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BASIC CONCEPTS OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY save costs of duplication and postage, while

maintaining and improving product quality and

WHAT IS INFORMATION? customer service.
• Data processes for some purpose
• Can only be considered to be ‘real’ info if it meets COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
the following criteria: • Cost savings, rapid product development and
o Must be communicated to the recipient process improvements help companies gain and
o Must be in a language that is understood maintain a competitive advantage in the
o Must be in a suitable form marketplace.
o Must be relevant for achieving some purpose • If a smartphone competitor announces a new
• Any form of communication that provides device with innovation touch-screen features, the
understandable and useful knowledge for the competitors must quickly follow suit with similar
person receiving it. products or risk losing market share.
• Companies can use rapid prototyping, software
SYSTEM THEORY simulations and other IT-based systems to bring a
• Trans-disciplinary study of the abstract product to market cost effectively and quickly.
organization of phenomena, independent of their
substance, type, or spatial or temporal scale of GLOBALIZATION
existence. • Companies that survive in a competitive
• Investigates both the principles common to all environment usually have the operational and
complex entities, and the models (usually financial flexibility to grow locally and then
mathematical) which can be used to describe internationally.
them. • IT is at the core of operating models essential for
globalization, such as telecommuting and
• A accompany can outsource most of its noncore
PRODUCT DEVELOPEMNT functions, such as human resources and finances,
• Information technology can speed up the time it to offshore companies and use network
takes new products to reach the market technologies to stay in contact with overseas
• Companies can write product requirement employees, customers and suppliers
documents by gathering market intelligence from
proprietary databases, customers and sales DIFFERENT TYPES OF SYSTEMS
representatives • Abstract and physical system
o Abstract/conceptual system - Orderly
STAKEHOLDER INTEGRATION arrangement of interdependent ideas or
• Using global 24/7 interconnectivity, a customer constructs, which may or may not have any
service call originating in Rome, Italy ends up in a counterpart in the real world.
call center in manila, Philippines, where a service o Physical systems- generally concrete
agent could look up the relevant information on operational systems made up of people,
severs based in corporate headquarters in Dallas, materials, machines, energy and other
Texas, or in Frankfurt, Germany physical things.
• Public companies use their investors relations
websites to communicate with shareholders, • Deterministic and probabilistic system
research analysts and other market participants o Deterministic system – one in which the
occurrence of all events is known with
• Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems allow o Probabilistic system- occurrence of events
managers to review sales, costs and other cannot be perfectly predicted. Thought the
operating metrics on one integrated software behavior of such a system can be described in
platform, usually in real time terms of probability, a certain degree of error
• And ERP system may replace-dozens of legacy is always attached to the prediction of the
systems for finance, human resources and other behavior of the system
functional areas, thus making internal processes • Open and closed system
more efficient and cost-effective. o Open system- interacts w/ its environment
and thus exchanges information, material, or
COST EFFICIENCY energy with the environment, including
• Although the initial IT implementation costs can be random and undefined inputs. Are adaptive in
substantial, the resulting long-term cost savings nature, as they tend to react with the
are usually worth the investment. environment in such a way, so as to favor
• IT allows companies to reduce transaction and their continued existence. are “self-
implementation costs. organizing”, in the sense that they change
• IT based productivity solutions, from word their organization in response to changing
processing to email, have allowed companies to conditions.
o Closed system- does not interact with its MICROCOMPUTERS
environment. Such systems in business world, • most common kind of computers.
are rare, but relatively closed systems are • The term was introduced with the advent of
common. Thus, the systems that are relatively systems based on single chip microprocessors
isolated from the environment but not
completely closed, are termed closed system. EXAMPLES (MOBILE DEVICES)
• User machine system • Laptop and notebook computers – portable and
all-in-one case
COMPUTER • Tablet computer- like laptops, but with a
• General purpose, programmable device that is touchscreen, entirely replacing the physical
used for the production and processing of keyboard
information • Smartphones, smart books, personal digital
• Capable of calculating and storing results assistant (PDA), and palmtop computers – small
handheld computers with limited hardware.
What do we mean by general purpose? • Programmable calculator- like small handhelds,
• Most devices can be described by their function but specialized on mathematical work
e.g washing machine, DVD player • Handheld game consoles- the same as game
• Computers, however, can be used for almost any consoles, but small and portable
purpose: • Desktop computers- case and a display, put under
o Typewriter, video editor, accounts tracker, or on a desk
database / address book, DVD/CD player, etc. • Game consoles- fixed computers specialized for
entertainment purposes (video games)
COMPUTERS ARE PROGRAMMABLE • In-car computers (carputers)- built into a car, for
• Computers respond to instructions in the form of entertainment, navigation, etc
• Programs are written in order to make computers SOME TECH ADVANCEMENTS IN CARS FOR 2016
behave in specific ways i.e. word processor,
