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JULY 2007

University of Technology, Mauritius La Tour Koenig, Pointe-aux-Sables Tel: (+230) 234 76 24 Fax: (+230) 234 17 47 e-mail: sobise@utm.intnet.mu

School of Business Informatics and Software Engineering (SOBISE), the School of Public Sector Policy and Management (SOPSPAM) and the School of Sustainable Development Science (SSDS) of the University of Technology, Mauritius. The Head of School of SOBISE acknowledges the contribution of the following course team members:
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Mr Ashwin Tulsi Mr Vinaye Armoogum Ms Nassirah Laloo Mr Hans Seegobin Mr Ajit Gopee Mr Rishi Hans Heerasing Mr Dudley Tse Mr Nessen Ramsamy Mr Pillay Kanaksabee Mr Krishna Seeburn Mrs Sandhya Armoogum Mr Ravi Foogooa

COMPUTER FUNDAMENTALS ITE1101 was prepared for the

Coordinator: Dr D. Mulliah
The Head of School of SOBISE also acknowledges the contribution of Dr C. Bokhoree, Ms B. Mahadeo, Mr J. Narsoo and Dr M. S. Sunhaloo for reviewing and proofreading this manual.

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form, without written permission from the University of Technology, Mauritius, La Tour Koenig, Pointe-aux-Sables, Mauritius. ii


Authors Course Schedule Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Glossary Introduction to Computers Computer Architecture Data Storage Input/Output Devices Software Networking and Transmission Media Network Architecture The Internet HTML ICT and Society Security Information System in Organisation

ii iv 1 18 27 36 58 73 84 97 113 140 162 187 198


Week 1 2 Chapter 1 2 3 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 and 11 12 13 14 15 8 9 10 11 12 Topic Introduction to Computers Computer Architecture Data Storage

Lecturer will hand out Coursework to students

4 5 6 7 Input/Output Devices Software Networking and Transmission Media Network Architecture


The Internet HTML ICT and Society Security Information System in Organisation

Students should submit Completed Coursework + DO REVISION IN CLASS

16 17

EXAMS Using the Online Assessment System to answer 100 Multiple Choice Questions Duration of Exams: 2 hours



Unit Structure 1.1 Overview 1.2 Learning Objectives 1.3 What is a computer? 1.3.1 System Unit 1.4 Different parts of a computer system 1.4.1 Hardware 1.4.2 Software 1.4.3 Data 1.4.4 Users 1.5 Different types of computers 1.5.1 Supercomputers 1.5.2 Mainframes 1.5.3 Minicomputers 1.5.4 Microcomputers 1.6 Brief history of computers 1.6.1 first generation computers 1.6.2 second generation computers 1.6.3 third generation computers 1.6.4 fourth generation computers 1.7 Summary 1.8 Suggested Readings

1.1 OVERVIEW In this chapter we study the basics of a computer system including the hardware and software associated with it. Our aim is to identify the important parts of a computer which the user interacts with to be able to perform some task. This will provide a basic understanding to all students joining first-year programmes so that they become well-versed with personal computers (PCs), and are able to properly use and apply the knowledge in later stages of their study. We shall also give a short concise history of the evolution of computers and their applications. The student is expected to refer to the recommended textbooks mentioned in section 1.8 for further reading.



Students will be able to identify and describe different parts of a computer system (hardware devices for input, processing, storage, output and communications).


To differentiate between the operating system in a computer system and application software.


To distinguish four kinds of computers microcomputer, minicomputer, mainframe and supercomputer.


Students shall be able to relate the first, second, third and fourth generations of computers


Figure 1.1: A personal computer.

A computer can be defined as an electronic device that processes data according to a set of instructions.

The term computer is derived from the verb to compute which means to calculate. Primarily, computer was designed to perform arithmetic calculations.

Today, computers are present in almost all spheres of human activities. Besides computing figures, computers can be used for communication and the merging of computing and the telecommunication sectors has engendered a new discipline named the Information and Communication Technology, ICT.

The main advantage of using a computer is that it can solve complex problems in a very short time and is very often cost effective.



Input Devices


Output Devices


Storage (The system unit is found inside the tower case of a desktop PC)

Figure 1.2: Components of the System Unit

Figure 1.3: Tower case of a desktop PC

The system unit houses the basic electronics in the computer:Motherboard: where all electronic devices are plugged

Figure 1.4: A motherboard

CPU (Central Processing Unit)

Primary Storage Memory (RAM-random access memory /ROM-read only memory)

Secondary Storage (Floppy disks, hard disk, CD-compact disk, Tape.)

Figure 1.5: Floppy discs

Ports: enable connection with motherboard to external devices like a scanner

Figure 1.6: A scanner Peripherals refer to all the other devices attached to computers that can handle input and output: input devices include keyboard, mouse, digitizer, scanner,.. output devices include monitor, printer, speakers,

Figure 1.7: A printer 6

A brand is a product, service, or concept that is publicly distinguished from other products, services, or concepts so that it can be easily communicated and usually marketed. Examples of brand computers are IBM, HP and Compaq. Clone computers are computers whereby the parts assembled are from different manufacturers and without a distinguishable name.

1.4 DIFFERENT PARTS OF A COMPUTER SYSTEM Generally in an Information System we can also add a fifth part called procedures. An information system is similar to a computer system but more from an information perspective. Procedures are in fact the rules or guidelines people follow when using software or hardware, and data. These procedures are documented in manuals written by computer specialists.



Central Processing Unit The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the essential component of a computer because it is the part that executes instructions and controls the operation of all hardware. It can be compared to the human brain in the nervous system. Powerful computers may have several processors handling different tasks, although there will need to be one central processing unit to enable the flow of instructions and data through subsidiary processors. Most Personal Computers are based on complex instruction set computing (CISC) chips that contain large instruction sets. Reduced instruction set computers (RISC) processors use smaller instruction sets. This enables them to process instructions faster than the CISC processors. RISC processors are found in Apples Power PC as well as IBM and HP, workstations, minicomputers and mainframes. Memory Memory are microchips made up of semiconductor. You may refer to chapter 2 section 2.2 and chapter 3 section 3.4 for a detailed explanation on memory.

Storage Devices There are 2 types of storage devices:1) Magnetic Storage Devices 2) Optical Storage Devices Magnetic and Optical storage devices can be further divided into 2 categories: Fixed: hard disks, Dismountable: floppy disks, CD ROM, Magnetic Tapes.

The above-mentioned storage devices are secondary storage devices that hold data even if the computer is turned off. Computers can use several different media for storing both raw data and programs. Storage media differ by the following: storage capacity speed of access permanency of storage mode of access (write, read, read only,..) cost

Table1.1: Storage media

Disk Size


Approximate printed 8.5 x 11 inch pages

3.5 Floppy High Density Hard Disk

1.44 MB


80 200 GB

Many e-books


650 700 MB ~4.5 GB

A small library A feature length movie

Magnetic Storage Devices (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) Diskettes (Floppy Disks) Hard disks High Capacity Diskettes (Zip Drive) Disk Cartridges Magnetic Tapes Mobile USB Disk (pen drive)

Fig 1.8: A mobile USB disk

High capacity diskettes (also called zip drive) can hold data equivalent to hundreds of 1.44 MB 3 .5 inches CD.

Disks cartridges can be found in interchangeable magnetic disks whereby disks cartridges can be removed or added.

Magnetic tapes are used primarily for backup data and programs.

Mobile USB Disk or pendrive is magnetic disk medium that can be plugged in the Universal Serial Bus port of a PC. Nowadays mobile phones or digital cameras can also be used as pendrives.

Optical Storage Devices (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) Compact Disk Read Only Memory CD ROM Digital Video Disk Read Only Memory - DVD ROM CD Recordable CD R CD Rewritable CD RW Photo CD 9

Fig 1.9: A CD

A CD ROM has a capacity of around 600 to 700 MB and is more widely used as a secondary movable storage than diskettes.

A CD-R is a WORM (Write Once Read Many Times) storage media different form CD-RW that can be erased several times.

DVDs are used mainly for recoding movies, with enhanced numerical audio and video quality. PhotoCD is a Kodak standard for scanning and storing images. Every image on a Kodak PhotoCD is available in five resolutions, the highest of which is 2,000 x 3,000 pixels (Pro PhotoCD contains one extra resolution: 4,000 x 6,000 pixels).



A software is a set of instructions that tells the computer how to perform certain tasks. A set of instructions is sometimes called a program. When a computer is using a particular program, it is said to be running or executing the program. The two most common types of software are: (i) (ii) system software and application software

Software are generally installed from diskettes or CD onto computers. Some software can also be installed via a remote computer on a network or simply via the Internet. Some software are machine dependent, that is they cannot be installed on all computers. Application software can run on a specific operating system, others are platform (name commonly used for operating system) independent, which means that they are compatible with different operating systems.


Operating System - OS System software exist primarily for the computer itself, to help the computer perform specific tasks. One major type of system software is the Operating System. All computers require an Operating System that tells the computer how to interact with the user and its own devices. Common OS include Microsoft Windows, Macintosh OS, IBM OS/2, UNIX, Linux. The operating system controls the input and output the flow of information to and from the CPU. Much of this is done automatically by the system but it is possible to modify and control your system if you need to. When you turn your computer on it first needs to load the operating system sometimes referred to a booting up. Basically the computer starts from scratch every time you turn the power on. It checks all its components and will usually display a message if there is a problem. Once the system is loaded the users can start the application or program that they are going to use. Most modern Operating Systems, like Windows and Macintosh OS, provide a graphical user interface (GUI). A GUI lets you control the system by using a mouse to click on graphical objects on the screen.

Application Software Application software can be described as a end-user software. Applications programs are used for all purposes other than performing operating system choices or writing other programs. Applications programs include word processors (MS Word), spreadsheets (MS Excel), graphics programs (Corel Draw), statistics packages (SPSS), database management system (MS Access), airline reservation software, etc. Ready-made application software are sometimes called software packages. For example, MS Office can be purchased by anyone and ready for use. However, there exists also tailor made software, which are not for commercial purpose, developed for specific use in organizations. In order to develop application software developers and software engineers use high level programming languages like C language or Visual Basic .Net.




Data consists of unprocessed facts including text, numbers, images, audio and video. Data is stored in files which are used by the computer. Some common types of data files are:Word Documents (MS Word 2007) Spreadsheets (MS Excel 2007) Database files (MS Access 2007) Presentation files (MS PowerPoint 2007)



People are end users who use the computers so as to be more productive. People are the most important part of a computer system or Information system. The views of end users are crucial when designing systems and application software. For this reason many software development companies involve users in their analysis and testing phases in the development of their systems so as to meet the demand of the end-users and therefore provide value to customers and produce quality systems. Nowadays with the advent of relatively easy Internet access and wireless technologies a user can interact with multiple computer systems with mobile devices. The user is therefore the principal actor in modern computer systems. Misuse of computers by users can sometimes cause havoc in organization. The attitude and skills of a computer user is important for proper running of an information system.

1.5 DIFFERENT TYPES OF COMPUTERS There are 4 types of computers: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Supercomputers Mainframes Minicomputers Microcomputers

Computers can be classified according to their processing speed and storage capacity. Different types of computers require different Operating Systems.


In a network of computers, the computers providing services (for example sending emails) to other computers are called Servers, which are generally more powerful than the workstations or client machines. A server is a computer that provides services to other users and is not used as an individuals computer.



Examples of supercomputers are 1) Cray T90 supercomputer and 2) Blue Gene supercomputer. Supercomputers are the most powerful computers. They are useful for solving very complex scientific calculations. These machines are very big in size and storage capacity. Cray has been a synonym for supercomputer since the mid-1970s. It comes from the computer engineer and entrepreneur Seymour Cray, who designed significant parts of those eponymous computers and over 20 years, founded several companies manufacturing and selling them. Supercomputers are mainly used by government agencies, universities, and large business organizations. For example scientists use supercomputers to study the effects of global warming. Nowadays, it is possible to interconnect many Personal Computers to obtain similar processing power as supercomputers, such systems are called Clusters.



Mainframe Computers are generally kept in a separate room in large organizations like banks. Example of a mainframe is the IBM AS400. Mainframe computers are specially kept in separate wired and air conditioned rooms. These computers are less powerful than supercomputers but they can support hundreds or even thousands of users, handling massive amount of inputs, outputs and storage. They are used in large organization where users need access to shared data and programs. For example, the banks use mainframes to process information for millions of customers.



An example of a Minicomputer is the Packard Bell PB 250 Minicomputer. A minicomputer is a computer of a size intermediate between a microcomputer and a mainframe. Typically, minicomputers have been stand-alone computers (computer systems with attached terminals and other devices) sold to small and mid-size businesses for general business applications and to large enterprises for department-level operations. 13

In recent years, the minicomputer has evolved into the "mid-range server" and is part of a network. IBM's AS/400e is a good example. These machines are used for specific purposes. For example, minicomputers are found in manufacturing processes or sometimes in networking services such as the Internet servers for hosting web sites.



Microcomputers can be categorized into 3 types:(i) (ii) (iii) Desktop PCs Notebooks/ Laptops Handheld devices, e.g PDAs

Microcomputers are the least powerful, but most widely used and fast growing type of computer. Microcomputers are more commonly known as Personal Computers. The term PC is applied to IBM-PCs or compatible computers. Notebook or laptops are portable with the same capabilities of a desktop PC. Handheld PCs like PDAs ( Personal Digital Assistant) lack the power of a notebook or a desktop PC, but offer features for users who need limited functions and small size. The advantage of handheld devices such as the PDAs or palmtops or PDA-phone is that they combine pen input, writing recognition, personal organizational, and communications capabilities in a very small package.

1.6 BRIEF HISTORY OF COMPUTERS Some early Arithmetic Calculators are:(i) (ii) (iii) Abacus Slide Rule Pascal Calculator

The Abacus was first used by the Babylonians as an aid to compute simple arithmetic at sometime around 500 BC. The Chinese used a device to assist in performing mathematical calculation starting in about 600 BC. In 1622 William Oughtred develops the slide rule in England. In 1642 Blaise Pascal builds the first numerical calculating machine in Paris. 14



1943-1959: usually regarded as first generation computers, based on valves and wire circuits. 1946: ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), with 18,000 vacuum tubes, is dedicated at the University of Pennsylvania. It was 8 by 100 feet and weighed 80 tons. It could do 5,000 additions and 360 multiplications per second. 1951: UNIVAC I is installed at the Bureau of Census using a magnetic tape unit as a buffer memory 1952: EDVAC (Electronic Discrete Variable Computer) completed at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA (by Von Neuman and others). First computer to use magnetic tape. 1953: Estimate that there are around 100 computers in the world



An example of a 2nd generation computer is: 1964 IBM S/360 Model 30 64K RAM, 1.33MHz.

1959 1964: Computers built between 1959 and 1964 are often regarded as second generation computers, based on transistors and printed circuits- resulting in much smaller computers. 1964: IBM announces the System/360, the first family of compatible general-purpose computers, with modular design to allow for upgrades after purchase.



The Integrated Circuit was first used in third generation computers. An Integrated Circuit-IC contains hundreds/ thousands of electronics basic elements like transistors with specific functions.

1964 1972: Computers between 1964 and 1972 are often regarded as third generation computers, they are based on the first integrated circuits. Typical of such machines was the IBM 360 series mainframe, while smaller minicomputers begin to open up computing to smaller businesses. 1965: The first supercomputer, the Control Data CD6600, was developed 1971: First microprocessor, the 4004, developed by Marcian E. Hoff for Intel was released. It contains the equivalent of 2300 transistors and was a 4 bit processor. It is capable of around 60,000 interactions per second (0.06 MIPS), running at a clock rate of 108 kHz. 15



Some examples of 4th Generation computers are:(i) (ii) (iii) The Altair Personal Computer Apple IIe from Macintosh IBM5051 PC

1972: Computers built after this year are often called fourth generation computers, based on LSI (large scale integration) of circuits typically 500 or more component on a microchip. Later developments include VLSI (very large scale integration) of integrated circuits 5 years latertypically 10,000 components. Modern circuits contain million of components.

1974: MITS Altair 8800 designed by Ed Rodberst and Bill Yates, the first personal computer to be available commercially released by Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems.

1975: Microsoft is founded after Bill Gates and Paul Allen adapt and sell BASIC to MITS for the Altair PC.

1976: Apple Computer is founded and introduces the Apple II personal computer.

1981: IBM enters the personal computer market, creating a de facto standard. MS DOS from Bill Gates was the main operating system for all IBM-PC compatible computers until 1995 when Windows 1995 came into the picture.

There are different eras in computing history as follows: 70s mainframe era 80s: PC era 90s: Network era 2000s: People era




A computer is an electronic device comprising a system unit (Motherboard, CPU, Memory, Hard disk) and peripherals (input and output devices and other components external to the case). The 4 parts of a computer system are hardware, software, data and people. From information system point of view procedures is the fifth part and people is considered to be the most important part.

All computers require an operating system, which acts as interface between the hardware and the user. Application software is different from operating system in the sense that they are general purpose and used.

There are 4 types of computers: supercomputers, mainframes, minicomputers and microcomputers. They differ from each other in terms of processing power, storage capacity, size and purpose of use.

Computers using vacuum tubes were called the first generation, transistors and diodes the second, ICs the third, and those using microprocessors the fourth. Whereas previous computer generations had focused on increasing the number of logic elements in a single CPU, the fifth generation, it has for long believed to turn to massive numbers of CPUs for added performance.



Computing Essentials by OLeary Ed. 2004.


