjoy on-site service and personal attention should you have any problem with your purchase. A drawback to local shopping is that you might not have much flexibility with specifying the software and computer components that you want. Also, sales staff who are anxious to earn a commission or to make room for new computer arrivals might be tempted to suggest models that do not completely meet your needs. Make sure that you completely understand any warranty or service agreement that accompanies a computer purchase, and do not be pressured into buying a computer that is not your first choice. Purchase from an Online Retailer If you purchase your computer through an online retailer, such as Dell or Gateway, you can configure the computer equipment to fit your needs. You can also specify any application and utility software that you want to include. In effect, you can design a computer, select software, and have the computer system delivered to your door, usually within a week. All of this is at a cost that is comparable to a purchase made locally. Online retail sites typically provide a guided series of steps that helps you choose your computer’s components and software. After designing the system, you will be presented with a final cost, including shipping and tax. Online retailers often offer special deals—perhaps free shipping or additional components, such as a printer—to encourage your business. A service agreement is usually included in the purchase price as well, so be sure that you understand the warranty and any service arrangements. Purchase from an Auction Web Site Online auction Web sites, such as eBay, provide ample opportunity to shop for a new or used computer. Individuals and companies who qualify as sellers are able to post items for sale, sometimes with a minimum bid amount and bidding timeline. Having 6 CHAPTER 1 | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 7 registered with the auction site, you can evaluate computers offered for sale and make a bid if you desire. Far from the secure realm of retail stores, online auctions are much more prone to abuse by both buyers and sellers. Even so, reputable auction sites take every precaution to ensure a quality buying and selling experience. With full awareness of the culture of online auctions, you might find exactly the computer that you are seeking, at the right price. Often, the purchase comes with a warranty, although on-site service is seldom included. When considering purchasing from an online auction site, keep the following questions in mind: • Is the seller trustworthy? • What types of payment does the seller accept? • How much will it cost to ship the computer? • When should I expect to receive the computer? • What is the seller’s return policy? • Will the computer be packaged securely? Evaluating an eBay Seller Before bidding on any eBay item, you should check the seller’s feedback rating. Make sure the seller has a feedback rating of at least 98% and that the majority of the feedback has come from buyers, since eBay’s feedback rating does not discern between buying and selling. Furthermore, never bid on an item if the description instructs you to contact the seller by clicking on a link embedded within the listing. This is an indication that the user’s account has been hijacked. Purchase a New or Refurbished Computer If you are ready to replace your computer but want to find the best deal possible, you might consider purchasing a refurbished computer. Refurbished computers have been returned to the manufacturer for any of a number of reasons, including software incompatibility, failure of a component, or physical damage. Some have never even been used or sold to the public—they might simply be part of an inventory overstock. When they are returned, computers are put through rigorous testing and repairs to be brought back to a “new” condition, repackaged, and sent to authorized resellers. A simple Web search can provide a list of resellers. If refurbished computers have been so thoroughly tested and are readily available, why would you still consider buying a new computer? The answer depends on your budget and your willingness to accept slight risks. No matter how you look at it, a refurbished computer was returned for a reason. In all likelihood, any flaw has been corrected, but you might feel more secure in the knowledge that your computer has passed all tests the first time. You also cannot be as choosy with respect to computer components. That is, you cannot specify precise components and software the way you can when purchasing new equipment. Before buying, though, you should at least consider refurbished and make a few price comparisons. Academic Pricing Microsoft and Adobe are two companies that offer software discounts to college students and faculty. One way to find a company that offers academic pricing is to visit Google (www.google.com) and enter the title of the software application in which you are interested along with the words academic pricing. Your results page should include multiple companies offering the title at a substantial discount over full retail. You might find that some local stores will meet the prices that you find online as well. |Computer Shopping|Computing Concepts 7 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 8 Computer Networking and Security You can easily use a computer to communicate electronically through e-mail or instant messaging. Many people enjoy visiting Web sites to shop, bank online, take classes over the Web, or search for information. The Internet, No longer is it optional to purchase which is essentially a very large network, makes those activisecurity software and keep it up-toties possible. You might also find it necessary to connect your date; in today’s world of identity theft home computers so that they share a printer or Internet conand electronic crime, it is absolutely nection. Because we engage in so much electronic communicanecessary that you take steps to protion and networking, it is imperative that your computer is tect your online identity and secure protected against security and privacy risks, such as viruses, your computer. hacking, and spyware. Even the way in which you connect to the Internet might present a unique set of privacy and security concerns. In this section, you will learn the basics of home networking, including configuring hardware and software. In addition, you will evaluate methods of connecting to the Internet and identify associated privacy and security risks. In order to keep your computer running smoothly and to protect your personal information, you must ensure your computer is installed with special purpose software designed to keep it secure and to maintain your privacy. Such software includes antivirus and antispyware software, as well as a firewall. No longer is it optional to Software that identifies and isolates (or deletes) computer purchase security software and keep it up-to-date; in today’s world of identity theft viruses is called antivirus and electronic crime, it is absolutely necessary that you take steps to protect your software. online identity and secure your computer. Software that removes spyware from a computer is called antispyware software. Software that acts as a barrier between your computer and the Internet, prohibiting unauthorized Internet travel to or from the computer, is called a firewall. Evaluating Security Software The number of people enjoying the Internet is increasing at a rapid pace. Along with that expansion, however, comes an increasing number of people intent on creating electronic mischief and stealing online information. To thwart such behavior, you must ensure that appropriate security software is installed on your computer. Your choices are many. Although you can purchase antivirus software, antispyware software, and a firewall separately, you can also pay a little more and purchase all of those components in one Internet security package. The newest version of Internet Explorer includes a phishing filter, and Windows Mail helps identify junk e-mail (spam). In addition, the Windows Vista Security Center informs you of current security settings and enables you to make adjustments. Use Antivirus Software A virus is a computer program that is purposely written to be destructive or annoying. 8 CHAPTER 1 Antivirus software helps protect your computer from a virus, which is a program designed to damage data or equipment, or to annoy computer users. Viruses are never accidental; they are purposely written to be malicious. Some viruses spread among computers through infected disks, but most travel as they accompany or masquerade as legitimate downloaded files or as e-mail attachments. If you keep your antivirus software current, it is unlikely that a virus will be released on your computer system. Most new computers come preloaded with a trial version of antivirus software, such as Norton Antivirus™ or McAfee® Antivirus. After 60–90 days, you must purchase the antivirus software to keep it from being disabled. Of course, you can install a different type of antivirus software if you want to. Newer versions of antivirus software are configured so that when they are installed they immediately begin scanning your computer and protecting you against viruses. They also update themselves automatically. That means that you will not have to remember to check for current virus definitions (downloads that help rid your computer of new viruses); such updating is done periodically without your involvement. Of course, you can | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 9 run a full system scan at any time and can manually check for virus definitions at the antivirus software’s Web site. If you are running older antivirus software that does not automatically update itself, you will need to read the software manual or check the help files to determine how to download updated virus definitions as well as how to cause the software to constantly run in the background (reside in memory as long as the computer is on). Use Antispyware Software Spyware is software that has been downloaded and installed onto your computer to gather personal information, hijack your home page, or display unwanted advertising. Cookies are text files providing information identifying you as a return visitor to a Web site. Whereas viruses are designed to cause damage to your computer or data files, spyware is software that has been downloaded and installed onto your computer to track your Internet travel, gather other personal information, or change computer settings. At the very least, spyware usually gathers and communicates information on your browsing habits to marketers who pay for that information. That way, companies and other interests are able to target you for special advertising. Spyware might also log your keystrokes, so that if you type a credit card number as you purchase an item online, that information might be used to steal your identity. At one time only a privacy risk, spyware is an increasingly annoying and dangerous side effect of your Internet travel. Spyware most often accompanies software or files that you download from the Internet. Whether or not you realize it, you often agree to allow spyware to be installed on your computer when you accept a license agreement that is presented during the download process. Words to the effect that you agree to allow third party software to be installed on your computer are often hidden in the fine print of a license agreement. Therefore, spyware is usually not illegal. If you download software from reputable sites, most often you are not at risk. However, when you download free clipart, screen savers, or games from lesser-known sites, you are likely to acquire spyware. When using Internet Explorer, you should be especially careful if prompted to download Active X controls, mini-programs that only run in Internet Explorer. Unless you are absolutely sure that the control is safe, never download the program. If unsure, err on the side of caution. Antispyware software is available to identify and remove spyware. Some antispyware software runs in the background, so that you are alerted if there is an attempt to change your browser or computer settings. Webroot’s Spy Sweeper is an example of such software. At a cost of less than $50, Spy Sweeper (and other similar products) is not free, but is affordable. Other antispyware software, such as Adaware and Spybot, is available as a free download. Unlike Spy Sweeper, however, those programs do not reside in memory, so you have to remember to run the antispyware software periodically in order to remove spyware. If you have been accessing the Internet for some time before installing