systems control Ford autonomous driving in winter
• Programs are stored in the computer memory • In case you haven’t been following all of the news
in self-driving cars, the one hurdle is that almost
HOW COMPUTERS PROCESS INFORMATION? every test-from tesla to google to Magna –
• Computers accept inputs (i.e. data) involves reading lane markings
• The input is translated into binary numbers and • Ford recently demonstrated how powerful lasers
processed and sensors could map an entire urban area even
• The process produces output (i.e. information) in winter and still drive autonomously without any
• This sequence can repeat endlessly: outputs can be lane markings.
• Illustrating this – the ‘black box’ model Toyota is building the satellite car
• It’s just a concept now (and doubly so, since this
Processing the ‘black box’ model tech is used on the Mirai fuel cell concept), but
• We can think of a computer as a ‘black box’: Toyota is showing how satellite cells on the roof of
a car might work someday.
• It means more reliable communication in multiple
regions (not just the U.S. on cell networks) and a
greater possibility of vehicle to vehicles
COMPONENTS OF A COMPUTER SYSTEM communication, a great need with autonomous
• Hardware- the physical parts driving.
• Software- the instructions or programs that
• The human being- the brains behind the whole • Infiniti announced the new 2016 QX60, which uses
system a new tech called Forward Emergency Braking with
pedestrian detection
CLASSES OF COMPUTER • As you might guess, it means the car can detect
• By size people crossing front of the car (not just behind
• By function you, which has been around a while) and stop if
• By usage you don’t react in time
• It’s intended for slower urban driving around town.
• Minicomputers KIDS
• Mainframe computers • the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica has a unique app that
• Supercomputers runs in the back display for kids
• once you program it with destination, they can • Embedded computers
view an animation that shows that arrival time o Computers that are a part of a machine or
• it’s a nod to the frequent question parents get device
about “are we there yet” from the backseat. o Generally, execute a program that is stored in
non-volatile memory and is only intended to
THE LEXUS LC500 LUXURY COUPE CAN HANDLE STOP- operate a specific machine or device.
AND-GO TRAFFIC o Typically required to operate continuously
• another step on the path to autonomous driving, without being reset or rebooted, and once
the Lexus LC 500 coupe-which has a futuristic look- employed in their task the software usually
uses adaptive cruise control in traffic. The car can cannot be modified.
brake down to zero and resume, a technology they o An automobile may contain a number of
call all-speed dynamic radar cruise control. What’s embedded computers; however, a washing
unique here is that the high-end and sporty coupe machine and a DVD player would contain only
relieves some of stress of traffic. one.
o The CPUs used in embedded computers are
MINICOMPUTERS/MIDRANGE often sufficient only for computational
• a class of multi-user computers that lie in the requirements of the specific application and
middle range of the computing spectrum, in may be slower and cheaper than CPUs found
between the smallest mainframe computers and in a personal computer.
the largest single-user systems (microcomputers or
• The term superminicomputer/supermini was used • Intelligent terminal- a terminal (monitor and
to distinguish more powerful minicomputers that keyboard) that contains processing power.
approached mainframes in capability. Intelligent terminals include memory and a
processor to perform special display operations.
MAINFRAME COMPUTERS • Dumb terminal- simply an output device that
• used in large institutions such as government, accepts data from the CPU
banks and large corporations.
• They are measured in MIPS (million instructions CLASSES OF COMPUTERS BY USAGE
per second) and respond to up to hundreds of • Public computer
millions of users at a time. o Computers that are open for public uses
o They are normally fire walled to prevent
• Focused on performing tasks involving intense o
numerical calculations such as weather o abuse. Most are restricted to install software
forecasting, fluid dynamics, nuclear simulations, o There are many places one can use them such
theoretical astrophysics, and complex scientific as cybercafes, schools and libraries
computations • Personal computer
o Computers that are solely for one user
CLASSES OF COMPUTERS BY FUNCTION o User has complete access to any part of the
• Servers computer
o server usually refers to ca computer that is • Display computer
dedicated to provide a service o Computer that are displayed in a shop
o for example, a computer dedicated to a o These computers are mainly for preview
database may be called a “database server” o These computers are rarely firewalled but are
o “file servers” manage a large collection of monitored. They are likely to have internet
computer files access
o “web servers” process web pages and web
• Workstations MODEL
o Workstations are computers that are • Most computers are based on a model proposed
intended to serve one user and may contain by John Von Neumann in 1946
special hardware enhancements not found on • Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist,
a personal computer inventor, computer scientist, and polymath
• Information appliances • The ‘logical’ units of this model are:
o Information appliances are computers o Stored program
specially designed to perform a specific “user- o Central processing unit: fetches and executes
friendly” function- such as playing music, the program instructions sequentially
photography, or editing text. o Memory
o The term is most commonly applied to mobile o Input and output devices
devices, though there are also portable and
desktop devices of this class.
• Used by the computer as the working are
• Holds the working program, the data being
processed and the interim results
• Volatile- contents are erased if power is cut
• can be accessed randomly: can get any piece of
data directly
• faster than permanent storage
• not to be confused with ROM (read-only memory)