Introduction to computers by Peter Norton.



Unit Structure Overview Learning Objectives 2.1. The Central Processing Unit 2.1.1 The Control Unit 2.1.2 The Arithmetic and Logic Unit 2.1.3 Registers 2.2. Memory 2.2.1 Random Access Memory 2.2.2 Read Only Memory 2.3. The Machine Cycle 2.3.1 Instruction Time 2.3.2 Execution Time 2.4. The System Unit 2.4.1 System Bus Summary Suggested Readings

OVERVIEW In this chapter, you will study (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) The Central Processing Unit The Control Unit and Arithmetic and Logic Unit The Memory The Machine Cycle The System Unit and the System Bus



Upon completion of this session students should be able to: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) identify the components of the Central Processing Unit. understand the working and functions of memory. describe how program instructions are executed by the computer. describe the components of the micro-computer system unit.


The CPU is also known as the processor and is the main part of a computer system like the heart of a human being. It interprets the instructions of a program and executes them one by one. In a computer, the CPU is a single electronic component, which is also called the microprocessor chip, found inside the system unit as depicted in Fig 2.1.

Pentium IV 2.4 GHz

Fig 2.1: The processor, inside a System Unit


The Major Units of a CPU

As shown in Fig. 2.2, the CPU consists of three major units: (i) (ii) Control Unit: It controls and directs the transfer of program instructions and data between various units. Arithmetic and Logic Unit (ALU): It performs arithmetic operations like Addition (+), Subtraction (-), Multiplication (*) and Division (/), Logical operations like (AND, OR, NOT) and Relational operations like (<,>,<=,>=) are being carried out in this unit. (iii) Registers: They are special-purpose, high speed, temporary storage areas for instructions and data. They are located within the CPU itself and offer the advantage of speed.

Fig 2.2: The Central Processing Unit

2.1.1 The Control Unit (CU)

The Control Unit contains circuitry that uses electrical signal to direct the entire computer system to carry out, or execute, store program instructions. It coordinates execution of the program instructions by communicating with the ALU and memory. It also directs and coordinates all elements of the computer. It is responsible for directing the flow of instructions and data within the CPU. The Control Unit is actually built of many other selection circuits such as decoders and multiplexors. 20

2.1.2 The Arithmetic and Logic Unit (ALU)

The ALU performs two types of operations: (i) (ii) Arithmetic: Addition (+), Subtraction (-), Multiplication (*) and Division (/) Logical, i.e. Comparison for the following condition: Equal-To (=), Greater-Than (>), Less-Than(<), Less-Than-Or-Equal ( ) and Greater-Than-Or-Equal ( ). Besides, comparison may be made between numbers, letters and special characters.

2.1.3 Registers

Computers have several storage locations called Registers. They are located in the CU and the ALU to make processing more efficient. They are not part of memory, but rather additional storage locations that accept, hold data and instructions temporarily during processing and transfer them at a high speed. Three registers are assigned by computers and include (i) (ii) (iii) The Instruction Register (IR), which holds instructions currently being executed The Program Counter (PC) also known as the Data Register, which holds data waiting to be processed, and results of processing The Accumulator, which collects the result of computations.

For microcomputers, the most common CPUs are built by Intel. Early models were the 8088 and 8086, intermediate models are the 80286, the 80386 and i486 and current models are the Pentium IV and Pentium D. Other types of CPUs available in the market are Celeron, AMD etc.

2.2 MEMORY Memory, also known as Primary memory, Primary storage, Main memory or Internal Storage, is the part of the computer that holds data and instructions for processing. Memory is separated to the CPU, although closely associated with it. Memory holds data temporarily. However, it has the advantage of faster access compared to the backing storage. Memory is basically of two types: (i) (ii) Read Only Memory - ROM and Random Access Memory RAM.


2.2.1 Random Access Memory

RAM requires current to retain values. Data and instructions can be read and modified. The stored data in memory are volatile and can be lost during a power failure or when the computer is switched off, for examples. It is therefore a good practice to save your work in hard disk or pen drive every 10 minutes. The physical components of memory are called the memory chips. One important feature about the memory chip is the capacity of data it can hold. Examples of memory chips which are currently used in computers are 512 MB and 1 GB RAM. A capacity of 512 MB means that the memory chip can hold 512 millions of characters of data or instructions. RAM holds the following: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Operating System Program currently running Data needed by the program Intermediate results waiting to be output.

2.2.2 Read Only Memory (ROM)

The ROM chips hold programs and instructions, typically recorded at the factory, for booting the computer. Unlike the RAM, the Data and instruction of ROM chips can be read, but not modified (non-volatile). The instructions inside a ROM are generally called as the firmware. A set of chips on the Mother Board working jointly with CPU called the chipset is an example of ROM memory.

2.3 THE MACHINE CYCLE Program instructions and data are brought into memory from an external device and the processing cycle executes instructions one at a time as follows: 1. CU gets (fetches) an instruction from memory 2. CU decodes the instruction 3. CU notifies the appropriate part of hardware to take action 4. Control is transferred to the appropriate part of hardware 5. Task is performed 6. Control is returned to the CU. 22

Therefore, before an instruction can be executed, program instructions and data must be placed into memory from an input device or a secondary storage device. The CPU executes an instruction in two main steps called the Instruction Time (I-Time) and the Execution Time (ETime). The combination of I-Time and E-Time is called the Processing Cycle or The Machine Cycle, as depicted in Fig. 2.3.

Fig 2.3: The Machine Cycle in action

2.3.1 The Instruction time (I-Time)

CU fetches an instruction from memory and puts it into a register and then decodes the instruction and determines the memory location of the data required The actions taking place during the instruction time can be summarized as follows: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) PC (Program Counter)=> MAR (Memory Address Register) MAR => memory => MBR (Memory Buffer Register) MBR => IR (Instruction Register) PC incremented.

The newly fetched instruction is transferred to the instruction register (IR) and unless told otherwise, the CU increments the PC to point to the next address location in memory. 23

2.3.2 The Execution Time

The E-Time is carried out in two steps: (i) Execution (ii) CU moves the data from memory to registers in the ALU ALU is given control and executes the instruction Control returns to the CU

CU stores the result of the operation in memory or in a register.

The actions within the execution time can be classified into the following four groups: (i) (ii) (iii) CPU - Memory: Data may be transferred from memory to the CPU or from the CPU to memory. CPU - I/O: Data may be transferred from an I/O module to the CPU or from the CPU to an I/O module. Data Processing: The CPU may perform some arithmetic or logic operation on data via the arithmetic-logic unit (ALU). (iv) Control: An instruction may specify that the sequence of operation may be altered. For example, the program counter (PC) may be updated with a new memory address to reflect that the next instruction fetched, should be read from this new location.

2.4 THE SYSTEM UNIT The System Unit is the case that houses the electronic components of the computer system. The main component of the system unit is the Motherboard. As shown in Fig. 2.4, the motherboard is the main circuit board consisting of mass of chips and connection that organize the computers activities. motherboard. The CPU, or the micro-processor, is the main component of the All the chips and other electronic components on the Motherboard are

interconnected via set of wires strips named bus.


Fig 2.4: The Motherboard

Four types of bus can be found to convey different signals as follows: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Data bus Address bus Control bus Power bus.

2.4.1 The System Bus

A bus is a set of parallel electrical paths that transport electrical signals. The System Bus transport data between the CPU and Memory. The number of bits that can be carried at one time is called the Bus width, which indicates the number of electrical paths. Other buses provide external connectors, called ports to plug in peripherals such as Printers, mouse etc. The following are buses and ports that are commonly found on personal computers (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) ISA Industry Standards Architecture PCI Peripheral Component Interconnect AGP Accelerated Graphics Port USB Universal Serial Bus IEEE 1394.



(i) (ii)

The major component of the computer system is the CPU. The CPU is constituted of The Control Unit The Arithmetic and Logic Unit Registers.

(iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) (viii)

Control Unit directs the entire computer system to carry out, or execute, stored program instructions. The ALU executes all arithmetic and logical operations, i.e. comparisons. Registers are special-purpose temporary storage locations, and are internal to the CPU. Memory is another storage location. Memory can be primary or secondary. The CPU follows four main steps when executing an instruction. The first two steps are the Instruction Time (I-Time). The Last two steps are the Execution Time (E-Time).

(ix) (x)

A machine cycle is a combination of I-Time and E-Time. The System Unit houses the motherboard, on which the processor is found.



L. OLeary, Computer Essentials, Annual Edition, McGraw-Hill, 1996-1997. H.L. Capron, Computers Tools for an Information Age, 4th Edition, Bunjamin /


Cummings, 1996. Website: http://burks.brighton.ac.uk/burks/, 6th Edition, John English, Brighton



University, 2001



Unit Structure 3.1 3.2 3.3 Overview Learning Objectives Data Representation 3.3.1 Binary Representation 3.3.2 Binary Representation within the computer 3.3.3 Data vs. Information 3.3.4 Memory Units 3.3.5 Coding Scheme Primary Memory 3.4.1 RAM Technologies 3.4.2 ROM Technologies 3.4.3 Cache Memory 3.4.4 Virtual memory Data Organisation on Secondary Storage 3.5.1 Data Organisation on Magnetic Disk 3.5.2 Data Organisation on Magnetic Tape 3.5.3 Data Organisation on Optical drives Summary






Section Outline: Data Representation Types of Primary Memory Data organization on secondary storage



Upon completion of this section students should be able to: list and describe the four data coding schemes explain the RAM and ROM technologies illustrate the difference between Cache Memory and Virtual Memory explain data organization on magnetic disk, magnetic tape and optical drive 27



Data representation is mainly concerned with the way data is represented within the computer. Computer uses the binary system to represent data.


Binary Representation

The binary system uses the base or the radix 2; which means that only 2 symbols or digits can be used to represent data. The digit can be thought of as a box to hold a number. In the binary system, this number can be either a 0 or a 1. Data is thus represented in a computer as a sequence of 0s and 1s.


A binary digit is called a bit after the term binary digit. A bit is the smallest unit of data a computer can recognize. A collection of 8 bits forms a byte. Any English character or symbol can be represented in a byte of data (8 bits).

For Example: The alphabet A represented as a byte (8 bits) is as follows 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1


Binary Representation within the computer

Computers can only understand binary language. The Computer Processing Unit (CPU) is a chip made up of transistors. The transistor is simply a tiny switch that can be on or off. On is equal to binary 1 and Off is equal to binary 0. The CPU consists of several million of transistors.


Data vs. Information

Data in the computer is represented as 0 and 1. For example, switch off is 0 and switch on is 1. Data is raw numbers and text. Information is processed data which is meaningful.


3.3.4 1 byte

Memory Units (octet) = 8 (kB) = 1024 bits bytes bytes bytes

1 kilobyte 1 Megabyte 1 Gigabyte 1 Terabyte

(MB) = 1024 x 1024 (GB) = 1024 x 1024 x 1024 (TB)

= 1024 x 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes

1024 TB is one Pentabyte. 1024 PB is one Exabyte. 1024 XB is one Zetabyte (ZB), all uncompressed medical data.


Coding Scheme

The Text codes is an agreed upon system which allow computers and programmers to represent letters of the alphabet, punctuation marks and other symbols. Text codes allow the same combinations of (binary) numbers to represent the same individual pieces of data, which make exchange of data possible between computers Standard text (alphanumeric) code systems are as follows: BCD EBCDIC ASCII Unicode BCD Binary Coded Decimal (BCD) provides a method for coding decimal numbers in which each digit is represented by its own binary sequence. For example: The decimal number 2345 in BCD is as follows:

0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1

29 EBCDIC Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC), pronounced as ebb-se-dick, was created to extend the BCD. It was designed by IBM for early computers and is still used in IBM mainframe and midrange systems. The EBCDIC uses 8 bit code to define 256 symbols. Example of EBCDIC Scheme

Representation of A in different notations Notations Denary Hexadecimal Octal Representation A C1 301

The Hexadecimal notation is base 16 and uses the following symbols: 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,A,B,C,D,E,F

The Octal notation is base 8 and uses the following symbols: 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7 ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII), pronounced as aeski, is by far the most common code used on computers of all types. It is a character encoding based on the English alphabet. The ASCII uses an 8 bit code and can define up to 256 characters which cover all Western European languages Example of ASCII scheme Alphabet A a ASCII 65 97 Binary 01000001 01100001

Note that the alphabet a and the alphabet A in the table above are symbols with different ASCII code 30 Unicode The Unicode is a Worldwide Character set standard, designed to allow text and symbols from all the writing systems of the world to be consistently represented and manipulated by computers. The Unicode uses a 2 byte (16 bit) coding scheme. The Unicode extends far beyond ASCII and can be used to represent 65,536 characters

Example of Unicode scheme The Euro sign is represented by 20AC16. The alphabet A represents 10 and the alphabet C represents 12 in the hexadecimal (base 16) notation which is generally used for memory addresses.



Primary Memory is basically made up of semiconductor RAM (volatile- non permanent) and ROM (non- volatile permanent). There are different RAM and ROM technologies. They are classified according to their data access (read & write) speed and storage capacity. RAM can be classified as: SRAM DRAM SDRAM DDR SRAM

ROM can be classified as: ROM EPROM EEPROM Flash ROM(BIOS)



RAM Technologies SRAM Static Random Access Memory (SRAM) is a very fast, relatively expensive RAM used for onboard cache. The SRAM uses more power than other types of RAM. The word static indicates that the memory retains its contents as long as power remains applied, unlike dynamic RAM (DRAM) that needs to be periodically refreshed. However, data are lost when the circuit gets powered down, which makes SRAM a volatile memory as opposed to read-only memory and flash memory. DRAM Dynamic RAM (DRAM) is the most common form of RAM used for main memory storage. It requires frequent refreshes, as data stored in them deteriorates over time (typically within a few milliseconds).

Asynchronous DRAM, usually just referred to as DRAM, is rated in nanoseconds (time needed to read or write one word of data) and ranged from 30-100+ ns. A higher number mean slower DRAM SDRAM Synchronous Dynamic RAM (SDRAM) runs at the same speed as the motherboard FSB speed. It requires higher tolerances and faster architecture. Speed measured in MHz, from 66 MHz to current maximums of 400 MHz.

One difference of DRAM chips from SRAM chips is the number of address pins which is only half the required pins. Thus column address and row address are sent on separate clock cycles. DDR SRAM DDR SDRAM or double-data-rate synchronous dynamic random access memory is a type of memory integrated circuit used in computers. It achieves greater bandwidth than ordinary SDRAM by transferring data on both the rising and falling edges of the clock signal. 32


ROM Technologies

Read only Memory (ROM) I used for BIOS and other applications where code or data is fixed by manufacturer and must not be overwritten during normal operations

PROM (Programmable ROM) standardized blank chips like the Programmable Logic Arrays (PLA) where data or code can be stored once, but never erased afterwards (write-once) EPROM Erasable PROM, EPROM can be erased using a specific frequency of UV light. Usually it has a glass window above the chip to facilitate erasing. EEPROM Electrically Erasable PROM, EEPROM can be erased using voltage higher than standard operating voltage. It must usually be removed from socket and transferred to an EEPROM programmable device. FLASH ROM Flash ROM, is EEPROM that can be quickly erased and rewritten using standard operating voltage. It is used in smaller devices as non-volatile read-write secondary storage. EEPROM can be found in the following: MMC cards CompactFlash cards for cellphones and digital cameras Sony Memorystick PCMCIA Flash cards for laptops and handhelds USB pocket drives



Cache Memory

Caching is a method used to improve performance when transferring data to and from a fast device to a relatively slow one. A quantity of memory is installed between the CPU and RAM, for example, and frequently accessed data from RAM is temporarily stored in cache. The next time the CPU tries to access the same data, the data is retrieved from cache, instead of the relatively slower RAM. Two layers of cache are provided. The fastest cache RAM is found inside the CPU. It is called L1 cache. The next layer is the L2 cache, which are small SRAM chips on the motherboard.


Virtual Memory

In practice a CPU executes multiple processes concurrently. Virtual Memory (VM) provides the basis for multi process operation. VM supports the illusion that multiple programs are running concurrently. Virtual Memory is not a physical memory like the cache memory. However, the algorithm used by the virtual memory for swapping files from and to the main memory requires some space from the secondary storage, that is the hard disk.



We should differentiate between the way data is stored and organized on a storage medium and how it is being accessed. Data is organized in similar manner on magnetic disk and optical disk but differently on magnetic tapes

There are 2 methods for accessing data: Random Access Random access refers to reading and writing of data in any order.

Sequential Access Sequential access refers to reading or writing data records in sequential order, that is, one record after the other. For example, to read record 10, records 1 through 9 must be read. 34


Data organization on Magnetic Disk

Data is organized and stored in concentric circular tracks on the disk. Each track is divided into sectors. Each track has the same number of sectors and each sector stores the same number of bits. Formatting involves the creation of tracks and sectors on a disk. Formatting wipes the disk. Devices can also be classified as sequential access or random access.


Data organization on Magnetic Tape

Each bit is stored by magnetizing a small region of the tape surface. It is reliable, cheap, and provides high capacity (many GB). Access time is relatively long since the tape must be read sequentially. Magnetic tape is commonly used for backup of data files for the simple reason that past updates in master files can be easily traced.


Data organization on Optical drives CDR/DVD

Data is organized in single spiral track which is read from the centre outwards. The bit density along track is constant. The track is divided into sectors of approximately 2 KB and provides a total capacity of around 10 GB. Each bit is stored as a mark or bump on the surface, and is read using laser light. When an optical drive shines light into a pit, the light cannot be reflected back. This represents a bit value of 0 (off). A land reflects light back to its source, representing a bit value of 1 (on).


