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Fundamentals of Information Technology (IT)

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY is an innovation that merges computing with high-speed


communications links carrying data, sound and video. The most important consequence of
information technology is that it is producing a gradual fusion of several important industries
in a phenomenon that has been called “technological convergence”.

TECHNOLOGICAL CONVERGENCE, also known as digital convergence is the technological


merger of several fields through various devices that exchange information in the electronics,
or digital, format used by computers. The fields are computers, communications, consumer
electronics, entertainment, and mass media.

Technological Convergence is derived from a combination of two recent technologies:


computers and communications.

Computer-&-Communications System

Computer is an electronic device capable of accepting data (input), manipulating data


arithmetically and logically (process), producing results (output) and storing output for
future use under the control of instructions stored in its own memory.

Communications (or telecommunications) technology consists of electromagnetic


devices and systems communicating over long distances.

Main aspects of computing:

1. Input : In the input phase, data is entered or otherwise captured electronically and
is converted to a form that can be processed by the computer.
2. Process: In the process phase, the data is manipulated or transformed into
information.
3. Output: In the output phase, the information, which is processed data, is produced
in a form usable by people.
4. Store: In the store phase, data, information, or programs are stored in computer-
processable form.

 Communications is an extension capability of each phase.


Elements of Computer-&-Communications System:

The elements of computer and communication system are hardware, software,


data/information, people, procedure and communication.

Element 1: HARDWARE
- Components or physical pieces that make up the computer. Hardware are those things
you can touch.

Hardware Categories:

The element responsible for the main operations of the computer is the hardware.

Hardware Categories
1. Input hardware
2. Processing and memory hardware
3. Output hardware
4. Secondary storage hardware
5. Communications hardware

Regardless of the operations they perform, external devices that are connected to the
main computer (CPU and memory) are referred to as “peripheral devices”, or simply
“peripherals”. A peripheral is any piece of hardware that is connected to the main computer.
Examples are the keyboard, monitor, and printer.

INPUT Hardware consists of all devices that allow people to enter data and program (a set of
instructions that tells the computer what to do) into the computer. An input device accepts
data and converts it into computer-readable form ready for processing or storage. Input
devices can be categorized as keyboard entry device and source data entry device.

Keyboard entry device is a device used to encode data by key depression.


Example of keyboard entry devices:
1. Computer keyboards
2. Terminals - ex.: ATM(automated teller machine), POS (Point Of Sale
Terminals)
3. Touch devices - ex.: express banking (customers use the telephone to
transact business with the bank where a recorded instruction guides the user
from the beginning up to the end of the transaction.
4. Set-top boxes (also called information appliance or communication appliance
or telecomputer ) - ex.: TV cable box, TV/pc smart box

Source data entry device is a special equipment that collects data at its origin and sends
it directly to the computer.
Examples of Source data entry devices:
1. Pointing devices – Ex.: mouse, trackball, joystick, light pen
2. Scanning devices - Ex.: bar code reader, MICR (Magnetic Ink Character
Recognition), OMR (Optical Mark Recognition), OCR (Optical Character
Recognition), Fax machines, image scanner or graphics scanner.
3. Voice recognition devices – convert human speech into digital form.
4. Audio input devices - record music and other sound signals and transform
them into digital format to be used as input for multimedia PC’s.
5 Video input devices - transform video or films into digital format
6. Electronic cameras
7. Sensors - collect specific kinds of data from the environment and convert it
into computer-readable data. Examples are temperature, humidity, smoke,
gas and light sensors.

PROCESSING and MEMORY hardware consists of the Central Processing Unit (CPU), this
hardware is considered as the “brain” of the computer.

CPU or Central Processing Unit is the processor. It controls and manipulates data to
produce information. In a microcomputer the CPU is usually contained on a single
integrated circuit or chip. The single chip is called a microprocessor.

Memory is the working storage or the computer’s “work space”, where data and
programs for immediate processing are held. It is also known as main memory or primary
storage or RAM (Random Access Memory). The size of the memory is important. Memory
size determines how much data can be processed at once and how big and complex a
program may be used to process it.

OUTPUT Hardware consists of devices that transform information processed by the computer
into a form that humans can understand. An output machine is the medium used by the
computer in displaying its responses to the user’s requests and instructions.

Principal forms of output


1. screen display
2. printed
3. Sound

Types of Outputs
1. Softcopy output refers to output that is in the form of sound or displayed on a
computer screen.
2. Hardcopy output refers to printed output.

SECONDARY STORAGE HARDWARE consists of all devices that may store data and programs
permanently. This is sometimes called “storage media”. Media refers to the material that
stores data, such as magnetic disk or magnetic tape.

Memory or primary storage is internal storage and it works with the CPU on the system
board. Secondary storage is external storage and it is outside the system board (although it
may still be inside the system unit or cabinet).

Backing storage

The difference between internal memory and backing storage:

Backing storage (also known as secondary storage) means data storage that retains its
contents when the computer is switched off. It can be used to hold both programs and data.
When you run a program or load a file they are copied from the backing store into the internal
memory. When you save a file it is copied from the internal memory to the backing store.