antispyware software, you will probably be in for a surprise when you scan your computer for the first time. You might learn that there are hundreds of occurrences of spyware on your computer that can be removed. Although you should not run more than one antivirus program on your computer, you can (and probably should) run more than one antispyware program. Since antispyware software bases its spyware definitions on a built-in database, each type of software might include a slightly different database. Therefore, you might find more instances of spyware if you run more than one antispyware program. Some items identified by antispyware software are actually text cookies. In their simplest form, cookies are not a threat to your privacy or security. In fact, they can be helpful, as they identify you as a return visitor to a Web site, perhaps providing login information that you are not likely to remember from your last visit. Along with site passwords, cookies often store shopping cart data and personalization preferences. For example, Amazon uses cookies as a marketing tool to automatically “remember” customers on return visits in order to display personalized recommendations. Only the Web site that created the cookie can read it, so you do not typically have to worry about hackers capturing your personal information. Privacy issues arise when a Web site uses a third-party company to provide advertising. Tracking cookies are more than simple text files. They actually track |Computer Networking and Security|Computing Concepts 9 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 10 your Internet travels and display personalized advertisements based on your interests. It is these third-party cookies that are flagged by antispyware applications. Although they pose no real danger, they do invade your privacy to a certain extent. As long as you do not provide private data by completing forms in pop-up ads, the intrusion is little more than an annoyance. Nevertheless, the advertisers learn a little more about your interests, one click at a time. When these tracking cookies are flagged by your antispyware software, you can certainly choose to delete them. You can also choose to block third-party cookies or delete all of the cookies stored on your hard drive by taking advantage of your Web browser configuration tools, as shown in Figure 1.3. If you choose to delete all cookies, then you can ensure that third-party advertisers will not be able to track your movements online. At worst, your productivity will be slightly hindered because you will no longer be automatically logged in to your favorite Web sites. Increase or decrease the level of security (cookies allowed) Figure 1.3 Restricting Cookies Use a Firewall Firewall software protects your computer from unauthorized access by hackers or other computers, as well as from spyware attempting to transmit personal information to a remote location. By answering a few questions as they are presented, you can configure your firewall to recognize which programs on your machine should be allowed to communicate over the Internet. A firewall protects your computer both from unauthorized incoming traffic as well as from outgoing traffic (such as spyware transmissions). A bidirectional firewall is built into Windows Vista, and a firewall protecting against incoming traffic is included in Windows XP Service Pack 2. You might, instead, choose to purchase a firewall such as Zone Alarm, or to acquire one as a component of an Internet security package such as Norton Internet Security. Zone Alarm provides an excellent free firewall at www.zonelabs.com. Running in Memory You should make sure your antivirus software, antispyware software, and firewall are all configured to automatically run when your computer starts. If your security software (antivirus, antispyware, and firewall) is relatively new, it is very likely that it will run automatically without any direction from you. 10 CHAPTER 1 | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 11 Protect Against Phishing Attacks Phishing is an attempt by another person to acquire your personal information (and identity) through an e-mail scam. Phishing is an e-mail scam in which you are advised that your credit card or bank account (or other financial asset) is in jeopardy. In the e-mail, you are instructed to click a link to visit an “official” Web site. The e-mail asks that you provide your account information, social security number, or other personal information so that your account can be verified. The intent is to steal your identity. Usually very convincing, the e-mail might contain images and text that look official, and any linked Web site might appear to be a legitimate financial site. Watch carefully, though, for spelling errors and obvious grammatical mistakes—signs that the e-mail is not official. Be aware that legitimate companies will never ask you to provide account information through e-mail, so do not respond to any questionable e-mail. Internet Explorer 7.0 includes a phishing filter, which flags known phishing sites that you might visit. Understanding Home Networking A network is two or more computers linked together. Broadband communication is a high-speed Internet connection. Options include DSL, cable, and satellite. Cable is a broadband Internet connection option that uses television cable to provide Internet access. DSL (digital subscriber line) is high-speed Internet access provided through existing telephone lines. If you use the Internet, you already interact with the largest network in the world. A network is simply two or more computers that are connected so that they can communicate and possibly share peripherals, such as a printer or scanner. They can also share information resources, such as a hard drive or access to the Internet. If you have more than one computer in your home, it is likely that you would benefit from sharing the Internet, if nothing else. What that means is that you could use one computer in the living room, accessing one Web site, while your spouse connects to a different site from the computer in the home office. Such a shared arrangement is only possible if you connect to the Internet through broadband, such as cable or DSL (digital subscriber line) (discussed later in this chapter). A network can be either wired or wireless. If you use a laptop computer, you will most likely enjoy wireless access, enabling you to move about the house freely while remaining connected to the Internet. Other benefits of a home network include sharing printers and transferring files from one computer to another. If you share a printer, for example, both the computer that is physically connected to the printer and a computer in another room can print documents on the same printer (although the documents will be printed in the order of submission). If you have a file on your computer, perhaps a document, that you want to transfer to another computer, you can do so with a properly configured home network. Identify Networking Hardware and Software To configure a network, you will need both hardware and software. Depending on the complexity of your home network, you might be able to put it together yourself, or you could call for a professional. If your family uses laptop computers that are configured for wireless access, setting up a If your family uses laptop computers basic home network in which all computers access the Internet that are configured for wireless wirelessly is a fairly simple task. access, setting up a basic home netBasically, a network will first need a means of connecting work in which all computers access the devices (computers, printers, or any other peripherals). the Internet wirelessly is a fairly simple Connection can occur through wired (cables or existing task. wiring) or wireless transmission media. A network can be built with existing wiring, such as phone or power lines, or you can use specialized wiring, in the form of coaxial cable or fiber optic cable. Wireless networks use radio waves to communicate between devices. In addition to cabling, each computer and networked device must include a network adapter, which is a device that is connected to (or within) each component to facilitate transmission. |Computer Networking and Security|Computing Concepts 11 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM A USB port is a connection on a computer that enables peripheral devices, such as printers, network adapters, scanners, and digital cameras, to connect. A network interface card (NIC) is a component that is built into or connected to a computer, enabling the computer to communicate with a network. Page 12 Some network adapters are external, connected to the networked equipment through a USB port. Others, called network interface cards (NICs), are housed inside the computer. Depending upon the network configuration, you might also need a router or hub. A router is a device that enables communication between two networks. For example, if you have a wireless network, you will use a wireless router to transmit data between your home network and the Internet. A hub simply amplifies, or rebroadcasts, data to all connected equipment. A wired network often uses either Ethernet or phone-line connections. Although phone-line networks do not require routers or hubs, Ethernet connections usually utilize both hubs and routers. Ethernet networks are a little more complicated than phone-line networks to install, but they are faster and more reliable. Figure 1.4 illustrates a home network configuration. A router is a device that enables two networks to communicate. Router enables connected computers to share Internet connection A hub is a device that rebroadcasts communication to all equipment on a network. DSL or Cable modem An Ethernet network uses Ethernet protocol and wiring to connect computers. Figure 1.4 The 802.11 standard is a method of communication used on wireless networks. Wireless networks are based on the 802.11 standard, which is the accepted industry standard for implementing home networks. Every connected unit on a wireless network must have a wireless network adapter, usually a NIC that is either internal or connected to a USB port. One problem with a wireless network is that obstacles, such as refrigerators or walls, can interfere with wireless signals. Also, as distance between units increases, the connection becomes weaker. Some cordless phones might disrupt communication, as well. A network cannot operate without properly configured software. Both Windows XP and Windows Vista provide assistance with setting up a home network. Through the Windows Vista Network and Sharing Center (shown in Figure 1.5), you can manage networks and identify shared resources. Access networking support by clicking Start, Control Panel, Network, and Internet. As shown in Figure 1.6, you can connect to a network, add devices to a network, set up file sharing, and change Internet settings. 