SUMMARY Data used in computers is represented using binary notation symbolizing an on state with a binary digit 1 and an off state with a binary digit 0.

To encode alphanumeric characters there are commonly 4 coding schemes BCD, EBDIC, ASCII and Unicode. There are other schemes to encode multimedia files.

Cache memory as well as virtual memory speeds up the performance of computers. Cache is physical and real whereas virtual memory makes us of a swapping algorithm and part of the hard disk to enable multitasking.

Magnetic disk is a random access device whereas a magnetic tape is a sequential access device. 35


4.1 OVERVIEW 4.2 LEARNING OBJECTIVES 4.3 INPUT DEVICES 4.3.1 Keyboard 4.3.2 Digital Camera 4.3.3 Pointing Devices Mouse Tracker Ball Joystick Light Pen Touchpad Pointing Stick Touch Screen Graphics Tablet (Digitisers) 4.3.4 READING TOOLS Magnetic Stripe Reader Barcode Readers Optical Character Readers and Optical Character Recognition Magnetic Ink Character Reader Optical Mark Readers and Optical Mark Recognition Punched Card Kimball tag Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) Smart Whiteboard Scanners Electronic Point Of Sale (EPOS) terminal Voice Recognition Devices 4.4 OUTPUT DEVICES 4.4.1 Visual Display Unit (VDU) CRT LCD 4.4.2 Printers Dot Matrix Printers Line Printers Laser Printers Ink Jet Printers Thermal Printers Graphic Plotters 4.4.3 Voice Output 4.5 SUMMARY 4.6 SUGGESTED READINGS




A computer system requires many components to do its job: Input: Some device or method to input data so it can be processed Process: Circuits and programs in order to process the data Output: Some type of output device to give the result of its processing to the user Storage: Some mechanism for storing data Input devices enable a user to input data and commands to the computer to be processed. Output devices enable the computer to give or show you the results of its processing. Some devices, such as a modem, can perform both input and output operations This chapter will focus mainly on the various common input and output devices.

Figure 4.1: System Component



LEARNING OBJECTIVES This session describes the user relationships with computer input and output devices. It explains how data is input into a computer system and differentiates between the various input devices. Identify and describe the most common output devices Differentiate among the different kind of printers.



Input devices are used to get data into a system. It converts raw data into electronic form understandable by the receiving computer. It converts what people understand into a form that computers understand. Input Device translates instructions, voices, sounds, images and actions that people understand into symbols that the system unit can process. This is the only way a user can communicate with a computer. The input and output devices are sometimes referred as the I/O. Today, the users have a choice of hundreds of input devices, which make it easy to enter data and commands into their machines. The choice of the input devices depends on the type of document that needs to be entered into the system. The next section discusses the characteristics of the various input methods.

4.3.1 Keyboard Keyboard translates numbers, letters and special characters into machine readable format. It exists both in standard and non-standard form. The Standard Keyboard looks like a typewriter with extra keys, and it usually come with all computers. Non-Standard Keyboards are special keyboard with non standard keys. They are used in Fast Food restaurants and Supermarket. Each key represent an item rather than a character. Typing on a standard keyboard, with keys lined up in straight rows, forces you to hold your arms and wrists at unnatural angles. Evidence suggests that long hours of typing this way lead to medical problems, including repetitive-stress injuries such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.


New keyboards, called concept keyboards, have been developed which make use of the latest research in ergonomics. Concept keyboard are less tiring to use and higher typing speed can be achieved.

The four sections of a typical computer keyboard are indicated in this figure.

Figure 4.2: Keyboard

Keyboard exists in many languages. Most of the keyboards consist of five main parts: Typewriter Keyboard which consist of all the letters and special symbols. Function keys usually found on the first row of the keyboard. These keys are used to assigned special features for specific application software. Numeric key pad usually works as a calculator. Navigation or Directional keys used to navigate the cursor on the screen. Special keys ( Email, Browser, Shutdown, etc) this comes with multimedia keyboards.


4.3.2 Digital Camera These are cameras which convert the captured photograph directly into a digital image and store it locally inside the camera for later download to a computer. They are a bit like a hand held video camera, except they can only take a limited number of frames. Some cameras support multiple frames. The number of pictures that can be stored depends upon the memory available within the camera and the size of each image. Digital cameras are easy to use and operate, even by novice users. At present, they tend to be expensive and have limited software support for email and faxing. Software included with the Digital Camera includes download capability between the camera and PC, and image editing software for editing the images on the PC.

Figure 4.3: Digital Camera

4.3.3 Pointing Devices Pointing devices is a natural way to communicate with the computer. Computer users position a pointer or cursor on the screen, usually an arrow by moving the pointing device. It is used to control drawing instruments in graphics applications. It is also used to give instructions to a program, by pressing a button or combination of buttons on the device.

40 Mouse Your mouse is a pointing device that allows you to move your computers cursor or pointer around the screen to select and control program functions. In many cases it can act as a substitute for the keyboard and in some cases does things you cannot do, or cannot do efficiently with typed commands or cursor keys. The most common type of mouse has a ball on its underside that allows it to roll around on the desktop. This is classified as the Mechanical Mouse. Another type of mouse uses reflected light to detect movement and they are referred as Optical Mouse. The third type is referred as Wireless which makes use of either Radio or Infra Red waves to communicate with the system unit. These types of mouse are normally battery powered. Mice usually have one, two, or three buttons, which are used to make selections on the screen. The Microsoft Mouse has three buttons and a scroll wheel to streamline the process of scrolling through text or graphical windows. Apple mouse has no buttons but the entire surface of the mouse serves as a button. Its virtually impossible to have a computer which is not equipped with a mouse. But the mouse is impractical as a pointing device on portable computers. Portable computer manufacturers provide other alternatives to the mouse as a general-purpose pointing device.

Figure 4.4: Mechanical Mouse

The following techniques allow you to use the mouse to input information: Point: Place the screen pointer at a specific location. Click: Press and release the mouse button. Drag: Hold down the mouse button and move the mouse. Double-click: Press and release the mouse button twice in quick succession. Right-click: Press the right mouse button

41 Tracker Ball The tracker ball is like an upside down mouse. The ball is rotated by the user but in this case the mouse stays still. The tracker ball takes much less space and this is the reason for using it in laptop computers.

Figure 4.5: Tracker Ball found in a Laptop

Figure 4.6: Tracker Ball Joystick A joystick is much similar to a tracker ball. Whenever the stick is moved, the cursor moves in a similar direction on the screen. The joystick is the favourite controller for arcade-style computer games.

Figure 4.7: A Joystick Light Pen A screen cursor can be moved by touching the screen with a light pen. The light pens are mainly used for design work and need special software to make them work. 42 Touchpad The touchpad or track-pad is a small flat panel that is sensitive to light pressure. The user moves the pointer by dragging a finger across the pad. They are commonly found on notebook computers as a substitute for a mouse. Pointing Stick The pointing stick (often called TrackPoint, IBMs brand name for the device) is a tiny handle that sits in the centre of the keyboard responding to finger pressure by moving the pointer in the direction in which it is pushed. It works in a similar way as the Joystick and is used mostly on notebook computers.

Figure 4.8: A Pointing Stick Touch Screen A touch screen is a special kind of screen which is sensitive to touch. The touch screen responds when the user points to or touches different screen regions. Computers with touch screens are frequently used in public libraries, airports, shopping malls, banks, restaurants and bars. Touch screens are also used in many handheld computers and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant); a stylus can be used for pointing or writing on these tiny screens.

Figure 4.9: A Touch Screen Model POS4XP 43 Graphics Tablet (Digitisers) The graphic tablet is popular with artists and designers. Most touch tablets are pressure sensitive, so they can send different signals depending on how hard the user presses on the tablet with the stylus. The stylus performs the same point-and-click functions as a mouse.

4.3.4 READING TOOLS Pointing devices are inefficient for the input of large quantities of text into computers, which is why the mouse has not replaced the keyboard on the standard PC. There are other alternatives available for entering large amount of data other than the standard keyboard. Some types of devices allow computers to rapidly read marks, representing codes specifically designed for computer input. Magnetic Stripe Reader Magnetic Stripe Readers are used to read information contained in the magnetic stripe of a credit card. Usually you can see them at the side of computerized tills, often called EPOS terminal (Electronic Point Of Sale). Barcode Readers Barcode readers use light to read Universal Product Codes(UPC), inventory codes, and other codes created from patterns of variable-width bars. In many stores, barcode readers are attached to Point-Of-Sale (POS) terminal. These terminals send scanned information to a mainframe computer. The computer determines the items price, calculates taxes and totals, and records the transaction for future use in inventory, accounting, and other areas. Barcode readers have become very popular these days, and are now very commonly used in library systems, luggage handling systems at the airport and for warehouse stock control. Optical Character Readers and Optical Character Recognition Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is the technology of recognizing individual characters on a printed page, so they can be stored and edited as text. This method makes use of a scanner along with a special software to turned the scanned image into standard ASCII code. In other words, the text is no longer treated as an image, since each individual letter is recognized on its own and can therefore be edited using word processing software. 44 Magnetic Ink Character Reader Magnetic-Ink character readers read those odd-shaped numbers printed with magnetic ink on cheques. The characters are printed using an ink which contains iron and may be

magnetised. The magnetic pattern of the numbers is read by a special reader called a magnetic ink character reader. Magnetic ink character recognition uses expensive equipment and is usually suitable for large scale applications.

Figure 4.10: Showing a sample cheque Optical Mark Readers and Optical Mark Recognition Optical mark readers are able to sense marks made on a special form in certain places. Uses for optical mark readers include multiple choice answer sheet marking, capturing data from questionnaires and enrolment forms, and the checking of football pools coupons.

Figure 4.11: Mark-IT 2220 a model of OMR 45

The Mark-IT 2220 Optical Mark Reader is the specifically designed for applications that require processing of data from both sides of a form in a single pass and is therefore ideal for ballot processing and medical applications, as well as for commercial data collection. The reader can scan most 11-inch forms at a rate of 1,500 to 1,800 forms per hour. The Mark-IT 2220 utilizes visible red illumination and reads black or blue marks made with a ballpoint pen or felt-tip pen as well as pencil, punched and pre-printed marks. Background printing must be in the visible red range. Infrared illumination is available as an option for pencil only marking with coloured background printing. Punched Card Punched cards contain holes in different positions which mean something when they are read by a reader. Before screen and keyboards were widely used, punched cards were the main method of entering data into computers. They are seldom used now but two uses still remain: the Kimball tag and the clock card which is used to record the hours a person works so that wages can be calculated. Kimball tag Kimball tags are the small cards with holes punched in them that you see attached to clothing in certain shops. When you buy the goods, one of the tag is removed and sent for processing to a computer. A card reader there reads the information contained in the holes such as stock number, size, colour, etc. Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) PDAs are pen computers that serve as pocket-sized organisers, notebooks, appointment books, and communication devices. These popular, versatile devices can also be programmed for specialized work ranging from sports scorekeeping to medical analysis.

Figure 4.12: PDA

46 Smart Whiteboard A smart whiteboard can serve as an input device for a PC, so each board full of information is stored as a digital image on the computers disk. If the writing is clear enough, handwriting recognition software can turn the whiteboard notes into a text file that can be emailed to meeting or class participants. Scanners

Figure 4.13: A Scanner

A scanner is an input device that can create a digital representation of a printed image. The most common models today are flatbed scanners, which look and work like a photocopy machines, except that they create computer files instead of paper copies. Inexpensive flatbed scanners are designed for home and small business use. More expensive models used by graphics professionals are capable of producing higher quality reproductions. Some scanners called slide scanners can scan only slides and negatives. These specialized tolls generally produce higher quality results than flatbed scanners when scanning transparencies. Drum scanners are larger and more expensive than flatbeds; they are used in publishing applications where image quality is critical. Regardless of its type or capabilities, however, a scanner converts photographs, drawing, charts and other printed information into bit pattern that can be stored and manipulated in a computers memory, usually using graphic software.

47 Electronic Point Of Sale (EPOS) terminal Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) terminals is used in retail or wholesale organisation such as supermarket to record customer transactions. They are rapidly replacing the simple cash register as they can do everything a cash register does plus many other things.

Figure 4.14: EPOS Voice Recognition Devices These input devices are used to speak directly to a computer to issue commands and enter text. The input is usually via a microphone. Voice recognition technology enables people with disabilities to control computerized devices with spoken commands. The problem with this technology is that it is speaker-dependent and requires voice training before you can use it.

Figure 4.15: A Microphone




Output devices convert the computers internal bit patterns into a form that the human can understand. In many cases this will be in the form of a hard copy (printout) or soft copy (screen or visual output).

4.4.1 Visual Display Unit (VDU) The monitor or VDU, serves as a one way window between the computer user and the machine. They are ideal for showing the results from an enquiry where no printout is needed. Todays monitors are used to display not only text and numbers but also graphic, photographic images, animation and video. VDUs come in many sizes and resolution. Monitor size, like television size, is measured as the length of a diagonal line across the screen; a typical desktop monitor today measures from 15 to 21 inches diagonally but the actual viewable area is usually smaller. Usually the standard sizes are 15, 17, 19 and 21 inches. Images on a monitor are composed of tiny dots, called pixels. A square inch of an image on a monitor is typically a grid of dots about 72 pixels on each side. Such a monitor has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi). The higher the resolution, the closer together the dots and the clearer the image. Another way to describe resolution is to refer to the total number of pixels displayed on the screen. Two monitors of same size, say 15 inches, does not necessarily have the same resolution. The one that places the dots closest together displays more pixels and therefore create a clearer and sharper image. Another way of describing resolution is by defining the number of column and rows of pixels rather than total number of pixels. For example, a 1,280 x 768 image is composed of 1,280 column and 768 rows of pixel for a total of 983,040 pixels. For PCs these resolutions have names for example VGA is 640 x 480. This means that there are 640 pixels in each row across the screen and 480 pixels in each column up and down the screen.


SVGA is usually 800 x 600. Displays with lots of pixels are called high resolution. Displays with fewer pixels are called low resolution. High resolution displays can show much more detail than low resolution ones and are required for applications such as Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Multimedia. Here are close-up pictures of a circle, one shown on a high resolution display and one on a low resolution display:

Images displayed on the screen are temporary, i.e. they do not last forever. For this reason they are called soft copy. The image quality is not only determined by the resolution. Computer monitors are limited by colour depth the number of different colour they can display at the same time. Colour depth is sometime called bit depth, because a wider range of colour per pixel takes up more bits of space in video memory. Most graphic professionals use 24 bit colour, or true colour, because it allows more than 16 millions colour choices per pixel. CRT Most monitors use a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) for the display. This is the same type of display as used in television and these make monitors quite large. Because of their clarity, speedy response time, and low cost, CRTs still dominate desktop.

Figure 4.16: A Monitor

50 LCD Modern laptop computers use a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) similar to those used in calculators and electronic watches. The screen contains a layer of liquid crystal cells. Varying electrical charges are applied to some of the cells to produce the image. Lighter, more compact LCDs are used primarily in portable computers. But overhead projection panels and video projectors also use them to project computer screen images for presentation. As LCDs prices are going down, they are getting more and more popular with PCs and expert believe that LCD will one day replace all the CRT monitors in the future.

Figure 4.17: LCD Monitor

4.4.2 Printers Printers are the primary output devices used to prepare permanent document for human use. Printers are classified by how they print and how fast they operate. There are two basic types of printers, depending how they make marks on the paper. Impact printers are based on the same idea as the typewriter; some kind of mechanical device hits a ribbon and transfer ink to the paper, making up the outline of the character. Non-impact printers form an image without hitting the paper. Dot Matrix Printers In a dot matrix printer, an arrangement of tiny hammers in a print head strikes a ribbon to produce the desired characters. Each hammer prints a small dot on the paper. The print head is moved across the width of the paper as the hammers produce the dots so the letters are formed by a combination of dots. Dot matrix printers are cheap, but their print quality is 51

relatively poor. The main use of dot matrix printers is with multipart business forms such as orders and invoices. These forms require impact to produce an image on each sheet.

Figure 4.17: Dot Matrix Printer Line Printers Line printers use impact methods to produce an entire line of output at a time, in contrast to dot matrix printers which produce one character at a time. These printers are mainly used on large mainframe system and are likely to be phased out within a few years in favour of more modern technology. Line printers have the advantage of being relatively fast up to 3000 lines per minute and capable of handling multipart paper. Laser Printers Laser printers are non-impact devices that uses laser light to produce the dots needed to form a page of characters or graphics at a time. Laser printers can print four to thirty pages per minute of high quality text and graphical output. Because of their speed, durability and reliability, they are often shared in office environments. Laser printers use the same technology as photocopy machines. A laser beam creates patterns of electrical charges on a rotating drum; those charged pattern attract black toner and transfer it to paper as the drum rotates. Colour laser printers can print multicolour images by mixing different toner shades.

Figure 4.19: Laser Printer

52 Ink Jet Printers Inkjet printers spray ink directly onto paper to produce printed text and graphic images. Inkjet generally print fewer pages per minute than laser printers, and many are less expensive than the black-and-white laser printers. Inkjet printers are also smaller and lighter than laser printers. Today we do have portable inkjet printers which have been designed to travel with laptops and weigh only a couple of pounds each. Some inkjet printers, called photo printers, are specially designed to print high quality graphic photo captured by digital cameras and scanners.

