Introduction to Computer Information Systems/Computers in Your Life
Why Learn About Computers?
Today's world runs on computers. Nearly every aspect of modern life involves computers in some form or fashion. As technology is advancing, the scale of computer use is increasing. Computer users include both corporate companies and individuals. Computers are efficient and reliable; they ease people's onerous jobs through software and applications specific to their needs offering convenience. Moreover, computers allow users to generate correct information quickly, hold the information so it is available at any time. Computers and technology affect how we live, work and entertain ourselves. From voice-powered personal assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana to more underlying and fundamental technologies such as behavioral algorithms, suggestive searches and autonomously-powered self-driving vehicles boasting powerful predictive capabilities.
Computers offer a quicker way to gain information which is by providing an internet access. Up to this moment, many internet browsers and applications have been invented. For instance, Google Chrome is one of the largest web based applications used by everyone in the world for reliable source for information.
Computer skills are required to be hired in companies these days. Imagine if two candidates are interviewed, one of them knows nothing about computers while the other does. The employer will definitely hire the latter. Furthermore, with computer skills, one can build his own company and expand his business. He could perhaps work online and export his goods or service.
Not only have computers become more integrated in our lives. They are increasingly becoming more essential in any aspect of life. As computers become more essential, the skill to operate them also become more essential. They are no longer just an advantage but rather a requirement in today’s computer-oriented society. Those who have not had the opportunity to learn computer skills when computers were not as widespread have started to, or are forced to learn to use them as computer skills have become a necessity in order to be a productive and contributing person in not only the workplace but also in society.
Proof of the ever increasing integration in our lives comes from the fact that almost anything can be done with the use of computers. You can now order food, even groceries, through the computer, you can now watch almost anything on your computer, you can now work from home or you can play games to procrastinate at work through the help of computers, you can even conduct interviews through your computer, there are so many things that a computer is capable of that learning the skills to fully reach the potential of computers is a priority.
Computers at Home
A computer is a good product to have at home. There are so many benefits to owning your own computer. It allows you to be able to write letters, articles, stories, reports and other things easier and faster. If you own a printer, you can easily write a letter to a friend or family member, print it out and send it to them. You can save your written documents on your home computer and have easy access to them when you need them again.
Having a computer at home allows you to have access to work from home jobs such as research, data entry, writing and other work-from-home jobs. With a computer at home, you can easily communicate with friends and family through email, social networks and instant messaging. Using a computer to communicate is cheaper than calling friends and family long distance. You can also communicate with co-workers, your boss and anyone else you meet on the Internet through your own computer.
People usually go to the library for their research. If you have your own computer at home, you don't have to travel to the library when you need to research something. Log on to the Internet and research whatever you need with your computer at home. When you need to know something fast you can look it up on Google or your favorite search engine. Having a computer at home gives you access to learning all kinds of things through research. This will save you on gas charges instead of having to drive to the library.
Having a computer at home means your own personal entertainment source. There are literally thousands of games on the Internet which you can play anytime you want to. You can also watch movies and your favorite TV shows on DVDs. You can also join social networks and interact with your friends on a daily basis.
With a computer at home and the Internet, students can now get a college degree from home. There are a lot of different schools that allow students to take college classes online. Using a computer and the Internet can get you a degree at your own pace and faster than going to a college campus.
While almost every household has at least one personal computer within it, desktop and laptop computers are no longer the only computers found in the home. Many homes have numerous computers embedded throughout. Thermostats, appliances, entertainment systems and home security systems are just a few examples of things in a home that can be controlled by an internal computer. These smart homes are capable of so much. All of the devices work on a network and often communicate wirelessly. Home security systems can be monitored from an offsite location. Lights can be turned on and off remotely. Simple tasks, like watering the lawn or running the dishwasher, can be programmed to occur at the homeowners’ convenience, or specifically timed to conserve energy. Some thermostats can even learn and adapt to homeowner preferences.
Smart homes are becoming more and more common. Technology is advancing at a rapid rate and smart homes are expected to become the norm in the very near future. The smart devices and appliances can be controlled from personal computers, or other network devices like smart phones. Some people believe that these homes will eventually be smart enough to recognize the inhabitants and adapt to the needs, giving the phrase computers in the home a whole new meaning.
Computers in Education
At most colleges and universities, their students are familiar with blackboard, a course management system that is used quite frequently in order to stay in touch with teachers, figure out homework assignments, and keep track of grades. While not all classes utilize this technology, it can be very helpful especially for online courses. With technology growing and advancing so far forward we now have the ability to learn and take classes from the comfort of our own home.