12 CHAPTER 1 Home Computer Network | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 13 Figure 1.5 Network and Sharing Center Figure 1.6 Managing a Home Network |Computer Networking and Security|Computing Concepts 13 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 14 Is it legal to tap into a neighbor’s wireless Internet access? With the proliferation of wireless networks, you might wonder whether it is legal to tap into a neighbor’s wireless connection. There is no definitive answer to that question, but the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act makes it a crime to intentionally access a computer without authorization. Because it was written in 1986, before the widespread proliferation of wireless networks, the law is vague with respect to situations involving a wireless connection. It seems to all depend on the precise circumstances of each case. For example, someone sitting in a parking lot at 3:00 a.m. for the express purpose of network connectivity might be considered a lawbreaker. Some broadband providers (DSL and cable) do not want you to share your connection and might even monitor customers for “inordinately high” usage. To prevent someone from using your wireless connection, you can add a password. Understand Bluetooth Technology Wirelessly transferring data between computer devices is possible in several ways. One method that is gaining popularity is Bluetooth technology—a form of wireless communication that uses low-bandwidth, short-range wireless connections between computers and peripherals. Bluetooth can be used to connect computer mouses, cell phones, and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Equipped with a small Bluetooth chip, a device can automatically and wirelessly transmit data to another device with a Bluetooth chip. For example, to update your contacts list on your cell phone, you can manually enter contact information In the future, you might be able to and then synchronize that information with your computer, walk into a store and have a list of all using application software. With Bluetooth, however, the synsale items automatically sent to your chronization could all take place without your involvement as cell phone or PDA through Bluetooth soon as the cell phone comes within range of the computer. In technology. the future, you might be able to walk into a store and have a list of all sale items automatically sent to your cell phone or PDA through Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth is a technology that facilitates low-bandwidth wireless communication over short distances. Accessing the Internet You are probably already aware that the Internet is an invaluable research tool. If you rely on reputable Web sites, you can be fairly certain that the information you find is accurate and in good taste. You will find that a high-speed Internet connection, such as satellite, cable, or DSL, will proYou will find that a high-speed Internet vide quick response to your Web queries. Such high-speed conconnection, such as satellite, cable, or nection is called broadband, and is available at various costs DSL, will provide quick response to and capability. your Web queries. One of the most enjoyable computer activities is accessing the Internet. With the wealth of research, shopping, banking, and entertainment possibilities, you are sure to spend quite a bit of time exploring various Web sites. Most computers are equipped to access the Internet, but the method of connection is comA dial-up connection is a conpletely up to you. At one time, the most popular connection type was dial-up, which nection to the Internet over a uses existing telephone lines. By today’s standards, dial-up connections are painfully standard telephone line. slow. Instead, you might consider cable, a broadband connection provided by television cable companies. Perhaps you prefer a DSL connection, which uses a telephone connection, but with much faster speed than dial-up. High-speed Internet access is A satellite connection uses a satellite dish to transmit data to also available through satellite, which uses a satellite dish to transmit data to and and from the Internet. from the Internet. 14 CHAPTER 1 | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 15 Connect with Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) A very popular and affordable Internet connection option is DSL. Using existing phone lines, DSL operates at 5 to 50 times faster than a dial-up connection, which is a very slow (but cheap) method of connecting to the Internet. A dial-up connection uses existing phone lines, but unlike DSL, does not subdivide the connection into both data and voice communication. Therefore, when data (Internet communication) is being transmitted over a dial-up connection, the phone line is tied up so that the telephone cannot be used. In part, the speed of a DSL connection depends on the plan that you contract for. Most companies offer both a high-speed plan and a more affordable (but slower) connection. Downloads that once took hours using dial-up access can be completed in minutes. Better yet, with DSL you can talk on the phone while using the Internet, and many providers will offer a special low price for the first few months of service. More than likely your phone company will act as your DSL provider since it owns the copper wiring used to provide service. Unfortunately, only phone subscribers living approximately three miles or less from the phone company’s central station are eligible to purchase DSL service. This is because the connection deteriorates the further it travels, rendering it unacceptable once the maximum distance is reached. More than likely your DSL account will offer asynchronous access, meaning that your upload speed will be slower than your download speed. Because you are likely to download items much more often than you upload, the difference in speed should not be of great concern. Connect with Cable Cable connection is an option that many people are choosing because of its highspeed access and ease of use. Usually available through your local cable company, a cable connection uses existing cable wires and can be coupled with your television service. Cable access is typically faster than DSL access, but sometimes costs more. Even so, most cable companies offer discounts to cable TV subscribers and entice customers with cut-rate plans for a year or more. Just because you have cable television does not mean that you will also be able to access cable Internet. In order to provide Internet service, a cable company must upgrade existing lines to enable two-way communication. You will share a cable connection with neighbors, so you might notice a slight decrease in speed during peak usage hours. Your speed, therefore, depends on how many cable users are online at the same time. Connect with Satellite If you do not have access to either DSL or cable, you can purchase high-speed access through a satellite Internet provider. However, you will need to install a satellite dish and will pay a premium for the service. Weather-related issues sometimes affect reception, as do obstacles to the line of sight from the satellite dish. It also takes longer for data to be transferred through satellite than through DSL or cable connections. In short, satellite is an alternative for people who are not within range of DSL or cable, but it is probably not the best choice. Smart Shopping Cable subscribers typically enjoy faster download speeds than their DSL counterparts. However, DSL subscribers most often pay a lower monthly fee for DSL service than for a comparable cable connection. Your best bet is to research your local phone and cable company Web sites to compare download speeds and pricing plans. |Computer Networking and Security|Computing Concepts 15 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 16 Internal Computer Storage The binary system is the native format understood by computers, in which only two digits are used—zero and one. At its most basic level, a computer is designed to work with numbers. The term computer suggests a predisposition for calculations and manipulation of numbers. Even the high-quality multimedia video, graphics, and sound experiences enjoyed by today’s computer users are all based on a computer’s ability to interpret and analyze numeric data. A computer works best in a two-state, or binary, system, since circuits must be either “on” or “off.” Every key on a keyboard is represented internally by a series of zeroes and ones. Even audio and video files are converted into the binary system as they are processed by a computer. You do not need to be concerned with precisely how the conversion is accomplished, as you will never have to interpret the internal binary representation in order to enjoy working with a computer. In this section, you will learn how bits and bytes work together to represent characters. You will also be introduced to the ASCII and Unicode character coding standards. Understanding Bits and Bytes A bit is either a one or a zero. It is a binary digit that represents the on or off state of a computer circuit. A byte is comprised of eight bits. A byte represents a character on the keyboard. The binary system is described in terms of bits and bytes. A bit (binary digit) has two values, zero and one. Individual bits do not, however, convey meaningful information. Instead, a collection of eight bits, called a byte, represents characters. For example, the letter A is represented internally as a group of eight bits (zeroes and ones), organized in a unique arrangement. Similarly, other characters are represented by groups of bits. In its simplest terms, a byte is a character. Why should you concern yourself with bits and bytes? Certainly, you will not be called upon to interpret binary data. However, as a computer user, you will need to be aware of the size of your computer’s memory, as well as the size of storage media such as hard disks and flash drives. Such information is important because before you purchase and install new software, you must determine whether your memory and hard disk space is sufficient to meet the software requirements. Since any reference to the size of a computer’s memory or to the capacity of its disk drives is in terms of bytes, you will understand the terminology and will be able to make informed software purchases. Identifying Character Coding ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) is a code for representing keyboard characters as numbers. The arrangement of bits (to represent characters) is governed by character codes, such as ASCII and Unicode. ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) is a code that represents all of the characters in the English language, as well as some special symbols. Because the ASCII code is not well suited to representing global characters from other languages, Unicode is gaining in popularity. Unicode is designed to cover all of the characters of all languages in the world. Unicode is a character-coding format that represents global characters from all languages. Understand the ASCII Character Set A byte consists of eight bits, each of which can be either a zero or a one. Thus, there are 28 (or 256) possible combinations of zeros and ones that can be stored in a byte. We need, however, a way to make sense of the bits and bytes that are processed by the computer. Accordingly, a code was developed in which each combination of eight bits (one byte) represents a different character. It is known as the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII for short, and pronounced “as key”). The ASCII code provides for 256 different characters, which is more than enough to represent the 26 letters of the alphabet (both upper- and lowercase), the digits 0–9, the punctuation marks, and various special keys you find on a typical keyboard. Understand Unicode With the speed of electronic communication, the world is becoming a smaller place. Because so much of that communication takes place between people who speak 16 CHAPTER 1 | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:35 PM Page 17 different languages and who operate in different business environments, the Unicode encoding standard is a technology with which you should become familiar. Just as ASCII provides a method for representing keyboard characters, Unicode also precisely defines character sets. Its strength is that it efficiently handles text in any language, providing internationalization solutions. Unicode works by providing a unique number for every character, regardless of language or software platform. For example, the dollar sign is represented by U+0024, whereas the Hebrew letter HE is U+05D4. Most industry leaders, such as Apple, IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft, have adopted the standard, and it is supported by most operating systems and all current Internet browsers. In global software communication, Unicode is emerging as a leader. Input, Output, and Storage Devices A computer is not a single device. Rather, it is comprised of several components, each with a unique job to do. The reason that you enjoy a computer is likely the output that it produces, in the form of printed projects or a screen display. In order to produce that output, however, you will most likely have to provide instructions or data from a keyboard, mouse, or other input device. Storage components, such as a CD, DVD, or hard drive, are necessary in order to maintain the items that you create or the software that you purchase. With the modularity of today’s computer systems, you can mix and match input and output devices so that your computer is exactly what you want. In this section, you will learn to identify input devices and output devices, such as a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and printer. You will also evaluate storage media, including CDs, DVDs, hard drives, and USB drives. Identifying Input Devices A keyboard is used to enter typed data into a computer. A mouse is an input device that enables a user to point and click to make selections. The keyboard and mouse are the primary input devices for a computer. In its simplest form, a computer accepts input and processes it into output. The ease with which you are able to enter data plays a large part in how much you enjoy using a computer. Given the modularity of computer systems, you can easily replace your current keyboard and mouse with other models that you might find more comfortable. Use a Keyboard The keys on the keyboard are arranged in a standard pattern, as shown in Figure 1.7. Named for the first six characters on the third row, the QWERTY keyboard is the most popular keyboard arrangement. Not nearly as common as the QWERTY arrangement, the Dvorak keyboard places the most commonly used keys on the home row (middle row). Because your fingers do not have to travel as far when using it, the Dvorak keyboard is the most efficiently arranged. However, the QWERTY keyboard continues to be preferred, perhaps due to its longevity and the sheer number of people who have learned to use the keyboard. |Input, Output, and Storage Devices|Computing Concepts 17 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:36 PM Page 18 Function keys F1 Esc ~ ` @ 2 ! 