Although inkjet printers are less expensive than laser printers, however they are quite expensive to run, because the ink cartridges are expensive and frequently need replacement.

Multifunction peripherals (MFP, also called all-in-one devices) take advantage of the fact that different tools can use similar technologies. A multifunction device can combine a scanner, a printer and a fax modem. Such a device can be used as a printer, a scanner, a colour photocopy machine and a fax machine. These devices are also classified as inkjet printers with multi-functionalities.

Figure 4.20: Inkjet Printer

53 Thermal Printers Thermal printers are generally used in low cost printers and fax machines.
the print head contains high temperature heat elements arranged in a matrix when the print head is pressed againt the paper, the heat elements burn small holes

in the paper, forming the character

the paper is white and develops color (black or blue) when heated above 110

degrees C
Printing is generally slow the fumes generated are unpleasant a messy residue is left over by the heating process and can clog up the printer

print quality is poor and fades with time special paper is required

Some types use a silvery grey paper, which is an aluminium surface coating. When the print head burns away this layer, it exposes a dyed layer underneath. One application for thermal printers is the production of bar codes. The diagram below illustrates a bar code thermal printer.

Figure 4.21: Cognitive Solutions PD1520 Thermal Printer, Cognitive Solutions

Figure 4.22: Cognitive Solutions Thermal Printer Label, Cognitive Solutions

54 Graphic Plotters For certain scientific and engineering applications, a plotter is more appropriate than a printer for producing hard copy. A plotter is an automated drawing tool that can produce large, finely scale drawing, engineering blueprints and maps by moving the pen and/or the paper in response to computer commands. There are two types of graph plotter, that is, the drum plotter and the flat bed plotter. When a drum device is used, the paper is placed over a drum that rotates back and forth. A carriage holding one or more pens is mounted horizontally across the drum. The carriage and drum movements act together under computer control to produce an image. When several pens are mounted on the carriage, each pen can be filled with a different ink colour. Since each pen is program selectable, the plotter has the ability to produce colour drawings. With a flat bed, the paper does not move and the pen holding mechanism must move in two axes rather than one. This is an expensive option for large paper sizes and these are quite rare. Inkjet plotters are able to produce large drawings containing many colours. The pens of a drum plotter are replaced by an inkjet head, but otherwise the principles are the same. The advantage of an inkjet plotter over a pen plotter is that they can produce filled areas with a wide variation of colour and density, something which is impossible in a pen plotter.

Figure 4.23: Flatbed Plotter and Drum Plotter Plotters can automatically change their pens and so can produce colour output. The lines drawn by a plotter are continuous and very accurate. Plotters are very slow but produce high quality output. They are usually used for Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) applications such as printing out plans for houses or car parts. The quality of the output produced by ink jet printers is now very good and large format (big) ink-jet printers are steadily replacing plotters for most tasks. 55

4.4.3 Voice Output Sound can be output through loudspeakers or headphones. On PCs you also need to install a sound card to be able to output sound. If you want you can connect the computer to a hi-fi to get louder, better quality sound than you would if you plugged the loudspeakers straight into the computer. The sound produced by PCs is now better quality than sound that is recorded on a CD. Sometimes a computer can read out text that has been entered into it by using a computerised or recorded voice. This type of system is known as speech synthesis.

Figure 4.24: Speaker


SUMMARY Input and output (I/O) devices are essential components of the computer system. I/O devices enable the computer to communicate with the external world. Input devices enable a user to input data and instructions to a computer. Example of input devices are Keyboard, mouse, tracking ball, touch screen, touch pad, light pen, digitizing tablets, Scanner, Bar code reader, MICR, OCR, OMR Output devices enable a user to receive information from the computer. Example of output devices are monitor, printer, plotter, speakers. Some I/O devices are used in any typical office environment, for example keyboard, screen, mouse, printer etc. Other I/O devices has specific use, and are therefore used in specific environments, such as industry, home, laboratories etc. e.g. voice-input devices, joysticks, plotter etc.













Computer Confluence George Beekman, Eugene J. Rathswohl 5th Edition Prentice Hall


Information Systems for you Stephen Doyle 3rd Edition Nelson Thornes Publisher Ltd



Unit Structure 5.1 Overview 5.2 Learning Objectives 5.3. System Software & Application Software 5.3.1 Hardware and software 5.3.2 Types of Software Operating System 5.3.3 Open Source Software 5.4. Different kinds of Operating Systems 5.4.1 Supercomputers 5.4.2 Mainframes 5.4.3 Servers 5.4.4 Desktop Computers 5.4.5 Workstations 5.4.6 Handheld Computers 5.4.7 Embedded Systems 5.5. Multitasking Operating System 5.5.1 Multitasking Preemptive Multitasking Cooperative Multitasking 5.6. Booting up 5.7. Operating Systems functions 5.7.1 Process Management 5.7.2 Memory Management 5.7.3 Secondary Storage Management 5.7.4 I/O & File Management 5.8 Application software 5.8.1 Productivity software 5.8.2 Education software 5.8.3 Entertainment software 5.8.4 Web based software 5.9 Summary 5.10 Suggested Readings




System Software & Application Software Different kinds of operating systems Booting up Operating systems functions Different kinds of application software



Upon completion of this session students should be able to:

distinguish between system software and application software group operating systems according to their functionalities define a multitasking operating system explain the process when a computer boots up describe Operating Systems functions elaborate briefly on Process Management explain the process of Memory Management explain the process of Secondary Storage Management describe what is I/O (Input Output) & File Management list and give examples of different kinds of application software list and give examples of Productivity software list and give examples of Education software list and give examples of Entertainment software list and give examples of Web based software



System Software & Application Software


Hardware and software

The terms hardware and software are frequently mentioned in connection with computers. Hardware is the jargon term given to the machinery itself and to the various individual pieces of equipment. It refers to the physical devices of a computer system. It is important to note that a computer cannot do anything on its own. It has to be instructed to do a desired job. It is necessary to specify a sequence of instructions such that a computer solves a particular problem. Such a sequence of instructions written in some programming language is called a computer program.

HARDWARE SYSTEM SOFTWARE APPLICATION SOFTWARE USER Figure 5.1: Relationship between hardware, software and the user

Let us take an analogy of a cassette player and the cassettes purchased on the market. On its own neither the cassette player nor the cassette can play songs. The songs themselves are like the software on the hardware. So to listen to a song first of all it has to be recorded on the cassette and then played on the cassette player. Similarly the software has to be written down using a programming language and executed by the hardware. 60

5.3.2 a) b)

Types of software System Software Application software

Graphics Word Processing Spreadsheets

Communications Databases


Utilities Assembler

Application Software
Debuggers Compilers File mgt Tools Operating Systems

Figure 5.2: Hardware level, System software level and Application software level


System Software

System software also known as system package is the software that manages internal resources in a computer system. It is designed to control the operation of a computer system. The most important system software is called the operating system.


Application Software

Application software also known as application package is a set of one or more programs designed to carry out operations for a specified application. There are several categories of application software as will be discussed later.

61 Operating System An operating system is computer program that manages the hardware. It acts as an interface between the user and the computer hardware. In order to work on a computer the operating system should be loaded first, and then the application software can operate.


Disk Drive

Keyboard Monitor

Operating Systems



Figure 5.3: Operating System and the parts it controls.


Open Source Software

This is yet another group of software which includes both system software and application software. Open source software is software that comes along with its source. This means that users may read it, make changes to it, and build new versions of the software incorporating their changes. It allows users with programming experience to revise and change the programming code to suit their individual needs. The modification made from its original design is totally free of charge, hence the term open.




Operating Systems can be grouped according to their functionalities:

Supercomputers Mainframes Servers ( Ex: MS Windows 2003 Server) Desktop computers (Ex: MS Windows XP, VistaHome) Workstations (Ex: MS Workstation NT 4.0 ) Handheld computers (Ex: Symbian OS on Mobile) Embedded computers (Ex: Embedded Linux)

5.4.1 Supercomputer A supercomputer is a computer that is very powerful in terms of capacity but more importantly in terms of speed of computation. It was first introduced in the 1960s by Seymour Cray at Control Data Corporation (CDC). The speed of a supercomputer is generally measured in "FLOPS" (FLoating Point Operations Per Second) or TFLOPS (1012 FLOPS); Nowadays on average their speeds are somewhere around 100 TFLOPS. So the operating system should be able to cope wit such capacity and speed.



Mainframes are large and expensive computers. They are used for bulk data processing such as censuses, industry/consumer statistics, ERP, and bank transaction processing They are meant mainly for government institutions and large companies. The speed of mainframes is measured in millions of instructions per second (MIPS). Nowadays the smallest System, z9 IBM mainframes, run at about 26 MIPS and the largest one about a speed of 17,801 MIPS.



Basically Servers are just computers that can share resources like applications, files, printer etc. with other computers on a network. For example, a Web server will send resources (Web pages, images, sounds, etc.) in response to requests from a Web browser (e.g. Netscape Navigator).


5.4.4 Desktop computers The term desktop computers or personal computer or PC is generally a microcomputer intended to be used by one person at a time and suitable for general purpose tasks such as word processing, programming, spreadsheet, presentation etc.., usually used to run purchased or other software not written by the user. Unlike minicomputers, a personal computer is often owned by the person using it, indicating a low cost of purchase and simplicity of operation. Since it is a single user system usually the operating system can easily manage all the operations and processes involved.

5.4.5 Workstations Workstations are Micro or minicomputers (also known as nodes) on a computer network and which can be used to perform a number of tasks by using their own resources as well as well as other devices which are shared on a network. They are high-end general-purpose microcomputers designed to be used by one person at a time and which offers higher performance than normally found in a personal computer, especially with respect to graphics, processing power and the ability to carry out several tasks at the same time. So the Operating System should be able to cater for the networking aspect of the system.

5.4.6 Handheld Computers Handheld computers are portable computers. They are small in size to be held in ones hand. Nowadays its cost is getting lower and lower. Although extremely convenient to carry, handheld computers have not replaced notebook computers because of their small keyboards and screens. The most popular hand-held computers are those that are specifically designed to provide PIM (personal information manager) functions, such as a calendar and address book. Though small they are powerful enough for large-scale scientific and engineering applications, they provide a high level of performance, they are typically based upon a RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) architecture and providing both very high speed calculations and high-resolution color displays.


5.4.7 Embedded Systems An embedded system is a special-purpose computer system designed to perform a dedicated function. Unlike a general-purpose computer, such as a personal computer, an embedded system performs one or a few pre-defined tasks, usually with very specific requirements, and often includes task-specific hardware and mechanical parts not usually found in a general-purpose computer. Since the system is dedicated to specific tasks, design engineers can optimize it, reducing the size and cost of the product. Embedded systems are often mass-produced, benefiting from economies of scale. Examples of Embedded systems include smaller protable systems like digital watches, MP3 Players, and larger ones like traffic lights nuclear power plants, oven, washing machines, factory controllers etc





Multitasking can be defined as the ability to execute more than one task at the same time. The terms multitasking and multiprocessing are often used interchangeably, although

multiprocessing implies that more than one CPU is involved. In multitasking, only one CPU is involved, but it switches from one program to another so quickly that it gives the appearance of executing all of the programs at the same time. All modern operating systems are multitasking. Older operating systems like MS DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating Systems) is not a multitasking operating system as it executes one command at a time. There are two basic types of multitasking: preemptive and cooperative. Preemptive Multitasking In preemptive multitasking, the operating system allocates CPU time slices to each program. In this situation a computer operating system uses some criteria to decide on how long to allocate to any one task before giving another task a turn to use the operating system. The act of taking control of the operating system from one task and giving it to another task is called preempting. 65 Cooperative Multitasking In cooperative multitasking, each program can control the CPU for as long as it needs it. If a program is not using the CPU, however, it can allow another program to use it temporarily. It is called cooperative because all programs must cooperate for it to work. If one program does not cooperate, it can block the CPU. In contrast, preemptive multitasking forces applications to share the CPU whether they want to or not. Most modern OS Systems like OS/2, Windows 95, Windows NT and UNIX use preemptive multitasking. An example of an operating system which uses cooperative multitasking was the Microsoft Windows 3.x which is not used frequently these days.



Whenever a computer is switched on there is a small program called a Bootstrap loader which resides in the ROM locate and execute the Kernel (core) of the operating system residing in the RAM and other initialization files of the operating system found on the hard disk. First the operating system will perform a Power On Self Test (POST), verifying the status of all the hardware devices and finally load a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for the user to interact with the computer. When a computer performs the POST, any missing or faulty device is signaled via beep sounds or text message on the screen. For example if the RAM is not well plugged in its bank there is a continuous beep sound or if the hard disk is damaged or corrupt, a command line requesting for the system disk is displayed.



The operating system performs many tasks from the start of the computer till the switch off of the computer. One of the functions of an OS is to schedule priorities for tasks to be executed. The main functions of an operating system are: Process management Memory management Secondary Storage management Device management 66



A process is part of a program in execution. A process needs certain resources, including CPU time, memory, files, and I/O devices, to accomplish its task. A process has different states, therefore has a lifecycle from start to end. Using Task Manager (ctrl+alt+del) in MS Windows operating system one can view and terminate a process.

Figure 5.4: Task Manager: applications

Figure 5.5: Task Manager: processes

The operating system is responsible for the following activities in connection with process management: Process creation and deletion, Process suspension and resumption, Provision of mechanisms for, process synchronization and process communication 67



The operating system is responsible for the following activities in connections with memory management: Keep track of which parts of memory are currently being used and by whom, decide which processes to load when memory space becomes available, allocate and deallocate memory space as needed. Memory is a large array of words or bytes, each with its own address. It is a repository of quickly accessible data shared by the CPU and I/O devices. Main memory is a volatile storage device. It loses its contents in the case of system failure



The operating system is responsible for the following activities in connection with disk management: Free space management, Storage allocation and Disk scheduling. Since main memory (primary storage) is volatile and too small to accommodate all data and programs permanently, the computer system must provide secondary storage to back up main memory. Most modern computer systems use disks as the principle on-line storage medium, for both programs and data.

5.7.4 DEVICE MANAGEMENT The I/O system management consists of: a buffer-caching system, general device-driver interface and Drivers for specific hardware devices. A file is a collection of related information defined by its creator. Commonly, files represent programs (both source and object forms) and data. The operating system is responsible for the following activities in connections with file management: File creation and deletion, directory creation and deletion, Support of primitives for manipulating files and directories, Mapping files onto secondary storage, File backup on stable (nonvolatile) storage media. 68



An application software is a software that performs useful work on general purpose problems. Application software can be grouped into four categories:

Productivity software Education software Entertainment software Web based software

Application software as well as system software are written (coded) with high level programming languages like C, C++, VB.Net . Application software are available as ready made by software development companies on the market or tailor made(customized) by organizations in order to meet their specific requirements. Tailor made software are more flexible for the users more focus on the organization needs whereas ready made software are often cheaper with less flexibility and security.



Productivity software are mostly used in the industry to enhance day to day activities in all business units of an organization which could be:

Administration Production Manufacturing Sales & Marketing Accounting Computer Aided Design tools (CAD)

Some examples are:

MS Word for word processing MS Excel for solving problems in tabular forms like budgeting, time tabling... MS Access for database management MS PowerPoint for presentation 69



Education software makes use of a variety of software technologies to map pedagogical approaches using the computer. Educational software also provides educational content and assistance on an E-learning mode. Some examples are: 1. 2. 3. Computer Based Tutorials e-learning web sites e-books



Entertainment software make use of multimedia that is text, graphics, video, audio, animated pictures... These software can be developed using high level programming language, however there are dedicated packages specialized in entertainment software like Macromedia products: Flash, Dreamweaver, Director

Here follows some examples: 1. 2. 3. 4. Games like Solitaire, Pinball, and Hearts Movie Maker Div Player Media Player




The internet provides a variety of applications through the Internet browser but also today on wireless devices trough Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) enabling users to browse and execute processes on handheld devices. The web based development is also adopted for Intranet, an internal network application whereby organisations share information and execute business processes. Some examples are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Browsers like Internet explorer, Netscape, Mozilla FireFox Intranet applications Email software e.g. Outlook Express Information System applications WAP browser for hand held computers



System software manages computer hardware whereas application software is used to solve general purpose problems.

A multitasking OS supports many tasks to be executed simultaneously. There exist preemptive and cooperative multitasking.

When a computer boots it initializes and loads the necessary files and environment for the user to operate.

OS can be classified according to their functionalities. Amongst the many tasks of an operating system there are process management, memory management, storage management, I/O and file management.

Application software can be divided into different categories which are: productivity software, education software, and entertainment software and web based software.





CS French, 1992. Computer Science, 2th ed. MA: Addison-Wesley.


OLeary, 2004. Computer Essentials, Addison-Wesley.



6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Overview Learning Objectives Data Communication Computer Networks 6.4.1 PAN 6.4.2 LAN 6.4.3 WAN Data Transmission Transmission Media 6.6.1 Introduction 6.6.2 Twisted pair 6.6.3 Coaxial cable 6.6.4 Optical Fibre 6.6.5 Micro waves 6.6.6 Radio waves Network Topology 6.7.1 Bus 6.7.2 Ring 6.7.3 Star 6.7.4 Mesh Communication Protocols Summary Suggested Readings

6.5 6.6


6.8 6.9 6.10



Previous to the 1970s, the idea of a computer networking did not exist, except in a few laboratories or research environments. Organizations had few computers, and those were usually isolated in huge computer rooms with heat and air circulation requirements. There was no need to network three mainframe computers in the same room. One simply carried the data in the form of computer tapes from machine to machine. With the advent of distributed networks such as the Internet and the fact that personal computer systems are now relatively powerful and affordable, networking needs have risen exponentially during the last 20 years. This chapter will illustrate the main concepts behind computer networking, transmission media used in networks and data communication between network hosts. 73


LEARNING OBJECTIVES To understand the different types of computer networks, their components, their topologies and their protocols. To appreciate the need for different type of transmission media used in computer networks. To explain the basis of data transmission, including types of signals, modulation, and transmission modes To appreciate the need for reliable data transfer and how this is usually achieved.