- It is always slower to access data from backing storage than from internal memory.
- Data stored in backing storage is permanent so it is NOT lost when the computer is
turned off.
- Data stored in internal memory is lost when the computer is turned off.
COMMUNICATIONS Hardware consists of devices used for communications. Examples of
communication devices are the modem, cable, and fax modem.

 Modem (modulator/demodulator) is an electronic device that allows computers


to communicate with each other over telephone lines.
 Cable is used in local area networks.
 Fax modem is a modem with fax capability that enables to send signals directly
from computer to someone else’s fax machine or computer fax modem. The fax
modem allows you to transmit information much more quickly than if it had to
feed i page by page into a fax machine.
Element 2: SOFTWARE

Software refers to the programs, routines, and symbolic languages that control the
functioning of the hardware and direct its operation.

Categories of Software:

A. Application software
B. System software

APPLICATION SOFTWARE is a program that can be used to solve a particular problem


or to perform a particular task.

Types of Application Software:

1. Customized (or User-developed) software - are programs designed for a particular


customer or tailored to fit a specific organization.
Ex.: Payroll System of a particular company
Student Registration System of a particular school
2. General-purpose or Productivity or Packaged software - are productivity tools
developed for sale to the general public (ready-made application programs). These
are programs that can perform useful work on general-purpose tasks.

The types of packaged software that you will most likely encounter are the following:

1. Word processing is the creation, input, editing, and production of documents


and texts by means of computer systems..
Ex.: Microsoft Word, MacWrite, Word Perfect, Writer

2. Spreadsheet software allows a person to use the computer to use rows,


columns, and formulas to display, analyze, and summarize data (mostly
numerical data).
Ex.: Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3, Quattro Pro, Calc

3. Database Management System (DBMS) is a program used to manage multiple


data files. It enables users to create and maintain a database (collection of
data) and to extract information from the database.
Ex.: Microsoft Access, Paradox, dBase, SQL, Oracle
4. Desktop Publishing is the design and production of publications using
personal computers with graphics capability.
Ex.: Adobe Pagemaker, Microsoft Publisher

5. Presentation is software that allows users to use the computer for


presentation purposes.
Ex.: Microsoft PowerPoint, Impress, Storyboard, Flash

6. Graphics software enables users to present information in the form of charts


and graphs or to create complex freehand artwork.
Ex.: Hollywood, Harvard Graphics, Adobe Illustrator, Fireworks, Cold
Fusion, Flash

7. Communications software manages the transmission of data between


computers over wired or wireless channels.
Ex.: ProComm, SmartCom, Crosstalk

Some kinds of programs integrate all these functions to one software package, called
integrated software. There are many other application programs such as personal
information managers, hypertext, multimedia programs and scheduling programs.

SYSTEM SOFTWARE

System Software are programs designed to manage the functions of the computer. It enables
the application software to interact with the computer. Examples of system software are
operating systems, language processors, utility programs, and performance-monitoring
software.

 Operating System acts as the master control program that runs the computer.
This program acts as an interface between the user of the computer and the
hardware. It oversees the flow of program and data through the computer
system.
Examples:
DOS, WINDOWS, UNIX, LINUX, OS/2,
Macintosh Operating System
 Language Processors or Translators are programs that convert human readable
programming languages into machine level instruction and vice versa. There are
three types of language processors: the ASSEMBLER, COMPILER, and
INTERPRETER.

 Utility systems are programs developed for frequently used task. These are
service routines commonly used in computer operations such as copying, merging
and sorting.

 Performance- monitoring software is a program used to monitor, analyze and


report the performance of the overall computer system and the computer
components.

Element 3: DATA/INFORMATION

Data versus Information. The word data is the plural of datum, though data commonly
represents both singular and plural forms. Data are raw facts or observations, typically about
phenomena or business transactions. More specifically, data are objective measurements of
attributes (the characteristics) of entities (such as people, places, things and events).

People often use the terms data and information interchangeably. However, it is better
to view data as raw material resources that are processed into finished information products.
Information is data that have been converted into a meaningful and useful context for specific
end users. Information is processed data placed in its proper context to give it value for
specific end users. Thus, data are usually subjected to a value-added process (called data
processing or information processing) where:
a. its form is aggregated, manipulated and organized
b. its content is analyzed and evaluated
c. it is placed in a proper context for human user

Hierarchy of Data Organization:

In electronic form, data can be organized as bits, bytes, fields, records, files, and
databases.

 BIT: Computers deal with “on” and “off” electrical states, which are represented
as 0’s and 1’s. Each 0 or 1 is called a bit – short for binary digit. The bit is the
smallest unit of information inside the computer memory.
 BYTE or CHARACTER: A group of 8 bits is called a byte. A byte holds the
equivalent of a character. A character is a single letter, number, or special symbol
(such as a comma or dollar sign).
Ex.: Of character: A 5 *

Bits and bytes are what the computer hardware deals with. People, using
software, deal with characters, fields, records, files, and databases.

 FIELD: A field is a unit of data consisting of one or more characters.