1 Q Tab F2 F3 # 3 W F4 $ 4 E F5 ^ 6 % 5 R F6 F7 & 7 T Y F8 * 8 U Insert key Home key Numeric keypad F9 ( 9 I _ - ) 0 O F10 + = { [ P F11 F12 Print Screen Scroll Lock Pause Num Lock Caps Lock Insert Home Page Up Num Lock / Delete Backspace } End Page Dn 7 8 Home Scroll Lock * – 9 Pg Up + Caps Lock Shift A S Z D X F C G V H B J N K M : ; L < , " ' > . ? / 4 Shift 5 1 Enter 2 End 6 3 Pg Dn Enter Ctrl Alt Alt Windows key Figure 1.7 Delete key • 0 Ctrl Ins Arrow keys Del Number keys The QWERTY Keyboard You will most likely spend a great deal of time entering data with a keyboard. Therefore, you should be aware of alternative keyboard choices that are designed to be comfortable and to increase your productivity. The Natural keyboard, shown in Figure 1.8, is split and gently sloped, encouraging a natural hand, wrist, and forearm position. In addition to the standard keypad (shown in blue in Figure 1.7), you will find several special-purpose keys, including the numeric keypad, arrow keys, and function keys. Figure 1.8 Natural Keyboard The Caps Lock key eliminates the need to continually press the Shift key to enter uppercase letters. It actually functions as a toggle, which means that if you press the key once, subsequent letters will be displayed in uppercase; press it again to return to typing in lowercase. The Num Lock key is similar in concept and activates the numeric keypad on the right side of the keyboard. Function keys (F1 through F12) are special-purpose keys used by various application programs to execute specific commands. The exact purpose of a particular function key varies from program to program. The Ctrl and Alt keys work in similar fashion and are used with other keys to execute specific commands. Cursor, or arrow, keys control movement of the cursor (the blinking line or box), which shows where on the monitor the data will be entered. The Home, End, PgUp, and PgDn keys also serve to move the cursor. When used by itself, the Windows key displays the Start menu. In combination with other keys, it serves as a Windows shortcut. For example, pressing the Windows key and tapping the letter E is a shortcut to displaying the Windows Explorer window. The Enter key signals the completion of an entry and correspondingly causes the characters typed on the keyboard to be transmitted to the computer. Other specialpurpose keys include the Insert and Delete keys, which insert and delete characters, respectively. Many programs use the Esc (Escape) key to cancel current actions. Laptop keyboards typically save space by reducing the number of keys. For example, you will seldom find a numeric keypad on a laptop. Instead, you can use the number keys on the keyboard’s top row to enter numbers. Laptop keyboards often assign alternate functions to certain keys so that you get the same capabilities 18 CHAPTER 1 | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:36 PM Page 19 as you would with a full-sized keyboard. You can also attach traditional keyboards to laptops or use other specially designed keyboards. Ergonomic keyboards that closely conform to body structure so that less stress is placed on joints are available also. Wireless keyboards are powered by batteries and send data to a computer through wireless technology. Use a Mouse A mouse, as shown in Figure 1.9, is a small handheld device that is usually connected to a computer by a cable. Because the unit slightly resembles a real mouse, it bears the same name. The cheapest and most common mouse has a roller ball on the bottom of the unit. When a user rolls the mouse on a flat surface, a corresponding mouse pointer moves on the computer screen. The standard mouse has two buttons and recognizes four basic operations with which you should become familiar: • To point to an object, move the mouse pointer onto the object. • To click an object, point to it, then press and release the left mouse button; to right-click an object, point to the object, then press and release the right mouse button. • To double-click an object, point to it, then quickly click the left button twice in succession. • To drag an object, move the pointer to the object, then press and hold the left button while you move the mouse to place the object in a new position. Perhaps more than any other input device, there are many different types of computer mouses, as shown in Figure 1.9. The cheapest, and most common, is the roller mouse. To quickly scroll down a Web page, document, or menu, just roll the scroll with a finger. Steadily gaining in popularity is the optical mouse, which uses an internal sensor to detect mouse movement. Optical mice are a bit more expensive than standard mice, but because they have no moving parts on the bottom, they tend to last longer. One problem with connecting peripherals, such as a mouse, is that the connecting cable can become tangled or in the way. In that case, you might consider a wireless mouse. The wireless mouse communicates with the computer through a receiver, which is connected to the computer by cable or through a USB port. Even though you can connect a mouse to a laptop computer, it somewhat defeats the purpose of a laptop being a very self-contained device. A mouse, or pointing device, is built into a laptop keyboard. Some laptops use a trackpoint, which is a small joystick-like device that can be moved with a fingertip. Others have a touchpad, which is a touch-sensitive screen at the base of the keyboard. By applying slight pressure and dragging a finger over the touchpad, the mouse pointer moves accordingly on the screen. Not surprisingly, many people develop carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a wrist ailment associated with repeated motion, such as that required by frequent mouse and keyboard usage. Those people would probably benefit from a trackball device, which minimizes required wrist movement. The rolling element is on the top or side of the device, so the user only moves the ball instead of the entire unit. Trackballs are also helpful with very young children. The units also require less desk space. |Input, Output, and Storage Devices|Computing Concepts 19 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:37 PM Page 20 Figure 1.9 Mouse and Specialized Input Devices Identify Other Input Devices Although the keyboard and mouse are the most commonly used input devices, others are also available for a variety of different purposes. Microphones are used to record sound. Scanners are used to turn document hard copies or photographs into computerized files. Web cams are used to capture audio/video for transmission over the Internet in real time. Joysticks, game controllers, and light pens can also be considered input devices. Identifying Output Devices Hard copy is printed output. Soft copy is output displayed on a computer monitor. 20 CHAPTER 1 The primary reason that you use a computer is to produce output. A computer would be useless to you if you could not enjoy such items as digital photographs, worksheets organizing your home finances, or printed documents. Output devices enable you to produce printed material or computer displays. When output is printed, it is said to be hard copy. Output displayed on a computer monitor (screen) is soft copy. Although the monitor and printer are the most common output devices, other special purpose devices exist for listening to sound and viewing content on a large screen. | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:37 PM Page 21 Use a Monitor A CRT monitor is a large television-like computer output device. An LCD monitor is a flat panel output device. The monitor is the most widely used output device. There are two types of monitors— CRT (cathode ray tube) and LCD (liquid crystal display), as shown in Figure 1.10. A CRT monitor is a large bulky component that resembles a television. An LCD, also called a flat panel, is a small unit that has a slim profile. An LCD monitor typically costs more than a comparable CRT unit, but is more environmentally friendly, producing less electromagnetic radiation and using less power. It also requires less desk space. On the downside, the viewing angle of some LCD monitors is limited, which means that if you sit to the side of a monitor, you might not have a clear view of the screen. Figure 1.10 The resolution is the sharpness of a displayed image, determined by the number of pixels. Pixels (picture elements) are small addressable areas on a monitor. The refresh rate is the number of times per second a monitor redraws screen contents. Computer Monitors (CRT and LCD) There are several factors that help determine the quality of a CRT monitor display. The resolution of a CRT is the number of pixels (tiny dots or picture elements) that are displayed at one time. A higher resolution produces a clearer and sharper image, although screen items will actually be smaller. You can change the resolution to be anywhere from a high of 1,600 x 1,200 to a low of 800 x 600. The numbers represent a pixel grid. For example, 1,600 x 1,200 means that there are 1,600 pixels across the width of the monitor and 1,200 down the height. The more tightly packed the pixels, the better the image. You can change the resolution through the Control Panel (discussed later in this chapter). Monitors typically update, or redraw, screen contents 75–85 times per second. The actual number, measured in hertz, dictates the refresh rate. If the refresh rate is too low, you will notice an annoying flicker, to the point of causing eyestrain. The faster the refresh rate, the less the screen will flicker and the less likely you are to suffer headaches and eyestrain from working with the computer. Change the Resolution Windows Vista enables you to change the resolution of your computer system. Right-click on a blank area of the desktop. Click Personalize. Click Display Settings. Click and drag the slider in the Resolution area to increase or decrease the resolution. Click OK. Close all open windows. Similarly, change the resolution in Windows XP by right-clicking on a blank area of the desktop. Click Display. Click Settings. Change the resolution and click OK. Agree to the change in resolution. Close all open windows. |Input, Output, and Storage Devices|Computing Concepts 21 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:38 PM Page 22 Use a Printer A printer produces output on paper. Printers selected for home use are typically either ink-jet or laser, as shown in Figure 1.11. Ink-jet printers are affordable, but the printer cartridges (units that supply the necessary ink) can be very costly. You might spend between $30 and $50 to replace one cartridge. Ink-jet printers print color and are often used to print high-quality digital photographs. In fact, some ink-jet printers are sold as photo printers for the express purpose of printing photographs. It is easy to see why ink-jet printers are so popular with home computer users. Figure 1.11 Printer Choices Laser printers are quick and quiet. Because they print so quickly, laser printers are the preferred printer in offices and schools, where it is important for several computers to share one printer. A low-end laser printer is only slightly more expensive than an ink-jet, and it prints considerably faster. In the long run, laser printers are more economical than ink-jets because they are cheaper to maintain when you consider the cost of ink cartridges. Other printer types include wireless and multifunction. Wireless printers often work with Bluetooth transfer. Using a wireless printer, you can print from a handheld device (PDA), a laptop computer, or a digital camera. Multifunction printers are quite popular, offering the ability to print, scan, copy, and fax. Some are also able to print pictures on special photo paper. 