Data communication is the process of transferring data from one source system (transmitting entity) to another destination system (receiving entity) via a communication channel. The transmitting and receiving entities are called nodes or hosts. The communication channel can make use of guided or radiated media. Several communication impairments occur at different levels during data communication. The most common impairment is noise. Claude Shannon, an electrical engineer and mathematician proposed a communication model depicted below (Fig. 6.1):

internal noise


external noise

Destination System

communication channel


Source System

internal noise


Figure 6.1: Simplified Communication Model




A computer network is created by interconnecting two or more computers for the purpose of communicating and sharing resources.

Computer networks can be classified into three main categories: Personal Area Network (PAN) Local Area Network (LAN) Wide Area Network (WAN)

A computer network is usually defined by: The transmission medium used by the network The communication protocol used on the network The topology of the network Whether it is a public or private network


PAN (Personal Area Network)

A Personal Area Network is the smallest computer network, usually spanning less than 10 meters in radius. It usually consists mainly of computing devices such as cellular phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), digital cameras and similar devices (see Figure 6.2). These personal devices use computer buses such as USB and FireWire or wireless technologies such as IrDA and Bluetooth to communicate among themselves, or for connecting to a higher-level network.
Figure 6.2



LAN (Local Area Network)

A Local Area Network is a network covering a relatively small area. Most LANs are confined to a single building or group of buildings. Computer systems connected in a LAN are able to access data and devices anywhere on the LAN. This means that users can share expensive resources, such as printers, as well as data (See Figure 6.3). Users can also use the LAN to communicate with each other, by sending email or engaging in chat sessions. There are different LAN technologies currently available, with Ethernet being the most popular. A LAN is generally characterized by having a high capacity and a low latency.
Figure 6.3


WAN (Wide Area Network)

A Wide Area Network is a network that spans relatively a large geographical area. The best example of a WAN is the Internet. Computers connected to a wide area network often interconnect through public networks, such as the telephone system. They can also be connected through leased lines or via satellites (See Figure 6.4). A WAN consists of a heterogeneous mixture of hardware and software systems. A WAN typically uses communication services provided by common carriers. These services fall into two categories: switched and dedicated.
Figure 6.4

A switched service or dial-up service, establishes a temporary connection when a call is placed, and terminates the connection when the call is ended. The telephone system uses this protocol. A dedicated service provides a permanent connection between two or more locations. Companies may build their own communication infrastructure, or can lease dedicated circuit from a common carrier. In such case the circuit is known as a leased line 76



Distributed data processing and data communication rely on data transmission and reception. Data is transmitted from one computing device to another through a communication channel which comprises of a medium. The medium could be copper wires, glass fibres or simply free space. Data can be represented either in digital or analogue format. Either format can be transmitted as a digital or analogue signal. The transmission of the signal can also be done either in synchronous or asynchronous mode. Digital transmission occurs when data is sent as discrete pulses. It requires a digital communication channel. Analogue transmission occurs when data is sent as a continuous signal in the form of a wave. It however requires a conversion from analogue signal to digital data at the receiving end. Conversions from digital data to analogue signal and vice-versa are performed by a modem. Synchronous and asynchronous modes are two common methods of coordinating the sending and receiving of data.

Modem A modem (MOdulator/DEModulator) modulates and demodulates signals. Modulation occurs when the digital data is converted to an analogue signal. Demodulation occurs when the analogue signal is converted back to digital data to be understood by the destination computer. A modem is required to connect a computer to the Internet, using dial-up technology.

There are different types of modems: Internal modems found are found inside computer systems: PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect), or PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association). The latter being used in notebook computers. External modems which are attached to computer systems: USB (Universal Serial Bus) or Serial port. The latter is very rarely used nowadays.






Sending and receiving information from one place to another requires a transmission medium. A transmission or communication medium is the physical means of data transmission. There are two types of media: guided media and radiated media (See Table 6.1).
Table 6.1

Guided media examples

Twisted Pair Coaxial Cable Optical Fibre

Radiated media examples

Microwave Radiowave

The choice of the communication medium determines the cost of implementation and setting up of the network. Each medium has a specific bandwidth and hence, capacity. As the bandwidth increases, the capacity of the medium also increases. The telephone network is often the most suitable solution because it is an extensive network already in place.


Twisted pair

The wire pairs are twisted to reduce electrical interference (noise). This technology is also used for the telephone systems. It requires two conductors twisted around each other and then sheathed in plastic. There are two types: Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) and Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) as shown in Figure 6.6. STP has a metallic protective sheath which reduces interference and increases speed (See Figure 6.5). Twisted pair, sometimes referred as wire pairs is the most inexpensive medium. It is however the most popular medium of communication. Several twisted pairs can be grouped together to form a cable but are however subject to electrical interference.
Figure 6.6 Figure 6.5



Coaxial cable

A coaxial cable is a high frequency transmission cable that replaces the multiple wires of telephone lines with a single solid metal core. It has a much higher bandwidth and is less susceptible to interference. They are very popular in TV systems. A typical coaxial cable (see Fig. 6.7) consists of an outer plastic sheath (A), braided screen (B), inner dielectric insulator (C) and a conductor core (D). Both coaxial and twisted pair cables transmit data electrically through a metal conductor, usually copper. These metals have to be protected from water and other corrosive substances. Additionally they have to be shielded to reduce noise. A coaxial cable offers 80 times more bandwidth than a typical twisted pair.
Figure 6.7: Coaxial Cable


Optical fibre

Optical fibres transmit data using light, as opposed to electrical signals, and are therefore immune to electrical noise. They have much higher bandwidth than coaxial cable or twisted pair. They are more secure and hence any attempt to intercept a signal is easily noticed. They are made of thin glass or plastic, causing them to be very light and less expensive (see Figure 6.8). The presence and absence of light in the fibre is treated as digital signal. Optical fibres are more reliable than their copper counter-parts. Optical fibres are rapidly replacing twisted pair telephone lines, since they are suitable for carrying voice, television and data signals.
Figure 6.8: Optical Fibre




Microwave is used to transmit data through the atmosphere using straight, line-of-site transmission. It offers very high speed transmission and is both cost effective and easy to implement. It is however subject to weather conditions, since microwave signals are severely attenuated by excessive moisture in the atmosphere. Microwaves are used for both terrestrial and satellite communication. Terrestrial microwave is a good medium for sending data between buildings in a city or on a large university campus. For longer distances the waves must be relayed by dishes or antennas. Relay stations are usually installed on top of high building or mountains. Satellite microwave uses satellites as relays and is very suitable for long distance, and is sometime the only means of communication. The components of a satellite transmission are as follows:

Earth stations are required to send and receive signals. The satellite (transponder) receives signal from earth station (uplink) and retransmits the data to a receiving earth station (downlink)

Reception of signals from earth stations is known as uplink, whereas transmission of signals to earth stations is known as downlink.

Before retransmitting the signal to earth stations, the satellite amplifies the signal and changes the frequency. The frequency is changed so that the weaker incoming signals do not interfere with the stronger outgoing signals.


Radio waves

Radio waves operate at a lower frequency than microwaves and hence transfer data at a lower rate. But since radio waves are much less attenuated than microwaves, radio signals can travel much longer distances. Radio waves of a specific frequency can bend and follow the earth contour. Radio waves are primarily used in technologies to exchange data between wireless mobile devices.




A device connected to a network is referred to as a node. A node can be a server, a printer or any other peripheral capable of receiving and transmitting data. Nodes can be connected in different arrangements, known as its topology. Four common topologies are:

Bus topology Ring topology Star topology, and Mesh topology

However, combination of topologies can also be used giving rise to hybrid topologies.

6.7.1 Bus A Bus topology is a single line to which all the nodes are connected (see Fig. 6.9). Nodes can be attached to or detached from the network without affecting its operation. Data transmitted by the nodes, are examined by all other nodes to verify whether they are the intended recipient.

Figure 6.9: Bus




A Ring topology links all the nodes together in a chain (see Fig. 6.10). Data messages travel in only one direction through the nodes. Each node receives the data and check whether it is the intended recipient. If not the data is sent to the next node.

Figure 6.10: Ring



A Star topology has a central device (hub or switch) for managing the network (see Fig. 6.11). All messages are directed to the device, which consequently regulates the traffic. Any breakdown of the central device hampers the functioning of the network.

Figure 6.11: Star



A Mesh topology has all nodes connected directly to each other (see Fig. 6.12). If every node is connected to each other, then we have a full-mesh topology. This topology is the most reliable but requires maximum links to connect all the nodes together.

Figure 6.12: Mesh




All communication between devices requires that the devices agree on the format of the data to be exchanged. The set of rules defining such a format is called a protocol. At the very least, a communications protocol must define the following: rate of transmission (in baud or bits per second) whether transmission is to be synchronous or asynchronous whether data is to be transmitted in half-duplex or full-duplex mode In addition, protocols can include sophisticated techniques for detecting and recovering from transmission errors and for encoding and decoding data. The standard protocol used over the Internet is the TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol. In addition to standard protocols, there are a number of protocols that adds additional functions such as file transfer capability, error detection and recovery, and data compression.



This chapter covers the main concepts behind computer and data communication, and networking. Different types of transmission media have also been covered as well as the different network topologies. The need to adopt a common protocol for effective data transfer has also been mentioned.

6.10 [1] [2] [3] [4]

SUGGESTED READINGS Kurose J. & Ross K. (2002) Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach featuring the Internet: 2nd Edition, Addison-Wesley. Tanenbaum A. (2001) Computer Networks: 4th Edition, Prentice-Hall Stallings W. (2001) Data and Computer Communications: 6th Edition, Prentice-Hall Hallsall F. (2001) Data Communications, Computer Networks, and Open Systems: 4th Edition, Addison-Wesley 83


Unit Structure 7.1 7.2 7.3 Overview Learning Objectives Switching 7.3.1 Circuit Switching 7.3.2 Packet Switching Public Switched Telephone Network The Internet Peer to Peer Architecture Client/Server Architecture 7.7.1 Centralised Architecture 7.7.2 Decentralised Architecture 7.7.3 Distributed Architecture Summary Suggested Readings

7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7

7.8 7.9



In this chapter, students will study the importance of the different Switching Technologies, such as Circuit and Packet Switching; where by moving data across wide areas requires that we be able to form a link from the sending point to the receiving point. Students will also have a good understanding about Public Switched Telephone Network as well as the Internet, which can be described as an interconnection of networks that covers the whole planet. The final part of this chapter is about the two different types of architecture, which are Peer-to-Peer Architecture and Client/Server Architecture. 84



Upon completion of this chapter, students should be able to: Compare the differences between circuit switching and packet switching Describe the concept of the Public Switched Telephone Network Define the uses and importance of the Internet Distinguish between Peer to Peer and Client/Server Architecture Describe the different types of Client/Server Architecture



Switching technology
Moving data across wide areas requires a link from the sending point to the receiving point. The end-to-end connections are often created from a series of links in between. The entire connection is susceptible to one failed link in a chain of links that allow our message to pass through. To create these links, switching has to take place.

Switching in this instance means selecting a pathway that gets information to, or at least closer to, its destination, and then directing the data down that path. Switching may mean creating circuits from one point to the other much as the phone company does; selecting the best paths between machines that store messages or may mean breaking up data messages into small units (packets) and individually directing each packet down the best path. Whatever the case, each method offers particular advantages and disadvantages.

Message Switching
It uses the store and forward concept. The messages are received (by the routing device) in their entirety and stored while a route to or closer to their destination is being determined. Once a best path is found, the message is either sent to its final destination or another intermediate storage and forwarding device. E.g. email systems.


7.3.1 Circuit Switching

Normal telephone service is based on a circuit-switching technology, in which a dedicated channel is allocated for transmission between two parties Circuit-switching networks are sometimes called connection-oriented networks. Circuit switching systems set up a circuit through the network and then the messages are transmitted along the circuit. It is an established dedicated link between 2 devices. The data link remains as long as the circuit is connected. Circuit switching involves the creation of a physical path for data flow between a sender and receiver. This method is used to create the links between you and another caller using the phone system. The whole connection of sender to receiver is called a "circuit". Circuit switching offers advantages associated with a physical pathway - like reliability of transfer, because no other devices are contending for the path. Circuit-switching systems are ideal for communications that require data to be transmitted in real-time such as live audio or video. Also messages do not have to be reassembled upon receipt. The problem associated with circuit switching is that overhead is required to create the physical pathway. It takes time to put all the links in place to complete the circuit. Once established, the circuit offers dedicated bandwidth to the sender and receiver. This condition is great while each of the pair is actively sending and receiving, but when the channel becomes idle, all that bandwidth is wasted.

In short, circuit switching offers the advantages of having dedicated communication channel between senders and receivers, but suffers from overhead to create the channel as well as maintain it even after transmission is halted.

7.3.2 Packet Switching

It refers to breaking up of messages into smaller units called packets. Packets often range in size from about 600 bytes to over 4000 bytes depending on the system involved and each packet containing source and destination information is then transmitted separately and can follow


different routes to its destination. Once all the packets forming a message arrive at the destination, they are recompiled into the original message.

A PAD (packet assembler/ disassembler device) ensures that packets are placed in the right order as they are received. The right order is determined by placing a sequence number in each packet. The PAD simply looks at that number in the packet and is able to subsequently reassemble the message that was originally sent. The pad is also responsible for taking messages coming into the network, breaking them up into packets and then assigning sequence numbers to each packet. Packet switching is more efficient and robust for data that can withstand some delays in transmission, such as e-mail messages and Web pages. Packet switching does, however, involve some technology. Intelligent decisions have to be made concerning pathways, and that requires sophisticated machinery. Obviously while path decisions are being made, packets are being held, and that adds overhead as far as time is concerned. In addition, the very nature of temporary pathways is to be less reliable than transmitting data along a fixed physical link, so packet switching can be less reliable than another type of switching we are yet to explore.



The public switched telephone network (PSTN) is the network of the world's public circuitswitched telephone networks. Circuit switching was designed for voice communication. In a telephone conversation, for example, once a circuit is established, it remains connected fro the duration of the session.

Circuit switching is less well suited to data and other nonvoice transmissions. Nonvoice transmissions tend to be bursty, meaning when data come in spurts with idle gaps between them. When circuit switched links are used for data transmission, therefore the line is often idle.




The Internet is an interconnection of networks that covers the whole planet. It can transmit huge amounts of data. Since the Internet is a valuable tool, nowadays all organisations are connecting their networks to the Internet. Internet is based on a client-server model. Client is the end users computer (with software) that sends requests to a server. Server is a remote computer (with software) that handles requests from clients.

Uses of the Internet

Providing info: It is used by companies to provide info about their products and services to the public. Software and other files available for download. News is available.

Communication: It is an inexpensive method of communicating between people in different locations because postage stamps and telephones charges are not applied. Communication can easily take place via emails, newsgroups, chat, instant messaging, videoconferencing, and Internet telephones.

Entertainment: Games, music, movies, videos, e-cards, TV programs are available.

Education: E-learning. You can take classes on any subject. Communicate with people who are completing the same course as you.

Business: Shopping (ecommerce applications). Internet banking. Tourism (tourists can select hotels by visiting websites) Airline reservations. (No need to displace to make reservations. Can be done online) 88

Difference between the Internet and the WWW

The Internet and the WWW are two different things. The Internet is the physical network that is it is made up of cables and satellites to connect computers and resources.

The WWW (Web) is made up of a web of hyperlinked documents that are hosted on servers all over the world.

These servers are known as web servers. Documents on the web (known as web pages) are created using a mark up language called HTML. The mark up language enables documents to have links to other documents on other web servers, irrespective of their locations around the world.

These links are called hyperlinks and one can browse or navigate the WWW through them. (A web page can contain text, images, video and sound). A web page can also contain links to special programs called applets, written is JAVA. These programs can be quickly downloaded and run by most browsers.

Browser: It is a program for browsing web pages on the WWW.

Web site: it is a location on the WWW where a collection of related web pages can be accessed.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator): A URL is an address that identifies an individual file/resource on the Internet. It is analogical to a phone number.


Example: http://www.ivtb.intnet.mu/index.html


Domain name

Domain code


Protocol: Language (set of rules) for computer to communicate with each other. HTTP: for web pages, FTP for files (movies, music files, and programs), SMTP etc.

Domain name: Name of the server where the resource is located.

Domain code (top level domains): refers to name of the organisation. In this case Mauritius.

File: web page, image, sound file, etc.

How to access the Internet?

All accesses to the Internet are done via the Internet Service Provider. It is a company that provides access to the Internet to its subscribers. The ISP is connected to the Internet. (E.g. to connect to the Internet at home, you need to have an account with the ISP. The latter will provide you with a username and a password. It is only then that you can get connected to the Internet via ISP).