chip is used in the normal used primarily in the
operations of a computer startup process of a
after starting up and computer
loading the operating
Writing data to a RAM chip Writing data to a ROM chip
is a faster process is a slow process
Chip can store multiple Chip typically stores only
gigabytes (GB) of data, up several megabytes (MB) of
to 16 GB or more per chip data, up to 4 MG or more
per chip
• permanent memory- records and stores all
programs and data/information magnetically
• larger than RAM – average 12-120GB
• slower- involves mechanical movement
(read/write head, revolving disk)


• Types include intel Pentium series, Celerion, AMD • Floppy disks
Athlon • CD/DVD ROM
• Chip at the heart of the computer-does the • Zip drive
calculations • Magnetic tape
• Speed is very important-measured in megahertz
(MHz): the faster the processor the more
calculations performed per second.


• a computer must be able to store its calculations • Keyboard
and programs • Mouse: used in conjunction with the GUI
• 2 types of memory: “volatile” & “non-volatile” (graphical user interface), point and click
• Measured in bytes • Other types of input devices:
• One byte= eight bits o Trackballs
o Light pens
VOLATILE MEMORY o Touch screens
• computer memory that requires power to o Tablets
maintain the stored information
• example: RAM chip (random access memory)
o SRAM (static RAM)
o DRAM (dynamic RAM)


• Computer memory that can retain the stored • Monitor: also known as the visual display unit
information even when not powered (VDU)
• Examples: • Printers
o ROM chip (read only memory) o Impact printer
▪ PROM (programmable ROM) ▪ Impact printer refers to a class of
▪ EPROM (erasable ROM) printers that work by banging a head or
o Flash memory needle against an ink ribbon to make a
o Magnetic computer storage (hard disk drive, mark on the paper
floppy disk, magnetic tape)
o Optical disc
▪ Examples: dot-matrix printer – uses a PROBLEMS WITH SOFTWARE
needle. Daisy-wheel printer- uses a • Software is complex
wheel just like in a typewriter • Difficult to test comprehensively
o Non-impact printer • Can have bugs: these can be trivial or major
• Symptoms of bugs
o Hanging
o Crashes


• Represents all the program/computer resources as
• Workspace represented graphically-creates
‘virtual’ documents
• More usable: led to wider use to computers
WHY USE AN IMPACT PRINTER? • Adds to the unique nature of the computer as both
• Continuous feed paper- while continuous-feed a tool and a medium
paper has the disadvantage of having perforated
edges hat can be unattractive, it also offers the DO’S AND DON’TS
convenience of being able to be connected to the DO DON’T
printer where it feeds through hundreds or Give the computer room Block air vents
thousands of pages with less of a risk of jamming to breathe
and without needing to be refilled Keep it in a dry place Eat or drink while using
• Multipart forms- consist of multiple copies of a the computer
form that are sandwiched together with either Dust free Expose to extremes of
carbon paper or a layer of carbon contained in the temperature
Shut down properly Just switch off
Keep removable storage Move while the
away from the screen computer is in operation
• Generic name of all programs
• Made up of code interpreted by the hardware
• Written in programming languages-java, c,c ++,
• 2 kinds of software:
o System
o Application

• Concerned with the computer itself: devices, file
and storage management, error correction
• Main piece of SS: operating system (OS)
• OS: the driving program of the computer
o Communicates between all programs and the
o Controls timing and sequence of events
o Manages data to ensure security and integrity
o Examples: windows, mac OS, Unix

• Concerned with the world outside the computer
• Gives the computer its general-purpose nature
• Used for the things you want the computer to do
• Common examples- word, excel, internet explorer
• Applications can be more specialized: e.g.
architecture package


• Involves a cycle of research, analysis, development
and testing
• System analysts- study the business processes and
designs the software
• Programmers- develops the software