22 CHAPTER 1 | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:38 PM Page 23 Identifying Storage Devices A storage device is hardware that retains data regardless of electrical supply. As discussed earlier, RAM is temporary storage, holding programs and data currently in use. You can close programs in RAM and open others as needed. Therefore, RAM is not a good choice for storage of data and files that you might want to retrieve and modify later. For that purpose, you would turn to such devices as a hard disk, CD, DVD, or flash drive. Think of storage as a filing cabinet. Regardless of what remains on or is removed from the desk, the contents of a filing cabinet remain. The same is true of computer storage devices. Use a Hard Disk A hard disk is a large-capacity storage device housed in the system unit. Every personal computer comes equipped with a hard disk. Although the size may vary, the purpose remains that of providing secure storage space for software and data. The hard disk (or hard drive) is a large storage unit (in capacity, not in physical size) that is housed within the system unit. That means that although you will use the hard drive, you will never actually see it (unless you physically remove it). Figure 1.12 gives you an idea of what the hard disk looks like. Figure 1.12 The Hard Disk Think about a large walk-in closet. It is a good analogy for a hard disk, which is a large amount of storage. Just as you would probably never leave a closet without shelves, you will need to organize your hard disk into folders (discussed later in this chapter). Hard drives are now available in sizes exceeding 400GB, although your computer’s hard drive is probably around 40GB–80GB. Use a CD and DVD A CD drive reads from and writes to CDs (unless it is a CD-ROM disc, in which case it cannot be written to, only read from). A DVD drive reads from and writes to DVDs (unless it is a DVD-ROM disc, in which case it cannot be written to, only read from). Your computer undoubtedly includes at least one CD drive and perhaps came with a DVD drive. CD stands for Compact Disc. With an average storage capacity of 650MB to 700MB, a typical CD can hold a large amount of data, including hundreds of digital photographs. If your computer is equipped with a CD-RW drive, you can burn CDs, which means that you can record data to CDs. If the CD (the disc itself) in use is a CD-R (CD-Recordable), however, you can only record to the disc once. Although you can continue adding to the CD, and can always read from it, you cannot save a file back to the CD with the same name because the CD cannot be erased. A CD-R costs only about $0.50 per disc. A CD-RW (CD-ReWritable) enables you to read from the CD and write back to it multiple times. Just as your instructor can write to the board, erase it, and rewrite, so you can save to a CD-RW, change data, and save back to it. Only a CD-RW drive can read and record to a CD-RW disc. |Input, Output, and Storage Devices|Computing Concepts 23 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 24 DVD (Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) technology is evolving into a preferred means of storage. A DVD has significantly greater capacity than a CD (up to 17GB). A DVD-R device is analogous to a CD-R, but it supports the higher recording density of a DVD. A DVD-RW drive is emerging as well, but is more costly than the corresponding capability in a CD-RW. A DVD can only be read by a DVD drive. What happened to the floppy disk? You may be surprised to discover that your system no longer has a floppy disk drive, but it is only the latest victim in the march of technology. Long-playing records have come and gone. So have 8-track tapes and the laser disc. The 3 1⁄2-inch floppy disk has had a long and successful run, but it too is now obsolete. No longer is the 3 1⁄2inch disk drive (drive A:) a standard component on new computers. Its storage capacity is simply too small to be relevant in today’s multimedia and graphicsoriented society. Use a USB Drive A USB drive is a form of flash storage that can be carried with you. Simply plug the USB drive into any USB port to retrieve its contents. A port is a physical interface through which external devices, such as printers and digital cameras, can be connected to a computer. In today’s world, storage is cheap. External storage is typically more expensive than internal storage, but prices have dropped substantially in recent years. The most common external storage device is the USB drive, a small rectangular device that plugs into any USB port (interface between an external device and a computer). Figure 1.13 shows a USB drive. USB drives are also referred to as pen drives or flash drives. Actually a form of flash memory, USB drives come in all sizes of capacity. Flash memory is portable, nonvolatile memory. When you connect a USB drive to your computer, the operating system identifies the USB drive with a drive letter. If your hard drive is labeled C: and your CD drive is labeled D:, your USB drive will be labeled Removable Disk (E:) (as long as no other hardware device is using Drive E). This allows you to read and write from the USB drive the same way you would read and write from the hard drive. Figure 1.13 A USB Drive It is important that you close all files stored on the USB drive before disconnecting it. If using Windows, make sure you double-click the Safely Remove Hardware icon in the Notification area, located in the lower right corner of the window. Then click the prompt to remove the USB drive. Only remove the drive if you are told that is safe to do so. Otherwise, you may lose files that are currently in use. If you have not added or modified any files since last connecting the USB drive, you don’t have to worry if you disconnect incorrectly, although it is not recommended. Once you have been notified that it is safe to remove the hardware, you can disconnect the flash drive. 24 CHAPTER 1 | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 25 Flash Drives—Easy to Carry, Easy to Lose Never make a flash drive your primary storage unit. Because flash drives are small and portable, they are also easy to lose. Make sure you back up every file stored on your flash drive on at least one other machine or storage device. Windows Vista and Windows XP When you consider purchasing or building a computer system, you must first consider an operating system. Undoubtedly, you have heard about Windows and Mac (or Apple), with some people expressing strong sentiment toward one or the other. In addition, Linux is a viable operating system choice for home computers. An operating system is a program (actually many programs) that lets you enter data from a keyboard, display text on a monitor, save files to a disk, and print documents. In addition, it enables you to manage disk space, create folders, and install and uninstall software. An operating system includes security features that create a relatively safe environment in which to communicate electronically. In effect, it is impossible to use a computer without an operating system. At the same time, the operating system is almost transparent, carrying out its work unobtrusively behind the scenes. Consider the reasons that you use a computer. Whether the computer is used for word processing, e-mail, Internet research, digital photo management, or any other purpose, the computer’s operating system works in conjunction with the chosen application software. For example, the operating system coordinates saving the document that you created with a word processor. It also identifies and reads a digital camera card from an external card reader so that you are able to use graphics software to modify and print your pictures. All of this is accomplished with minimal communication with you. Just as you can easily drive a car with very little awareness of the engine dynamics, you can fully enjoy computing tasks with very little interaction with the operating system. Because it focuses on coordination with the computer system, the operating system is considered system software. Approximately 90% of computers sold today are equipped with a Windows operating system. Produced by Microsoft, the Windows operating system has progressed through many versions. As new hardware became available, new Windows versions were written to take advantage of the increased performance. Each improvement in hardware brought with it a new and better operating system, which in turn demanded faster hardware with more storage capability. Windows Vista is the newest Windows operating system, introduced in January 2007. Because it requires at least 1GB of RAM and 15MB of free hard drive space, along with a top quality video card, it may be a while before many businesses and schools are able to move to Windows Vista. Until that time, some will continue to rely on Windows XP as the primary operating system. In this section, you will learn how to customize the operating system to reflect your personal preferences. You will also learn to manage folders and files. |Windows Vista and Windows XP|Computing Concepts 25 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 26 Customizing Windows Vista and Windows XP Windows XP and Windows Vista share more similarities than differences. Both operating systems display a similar desktop, as shown in Figure 1.14. The desktop is the interface (screen display) that appears when you first turn on a computer. It contains icons and a taskbar (Figure 1.14). Through the desktop, you are able to start programs, manage files and folders, display windows, troubleshoot problems, and network with other computers. The Control Panel enables you to customize your computer background, manage user accounts, Windows Vista is intended to be much and work with peripheral devices such as the mouse and printer. more stable, reliable, and secure than If you are familiar with Windows XP (or a previous Windows its predecessors. version), you will make the leap to Windows Vista with very little effort. The desktop is the screen that displays when you power on a computer. Icons Icons are small pictures on the desktop that represent programs, shortcuts, files, or folders. The taskbar is the horizontal bar at the bottom of a window, providing information on open windows and providing access to system resources. Taskbar Minimized Windows Figure 1.14a 26 CHAPTER 1 The Windows Vista Desktop | Computing Concepts Windows Sidebar Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 27 Icons Taskbar Minimized Windows Figure 1.14b The Windows XP Desktop Icons are pictures on the desktop representing programs, folders, Web links, or other system resources. Double-click an icon to open the program or project. The taskbar is located along the bottom of the desktop, providing information on open windows. Each button on the taskbar (Figure 1.14a and 1.14b) represents a minimized window. When a window is minimized, it is reduced to a button on the taskbar so that it does not occupy space on the desktop. It is, however, still open in memory so that if you click the taskbar button, it is immediately displayed on the desktop. As you can see in Figure 1.14a, the Windows Vista desktop is much more translucent than the Windows XP desktop, with a glassy, almost three-dimensional effect. That is because Windows Vista incorporates an Aero Glass shell (if an appropriate video card is in use). Windows Vista has an attractive desktop, incorporating the Windows Sidebar, which is a screen element containing gadgets (mini-applications that provide current news, stock quotes, weather, or many other items that you can select). You can display the Sidebar by clicking Start, All Programs, Accessories, Windows Sidebar. Windows Vista is available in five versions: Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium, Vista Business, Vista Ultimate, and Vista Enterprise. Vista Home Basic is the least expensive, focusing on the needs of home computer users. Vista Home Premium contains additional multimedia and mobility features, whereas Vista Business supports domains and network protocols (in addition to basic features). Vista Enterprise builds on Vista Business, including encryption and multilanguage support. Vista Ultimate combines the best of Vista Home Premium and Vista Enterprise. Windows XP is available in a Home Edition, Professional Edition, and Media Center Edition, supporting home users, corporate interests, and multimedia enthusiasts, respectively. Windows Vista is intended to be much more stable, reliable, and secure than its predecessors. It also includes several add-on programs that enhance productivity and minimize interruptions. These programs include Windows Defender (antispyware), Windows Mail (free e-mail software), Windows Firewall (protection against hackers), Windows Movie Maker, Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Calendar, Windows Sidebar, Internet Explorer 7 (with phishing