While many students still go on campus, there is no shortage of computers. Most colleges have at least one mega lab with nearly a hundred computers. But if you wish to bring your own laptop there are plenty of wireless hot spots where you could get a connection to the internet from anywhere on campus. Understandably lugging textbooks around campus may seem exhausting and tiring, you now have the option to get an electronic e-Book of most textbooks needed for class.
Most people are knowledgeable on the fact that computers are widely-used in colleges and at universities, but let's take a step back and take a look at the ways in which computers are used in elementary schools. The biggest benefit of a computer being used in a classroom is that it can provide many different study tools depending on the class. They can provide electronic flashcards, math games, and even things as simple as crossword puzzles. Although a computer cannot replace a teacher, it can help expand a students independent thinking skills by allowing activities to be taken as many times as needed. Most of the activities found in classrooms are very interactive which helps keep the student interested. Also, we must not forget that because modern day children are drawn towards electronics, they are more compelled to engage in study activities on a computer rather than a sheet of paper.
Working on a computer at an early age helps build fundamental skills needed later on in life. At a young age a child can learn how to fully operate the basic external hardware of a computer like the screen, keyboard, or mouse. With enough exposure to computers and their components, a student can become more efficient for the following years of school and even their future career.
Computers on the Job
If you have seen any older movie (or SpongeBob) you have probably seen people getting to work grabbing their time card and getting it stamped to show what time they have arrived at work. This is called an authentication system or timesheet. While now the authentication system is more digital than before, the concept still applies. This isn't the only use of computers on the job or at work in general. For instance say there is a presentation you must give to the board of directors, you might want to make a PowerPoint to give visuals to help drive home your point. Or perhaps you work retail and the pair of pants a customer wants is out of stock, you could easily order it online for them, and minimize the headache of shopping for those who hardly shop. Whatever the case, computers can help.
Spectrum of Computers
Every industry has computers. These machines have been incorporated into the fabric of every workforce. Computers have even created many fields which did not exist prior to their existence. Computers manifest themselves in different ways to perform unique tasks. One size does not fit all in the realm of computers, rather each has a purpose or assigned task. The computers that fulfill similar tasks can be classed together. The categories range from small scale to industrial. An embedded computer is something that allows somewhere like an office to have appliances that range from routers to printers. Then there are mobile devices such as smart phones, phablets, and smart watches that are, for example, able to keep a New York stock broker up-to-date on the latest stocks, or instantly keep in touch with investors. These devices have compressed, basic operating systems −although they are getting more advanced by the day. Personal computers are one order of magnitude up from mobile devices. Personal computers have the full and universal capabilities in order to have the capacity to access work from outside the workplace, as well as handle the software that might be used on the job. Midrange computers or midrange servers are yet another order of magnitude up on the spectrum. These machines are between 20 and 50 times larger than a traditional desktop computer, though their previous name was a "minicomputer" and has business and scientific applications. These computers are often referred to as servers due to the majority of them being used as such. Next are Mainframe computers, which are primarily used by large corporations and governments to store and process massive amounts of information. This leads to the final class which is Supercomputers. As the name would suggest, this type of computer is quite powerful. It calculates enormous amounts of information with countless variables to get information. These are responsible for tasks such as weather prediction, security, simulating the moment the universe came into existence, as well as helping to create the next tier of computer - which is not yet fully operational - the quantum computer.
Electronic Flight Bags
Computers have been ubiquitous in most work places since the mid 1990’s. A notable exception, until recently, is the commercial airliner flight deck. In the last 5 years, electronic flight bags (EFB’s) have become more and more commonplace. Before the FAA approved EFB’s, pilots would have to carry paper charts, approach plates, and aircraft manuals and checklists for each flight. This paper system was cumbersome, heavy, and took up the space of an extra suitcase. Now, tablets are taking the place of this system. In 2012, United Airlines provided their pilots with mounting hardware, and iPads for use in the cockpit. Southwest and American Airlines followed suit. Now, most major airlines use EFB’s for their operations. This allows for more complex flight planning, greater precision and efficiency, and better organization. Airlines also save weight, as pilots no longer have to bring 45 pounds of paper with them on their flights. The use of a tablet brings the weight down to 1.5 pounds. Not only does this make the pilots life easier, but it also helps the airline save on jet fuel. Future aircraft designs have tablet mounting and charging stations built into the flight deck, to make the integration of the system even more seamless.
