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HARDWARE COMPONENTS can fall into the
following categories:
Input– hardware components that allows you
to enter data programs, commands and
user responses into a computer
Output– hardware components that convey
information to the user.
Processing – hardware components involved in
the editing and manipulation of data
Storage –holds data, instructions and
information for further use.
The parts of the computer you can see and touch. Includes:
• Input
• Processing
• Storage
• Output
• Communication
• Networking
Scanner, digital camera,
mouse, keyboard
CPU, Coprocessors(e.g.
sound cards..)
Primary Storage-RAM
Secondary storage- CDROM, DVD, FD
Disks, HD, Zip,
Memory Sticks
VDU or Monitors, Printers
Cables, Network cards, Hubs,
• The features of the hardware
component that make it identifiable.
• characteristic of a scanner includes
the ability to converts hardcopy data
into a digital form.
The tasks action or operation it carries out in
fulfilling its role.
Function of an OCR scanner is:
• to convert an image into digital form
• to convert a hardcopy of text into digital
• The role is hardware is vast and varied.
• Refers to the part played by the hardware
in the information system.
• Example
• the role of a scanner is to capture data
from a hardcopy then and convert them
into digital form so the computer can
manipulate it.
• Refer to its specifications and therefore its suitability to
perform a task.
• E.g. A scanner may be capable of scanning images to a print
resolution of 200 dpi.
• Refers to the things the hardware and software cannot do
because the lack the necessary features or the power to
accomplish specified tasks.
• A scanner may be capable of scanning images to a certain
resolution but may not be able to scan text.
Computer programs. Can be categorised as
System, Application and Utility,
Programming, Communication, Networking
and Firmware.
System software
- is a group of programs that control and manage the
operations of a computer.
- When the computer is turned on, the operating system
is loaded into RAM. This process is known as booting
the computer. The instructions in the operating system
tell the computer how to load, store and execute an
application program and how to transfer data between
input/output devices and main memory.
- E.g. are Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows ‘95,
Linux, Mac O/S, MS-DOS…).
Application software
- is software that enables users to process data. The
programs are loaded from secondary storage into primary
storage when the user requests a specific program.
- There are two types of application software
- Application Software which includes- DTP (e.g.
Publisher), Wordprocessing (e.g. MS Word), Databases
(e.g. MS Access), Spreadsheets (e.g. MS Excel, Web
Authoring (e.g. Dreamweaver), Graphic (e.g. Fireworks)…
- Custom-made software which includes – ready made
software used by franchises such as Bakers delight,
McDonlds…., educational software such as Brittanica,
Encarta, Parliament of Australia….
Programming Software
- a special type of software that is used to write other type
of software (computer programs), using words and symbols
that conform to a set of predetermined rules. Programming
language can be classified as either:
Low Level Languages - programming languages that directly
control the CPU of the computer e.g. machine language and
assembly language
High Level Languages - programming languages that are
easier to write because they are closer to English but have
to be converted to machine language before they are run.
E.g. Fortran, Cobol, Pascal, C++, VB, Logo, Prolog, Java, SQL
Utility software
- a group of software that help manage the computer. They
can help clean up files, restore deleted files, help control
hardware devices and defragment discs.
- Often come bundles with OS software but can be purchased
separately. Examples are:
- Win Zip which helps you compress files
- VET, McAfferty, Nortons, Micro Trend-virus protection
- Other examples can - manage fonts, screen energy save,
spell and grammar check.
Communication Software
• Software in this category is used to transmit data
from one computer to another. For two computers
to communicate, each must have data
communication software, data communication
equipment (hardware), and can be connected by
some type of link, such as a telephone
• E.g. web browsers, internet communication
software such as TCP/IP, data encryption
software, electronic mail(Outlook, Eudora)…
Networking software
• Software that is required to run a network.
Networks can be LAN, WAN or MAN.
Communication software would also be included
within this category. Some examples are:
• Network Operating Systems (NOS)- or management
software provides network managers with a set of
tools that allow them to effectively run and manage
the resources of the network. E.g.- Windows
NT/2000/XP and Novell.
• Protocols –set of rules or behaviours required for two
or more computers to communicate e.g. ethernet,
TCP/IP, Frame relay, ATM
• A middle ground between hardware
and software. Sometimes a program
is recorded on a silicon chip rather
than being on disk.
• E.g. BIOS and CMOS
• How well a piece of hardware and software
can perform its function(s)
• Limitation refers to a potential shortcoming
of a piece of equipment or device for an
intended purpose
Draw up a PMI table and list the
capabilities (+) and limitations(-) and
factors that require further investigation
Digital camera
Useful References
• PCGuide- Systems and Components Reference Guide
• IT Encyclopedia
• How stuff Works
• What's in Your Computer