filter and pop-up blocker), and |Windows Vista and Windows XP|Computing Concepts 27 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 28 Windows Search. Clearly, Windows Vista is well worth exploring. However, it is not necessary to immediately abandon an earlier Windows version with which you are comfortable. In fact, many computer experts recommend waiting at least several months after a new operating system is introduced before upgrading to the new system. That way, any bugs (problems) are identified and hopefully corrected before you purchase and install the new version. If you are familiar with Windows XP, you will note several cosmetic differences between Windows Vista and Windows XP. However, Microsoft is quick to remind us that the real differences lie behind the scenes with reliability and security. On the surface, the Windows Vista interface is brighter and more three-dimensional. The Start menu is reworked to include an Instant Search bar, which enables you to quickly find files, folders, and other items. No longer will you see the word “My” preceding computer folders such as Computer, Documents, or Pictures. In earlier Windows versions, the program list displayed to the right of the Start menu, effectively obscuring other onscreen items. Windows Vista corrects that with a program list that occupies a smaller area. Windows Vista takes a more content-centered rather than geographic-centered approach to grouping folders and search results. Although folders are still very much a part of the Windows Vista system, items are also grouped according to purpose. Behind the scenes, built-in security features include a phishing filter, spyware remover, and enhanced Security Center. Less prone to crashes, Windows Vista monitors system performance and warns of impending problems before many occur. As always occurs with new software, Windows Vista is apt to go through several iterations of patches and service packs (downloadable code that corrects minor operating system glitches). It also requires substantially greater computer power, so it might be quite some time before Windows Vista is the primary operating system in businesses and schools. Use the Control Panel Both Windows Vista and Windows XP include a Control Panel, which enables you to customize your computer system and check system resources. Open the Control Panel (shown in Figure 1.15) by clicking Start, Control Panel. By making selections in the Control Panel, you can uninstall programs, change the computer background and screen saver, manage the mouse and printer, check system and security settings, and manage user accounts. Figure 1.15 28 CHAPTER 1 The Control Panel (Windows Vista) | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 29 As your computer interests evolve, you are likely to find that a program that you once enjoyed is no longer useful. In that case, you will want to uninstall the program so that it does not occupy valuable hard disk space. To do so, open the Control Panel and click Uninstall a Program (under Programs in Windows Vista). From the subsequent list of installed programs, click the program that you want to remove. Click Uninstall/Change, as shown in Figure 1.16. Respond to additional prompts, confirming your intention to remove the program. Uninstall/Change Figure 1.16 Program List (Windows Vista) Before purchasing software, you should make sure that your computer system can support it. The Control Panel provides information on many aspects of your computer, including the amount of memory, operating system version, and processor speed. Using Windows Vista, simply open the Control Panel and click System and Maintenance. Next, click View amount of RAM and processor speed. Figure 1.17 shows a system running Windows Vista Business, with 1024MB (or 1GB) of RAM and a 1.60GHz processor. |Windows Vista and Windows XP|Computing Concepts 29 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 30 Figure 1.17 System Settings (Windows Vista) The background is the color, graphic, or photograph that displays behind the desktop icons. It is only visible on the desktop, not on program or resource windows. Much as you might customize your desk at work or school, including items that are of interest to you, you can customize your computer desktop to reflect your personality or interests, or simply to provide a pleasing effect. In Windows Vista, open the Control Panel and click Change desktop background (under Appearance and Personalization). From the window shown in Figure 1.18, click to select a desktop background and click OK. Close or minimize all open windows to view the desktop background. Similarly, you can change the screen saver (by making appropriate selections in the Control Panel). The screen saver is a moving or animated image that appears when the computer has been idle (no mouse or keyboard activity) for a period of time. Figure 1.18 30 CHAPTER 1 Desktop Backgrounds (Windows Vista) | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 31 If you are left-handed, you can reverse the mouse buttons to make it more comfortable to use the mouse. You might also want to adjust the mouse double-click speed to be slower or faster. The Control Panel enables you to adjust both the mouse and printers. Perhaps you want to change the default printer (the one to which all print jobs are automatically sent), or you need to cancel (stop) printing. For all of those tasks, in Windows Vista, open the Control Panel and click either Printer or Mouse (under Hardware and Sound). If you click Mouse, you will see the dialog box (special purpose window) shown in Figure 1.19. From there, you can switch the primary and secondary buttons (effectively changing the mouse to left-handed), and you can click and drag a slider to increase or decrease the double-click speed. To change printer settings, click Printer (under Hardware and Sound), producing the window shown in Figure 1.20. If you want to change the default printer, double-click a printer, click Printer, and click Set as Default (as shown in Figure 1.21).You can also cancel all print jobs and pause printing by making selections from the menu shown in Figure 1.21. Switch primary and secondary buttons Slider to increase or decrease double-click speed Figure 1.19 Mouse Properties (Windows Vista) Figure 1.20 Printer Properties (Windows Vista) |Windows Vista and Windows XP|Computing Concepts 31 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 32 Set as default printer Pause printing Cancel all documents Figure 1.21 Adjusting Printer Settings (Windows Vista) Security should be a major concern for all computer users. At a time when identity theft is rampant, viruses are common occurrences, and hackers are on the prowl, you should vigilantly protect your computer security. Both Windows Vista and Windows XP provide a Security Center to supply information on current settings and to enable you to modify those settings. In Windows Vista, open the Control Panel and click Security. The Security window (Figure 1.22) provides access to the Security Center and provides information on Windows Firewall, Windows Defender, Windows Update, and Internet settings. Security Center Windows Firewall Windows Update Windows Defender Internet Options Figure 1.22 Windows Security (Windows Vista) Both Windows XP and Windows Vista provide a user accounts option whereby you can create multiple user accounts with unique desktops and varying levels of privileges. As the primary user of the computer, your account is an administrator account, which means that you can create, modify, and delete other user accounts. Using the Control Panel, click User Accounts to view and modify current user accounts or to create additional ones. From the window shown in Figure 1.23, make a selection (to change your account or create additional accounts). 32 CHAPTER 1 | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 33 Add or remove an account Change an account Figure 1.23 User Accounts Understand Plug and Play Plug and Play is a Windows feature that facilitates the installation of new hardware so that you simply plug it in and begin to use it. Plug and Play is a Windows feature that ensures quick and easy access to devices that you connect to your computer. It is what makes it possible for you to purchase a new mouse, plug it into the computer’s port, and immediately begin to use the mouse. The same holds true for a new keyboard or other peripheral. When you plug in the device, Windows works to resolve any system conflicts and sets the device to work with existing hardware. Managing Folders and Files A data file is an item that you create and to which you give a name, such as a document or worksheet. A folder is a named area of storage on a disk. No doubt, you have ideas about how you plan to use a computer. Perhaps you plan to create documents for school assignments and general correspondence. Maybe you have an interest in organizing home records in worksheet fashion or in maintaining a database for a civic club or church group. Those projects will result in tangible items to which you will give a name before you save them to a disk. They are called data files. Where will you save them? You might choose to place them on a hard disk, flash drive, CD, or DVD. For even better organization, you might consider creating folders on the storage media so that you can easily find the files later. For example, your English instructor might require that you create several essays and term papers. Before printing the papers, you might save them to your hard disk in a folder titled English 102. That way, you can easily find them later since they are well organized in a labeled area of storage on the hard disk. Just as you refer to storage areas in a filing cabinet as folders, you also refer to storage areas on a computer storage medium as folders. You will use application software, such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel, to create data files. For example, you might open Microsoft Word, type an essay for your English class, and click File, Save. After giving the file a name, you will indicate the disk (and possibly folder) in which to save the file (document). In preparation for the essay project, you would have earlier created a folder for your English reports, |Windows Vista and Windows XP|Computing Concepts 33 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 34 naming the folder appropriately. Both Windows XP and Windows Vista provide a program called Windows Explorer to enable you to create folders. Work with Windows Explorer Open Windows Explorer by clicking Start, All Programs, Accessories, Windows Explorer. As shown in Figure 1.24, Windows Explorer displays the current folder hierarchy in the left pane. At the top of the hierarchy is the Desktop. As subfolders of the Desktop (indented in the hierarchy), you will see Music, Documents, Pictures, and Searches—all of which are system folders created by Windows Vista when the operating system is installed. Similarly, Windows XP creates system folders, although some of the names are preceded with “My.” Figure 1.25 shows a Windows XP view of Windows Explorer. Notice the folders: My Computer, My Pictures, and My Music. Pictures Documents Music Searches Figure 1.24 34 CHAPTER 1 Windows Explorer (Windows Vista) | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 35 My Music My Documents My Pictures My Computer Figure 1.25 Windows Explorer (Windows XP) The Computer folder (My Computer folder in Windows XP) is also found on the Desktop. It provides access to the various devices on the system. Open the Computer folder to view storage devices in the right pane. The computer represented in Figure 1.26 includes a hard disk [Local Disk (C:)] and a DVD/CD-RW drive (drive D:). Double-click any disk drive in the right pane to view the contents of the disk. Figure 1.26 The Computer Folder (Windows Vista) |Windows Vista and Windows XP|Computing Concepts 35 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 36 Windows Explorer enables you to not only view disk drive contents, but to create folders. Perhaps you are coordinating documents for your high school class reunion. You know that you will be working with invitations, an agenda, and a class reunion memory book. You will use Microsoft Word to create all of those items— considered documents, or files—and you will save them to your hard disk. So that you can easily locate and print them later, you plan to save the documents to a folder named High School Class Reunion. Using Windows Explorer, you can create the folder before creating any of the documents. The following steps are appropriate for either Windows Vista or Windows XP. 1. Open Windows Explorer. 