Search Tools
The WWW is a place full of web pages and finding the appropriate web page to satisfy ones needs can be a difficult problem. There are three types of search tools that can help user to find documents on the WWW. These are search engines, meta-search engines and specialised search engines. 90

Search Engines
Some examples of web sites, which provide the facility of searching the WWW, are Yahoo, Google, Alta vista and Infoseek. The user needs to access the site and type in some keywords to start the search. The keywords are words that the user expects to appear on the web pages. Finally the search engine would run on the site and displays a list of hyperlinks to the web pages. Usually there is a small description accompanying each hyperlink and the results are usually is descending order of relevance. (Note: the level of relevance is difficult to assess. Each search engine has its specific way of assessing relevance. It is important to use specific keywords. The dynamic nature of some web pages implies that the search may not point to these resources. So a search engine may be missing relevant web pages)

Meta Search Engines

These are search engines that use other types of search engines to carry out a search. E.g. Ask Jeeves (www. aj.com). (Instead of visiting many search engines, which can be time-consuming and duplicate responses from the different sites are inevitable). When searching for information using this type of search engine, the latter queries other search engines using the keyword provided by the user. The meta-search engine eliminates duplicates, orders the results according to relevance and provides the edited list. The results from these different search engines can appear separately or they can be merged.

Specialised Search Engines

Specialised Search Engines focus on subject-specific web sites (E.g. MetaCrawler web site). These sites can save you time by further narrowing your search. For example if you are looking for a topic lets say cooking, you could go directly to a search engine that specialises in cooking, instead of using a normal search engine like yahoo.




A peer-to-peer system is a distributed system whose component nodes participate in similar roles, and are therefore peers to each other. Even though the nodes have similar roles, there may still be some structure to the peer-to-peer system, and it usually possesses some degree of selforganisation where each node finds its peers and helps maintain the system structure. The main benefits of peer-to-peer system are scalability, fault-tolerance, and the lack of resource bottlenecks in servers.

Figure 7.1 In figure 7.1, in a peer-to-peer network there are no dedicated servers or hierarchy among the computers. All of the computers on the network handle security and administration for themselves. The users must make the decisions about who gets access to what.

Advantages of peer-to-peer networks

An important goal in peer-to-peer networks is that all clients provide resources, including bandwidth, storage space, and computing power. Thus, as nodes arrive and demand on the system increases, the total capacity of the system also increases. The distributed nature of peer-to-peer networks also increases robustness in case of failures by replicating data over multiple peers, and by enabling peers to find the data without relying on a centralised index server. In the latter case, there is no single point of failure in the system. 92



Client/server describes the relationship between two computer programs in which one program, the client, makes a service request from another program, the server, which fulfils the request. In a network, the client/server model provides a convenient way to interconnect programs that are distributed efficiently across different locations. Computer transactions using the client/server model are very common. For example, to check your bank account from your computer, a client program in your computer forwards your request to a server program at the bank. That program may in turn forward the request to its own client program that sends a request to a database server at another bank computer to retrieve your account balance. The balance is returned back to the bank data client, which in turn serves it back to the client in your personal computer, which displays the information for you.

Figure 7.2

Figure 7.2 shows the client/server model which has become one of the central ideas of network computing. Most business applications being written today use the client/server model. So does the Internet's main program, TCP/IP. In marketing, the term has been used to distinguish distributed computing by smaller dispersed computers from the "monolithic" centralised computing of mainframe computers. But this distinction has largely disappeared as mainframes and their applications have also turned to the client/server model and become part of network computing. 93

In the usual client/server model, one server, sometimes called a daemon, is activated and awaits client requests. Typically, multiple client programs share the services of a common server program. Both client programs and server programs are often part of a larger program or application. Relative to the Internet, your Web browser is a client program that requests services (the sending of Web pages or files) from a Web server (which technically is called a Hypertext Transport Protocol or HTTP server) in another computer somewhere on the Internet. Similarly, your computer with TCP/IP installed allows you to make client requests for files from File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers in other computers on the Internet.

There are three types of Client/Server Architecture:


Centralised Architecture

A centralised Client/Server Architecture is whereby all the services on the network are located and executed from a single server.

Example: Banking System where data is kept at the central server.

Advantages: 1. Control & Management 2. Security

Disadvantages 1. Not easily scalable 2. Low availability of resources 3. If the server fails, the entire network can be down



Decentralised Architecture

A decentralised Client/Server architecture is whereby there dedicated servers for different services and servers are found at different geographical places.

Example: Mail Servers and Web Servers for messaging and hosting of web sites.

Advantages: 1. Availability 2. Security 3. Scalability

Disadvantages: 1. Control & Management


Distributed Architecture

Distributed network architecture is whereby services are distributed and executed among many computers.

The geographic distribution of hardware, software, processing, data, and control.

Example: The Internet is a client/ server distributed network Advantages 1. Availability 2. Reliability 3. Better response time from client request

Disadvantages 1. Security 2. Contention and Deadlock 95



Switching is a better solution to connect multiple computers in a WAN. Circuit and Packet switching are the two common switching methods. PSTN is an example of circuit switched network. In a Peer-to-Peer network there is no master or slave, all computers are equal. The Internet is a WAN based on Client/Server architecture. There are 3 types of Client/Server architecture: Centralised, decentralised and distributed.




H.L. Capron and J.A. Johnson (2002) Computers: Tools for an Information Age: Seventh Edition, Prentice Hall.


Andrews S. Tanenbaum(2001) Computer Networks: Third Edition, Prentice Hall.



Unit Structure 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Overview Learning Objectives A brief historic of the Internet How to access the Internet? 8.4.1 8.4.2 8.4.3 8.5 Internet Service Provider Types of connections Devices that connects to the Internet

Common services provided by the Internet 8.5.1 8.5.2 8.5.3 8.5.4 8.5.5 8.5.6 8.5.7 The World Wide Web E-mail File Sharing Streaming Media Voice over IP Online Communities E-Commerce

8.6 8.7 8.8

Legal Issues associated with the Internet Summary Suggested Readings



This chapter will introduce you to the Internet, to what it allows you to do and to the latest developments associated with it. The chapter will describe the following: A brief historic on the origins of the Internet. An overview on what is generally required to access the Internet. An overview of the different services available with the Internet. An introduction to the legal issues associated with the Internet. 97


LEARNING OBJECTIVES To understand the origins of the Internet. To understand what an Internet Service Provider is and what it does. To understand how connections to the internet are achieved. To be accustomed with the different devices currently used to access the internet. To understand and be able to differentiate between the different services provided by the Internet. To understand the dangers associated with the Internet and to understand the legal framework supporting this medium.

8.3 1958:


The Advance Research Agency Program (ARPA), in the U.S.A, created the Information Processing Technology Office which started investigating the potential of universal networking. Using as basis packet switching, a technology Paul Baran had recommended earlier to the U.S. Air Force, they started to work on the new network. Packet switching routes packets of data over a network from the originating node to the destination node (as opposed to circuit switching which sets up a dedicated connection between two nodes on a network). This optimises the use of the channels available in a network, allowing for more data to be sent per unit time.

1969 The worlds first operational packet switching network went live at UCLA (University of Callifornia, Los Angeles). The network was named ARPANET. The ARPANET was designed to be robust and reliable, such that it could survive network losses.


1978 The British Post Office, Western Union International and Tymnet, built on the ARPANET to produce the first international packet switched network, the International Packet Switched Service (IPSS). Connection to IPSS could be done by using a Packet Switch Stream (PSS) modem or a packet Assembler/Disassembler and a dedicated PSS line. The Assembler/Disassembler was used to reconstruct data from packets received or to break a stream of data into packets.

1985 The National Science Foundation in the US constructed a university network backbone based on a TCP/IP (now the standard protocol for the internet) wide area network, called the NSFNet. The TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol) works as follows: TCP does the packeting of messages and reassembling of the message IP handles the addressing

The open network allowed academic researchers in the US to access supercomputers. The NSFNet went online in 1986 using the TCP/IP-based technology from ARPANET.

1993 The first published specification for HTML was published in 1993 by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). 1993 also saw the release of the NCSA Mosaic browser which was a graphical browser. This application is known as the killer application for the Internet since it triggered the explosion in popularity for the Internet. HTML is the most common language used to write web pages. A Browser is a software that allows users to access and surf on the Internet (or World Wide Web). IETF created an HTML working group in 1994. Since 1996, HTML has been maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The leader of the Mosaic team at NCSA then created his own company, Netscape, in 1994 and its flagship product, the Netscape Navigator.


In 1995, Microsoft entered the market with its Internet Explorer and began what was known as the browser wars with Netscape. By mid 90s there were more than 300 million Internet users in the world.

1995 In 1995, Telecom Plus, a joint venture between Mauritius Telecom and France Telecom, began offering Internet services and associated value added services in Mauritius. This is when the Internet was commercially launched in Mauritius.



8.4.1 Internet Service Provider An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company or organisation that provides Internet access facilities and related services to customers. Services offered beyond Web access could include domain name registration and hosting, e-mail accounts and services, chat rooms and Web page hosting. ISPs compete by offering competitive price packages and unique services. Telecomplus was the first ISP in Mauritius but nowadays we have several other ISPs operating in Mauritius such as DCL and Network Plus.

8.4.2 Types of connections The different possible types of connections and access to the internet include: Dial-up ADSL LAN Leased Lines Broadband Wifi Wimax Satellite Cellular Networks 100

Dial up The client uses a device known as a modem to connect to the Internet Service Provider over normal telephone lines. Dial-up connection is typically slow.

ADSL Asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) [3] still uses telephone lines but a different modem is used to make use of frequencies not typically used by normal telephone calls to obtain higher bandwidth.

Figure 8.1: ADSL and Dial-up connection LAN Connection can be obtained by connecting a computer to a Local Area Network (LAN) which is in turn connected to the rest of the Internet. The connection speed is typically much faster but is dependent on the connection between the LAN and the ISP.

Figure 8.2: LAN connection 101

Leased Lines A leased line will offer a direct and permanent connection to the ISP. Leased lines can offer a range of data connectivity.

Broadband Data connection over a high capacity medium is referred to as broadband. Optical fiber connection is the best know type of broadband connection; it uses light pulses instead of electric pulses to transmit data. Mauritius is linked to the Internet through an Optical fiber cable known as the SAFE cable.

Wi-Fi This term is used to describe a technology for wireless LAN connection. Wi-Fi [4] offers relatively high bandwidth within a limited geographical area (of around 100 meter in diameter) called a Wi-Fi Hotspot. Devices need to have a special wireless network card to connect to this type of network. A special modem that includes an Antenna called an access point transmits the signals in a Wi-Fi area.

Figure 8.3: Wi-Fi access

WiMax The Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax) [5] provides wireless broadband access over a long distance. WiMax can cover areas of a few kilometres in radius and will provide relatively high data rate. A special modem is also needed for WiMax. In Mauritius WiMax was introduced by Network Plus.


Figure 8.4: Wi-Max as opposed to Wi-Fi

Satellite Before getting connected to the SAFE optical fiber cable, Mauritius was linked to the Internet via Satellite connectivity. Several artificial satellites orbit around the earth and provide data connectivity across the globe. Several countries are still linked to the Internet through satellite connection. However, this type of connection provides relatively slow bandwidth and is subject to a delay.

Figure 8.5: Satellite dish for Internet access through satellite


Cellular Networks At around the same time there was the explosion in the use of the Internet, cellular mobile networks started blooming. If GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) did not provide a high enough bandwidth to make browsing using this type of connection a good experience, subsequent improvements such as the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and the Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS, 3G) made Internet access through cellular networks as simple and efficient as with wired networks.

8.4.3 Devices that connect to the Internet Initially the Internet connected Mainframe computer and Super Computers. Then we were able to use Personal Computers (PC) to access the Internet. Nowadays, we can also access the internet through a range of other devices such as:

Television sets Mobile phones Game consoles

Figure 8.6: Web access on mobile phones


Web over TV is common in several countries and has been launched in Mauritius by the Mauritius Telecom under the product name MyT [6]. Connection to the internet using mobile phones has been possible with GSM but with GPRS and 3G and improvement of the display features of mobile phones, Internet access on those devices is now a reality. Game consoles such as the Wii (Nintendo) [7] and the Sony Play Station (PS3) [8] also provides access to the Internet. We can expect more and more devices to enable connection to the Internet, allowing for a network of diverse electronic devices.



The Internet has opened the way to a whole range of services that has allowed new companies offering related services to be created. Below are listed some of the common services offered through the Internet.

8.5.1 The World Wide Web The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked hypertext (such as webpages) available over the Internet. The hypertext could be very basic and contain text and hyperlinks or can be more advanced containing images and dynamic contents.

A web page is accessed either by following a hypertext link or by typing directly the URL of the page.

The URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the address of the web site.

An example of a URL is: http://www.utm.ac.mu

http specifies that we are using the hypetext transfer protocol

www specifies that we are accessing the World Wide Web service

utm the server name


ac generil top level domain name, here for academic (.com for commercial, .org for organisation etc)

mu second level domains, here mu stands for Mauritius just like fr would stand for France.

Web pages can also be accessed through search engines such as Google [9]. A search engine is a mechanism which will look for information on different web sites and databases distributed all over the Internet.

Search engines are often used for marketing of web sites.

8.5.2 E-mail E-mail is a short for electronic mail. This service allows for the composing, sending, storing, forwarding and receiving of messages over the internet. Senders and recipient of e-mails (or emails) will typically have an e-mail address such as myname@mail.com. E-mails are extensively used in the corporate world and have greatly helped in allowing for faster interaction among companies who are geographically very far apart. Email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook, are tools that allow the management of email messages. Some email clients are accessible online (e.g. Yahoo [10], Hotmail [11] and Gmail [12]) and will store received and sent messages on a server. Nowadays emailing is plagued by a phenomenon known as Spamming, which are bulk unwanted messages often used to market a product. Fortunately filters can be added to get rid of Spam messages.


8.5.3 File Sharing File sharing services allow for the sharing of data files over the Internet. There are different ways in which files can be shared over the Internet. Files can be stored on web servers and downloaded just as one would download an html web page, which is using hypertext transfer protocol. This way of sharing a file is very insecure because just about anyone can download the file. Files can also be stored on protected servers accessible through a web browser or specialised tool. The file can then be accessed using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). This protocol allows the setting of a password so as to control who have access and can download the files. Another way of sharing files over the internet is by creating a virtual private network (VPN) and then sharing folders across the virtual private network. Finally, one of the most popular and controversial ways of sharing a file is by using Peer-to-peer networks. Those networks interconnect computers to each other in a tree like structure. Specific tools are used to connect to such networks (e.g. Kaaza [13], Gnutella [14], Bittorrent [15] etc). In such networks there is no clear definition between a server and a client as you could be downloading a file from one computer and the same computer would be downloading a file from your computer. The user will search for a specific file without knowing on which computer (or node) it is located and the search will go down the network, visiting more and more computers to find the specified file. If the file exists on several computers, parts of the file can be downloaded from several computers so as to accelerate the download.

8.5.4 Streaming media Streaming media refers to the delivery of media such as music and video files over the internet. Rather than downloading the files, the media data is played directly from the server typically within the browser itself. Media software such as Windows Media Player, Winamp [16], Realplayer [17] and i-Tunes [18] can also access media stream servers and allow users to stream media from within the software. Audio streaming allow user to preview music tracks but has also given rise to online radios. Anyone can now have his own radio by streaming sound over the Internet.


Video streaming has lead to the concept of Web TV where TV programs are broadcasted live over the internet. The proliferation of Web Cameras (WebCams) has also greatly popularised video streaming over the internet. Web sites such as YouTube [19], specifically provide all kind of video and audio files to be viewed and streamed from web browsers.

8.5.5 Voice over IP Voice over IP also known as IP Telephony or VoIP, implies the routing of voice conversation over the Internet. Voice over IP unlike audio streaming allows for two way exchange of audio data. Voice over IP has been a service much soughed over the Internet for a long time but the main hurdle to its implementation has been Quality of Service (QoS). The Quality of Service hurdle arose due to limited bandwidth which prevented a smooth communication of high audio quality. However with the increasing accessibility of broadband bandwidth, QoS is becoming less of an issue and companies such as Skype [20], has popularised the use of VoIP as an alternative to classical telecommunication networks. Several companies such as call centres now rely mostly on VoIP to enable international connectivity with clients.

8.5.6 Online Communities Online communities and Virtual communities are web sites that interlink people who primarily know each other via the Internet or use the internet to share thoughts and tastes. Online communities first existed via groups of technology savvy people who shared their knowledge and passion over the internet through the creation of web pages and through chat groups and forums. Nowadays however, some specialised web sites allow people to create online profiles without having to know how to build a web page and html. This democratisation of the Internet has taken shape through widely accessible chat programs such as MSN messenger and Yahoo messenger. Also virtual community sites such as MySpace [21], hi5 [22], Facebook [23] and Orkut [24] have facilitated the creation of personal web page. These much personalised web pages are often referred to as BLOGs.


Blogs are websites where people can post information in a chronological order. Blogs also allow for other people to comment on topics from the site. Virtual communities are evolving further with new software such as Second Life [25] which allow for the creation of a 3 dimensional representation of oneself online (also known as a 3D Avatar). The Avatar can travel in a 3D virtual world online and participate in virtual 3D activities ranging from simple socializing by approaching another Avatar and chatting to attending virtual meetings or conferences. Users can even purchase virtual properties such as objects, clothes, land or real estate.

