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71 Cards in this Set

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Application software
Software that has been developed to solve a particular problem, perform useful work on general-purpose tasks, or provide entertainment.

Why important: Application software such as word processing, spreadsheet, database management, graphics, and communications packages are commonly used tools for increasing people's productivity.
Case
Also known as the "system unit" or "system cabinet"; the box that houses the processor chip (CPU), the memory chips, and the motherboard with power supply, as well as storage devices - floppy-disk drive, hard-disk drive, and CD or DVD drive.

Why it's important: The case protects many important processing and storage components.
CD (compact-disk) drive
Storage device that uses laser technology to read data from optical disks.

Why it's important: New software is generally supplied on CDs rather than diskettes. And even if you can get a program on floppies, you'll find it easier to install a new program from one CD rather than repeatedly inserting and removing many diskettes. The newest version is called DVD (digital video disk). The DVD format stores even more data than the CD format.
Clients
Computers and other devices connected to a server, a central computer.

Why it's important: Client/server networks are used in many organizations for sharing data-bases, devices, and programs.
Communications technology
Also called "telecommunications technology"; consists of electromagnetic devices and systems for communicating over long distances.

Why it's important: Communications systems using electronic connections have helped to expand human connection beyond face-to-face meetings.
Computer
Programmable, multiuse machine that accepts data - raw facts and figures - and processes (manipulates) it into useful information, such as summaries and totals.

Why it's important: Computers greatly speed up problem solving and other tasks, increasing users' productivity.
Connectivity
Ability to connect computers to one another by communications lines, so as to provide online information access and/or the sharing of peripheral devices.

Why it's important: Connectivity is the foundation of the advances in the Information Age. It provides online access to countless types of information and services. The connectivity resulting from the expansion of computer networks has made possible email and online shopping, for example.
Cyberspace
Term used to refer to the online world and the Internet in particular but also the whole wired and wireless world of communications in general.

Why it's important: More and more human activities take place in cyberspace.
Data
Raw facts and figures processed into information.

Why it's important: Users need data to create useful information.
Desktop PC
Microcomputer unit that sits on a desk, with the keyboard in front and the monitor often on top.

Why it's important: Desktop PCs and tower PCs are the most commonly used types of microcomputer.
Email (electronic mail)
Messages transmitted over a computer network, most often the internet.

Why it's important: Email has become universal, one of the first things new computer users learn is how to send and receive mail.
Ethics
Set of moral values or principles that govern the conduct of an individual or a group.

Why it's important: Ethical questions arise often in connection with information technology.
Expansion slots
Internal "plugs" used to expand the PC's capabilities.

Why it's important: Expansion slots give you places to plug in additional circuit boards, such as those for video, sound, and communications (modem).
Floppy-disk drive
Storage device that stores data on removable 3.5-inch-diameter flexible diskettes encased in hard plastic.

Why it's important: Floppy-disk drives are included on almost all microcomputers and make many types of files portable.
Hard-disk drive
Storage device that stores billions of characters of data on a nonremovable disk platter usually inside the computer case.

Why it's important: Hard disks hold much more data than diskettes do. Nearly all microcomputers use hard disks as their principal secondary-storage medium.
Hardware
All machinery and equipment in a computer system.

Why it's important: Hardware runs under the control of software and is useless without it. However, hardware contains the circuitry that allows processing.
Information
Data that's been summarized or otherwise manipulated for use in decision making.

Why it's important: The whole purpose of a computer (and communications) system is to produce (and transmit) usable information.
Information technology
Technology that helps to produce, manipulate, store, communicate, and/or disseminate information.

Why it's important: Information technology is bringing about the fusion of several important industries dealing with computers, telephones, televisions, and various handheld devices.
Input
Whatever is put in ("input") to a computer system. Input devices include the keyboard and the mouse.

Why it's important: Useful information cannot be produced w/o input data.
Interactivity
Two-way communication; a user can respond to information he or she receives and modify the process.

Why it's important: Interactive devices allow the user to actively participate in a technological process instead of just reacting to it.
Internet (the "net")
Worldwide computer network that connects hundreds of thousands of smaller networks linking computers at academic, scientific, and commercial institutions, as well as individuals.