2. Scroll up or down to locate Computer (My Computer, in Windows XP) and click the triangle to the left of Computer (if the triangle is clear). Immediately beneath the Computer folder, you will see all disk drives associated with your computer. 3. Right-click Local Disk (C:), since you plan to create the folder on your hard disk. 4. Point to New. Click Folder. 5. Type a name for the new folder—High School Class Reunion, in this example. Figure 1.27 shows the new folder. 6. Press Enter. High School Class Reunion folder Figure 1.27 High School Class Reunion Folder (Windows Vista) Managing Folders You can easily delete or rename any folder in either Windows Vista or Windows XP. Right-click the folder in Windows Explorer (or in a similar Computer view). Click Delete to remove the folder, or click Rename and type a new name. Press Enter when done. 36 CHAPTER 1 | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 37 Save a File When you use application software, such as Microsoft Word, to create a document, you have created a data file. You will most likely want to save the data file so that you can open it later (for printing or revision). If you have created a folder to organize your data files, you will need to know how to select the appropriate folder in which to place the data file (a document, in this case). Most Windows-based software enables you to save files in a similar manner. For example, whether you are using Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word, the steps followed to save a file are much alike. Assume that you use Microsoft Word to create the agenda for your class reunion. With the completed document on screen, click the Office button (found in the top left corner of the Office 2007 interface). On the subsequent menu (shown in Figure 1.28), you will find both Save and Save As. Which option should you select? The first time that you save a file, there is no difference. Selecting either option produces the dialog box shown in Figure 1.29, in which you can identify the file name as well as the folder in which to save the file. At a later time, you might open the file to make a few revisions. When you save the file the second time, there is a difference between the Save and Save As options. If you click Save, the file will be saved in the same folder with the same file name as when it was initially saved. If, however, you want to save a second copy of the file in a different location, or with a different file name, you should click Save As. Respond to the dialog box (Figure 1.29), indicating either another folder or disk drive, and/or a new file name. If you want to make a backup copy of the file, the Save As option is the right choice. Save Save As Figure 1.28 Saving a File Figure 1.29 Save As Dialog Box |Windows Vista and Windows XP|Computing Concepts 37 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM A backup is a copy of a file. Page 38 When you save a file, it is placed on a storage medium such as the hard drive or a CD. You should be aware that saving a file does not mean that it will always remain available. Your hard drive could develop problems that make it inaccessible. Likewise, a CD or DVD could be irreparably damaged. If the file is something that you cannot afford to lose, you will want to make one or more backup copies. A backup is a copy of a file. A simple way to make a backup copy is to use the Save As command to save a file a second time, but to indicate a different storage location. Productivity Software Productivity software includes programs that address general tasks, such as word processing, spreadsheet preparation, the creation of presentations, and database management. Productivity software enables you to perform tasks that are generally required at school or work, such as word processing, database management, the creation of presentations, or preparation of spreadsheets. Although several software companies produce productivity software suites (collections of programs), one name dominates them all—Microsoft. You are probably familiar with Microsoft Office, and know that the major components include Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. In this section, you will identify types of productivity software and understand how to acquire software. Identifying Types of Productivity Software An office suite is a collection of productivity software. An office suite is a software package that combines such productivity software as word processing, spreadsheet organization, and database management. The most widely recognized suite is Microsoft Office. Another Microsoft product, Microsoft Works, is often included on computers for purchase because it is an attractive and affordable collection of home productivity software. Among other productivity suites are those produced by Corel and Lotus. Sun’s StarOffice is available as a download, and facilitates saving and opening files in native Microsoft Office format. What that means is that StarOffice will open files that you saved in Microsoft Office so that you can continue to work with your data. StarOffice is no longer free (as it once was), but certainly costs much less than other more full-featured productivity suites. Microsoft Office Microsoft® Office 2007 is the current Microsoft Office suite, supplanting Office 2003. With a completely redesigned interface, Office 2007 makes sweeping changes in the way files are managed. Of its components, three applications are likely to be most useful to you at school or work—Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This section presents a summary of the similarities between the core applications in Microsoft Office. Figures 1.30, 1.31, and 1.32 display a screen from each application, illustrating the similarities and differences. Each program contains a Ribbon of commands at the top of the window. The title bars are similar, and each window contains window management buttons at the far right side. The title bar displays the name of the software and the name of the current file. 38 CHAPTER 1 | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 39 Figure 1.30 Microsoft Office Word 2007 Figure 1.31 Microsoft Office Excel 2007 |Productivity Software|Computing Concepts 39 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 40 Figure 1.32 Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 Even though each application has a completely different job to do, all the applications share a consistent command structure. The Office button is present in all windows, as is the Quick Toolbar. As you learn to work with the Ribbon, you will find a similar structure within each of the applications, and if you know some keyboard shortcuts in one program, it is very likely that the same keyboard shortcuts will work in others. For example, all three programs enable boldfacing by pressing Ctrl+B. There are, of course, differences between the applications, as well. Each application has its own unique Ribbon commands and associated dialog boxes. Nevertheless, the Ribbon contains a standard set of tabs that is repeated throughout each program. Suffice it to say that once you know one Office application, you have a tremendous head start in learning another. Each application includes a question mark at the top right corner. Click the question mark to access program-specific help at any time. Microsoft Works Microsoft Works is an attractive alternative for those who use a computer at home. The newest version, Microsoft Office Works Suite 2006, includes Microsoft Word, along with components addressing money management, image editing, mapping, and encyclopedia research. Also included are basic word processing, spreadsheet, database management, calendar, and e-mail software. The only problem with using the Works spreadsheet and database tools is that they do not save in the Office format. That means that if you create a spreadsheet at home using Microsoft Works, you will not be able to open it in a computer lab using Microsoft Excel. Online Software Online software is productivity software that is accessed online. 40 CHAPTER 1 There have probably been times when you worked on a major project at home and then forgot to bring it to work with you. Perhaps it was saved on a USB drive, but you left the drive connected to your home computer. That frustration is causing more and more people to have an interest in online software, which provides word processing and spreadsheet software, along with storage space, online. That way, you | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 41 never have to worry about where you left your work. As long as you can get to the Internet, you can find it. A quick Web search will turn up several options of online software, such as Google Docs & Spreadsheet, Zoho, and ThinkFree. One of the most popular is Google’s product. Although online software typically is less full-featured than its desktop counterpart (Microsoft Office), it can easily handle the basics of daily office work. Composing and editing text, as well as organizing a spreadsheet, is not a problem. In addition, you can collaborate with other users online. One of the best features is the realization that you won’t have to e-mail yourself the project that you began but didn’t finish. Instead, just upload the text to your online software for retrieval at home later. Acquiring Software Commercial software is software that is sold and is protected by U.S. Copyright Law. Shareware is software that is developed and distributed to online consumers for a limited time, usually as a trial version. Freeware is copyrighted software that you can use as you like. When you purchase or otherwise attain software, you do not own it. You simply have the right to use the software within the confines of a software license (user agreement). Often, software developers copyright their work so that it is against the law to make illegal copies of it. In fact, making illegal copies violates the U.S. Copyright Law, with stiff penalties for those involved. Most software purchased is considered commercial software, which means that you are not allowed to copy the software. Commercial software is sometimes available as shareware, so that you can download and try the software before purchasing it. However, not every license agreement requires that you refrain from making copies. Some even encourage you to make copies and warn that you must not keep the software from circulating. Obviously, there are various forms of software licensing. We will explore several major categories in the following sections. Perhaps the most common way to obtain software is by buying it from a retail store. Before investing in a software program, however, you might want to try it out for a limited time. That way, you can be certain that the software meets your needs before you settle on it. Given the cost of software, such a trial offer is very attractive to many computer owners. Software available as a trial version is called shareware, or demoware. You might enjoy the benefits of a trial version, but so will the software developer. By offering the software as shareware, a developer gets his or her product into the hands of consumers without having to deal with marketing or advertising costs. Shareware is sometimes offered in the beta version, which means that it is still under development, and the developer hopes that users will help him or her identify errors before the product is launched in retail stores. Other times, full versions of the software, such as Norton Antivirus, are offered to you to encourage your business when the trial period ends. If you maintain the downloaded software for the trial period, you must legally remove it or refrain from using it when your time is up. You will find games, screen savers, system utilities, and other programs available to you as freeware. Some freeware comes with a license agreement, called a copyleft, which asks you not to restrict software copying. In fact, you are asked to encourage distribution of the software. You might wonder why anyone would post a program for free. Sometimes, freeware is a product of a market survey in which your opinion is solicited. Other times, it might be an item that is developed and distributed as part of a graduate project or in a study. Still other freeware might bring with it one or more occurrences of spyware. It is always a good idea to run your antispyware software after you have downloaded anything from the Internet. |Productivity Software|Computing Concepts 41 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 42 Summary 1. Understand computer components and computer types. Before purchasing a new computer, determine what you plan to use the computer for, and then match the system requirements to those tasks. You will select a computer based on its operating system. You will also consider the amount of RAM needed, as well as the processor and other components. 