8.5.7 E-commerce E-commerce or Electronic commerce involves distributing, buying, selling, marketing and servicing of products over the Internet. The web thus becomes a market place where people can buy and sell products. If initially e-commerce meant the exchange of commercial documents over an electronic medium, nowadays e-commerce encompasses a wide range of activities ranging from e-banking to e-marketing and e-shopping. e-banking: sometimes referred to as internet banking or online banking allow the customer to do some basic management of its bank account by accessing a secure web page. The customer is thus able to verify its bank account, perform transfers and credit card payment for example from a web browser. e-marketing: involves activities such as email marketing, where emails are sent to customers to market a product and banner advertising, where banners are added to websites to market something. E-mail marketing when overused gives rise to spamming (see SPAM above) but is very efficient in attracting clients to specific products. A banner (web banner) will attract traffic to another web site by providing a graphical link to the website. Banners nowadays employ different schemes to attract surfers, such as having dynamic images or having games embedded in the banner.


A new way of using the web as a marketing tool is to use search engine marketing. This has been popularised by Google search engine and involves returning marketing links which are related to the word(s) searched for. e-shopping: allows customers to shop online for products. Customers can choose items from an online list, view details on that specific item, add the item to a shopping cart and perform the payment. The shopping cart is a virtual representation of a physical shopping cart. It facilitates online shopping since the user does not have to pay each time he purchases an item but can rather add the item to a cart and at the end pay for the total cost of the items in the cart. Payment is then performed by entering a credit card detail or by using an e-wallet. An e-wallet is a virtual representation of an actual wallet. The user can top up his account on an e-wallet and use the e-wallet to perform payments. This makes the transaction more secure.



Similarly to radio, and TV, the Internet is part of communication mass media. Misuse of the Internet can be harmful to the users. The rules governing the use of Internet in Mauritius are under the Electronic Transactions Bill Act. E-commerce is also governed by this Act. Some issues that an Internet user should be aware of: o Copyright of web content: Some content from certain sites are not authorized to be reproduced for commercial purpose o Non-repudiation agreement: On e-commerce pages for example user that has performed certain tasks cannot deny their actions o Netiquette: An Internet should behave properly when communicating .



SUMMARY ARPANET the first Internet type of network was launched in 1969 at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1995, the Internet was commercially launched in Mauritius by Mauritius Telecom. An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company or organisation that provides Internet access facilities and related services to customers. The different ways to connect to the internet includes; Dial-up, ADSL, LAN Leased Line, Broadband, Wi-Fi, WiMax, Satellite or through Cellular Networks. The devices that can connect to the internet nowadays include computers, television sets, mobile phones, game consoles. Common Services available from the Internet include: World Wide Web, Email, File Sharing, Streaming Media, Voice over IP, Online Communities and E-commerce. Misuse of the Internet is sanctioned by the law. The subscribers should be aware and advised of the different offences like non respect of copyright act

8.8 [1]

SUGGESTED READINGS Internet, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, available at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet [2] [3] Rheingold, H., 2002. Smart Mobs: The next social revolution, E. Perseus Books Group. Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADSL [4] Wi-Fi, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, available at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi [5] WiMAX, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, available at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WiMAX 111

[6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25]

myT, available at: http://www.myt.mu Nintendo Wii, available at: http://wii.nintendo.com Sony, Play Station 3, available at: http://www.playstation.com Google, available at: http://www.google.com Yahoo, available at: http://www.yahoo.com Hotmail, available at: http://www.hotmail.com Gmail, available at: http://gmail.google.com Kazaa, available at: http://www.kazaa.com Gnutella, available at: http://www.gnutella.com Bittorent, available at: http://www.bittorent.com Winamp, available at: http://www.winamp.com Real Player, available at: http://www.real.com i-Tunes, available at: http://www.apple.com/itunes Youtube, available at: http://www.youtube.com Skype, available at: http://www.skype.com/intl/en/ My Space, available at: http://www.myspace.com Hi5, available at: http://www.hi5.com Facebook, available at: http://www.facebook.com Orkut, available at: http://www.orkut.com Second Life, available at: http://secondlife.com


Unit Structure

9.1 9.2 9.3

Overview Learning Objectives What is HTML? 9.3.1 How to create an HTML file?

9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7

Web Page Structure HTML tags & elements Character Entities Links 9.7.1 Absolute and Relative Path 9.7.2 Anchor Tag


Frames 9.8.1 9.8.2 9.8.3 Creating Frames Frameset and Frame Attributes Frame Targeting


Tables 9.9.1 9.9.2 9.9.3 9.9.4 Table Attributes Element CAPTION Element TR (Table Row) Elements TH (Table Header) and TD (Table Data)


Lists 9.10.1 Element OL (Ordered List) 9.10.2 Element UL (Unordered List) 9.10.3 Element LI (List Item)

9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14

Images Web Site Authoring Tools Summary Suggested Readings



OVERVIEW Using Basic HTML tags and elements Formatting HTML content Creating links Designing web pages using Frames & Tables Lists Images WYSIWYG web page editors



Upon completion of this session, students should be able to: Create an HTML file Format the content of an HTML file Create hyperlinks and navigate between web pages Understand the difference between frames & tables Add graphics in a web page Understand the uses of Web Site authoring tools.



HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and is the publishing language of the World Wide Web. An HTML file is a text file containing small markup tags The markup tags tell the Web browser how to display the page An HTML file must have an htm or html file extension An HTML file can be created using a simple text editor



HOW TO CREATE AN HTML FILE? Step1: Create a new Notepad file Step2: Type your tags and content Step3: Save as filename.html Step4: Open your Web Browser Step5: In the address bar or URL, type the pathname to the file and press enter or double click on the filename.html icon

9.4 WEB PAGE STRUCTURE All HTML document require three document structure tags: HTML, HEAD, and BODY. These structure tags provide basic foundation for the web document; they are containers for the rest of the tags. The <HTML> and </HTML> tags are used to delimit an HTML document. The effect of the start tag is to inform the browser that an HTML document follows. The <HEAD> and </HEAD> mark off information about the whole document. The <BODY> and </BODY> tags define the body or text of the page. All the content which is intended to be read goes here. The following is a basic structure for Web pages:

<HTML> <HEAD> <TITLE>Your title </TITLE> </HEAD> <BODY> This is where you write your information. </BODY> </HTML> 115



An element is a distinct object in a document, such as a photograph, or a paragraph of text. Tags are the HTML codes that control the appearance of the document content. There are two types of tags: one-sided tags, which require only a single tag, and two-sided tags. Elements that require one-sided tags are known as empty elements. A one-sided tag allows you to insert non-character data into the Web page, such as a graphic or a video clip. A two-sided tag contains an opening tag that tells the browser to turn on a feature to be applied to the content, and a closing tag that turns off the feature.

HTML tags are used to mark-up HTML elements HTML tags are surrounded by the two characters < and > The surrounding characters are called angle brackets HTML tags normally come in pairs like <b> and </b> The first tag in a pair is the start tag, the second tag is the end tag The text between the start and end tags is the element content HTML tags are not case sensitive, <b> means the same as <B>

You can use the paragraph, heading and line break tags to change the placement of text.

To divide your text into basic paragraphs, use the paragraph container <P> and </P>

The <BR> tag creates breaks within the structure of the text, by inserting a line break. A line break appears wherever this tag is placed.

HTML provides six levels of heading tags that affect the size and boldness of text headings. Level 1 (<H1>) generates the biggest text and level 6 (<H6>) the smallest.


Heading Tags

Heading Level


Heading Level 1 Heading Level 2 Heading Level 3 Heading Level 4 Heading Level 5 Heading Level 6

<H1> </H1> <H2> </H2> <H3> </H3> <H4> </H4> <H5> </H5> <H6> </H6>

Figure 9.1: Figure showing the Heading size effect.



Some characters have a special meaning in HTML, like the less than sign (<) that defines the start of an HTML tag. If we want the browser to actually display these characters we must insert character entities in the HTML source. A character entity has three parts: an ampersand (&), an entity name or a # and an entity number, and finally a semicolon (;). To display a less than sign in an HTML document we must write: &lt; or &#60; The advantage of using a name instead of a number is that a name is easier to remember. The disadvantage is that not all browsers support the newest entity names, while the support for entity numbers is very good in almost all browsers.

Codes for characters used by tags





Less than sign



Greater than sign





Quotation marks




Links connect one page to another page within the same site or to some page on other sites across the world.

An internal link takes you to another spot within the same Web page. Links that send you to a separate web file are called external links.

There are different types of links: Links to text Links to images Links to local files Links to remote sites

Hypertext links (or just links) are essential for building effective Websites. Links can be based on text or graphics. When a link is made from text, the browser will render the text in a way that makes the link obvious to the user. Normally this is achieved by rendering the text in blue and underlining it.

To create a link, you need anchor container tags <A></A> which surround the text or image to be used as link source. Within the start anchor tag, include the hypertext reference HREF, attribute. The value of the HREF attribute identifies the link target or site that you will be hooked up to.


<A HREF= planning.html>Planning a party</A>




To create a link between two Web pages, use the <a> tag with the href attribute. The filename of the file serves as the anchor or destination point. In order for the browser to be able to locate and open linked document, it must be in the same folder as the document containing the link.

In some situations you want to place different files in different folders. When referencing a file located in a different folder than the link tag, you must include the location, or path, for the file. HTML supports two kinds of paths: absolute paths and relative paths.

An absolute path provides a precise location for a file. With HTML, absolute pathnames begin with a slash (/) and are followed by a sequence of folders beginning with the highest-level folder and proceeding to the folder that contains the file, and then the filename itself. Each folder is separated by the slash.

Examples of Absolute paths: C:/webappl/htmlfiles/index.html http://www.htmlworld.com

When there are many folders and subfolders involved, absolute pathnames are confusing. For that reason, most Web designers use relative pathnames in their hypertext links. A second reason to use relative pathnames is that they make hyperlinks portable. A relative path specifies the location for a file in relation to the folder containing the current Web document. Folder names are separated by slashes. To reference a file in a folder directly above the current folder in the folder hierarchy, relative pathnames use two periods (..).




It is possible to create a link to: another place in the same document another document a specific place in another document.

When you create a link to a Web page, it navigates to the top of the destination page. If you want to navigate to a specific location in a document, you can set an anchor and a link to an anchor within the document. These are referred to as a Hotspot. There are several different ways of creating a link using the anchor tag:


This creates a target location that can be jumped to by a link: <A NAME="anchor_name">


This creates a link to a named target location in the same document: <A HREF="#anchor_name"> The anchor name must have been previously marked with: <A NAME="anchor_name">


This creates a link to another resource: <A HREF="url"> When the user follows the link the browser will open the resource at its beginning, since no specific target location in the resource is specified. The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) can be absolute or relative paths.











<A HREF="url#anchor_name> The anchor name must have been previously marked with: <A NAME="anchor_name">



HTML frames allow you to create Web pages that are divided into separate panels. Each panel contains a complete and separate HTML document. Each frame is independent of other frames. In other words, you can scroll through the content of one frame without affecting the content of an adjoining frame. Web designers often employ frames when they want to keep static information, such as the page banner or navigation bar, visible while the user scrolls through the site content. Frames are comprised of two distinct entities: frames and framesets. The frame is the pane that contains an HTML document, and the frameset is a description of all the frames that comprise a document. When developing a frame-based page, the developer first considers the intended layout, divides it into rectangular areas (each rectangle will represent a frame see Figure 9.2), and then defines the frameset and frame HTML tags that will accommodate the design.

Figure 9.2: Figure illustrating how two frames are merged into a frameset to create a Web page. 122



An HTML document that describes a frame layout (called a frameset document) uses an entirely different structure to an HTML document without frames. A standard document has one HEAD section and one BODY. A frameset document has a HEAD and a frameset in place of the BODY.

The FRAMESET section of a document specifies the layout of views in the main window. In addition, the FRAMESET section can contain a NOFRAMES element to provide an alternative presentation for browsers that do not support frames or are configured not to display frames.

The division of the document into frames is achieved by using the rows and cols attributes.




Below is a list of attributes used with the Frameset element:

Table 9.1: Table showing the various Frameset attributes. Attributes Description Defines a comma-separated list of widths for division of window on columns. COLS="list"

(For example, to divide the window on two columns 20% and 80% width, write COLS=(20%,80%) or COLS=(20%,*). The asterisk * replaces the remaining percentage to 100%.) Specifies the comma-separated list of heights for division of window on rows.


(For example, to divide the window on two rows 20% and 80% height, write ROWS=(20%,80%) or ROWS=(20%,*). The asterisk * replaces the remaining percentage to 100%.)

BORDER="pixels" BORDERCOLOR="color"

Specifies the border width around frames. Specifies the border color around frames. If omitted, the default color is gray. Specifies whether or not the frames have a visible border. If


"yes" "no"

FRAMEBORDER="yes" the space between frames is filled with BORDERCOLOR, if FRAMEBORDER="no" the space between frames is left blank (white color).

FRAMESPACING="pixels" Specifies the space between frames.


Below is a list of attributes used with the Frame element:

Table 9.2: Table showing the various Frame attributes. Attributes NAME="name" Description Specifies the name of the frame for use with the TARGET attribute of A element. Specifies the number of pixels to use as the top/bottom margins, within the frame. Specifies the number of pixels to use as the left/right margins, within the frame. Specifies the border color around the frame. If omitted, the BORDERCOLOR="color" default color is gray. This attribute overrides the same attribute of FRAMESET element. Specifies whether or not the frame has a visible border. If FRAMEBORDER= "yes" "no" FRAMEBORDER="yes" the space between the frame and all adjoining frames is filled with BORDERCOLOR, if



FRAMEBORDER="no" the space is left blank (white color). NORESIZE Prevents the user from resizing the frame. Specifies whether scrollbars are provided for the frame. "yes" SCROLLING= "no" "auto" yes - gives scrollbars at all times; no - suppresses scrollbars--even when they are needed to see all the content; auto - generates scrollbars only when necessary (the default value). SRC="URI" Specifies the URI for the document to render in the frame.




By default, clicking a hyperlink within a frame opens the linked file inside the same frame. Sometimes this is what you want. Other times you might want to click a hyperlink in one frame to open a linked file in another frame. When you want to control the behavior of hyperlinks in a framed page, you need to give each frame on the page a name, and then point each hyperlink to one of the named frames. To assign a name to a frame, add the name attribute to the frame tag as follows:

<FRAME SRC =content.html name=content>

Use the target attribute to open a linked page in a specific frame as follows:

<A HREF=newcontent.html target=content>

If you want all your links to open in one specific frame you can use the <base> element. The <base> tag is used within the <head> tags of your HTML file to specify global options for the page. You can use the target attribute of the <base> tag to identify a default target for all of the hyperlinks in a page. The <base> tag is useful when your page contains a lot of hypertext links that all point to the same target. The target in the <a> tag overrides any target specified in the <base> tag.

9.9 TABLES Tables serve many purposes. For example they display tabular text and place text in specific locations. By placing text and images within table cells, you achieve more flexibility for aligning these elements both vertically and horizontally. Three elements are mandatory to compose a table o Table o Table row o Table data 126



The TABLE element defines a table for multi-dimensional data arranged in rows and columns. The TABLE element contains CAPTION, TR, TH and TD. Figure 9.3 below demonstrates how those tags are used to create a table.

Results Runner M. Eliot C. Hugh Time 3.12.33 3.15.45 Origin USA France

Figure 9.3: Figure showing a Table design using the CAPTION, TR, TH and TD elements.


<TABLE ALIGN="left"|"center|"right" BGCOLOR="color" BORDER="pixels" CELLPADDING="pixels" CELLSPACING="pixels" HEIGHT="height" WIDTH="width"> ..... </TABLE>


cell spacing

cell padding

Figure 9.4: Figure defining the Cellspacing and Cellpadding attributes used in a Table.

Table 9.3: Table showing the various Table attributes. Attributes "left" ALIGN= "center" "right" Description








The default is left.

Specifies the background color of table cells. The background color BGCOLOR="color" of specific cells may differ if specified by attribute BGCOLOR of elements TR, TH and TD. BORDER="pixels" Specifies the width of border around the table. If omitted the table has no border. Specifies the spacing within cells i.e. between the cell border and cell contents. Default cellpadding is 1. Specifies the spacing between cells of the table. Default cellspacing is 2.




Specifies the table height as:


pixels - (e.g. HEIGHT="60"); -ORpercentage of window height - (e.g. HEIGHT="20%"). Specifies the table width as:


pixels - (e.g. WIDTH="60"); -ORpercentage of window width - (e.g. WIDTH="20%").



The CAPTION element defines a table caption. CAPTION must be contained within TABLE. Syntax:

<CAPTION ALIGN="top"|"bottom"> ..... </CAPTION>

Table 9.4: Table showing the Caption attribute. Attribute "top" Description Specifies the alignment of the caption relative to the table. The default is


"bottom" top.



Element TR (Table Row)

The TR element defines a table row. TR must be contained within TABLE. TR contains TH and TD. Syntax: <TR ALIGN="left"|"center|"right" VALIGN="top"|"middle"|"bottom" BGCOLOR="color"> </TR>

Table 9.5: Table showing the TR attributes. Attributes "left" ALIGN= "center" "right" Description

Specifies the horizontal alignment for each cell in the row. The default is left.

Specifies the vertical position of the cell's contents.

"top" VALIGN= "middle"

top - positions data at the top of the cell;

"bottom" middle - centers the cell data vertically (the default value);

bottom - positions data at the bottom of the cell. Specifies the background color for the row of the table. The background BGCOLOR="color" color of specific cells may differ if specified by attribute BGCOLOR of elements TH and TD.



Elements TH (Table Header) and TD (Table Data)

The TH element defines a header cell in a table. The TD element defines a data cell in a table. TH and TD are contained within TR. Browsers display text contained in TH element bold and centered. This is the only difference between TH and TD.