Ex.: name of a student
Address of a student
Age of a student

 RECORD: A record is collection of related fields.


Ex.: name, address, and age of a student

 FILE: A file is a collection of related records.


Ex.: collection of all student records

Note: In word processing, “file” has another meaning entirely. The word
processing file is a text document stored under one particular name. That kind of file
is broken down into pages and words (rather than records and fields).

 DATABASE: A database is a collection of interrelated files.


Ex.: A collection of students register file, students grades file, and Students
personal data file

Units of Measurement of Storage Capacity:

1. Kilobyte (K or KB) - equivalent to 1,024 bytes.


2. Megabyte (M or MB) - about 1 million bytes
3. Gigabyte (G or GB) - about 1 billion bytes
4. Terabyte ( T or TB) - about 1 trillion bytes
Element 4: People

People or Peopleware refers to IT Professionals who provide computer-&-


communications systems, and the users, who are the beneficiaries of the systems. People are
the most important part of, and the beneficiaries of, a computer and communications system

The IT Professionals are the trained workers in the Information Technology field.
Basically the Computer Professionals are the following:

1. Data Encoder or Data Entry Operator - prepares/enters data for processing


2. Computer Operator - monitors and run the computer equipment.
3. Computer Programmer - designs, writes, tests, implements and maintains
computer programs
4. Systems Analyst - plans and designs the entire systems of programs
5. IT Manager - coordinates the IT organization

Other IT Professionals:

 Computer Librarian
 Computer Technician
 Computer Hardware Engineer
 Software Engineer
 Systems Administrator
 Database Administrator
 Network Administrator
 Computer Support Specialist
 Telecommunication Specialist
 Computer Security Specialist
 Web Developer/Web Master
 Application Specialist
 Application Architect

Element 5: Procedures

Procedures are descriptions of how things are done, steps for accomplishing a result.
Some procedures may be expressed in manuals. Manuals, called Documentation, contain
instructions, rules, or guidelines to follow when you use hardware or software.
Element 6: Communications

Communications is defined as the electronic transfer of data or information from one


place to another. Communications has two components: digital and analog communications.

 Digital or Data communication consists of digital transmission – 0’s and 1’s.


This is the method of transmission by which computers communicate with each
other. This is also called “computer communications”.

Components of Data Communication System:

1. Transmitter - any circuit or electronic device designed to send


electronically encoded data to another location. This can also be called
the source.

2. Transmission path or channel is the path or link through which


information passes. This is also known as a line or circuit.

3. Receiver is any device designed to receive any conveyed message from


the transmitter or the source. This is also known as the sink.

 Analog communication consists of non digital forms of transmission, including


voice and video. In the past, analog communications has been the method by
which telephone, radio, television, and cable-TV have transmitted.

Overview Of Developments In Computer And Communication Technology

The Three Directions in Computer Technology

 Smaller size: Everything has become smaller. ENIAC’s old-fashioned vacuum tubes gave
way to the smaller, faster, more reliable transistor. The next step was the development
of tiny integrated circuits. Integrated circuits (IC’s) are entire collections of electrical
circuits or pathways etched on tiny squares of silicon half the size of your thumbnail.
Silicon is a natural element found in sand that is purified to form the base materials for
making computer processing devices.
 More power: In turn, miniaturization of hardware components made more power into
the computer machines, providing faster processing speed and more data storage
capacity.

 Less expensive: The miniaturized processor in a personal desktop computer performs


the same sort of calculations once performed by a computer that filled an entire room.

Important Developments in Communication Technology

Better Communication Channels

The old kinds of telephone connections – that is, copper wire – have begun to yield to
the more efficient wired forms, such as coaxial cable and, more important, fiber optic cable,
which can transmit vast quantities of information in both analog and digital form.
Even more interesting has been the expansion of wireless communication. Federal
regulators have permitted existing types of wireless channels to be given over to new uses, as
a result of which we now have many more kinds of two-way radio, cellular telephone, and
paging devices than we had previously.

Communications Networks

Connect one or more telephones and computers and associated devices. The principal
difference is that broadcast networks transmit messages in only one direction, whereas
communications networks transmit in both directions. Communications networks are crucial
to technological convergence, for they allow information to be exchanged electronically.
A communications network may be large or small, public or private, wired or wireless or
both. Smaller networks may be connected to larger ones. A local area network (LAN) may be
used to connect users located near one another, as in the same building.

New Sending and Receiving Devices


Examples of new devices for sending and receiving information:
 Cellular phone: Cellular telephones use a system that divides a geographical service
into a grid of “cells”. In each cell, low powered, portable, wireless phones can be
accessed and connected to the main (wire) telephone network. The significance of the
wireless portable phone is its effect on worldwide communication.
 Fax machines: Fax stands for “facsimile” which means a “copy”. More specifically, fax
stands for “facsimile transmission”. A fax machine scans an image and sends a copy of it
in the form of electronic signals over transmission lines to a receiving fax machine. The
receiving machine re-creates the image on paper. Fax messages may also be sent to and
from microcomputers.