Why it's important: Thanks to the internet, millions of people around the world can share all types of information and services.
Keyboard
Input device that converts letters, numbers, and other characters into electrical signals readable by the processor.

Why it's important: Keyboards are the most common kind of input device.
Local area network (LAN)
Network that connects, usually by special cable, a group of desktop PCs and other devices, such as printers, in an office or a building.

Why it's important: LANs have replaced mainframes for many functions and are considerably less expensive.
Mainframe
Second-largest computer available, after the supercomputer; capable of great processing speeds and data storage. Costs $5000 - $5 million. Small mainframes are often called midsize computers.

Why it's important: Mainframes are used by large organizations (banks, airlines, insurance companies, universities) that need to process millions of transactions.
Memory chip
Also known as RAM (for "random access memory") chip; represents primary storage or temporary storage.

Why it's important: Holds data before processing and information after processing, before it is sent along to an output or storage device.
Microcomputer
Also called personal computer; small computer that fits on or next to a desktop or can be carried around. Costs $500 - $5000.

Why it's important: The microcomputer has lessened the reliance on mainframes and has provided more ordinary users with access to computers. It can be used as a stand-alone machine or connected to a network.
Microcontroller
Also called an embedded computer; the smallest category of computer.

Why it's important: Microcontrollers are built into "smart" electronic devices, such as appliances and automobiles.
Modem
Device that sends and receives data over telephone lines to and from computers.

Why it's important: A modem enables users to transmit data from one computer to another by using standard telephone lines instead of special communications equipment.
Monitor
Display device that takes the electrical signals from the video card and forms an image using points of colored light on the screen.

Why it's important: Monitors enable users to view output w/o printing it out.
Motherboard
Main circuit board in the computer. (see diagram p. 33)

Why it's important: This is the big green circuit board to which everything else - such as the keyboard, mouse and printer - is attached. The processor chip and memory chips are also installed on the motherboard.
Mouse
Non-keyboard input device, called a "pointing device," used to manipulate objects viewed on the computer display screen.

Why it's important: For many purposes, a mouse is easier to use than a keyboard for inputting commands. Also, the mouse is used extensively in many graphics programs.
Multimedia
From "multiple media"; technology that presents information in more than one medium - including text graphics, animation, video, and sound - in a single integrated communication.

Why it's important: Multimedia is used increasingly in business, the professions, and education to improve the way information is communicated.
Network
Communications system connecting two or more computers.

Why it's important: Networks allow users to share applications and data and to use e-mail. The internet is the largest network.
Notebook computer
Also called laptop computer; lightweight portable computer w/ a built-in monitor, keyboard, hard-disk drive, battery and adapter; weighs 1.8-9 pounds.

Why it's important: Notebook and other small computers have provided users w/ computing capabilities in the field and on the road.
Online
Using a computer or some other information device, connected through a network, to access information and services from another computer or information device.
Output
Whatever is output from ("put out of") the computer system; the results of processing.

Why it's important: People use output to help them make decisions. Without output devices, computer users would not be able to view or use the results of processing.
Peripheral device
Any component or piece of equipment that expands a computer's input, storage and output capabilities. Examples include printers and disk drives.

(Most computer input and output functions are performed by peripheral devices)
Personal digital assistant (PDA)
Also known as handheld computer or palmtop; used as a schedule planner and address book and to prepare to-do lists and send email and faxes.
Primary storage
Also called "memory"; internal computer circuitry that temporarily holds data waiting to be processed.

(By holding data, primary storage enables the processor to process.)
Printer
Output device that produces text and graphics on paper.
Processing
The manipulation the computer does to transform data into information.

(Processing is the essence of the computer, and the processor is the computer's "brain".)
Processor chip
Also called the central processing unit (CPU); tiny piece of silicon that contains millions of miniature electronic circuits used to process data.

(Chips have made possible the development of small computers.)
Secondary storage
Also called "storage"; devices and media that store data and programs permanently - such as disks and disk drives, tape and tape drives, CDs and CD drives.

(W/o secondary storage, users would nto be able to save their work. Storage also holds the computer's software.)
Server
Computer in a network that holds collections of data (databases) and programs for connecting PCs, workstations, and other devices, which are called "clients."