2. Acquire a computer. You can purchase a computer from a retail outlet or local computer store, from an online auction, or as a customized model from an online site, or you can build a computer from parts. Depending on your level of computer expertise, you will identify the method of acquisition that suits your needs. 3. Evaluate security software. There are several security risks to consider when using a computer. Viruses and spyware can attack your computer from the Internet, and without a firewall, you are vulnerable to hackers. Phishing is an e-mail scam that is widespread. To fend off security challenges, you must ensure that your computer is adequately protected with security software, such as antivirus software, antispyware software, a firewall, and a phishing filter (usually associated with an Internet browser). 4. Understand home networking. A home computer network enables computers to share printers and other peripherals, as well as information resources. Through either a wired or wireless network, several home computers can share the same Internet connection and the same printer. Special equipment that might be required includes a hub, router, and network interface adapters. Windows provides assistance with configuring a home network. Bluetooth is a data communication method utilizing short-range wireless data transmission between devices such as cell phones, PDAs, and computers. 5. Access the Internet. Internet connection options include dial-up (which is very slow compared to other technology) and broadband methods. Broadband includes satellite, DSL, and cable. Each connection option contains unique advantages and disadvantages. 6. Understand bits and bytes. Computer storage is measured in binary units. A bit is one binary digit. A collection of eight bits comprises a byte, which represents one character. It is important that you understand the concept of binary representation because a byte is the unit of measurement upon which software requirements are based. 7. Identify character coding. The way in which bytes represent data is dictated by coding standards, such as ASCII and Unicode. ASCII is a coding method that represents all keyboard characters and some special characters with numbers. Unicode is more global, providing coding for characters in all languages. 8. Identify input devices. The primary forms of input are the keyboard and mouse. Because computer systems are modular, you can purchase a mouse and keyboard that meet your computing needs, such as a remote or optical mouse, or a natural keyboard. 9. Identify output devices. Output devices include monitors, for displaying soft copy, and printers, for printing hard copy. The most common type of monitor is an LCD, which is a flat-screen model. Both ink-jet and laser printers are popular home printer choices. 10. Identify storage devices. Just as a filing cabinet retains contents permanently, computer storage devices such as a CD, DVD, or hard drive enable you to save files for later access. Unlike RAM, storage devices are not dependent on a supply of electricity to retain contents. A flash drive is a popular storage medium that enables you to transport files from one computer to another. 11. Customize Windows Vista and Windows XP. Windows Vista and Windows XP share more com- monalities than differences. Both operating systems display a similar desktop, although the Windows Vista desktop is much more transparent, with a sweeping glass effect. Both systems provide access to the Control Panel, from which you can make system changes and check on system status. 12. Manage folders and files. You will undoubtedly use a computer to create files, such as documents or spreadsheets. Computer folders are named areas of storage in which you can save files. Just as you might organize a filing cabinet with individual folders, you can create folders on a storage medium to better organize computer files. ...continued on Next Page 42 CHAPTER 1 | Computing Concepts Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 43 13. Identify types of productivity software. Productivity software is software that helps you accom- plish general tasks, such as word processing and spreadsheet creation. Microsoft Office 2007 is an example of productivity software, as are Microsoft Works and the Corel, Lotus, and StarOffice suites. Many people prefer the availability of online software, which provides productivity software and file storage regardless of where you find yourself. 14. Acquire software. When you purchase or obtain software, you only have the right to use the soft- ware; it is not yours. As such, you usually have to agree to a license. Types of software licenses include freeware, shareware, and commercial. Shareware is usually available as a “try before you buy” product, whereas freeware is free to copy without purchase. Commercial software is software that you buy. It is copyrighted, which means that you are not allowed to duplicate it. Key Terms 802.11 standard . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Antispyware software . . . . . . . . 8 Antivirus software . . . . . . . . . . . 8 ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Backup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Binary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Bit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Bluetooth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Broadband . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Byte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 CD drive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Commercial software . . . . . . . . 41 Cookies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 CPU (processor) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 CRT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Data file . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Desktop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Desktop computer . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Dial-up connection . . . . . . . . . . 14 DSL (digital subscriber line) . . 11 DVD drive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Ethernet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Firewall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Folder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Freeware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Gigahertz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Hard copy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Hard disk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Hard drive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Hub . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Icons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Keyboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Laptop computer . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 LCD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Motherboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Mouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Network interface card (NIC) . 12 Office suite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Key Terms Online software . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Operating system . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Phishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Pixels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Plug and Play . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Port . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Productivity software . . . . . . . . 38 RAM (random access memory) . 3 Refresh rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Resolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 ROM (read-only memory) . . . . . 3 Router . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Satellite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Shareware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Soft copy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Spyware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Taskbar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Unicode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 USB drive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 USB port . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Virus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 |Computing Concepts 43 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 44 Multiple Choice 1. Hard copy refers to which of the following? (a) (b) (c) (d) The difficulty of duplicating a disk Information stored on a hard drive Written material that is difficult to read Printed material 2. Which of the following enables a user to record multiple times to the same CD? (a) (b) (c) (d) CD-R DVD-R CD-ROM CD-R2 (a) A computer virus (b) A small file that is written to a computer by a Web site (c) A zipped file (d) Spyware 4. Which of the following is the most widely used output device? Monitor Printer Speaker Disk The larger the desktop icons The more expensive the monitor The sharper and clearer the image The less the number of pixels 6. An analogy for the following device is a filing cabinet. (a) (b) (c) (d) RAM A hard drive Temporary storage A computer folder 7. Which of the following statements is true? (a) (b) (c) (d) 44 A bit is made up of 8 bytes. A byte is one binary digit. Each keyboard character is represented by one bit. Computer storage is measured in bytes. CHAPTER 1 (a) (b) (c) (d) Windows Sidebar Aero Glass Shell Glass Desktop Graphical User Interface 10. Which of the following is not represented by desktop icons? (a) (b) (c) (d) Keyboard shortcuts Programs (and program shortcuts) Web sites Computer folders 11. When you use application software, such as Microsoft Word, to create a document, you have created which of the following? 5. The higher the screen resolution: (a) (b) (c) (d) (a) Quick and ready access to computer peripherals that you connect to a computer (b) That computer games perform flawlessly (c) That a laptop computer operates with or without a steady supply of electricity (d) That legacy software is recognized by an operating system 9. Which of the following is the Windows Vista feature that produces a glassy, almost translucent, desktop effect? 3. What is a cookie? (a) (b) (c) (d) 8. Plug and play ensures which of the following? | Computing Concepts (a) (b) (c) (d) Program file Program shortcut Data folder Data file 12. Trial software that you download, enabling you to try a program before you buy, is called what? (a) (b) (c) (d) Commercial software Freeware Trialware Shareware 13. Which of the following is the newest version of Microsoft Office? (a) (b) (c) (d) Office 2006 Office 2007 Office 2003 Office 2005 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 45 Multiple Choice Continued... 14. System folders, created by Windows Vista upon installation, include which of the following? (a) (b) (c) (d) Documents, Music, Pictures, and Computer Documents, Programs, Network, and System Pictures, Programs, Network, and Computer Music, User Files, Computer, and Programs 15. A major difference between RAM and storage (CD, DVD) is that: (a) RAM retains contents regardless of the supply of electricity; storage is dependent upon electricity to retain contents. (b) RAM is known as temporary memory; storage is called permanent storage. (c) RAM is much smaller in capacity than storage. (d) RAM is external memory, whereas storage is internal. 16. Because it is so quick and quiet, the preferred printer for use in schools and businesses is a(n): (a) (b) (c) (d) Ink-jet printer Multifunction printer Portable printer Laser printer 17. Broadband Internet connections include which of the following? (a) (b) (c) (d) Dial-up and DSL Cable, DSL, and satellite Dial-up, DSL, and cable DSL, satellite, and dial-up 18. A disadvantage of a cable Internet connection is that: (a) You share the connection with neighbors, which might slow the transmission occasionally. (b) The speed is typically slower than other connections. (c) The service cannot be combined with existing cable services, such as television. (d) Weather can interrupt cable communication. 19. A tracking program that is installed on your computer, often without your awareness, is called: (a) (b) (c) (d) A virus A cookie Spyware A tracker Multiple Choice |Computing Concepts 45 Exp_Com_Concepts.qxd 7/3/07 12:39 PM Page 46 ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/01/2011 for the course BCIS 1405 taught by Professor Roger during the Fall '09 term at HCCS.

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