Phablets, a portmanteau of "Phone" and "Tablet", were first pioneered in 2007 by HTC. The concept was an original hybridization, borrowing the large, touchscreen display from a tablet computer and the functionality and size from a mobile cellular phone. The idea was eventually adopted by other large manufacturers including LG (GW990) and Nokia (N810), and underwent several different phases. The early generations had, in addition to a touchscreen, physical keyboards whereas the later ones do not. The Verizon Streak, produced and carried by the network, was released in 2009. Unlike most others at the time, it was restricted to phone and internet use within the household only. The current style of phablets was not popularized until 2011, after the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note, (Android) which featured a 5.3" inch display and a removable stylus.
Portable computers are compact and fully functioning versions of a regular desktop computer that are designed to be mobile. While they rely on rechargeable batteries or an electrical outlet for power, they allow a person the freedom to move around while still being productive. Their mobility alongside their ability to operate similar to a desktop make them powerful tools for businessmen, students, and common individuals alike. Whether giving or preparing a project or presentation, taking notes or studying online, or simply connecting to the internet from a cafe, portable computers have become essential for individuals who wish to work, study, or play on the go. Portable computers come in three basic versions which include the laptop, tablet, and netbook.
Laptops are thin computers that contain a keyboard and monitor folded on top of each other so that the top half is the visual display and the bottom half is the input. Laptops are commonly called "notebooks" do to this folding feature and their thin appearance. Recently, touch screens have been introduced into some laptops allowing some operating systems like Windows 8 to open applications with the touch of a finger. While laptops are comparable to desktops in their use, their smaller size results in some small amounts of the computing power and functionality being lost. However, their compact size allows them to be stored when not in use and the familiar "nest" of wires associated with linking up a desktop is reduced to a single power cord. Laptops are also better at "creating" fully functional content when compared to a Tablet or Mobile Device (such as a cell phone). If you require the ability to write reports or long e-mails, to use a spreadsheet in order to crunch numbers, to create a "PowerPoint" presentation, to rearrange music libraries or photo albums, or to edit pictures then you will need a desktop, laptop or a netbook. Tablets and Mobile Devices are more designed to consume content than to create.
Tablets are smaller than laptop PCs, very lightweight, and extremely easy to carry, but they lack the processing power of a laptop as well as a keyboard input. They rely, instead, on a stylus and touch screen. For those who are hardcore gamers, giving business presentations, or conducting heavy research a tablet doesn't offer the speed and efficiency that is needed to complete these tasks. However, if a person is more of a casual internet surfer or "lightweight" game player then a tablet can handle what computing is needed to do this. They can browse the web relatively easy and stream movies or Youtube videos too. It should also be noted that tablets have become handy for other lightweight tasks involved with simple music/DJ production like FX and mixing as well as live sequencing. Some artists and designers are now using their tablets for preliminary sketches that they transfer into design software and programs on a full powered laptop later on as well.
Netbooks are similar to laptops but differ in size as well as processing. While netbooks are smaller versions of laptops, they have been designed, to the best of their ability, to have the same functionality as laptops and PCs. A netbook's computer display will rarely reach above 10" or 12", and are more commonly smaller than this, whereas some laptops can contain up to 15.5" of display screen. Netbooks have been around since 2008, roughly, and have revolved around their ability to connect to mobile networks such as the wifi at your local cafe or restaurant. Because of this feature, it has changed the laptop industry and has been heralded as a revolutionary and pivotal focal point in the production of laptops and netbooks. Since then this capability has now become a standard among both. Even though they don't maintain some of the functionality and computing power as their desktop and laptop counterparts, they are still capable of word processing, mathematical computation, and other productivity programs that businessmen and students use. On top of that, they are also extremely durable and affordable which make them perfect for educational tools. Students will find them easy to manage, organize, and carry around as well as a "distraction free" resource because of their minimalistic capabilities. Couple these advantages with internet access to mobile hotspots such as school libraries and it can be easily seen why this device had dominated the market for so long. It has only been a recent trend for individuals to pick up the tablet despite it's rudimentary processing power and it has been speculated that this is due to the tablet's sleek design and effective marketing strategy toward the younger generation.
Smartphones are mobile personal computers that use advanced mobile operating systems that allow mobile, handheld usage. A smartphone is much smaller than a tablet making it easy to fit one in a pocket. Not only can a smartphone make voice calls it can also send and receive text messages. Smartphones have digital personal assistants, event calendars, media players, video games, GPS navigation, and the ability to take digital photos and videos. A smartphone can also access the internet by either connecting to Wi-Fi or using cellular data. The user may also download many helpful apps to a smartphone.
- Wikipedia: Timesheet
- Wikipedia: Smartphone