(Servers enable many users to share equipment, programs and data.)
Software
Also called "programs"; step-by-step electronically encoded instructions that tell the computer hardware how to perform a task.

(W/o software, hardware is useless.)
Sound card
Special circuit board that enhances the computer's sound-generating capabilities by allowing sound to be output through speakers.
Speakers
Devices that play sounds transmitted as electrical signals from the sound card. Speakers are connected to a single wire plugged into the back of the computer.
Supercomputer
High-capacity computer w/ thousands of processors that is the fastest calculating device ever invented. Costs up to $350 million or more.

(Used primarily for research purposes, airplane design, oil exploration, weather forecasting, and other activities that cannot be handled by mainframes and other less powerful machines.)
System software
Software that helps the computer perform essential operating tasks.

(Application software cannot run w/o system software. System software consists of several programs. The most important is the operating system , the master control program that runs the computer. Examples of operating system software for the PC are various Microsoft programs (such as Windows 95, 98, NT, Me and XP), Unix, Linux, and the Macintosh OS.
Terminal
Input and output device that uses a keyboard for input and a monitor for output; it cannot process data.

(Generally used to input data to and receive data from a mainframe computer system.)
Tower PC
Microcomputer unit that sits as a "tower," often on the floor, freeing up desk space.

(Tower PCs and desktop PCs are the most commonly used types of microcomputer.)
Video card
Circuit board that converts the processor's output information into a video signal for transmission through a cable to the monitor.
Workstation
Smaller than a mainframe; expensive, powerful computer generally used for complex scientific, mathematical, and engineering calculations and for computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing.

(The power of workstations is needed for specialized applications too large and complex to be handled by PCs.)
World Wide Web (the "web")
The interconnected system of internet servers that support specially formatted documents in multimedia form - sounds, photos, and video as well as text.

(The web is the most widely known part of the internet.)
Zip-disk drive
Storage device that stores data on removable floppy-disk cartridges w/ at least 70 times the capacity of the standard floppy.

(Zip drives are used to store large files.)
Animation
The rapid sequencing of still images to create the appearance of motion, as in a cartoon.
Applets
Small programs that can be quickly downloaded and run by most browsers.
B2B (business-to-business) commerce
Electronic sale or exchange of goods and services directly b/w companies, cutting out traditional intermediaries.

(Expected to grow even more rapidly than other forms of e-commerce, B2B commerce covers an extremely broad range of activities, such as supplier-to-buyer display of inventories, provision of wholesale price lists, and sales of closed-out items and used materials - usually w/o agents, brokers, or other third parties.)
Backbones
High-speed, high-capacity transmission lines that use the newest communications technology to transmit data across the internet.

(ISPs connect to backbones)
Bandwidth
Expression of how much data - text, voice, video and so on - can be sent through a communications channel in a given amount of time.

(Different communications systems use different bandwidths for different purposes. The wider the bandwidth, the faster data can be transmitted.)
Blog
Web log, an internet journal.
bps
Bits per second.

(Data transfer speeds are measured in bits per second.)
broadband
Very high speed connection
Cable modem
Device connecting a personal computer to a cable-TV system that offers an internet connection.

(Cable modems transmit data faster than standard modems.)
Communications satellite
Space station that transmits radio waves called microwaves from earth-based stations.

(An orbiting satellite contains many communications channels and receives signals from ground microwave stations anywhere on earth.)
Directory
Search tool that provides lists of several categories of websites classified by topic. Also called a "hyptertext index", and its purpose is to allow you to access information in specific categories by clicking on a hypertext link.

(Useful for browsing. Search engines may be more useful for hunting specific info.)
Distance learning
Online education programs.

(Provides ed opportunities for people who are not able to get to a campus.)
Domain
A location on the internet.

(Necessary for sending and receiving email and for many other internet activities.)
Download
To transmit data from a remote computer to a local computer.
DSL
Digital subscriber line - a hardware and software technology that uses regular phone lines to transmit data in megabits per second.
e-commerce
Conducting business activities online.

(E-commerce not only is widening consumers' choice of products and services but is also creating new businesses and compelling established businesses to develop internet strategies.