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44 Cards in this Set

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What is a Computer?
It responds to a specific set of instructions in a well-defined manner.

It can execute a prerecorded list of instructions (a program)
It has two characteristics
What are the characteristics of Analog devices?
Analog information is mechanical, nearly infinite in precision, but limited in accuracy.
What are the characteristics of Digital devices?
Digital devices record information as a series of numbers, then translates them to represent another entity

not as precise as analog, but extreamly accurate.
What is the only thing a computer really understands?
The only thing a computer really understands is fluctuations in electronic voltages.
What is meant by the term binary?
The computer can recognize two values: high and low (on/off, true/false, yes/no). This is what is meant by the term binary
What is the main reason computers use binary notation?
By forcing the circuitry to accept voltage as one of two values you can minimize the possibility of mistakes, which is the main reason computers use binary notation. You now have a highly accurate digital device even though computers still use a form of analog signaling deep within its structure.
When computers work with information in memory what special places do they use?
registersl, mailboxes for memory.
Simple on/off switch selections can be combined in very complex ways to create what?
codes stored in the computer like everything else: as ones and zeroes
What is a program?
List of instructions is called a program. Programs are also referred to as software
What is hardware?
The physical pieces of a computer that you can see are referred to as hardware.
What is a bit?
Bit = Abbrev. for Binary Term, a unit of storage or one on/off switch. It is the smallest unit in computing and is the foundation for everything else.
What is a byte?
Byte = a series of 8 bits, used to represent anything more complex than merely two values. A byte represents any number between 0 and 255.
What is Herz?
How fast your computer processes data into information per second (hertz = one clock cycle per second)
What is access time?
The time a program or device takes to locate a single piece of information and make it available to the computer for processing
What is the motherboard?
The motherboard is the large circuit board inside your system unit that holds the CPU microprocessor, memory and other essentials
sometimes called the mainboard
What is a port?
External I/O devices (mouse, keyboard, printer, etc) connect to the motherboard through a port.
USB ports provide hot-swapping and are much faster than these other ports (up to 480 Mbps Serial)
What is the CPU?
The brains of the computer, housed on a single chip; also called a microprocessor
Executes instructions it receives from your software (add, store, jump… functions are built into the CPU)
Mathematical calculations take place in the CPU
What are the three different characteristics among microprocessors?
Instruction set: the set of instructions that the microprocessor can execute (RISC, CISC)
Bandwidth: the number of bits processed in a single instruction (e.g., 64-bit processor)
Clock speed: determines how many instructions (cycles per second, or hertz) the processor can execute (MHz, GHz)
What is paralell processing?
More than one processor, usually managed by a control CPU
Breaks up instructions into “threads” and feeds a thread to each processor
Reassembles the threads after having been processed
What are imput devices?
Keyboard (Serial PC 5-pin DIN or PS/2 connector)
Mouse, trackball, touchpad, joystick (Serial Port DB9 or PS/2 connector)
Infrared (wireless or remote presentation device)
Touch screens (digitizers, tablets)/Video Card
Voice/Microphone/Sound Card
Digital camera (web cams, etc)
Light pen
What is an Output device?
A device showing the result of what the computer has accomplished (text, graphics, music, or voice):
Storage Hardware or media
Audio Speakers
Fax machine
What is ROM memory?
Read-only memory
You (typically) cannot save to ROM (permanent) only read instructions from it as input to CPU
Programmed during the manufacturing process
What are BIOS and CMOS?
Basic Input/Output System
A firmware (ROM) chipset that resides on the motherboard
Contains startup instructions for the computer
Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor memory
A memory chip that stores configuration information about the computer (hard drives, memory, keyboard, monitor, current date and time
Uses battery power to retain this information when system is powered down
You can manually configure your CMOS when you upgrade your system (e.g., hard disk drive upgrades)
What is RAM?
Random-access memory temporarily holds software instructions (OS), information and applications for the CPU, including Keyboard strokes and mouse movements
Main memory – internal to the computer
What is Flash Memory?
Flash Memory (uses NOR or NAND technology) and is hot-swappable
What does storage allow for?
Allows a computer to “permanently” retain large amounts of data
What are examples of storange devices?
floppy disk (magnetic), 1.44MB
hard disk drive (magnetic), up to 320GB+
CD-R, CD-RW (optical), 650MB – 730MB+
DVD (optical), 4.7GB – 17GB (up to 2 sides, 2 layers)
Zip drive (magnetic), 100MB – 250MB
Jaz drive (magnetic), 1GB – 2GB
Micro Drive (magnetic) 1-inch hard drive, up to 2.2GB
Internet hard drive (online storage), by subscription
Tape (magnetic), sequential access
RAID (redundant array), NAS (network-attached), SAN (storage area)
What is virtual memory?
The space on your hard disk space that holds software instructions for a program currently in use
What is a cd-rom?
Optical (laser light) Input devices (CD-ROM is to computing as CD is to music);
What is software?
computer instructions or data (programs, which come on hardware – disks) that tell the computer what to do

Software is divided into two categories:
Systems software
Applications software
How do programers program?
Programmers begin with an algorithm: a set of step-by-step instructions (written in a natural language, e.g., English)
Algorithms are ambiguous, error-prone generalities (imagine skipping recipe step 3)
Algorithms are translated into the vocabulary of a programming language
Machine Language uses what to represent data?
Machine Language uses numeric codes to represent data
What is systems software?
It is a class of software that includes everything the computer needs to run:
The operating system
Utility programs
What does an operating system do?
Provides a software platform on top of which application programs can run (Application programs must be written to run on top of a particular operating system)
What does cross platform refer to?
Refers to the capability of software or hardware to run identically on different platforms.
What is emulation?
A process that enables programs to run on a non-compatible operating system by emulating a native OS.
What are the two major interfaces?
Two major user interface types:
Character-based interface
Graphical user interface (GUI)
What are the features of a character based interface?
Features include:
Command-line interface (commands are typed)
Menu-driven interface (commands are chosen from on-screen lists)
What are the Features of a Graphic User Interface?
Features a GUI that utilizes windows, icons, and mouse to make it relatively easy for novices to use the computer productively (point and click)
What does windows do?
Windows provides a graphical user interface (GUI), virtual memory management, multitasking, and support for many peripheral devices.
Uses symbolic representation schemes
What do software programs do?
Also called end-user programs
Programs that do real work for users (i.e., word processors, spreadsheets, and database management systems). Software “timeshares” the CPU.
What are consumer applications?
Printed tutorial and reference manuals that explain how to use the software
On-line manuals and help screens which offer immediate help to the user
Upgrade options
Upgrades allow you to pay a fee to get the latest software version
Newer releases often have additional features and fewer bugs
Compatibility (allows software to function properly with the hardware, operating system, and peripherals)
Warranty (with disclaimers)
Extent of ownership (licensing and distribution
What is the extent of licenced software?
Make copies of software disks
install software on hard drives
transfer information to other users

Commercial software is copyrighted so it can’t be legally duplicated for distribution to others
What are the most popular upgrades?
Optical Drive
Hard Drive