<TH ALIGN="left"|"center"|"right" VALIGN="top"|"middle|"bottom" BGCOLOR="color" COLSPAN="number" ROWSPAN="number"> ..... </TH>

<TD ALIGN="left"|"center"|"right" VALIGN="top"|"middle"|"bottom" BGCOLOR="color" COLSPAN="number" ROWSPAN="number"> ..... </TD>


Table 9.6: Table showing the TH and TD attributes. Attributes "left" ALIGN= "center" "right" The default is left. Specifies the vertical position of the cell's content. top positions data at the top of the cell; Description Specifies the horizontal alignment for the cell's content.

"top" VALIGN= "middle" "bottom" BGCOLOR="color" COLSPAN="number"

middle - centers the cell data vertically (the default value); bottom - positions data at the bottom of the cell. Specifies the background color for the cell. Specifies the number of columns that are spanned by the cell.

ROWSPAN="number" Specifies the number of rows that are spanned by the cell.



List tags are block level elements that are typically contained within a paragraph tag. List tags come in two types: numbered lists, which are referred to as ordered lists, and bulleted lists which are referred to as unordered

The different types of list tags are:

o <OL></OL> - ordered list tags o <UL></UL> - unordered list tags o <LI></LI> - list item tags



Element OL (Ordered List)

The OL element defines an ordered list. The element contains one or more LI elements that define the actual items of the list.


<OL START="number" TYPE="A"|"a"|"I"|"i"|"1"> ..... </OL>

Table 9.7: Table showing the OL attributes. Attributes Description

START="number" Specifies the starting number of the list. "A" "a" TYPE= "I" "i" "1" Specifies the numbering style of the list. A - uppercase alphabetic; a - lowercase alphabetic; I - uppercase Roman numerals; i - lowercase Roman numerals; 1 - decimal numbers. Used by default.



Element UL (Unordered List)

The UL element defines an unordered list. The element contains one or more LI elements that define the actual items of the list. Syntax : <UL TYPE="disc"|"circle"|square"> </UL>

Table 9.8: Table showing the UL attributes. Attributes Description Specifies the style of bullets preceding list items. "disc" TYPE= "circle" "square"

disc - a filled-in circle; circle - a circle outline; square - a square;


Element LI (List Item)

The LI element defines a list item. The element must be contained within OL or UL. Syntax:

<LI TYPE="disc"|"circle"|"square"|"A"|"a"|"I"|"i"|"1" VALUE="number" > ..... </LI>

The end tag </LI> may be omitted. 134

Table 9.9: Table showing the LI attributes. Attributes Description Specifies the style of list item marker. "disc" "circle" "square" TYPE= "A" "a" "I" "i" "1" disc - a filled-in circle; circle - a circle outline; square - a square; A - uppercase alphabetic; a - lowercase alphabetic; I - uppercase Roman numerals; i - lowercase Roman numerals; 1 - decimal numbers. VALUE="number" Specifies the number of LI when used with an OL. VALUE allows changes in the sequence number of LI.



Almost all Websites use graphics in some form. They range from simple buttons marking links all the way up to full screen photographs. Images are the coolest hyperlinks used in almost all Websites. There are different types of graphic formats available. You can use the following image formats with Web pages:

o Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) o Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) o Portable Network Graphics(PNG) o Bitmap(BMP)

The image tag <IMG> has no closing tag and simply command the browser to display the graphics file. This tag requires one attribute SRC, for a graphic to load correctly.


Example: <IMG SRC =imagefilename.gif> The graphics file to be displayed is the value for the SRC and must always be enclosed in quotation marks.

Table 9.10: Table showing the IMG attributes. Attributes Description Specifies the position of the image with respect to the surrounding content. left - the image is placed at the left margin and content flows around it; "left" "right" ALIGN= "top" right - the image is placed at the right margin and content flows around it; top - the image is placed within a row of text and breaks it. The row "goes through" the top end of the image;

"middle" middle - the image is placed within a row of text and breaks it. The row "bottom" "goes through" the middle of the image; bottom - the image is placed within a row of text and breaks it. The row "goes through" the bottom end of the image;


Specifies the alternate text for those not loading images.

BORDER="pixels" Specifies the width of the image's border. Specifies the height of the image as:

HEIGHT="height" -ORWIDTH="width"

pixels - (e.g. HEIGHT="20"); -ORpercentage of window height - (e.g. HEIGHT="30%").

If omitted the image is shown in its original height. HSPACE="pixels" VSPACE="pixels" SRC="URI" Specifies the horizontal gutters around the image. Specifies the vertical gutters around the image. Specifies the URI of the image. 136


Web Site Authoring Tools

The What-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) Web page editors are packages that automatically generate HTML code. For instance, Macromedia Dreamweaver is a Web design software for creating a Web page or a complex Web site. Such design tool can be used to create dynamic and interactive web page without writing HTML code.

There are packages available for every level of expertise such as: Microsoft FrontPage Macromedia Dreamweaver Adobe Go Live

Figure 9.5: Figure showing the Microsoft FrontPage Web page editor.

There are essentially four types of HTML authoring tools: HTML text editors work a lot like the text editor or word processor you are used to, but speed up your work with custom button bars and menu commands for handling HTML. Graphical Web page editors let you build Web pages as you view them, complete with graphics and formatting, usually without showing the actual HTML tags at all. 137

HTML add-ons to other software add special button bars or an export Web page command to your favorite word processor, page layout program, or office productivity suite. Web site construction and management tools provide organization and planning tools for handling large numbers of Web pages, with an integrated editor for building individual pages or groups of similar pages.



HTML is the language understood by a web browser.

An HTML file can be written in a text editor and compile and run within an Internet browser

An HTML file contains tags

The tags considered in this lesson are for formatting, character entities, links, frames, tables, lists and images.

Visual Tools can be used to create simple Web pages without typing a single line of HTML code.

There exist more advanced HTML tags like forms and controls.





Sams Teach Yourself Html 4 in 24 Hours (Sams Teach Yourself...in 24 Hours) by Dick Oliver Alex Homer, Instant HTML, 2nd Edition, Wrox



Internet & World Wide Web How to Program (3rd Edition) by Harvey M. Deitel, Paul J. Deitel, Andrew B. Goldberg


CREATING COOL HTML 4 WEB PAGES. An article from: Technical Communication by Beth Lisberg


Html 4.01: Web Authoring, Level 1 by Matthew Tiernan





Unit Structure 10.1 10.2 10.3 Overview Learning Objectives Areas of Computer Use 10.3.1 Data EDI Presentation of Data Expert Systems 10.3.2 Textual Information DTP 10.3.3 Image 10.3.4 Voice and Video Impact on Society Effect on Social Aspects Choices for the Future Health Summary

10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8



This unit helps you understand how far ICT systems affect everyday life. This unit explores how individuals as well as families, societies, work teams and community groups use ICT, in their personal, social and professional lives. Some individuals and groups do not have access to ICT, yet ICT still affects their lives. New ICT products and applications are constantly being developed and the pace of development is very fast.


LEARNING OBJECTIVES To understand the different areas where computers are being used To understand how computers are affecting our daily lives and is changing the way business is being done To understand the impacts of computers in our society




Information technology (IT) is: "the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware." In short, IT deals with the use of electronic computers and computer

software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit and retrieve information, securely.

In this definition, the term "information" can usually be replaced by "data" without loss of

meaning. Recently it has become popular to broaden the term to explicitly include the field of electronic communication so that people tend to use the abbreviation ICT (Information and

Communication Technology). Today, the term Information Technology has ballooned to encompass many aspects of computing and technology, and the term is more recognizable than ever before. The Information Technology umbrella can be quite large, covering many fields. IT professionals perform a variety of duties that range from installing applications to designing complex computer networks and information databases. A few of the duties that IT professionals perform may include:

Data Management

Computer Networking

Database Systems Design Software design


Management Information Systems


Systems management

IT (Information Technology) can be broken into six generic areas : Data Text Image Voice and Vision Communications

Various technologies are being developed and used in these different areas to improve the efficiency of the business. Technologies have also been merged to give a competitive edge to businesses in these areas. We shall now analyse these areas one by one, and understand the technology being used. 141

10.3.1 DATA Data is a synonym for information. Information can be about reality or fantasy such as a

fictional movie in the context of ICT in Society.


Data Technology is based on collecting, manipulating and presenting of information to enable management to make better decision. Before the advent of electronic point of sales terminals, sales decision were based on what was delivered. It was necessary to collect data as near to the source as possible and to store the data only once. Once collected, the data needs to be accessed and manipulated as easily as possible. This has given rise to wide use of databases and 4GLs (4th Generation Language). A database allow data to be held together with its relationship to other information, for e.g, personnel files have information about people: skills, qualifications, experience, etc. A 4GL (4th Generation Language) is an advanced programming language used for building

application systems


Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is a set of standards for structuring information to be electronically exchanged between and within businesses, organizations, government entities and other groups. The standards describe structures that emulate documents, for example purchase orders to automate purchasing. The term EDI is also used to refer to the implementation and operation of systems and processes for creating, transmitting, and receiving EDI documents. Despite being relatively unheralded, in this era of technologies such as XML services, the

Internet and the World Wide Web, EDI is still the data format used by the vast majority of

electronic commerce transactions in the world.


EDI refers to the exchange of structured data between computer systems of trading partners. This method of paper-less trading is revolutionizing the way of doing business


EDI refers to the transmission and receipt of regular documentation such as invoices, purchase orders and credit. In non-EDI world the exchange of information has usually involved the keying and rekeying of data from paper documents into computer based systems with necessary checking and printing. The process was highly error-prone and very costly and were causing lots of delays Business were affected in terms of slow-moving paper-work and procedures. The impact on the customer is invariably the higher cost of good and services.

Benefits of EDI

EDI can be used together with communications techniques to convert fax and word-processed document into EDI standards The benefits of EDI include:

A much faster trading cycle, ensuring a higher degree of security and accuracy. It can be used to reduce inventories EDI trading can enable a company to offer shorter delivery times especially with overseas trades EDI reduces cost of paper, postage and manpower


Once data are entered and saved, it needs to be properly presented, to convey the right information.

4GLs are used to construct report and screen enquiries easily without having to call upon computer professionals.

At senior management level touch-sensitive screen are provided to display the key data to enable quick decision making. 143


An expert system, also known as a knowledge based system, is a computer program that contains some of the subject-specific knowledge of one or more human experts. This class of program was first developed by researchers in artificial intelligence during the 1960s and 1970s

and applied commercially throughout the 1980s. The most common form of expert systems is a

program made up of a set of rules that analyze information (usually supplied by the user of the

system) about a specific class of problems, as well as providing mathematical analysis of the

problem(s), and, depending upon their design, recommend a course of user action in order to

implement corrections. It is a system that utilizes what appear to be reasoning capabilities to reach conclusions. A related term is wizard. A wizard is an interactive computer program that helps a user solve a

problem. Originally the term wizard was used for programs that construct a database search query based on criteria supplied by the user. However some rule-based expert systems are also called wizards. Other "Wizards" are a sequence of online forms that guide users through a series of choices, such as the ones which manage the installation of new software on computers, and these are not Expert Systems.

Types of Problems solved by Expert Systems


Expert systems are most valuable to organizations that have a high-level of know-how

experience and expertise that cannot be easily transferred to other members. They are designed to carry the intelligence and information found in the intellect of experts and provide this knowledge to other members of the organization for problem-solving purposes.

Typically, the problems to be solved are of the sort that would normally be tackled by a medical

or other professional. Real experts in the problem domain (which will typically be very narrow,

for instance "diagnosing skin conditions in human teenagers") are asked to provide "rules of

thumb" on how they evaluate the problems, either explicitly with the aid of experienced systems

developers, or sometimes implicitly, by getting such experts to evaluate test cases and using

computer programs to examine the test data and (in a strictly limited manner) derive rules from

that. Generally expert systems are used for problems for which there is no single "correct" solution which can be encoded in a conventional algorithm one would not write an expert 144

system to find shortest paths through graphs, or sort data, as there are simply easier ways to do these tasks. Simple systems use simple true/false logic to evaluate data, but more sophisticated systems are

capable of performing at least some evaluation taking into account real-world uncertainties,

using such methods as fuzzy logic. Such sophistication is difficult to develop and still highly

imperfect. An expert system or knowledge-based system is a program that simulates human reasoning. The problem-solving ability of an expert system comes from its stored high quality, specific knowledge about a given subject.

Solving complex problems may require choice from so many alternatives, that it is difficult to define solutions. Knowledge-based system needs the input of an expert.

Example of Expert system is in the medical profession. The system is used to diagnose diseases and other medical conditions.

As far as business is concerned Expert Systems are being actively used by the insurance salesperson, for example, who now visits homes equipped with a personal computer with an expert system that guides him/her through a set of questions to determine which policy to sell to the customer. Advantages and Disadvantages of Expert Systems

Advantages Provide consistent answers for repetitive decisions, processes and tasks Hold and maintain significant levels of information Reduces creating entry barriers to competitors

Review transactions that human experts may overlook


Disadvantages The lack of human common sense needed in some decision makings The creative responses human experts can respond to in unusual circumstances Domain experts not always being able to explain their logic and reasoning The challenges of automating complex processes The lack of flexibility and ability to adapt to changing environments as questions are standard and cannot be changed Not being able to recognize when no answer is available

10.3.2 TEXTUAL INFORMATION Textual information is input into the computer by either typing directly into a Word processor or it is scanned in through a Scanner or Digital camera and processed using an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) Software.

The use of word processing packages has brought tremendous advantage to the production of textual information, it allows much faster production of material to a much higher standard that was possible before.

The other way in which text processing has assisted commerce and business is in the use of electronic mail.

Textual information can be scanned in and either held as an image in which the text cannot be altered or manipulated.

Textual image can be OCRed so that the text become editable by a word processor. Typically all scanner is accompanied by its OCR component



Desktop publishing (also known as DTP) combines a personal computer and page layout software to create publication documents on a computer for either large scale publishing or

small scale local economical multifunction peripheral output and distribution. Users create page

layouts with text, graphics, photos and other visual elements using software such as

QuarkXPress, Adobe InDesign, the free Scribus, Microsoft Publisher, or Apple Pages. For small

jobs a few copies of a publication might be printed on a local printer. For larger jobs a computer file can be sent to a vendor for high-volume printing.

Adobe InDesign CS3, one of many popular desktop publishing applications.


The term "desktop publishing" is commonly used to describe page layout skills. However, the

skills and software are not limited to paper and books. The same skills and software are often used to create graphics for point of sale displays, promotional items, trade show exhibits, retail

package designs, and outdoor signs.



Desktop publishing began in 1985 with the introduction of PageMaker software from Aldus and

the LaserWriter printer from Apple Computer for the Apple Macintosh computer. The ability to

create WYSIWYG page layouts on screen and then print pages at crisp 300 dpi resolution was

revolutionary for both the typesetting industry as well as the personal computer industry. The term "desktop publishing" is attributed to Aldus Corporation founder Paul Brainerd, who sought

a marketing catch-phrase to describe the small size and relative affordability of this suite of products in contrast to the expensive commercial phototypesetting equipment of the day.

Often considered a primary skill, increased accessibility to more user-friendly DTP software has made DTP a secondary skill to art direction, graphic design, multimedia development,

marketing communications, administrative careers and advanced high school literacy in thriving

economies. DTP skill levels range from what may be learned in a few hours (e.g. learning how to put clip art in a word processor) to what requires a college education and years of experience (e.g. advertising agency positions.) The discipline of DTP skills range from technical skills such

as prepress production and programming to creative skills such as communication design and

graphic image development.


Many systems also provide links between other packages. For example, many commercial reports contain pictures, diagrams, graphs and spreadsheets. PC packages can be dynamically linked by what is called Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), so that when a manager is preparing his text document and decides to insert a spreadsheet, table or graphic he can open these other packages without leaving the word processor.

10.3.3 IMAGE In computing, a scanner is a device that analyzes an image (such as a photograph, printed text,

or handwriting) or an object (such as an ornament) and converts it to a digital image. The flatbed

scanner is the most common in offices. Hand-held scanners, where the device is moved by hand, were briefly popular but are now not used due to the difficulty of obtaining a high-quality image. Both these types of scanners use charge-coupled device (CCD) or Contact Image Sensor

(CIS) as the image sensor, whereas older drum scanners use a photomultiplier tube as the image

sensor. 148

The technology for scanning documents is most commonly seen in the fax and photocopy machine. A scanner detects the presence of shaded dots on the page and then converts this information into an easily manipulated stream of 1 's and 0's. Text can be read from paper documents and converted into computer files. The file can be imported into a word processing package for further editing and formatting. Text scanning can be used as a last resort to save salvage text from a print-out if the disk copy has been lost. Scanners have, for the most part, been considered as an immature technology, although the big banks have long used scanners for automatically reading cheques and simple forms. Supermarkets and manufacturers have barcode readers to identify products.

A Sample Barcode A barcode (also bar code) is a machine-readable (uses dark ink on white substrate to create

high and low reflectance which is converted to 1's and 0's) representation of information in a visual format on a surface. Originally barcodes stored data in the widths and spacings of printed parallel lines, but today they also come in patterns of dots, concentric circles, and hidden within images. Barcodes can be read by optical scanners called barcode readers or scanned from an

image by special software. Barcodes are widely used to implement Auto ID Data Capture

(AIDC) systems that improve the speed and accuracy of computer data entry.

A typical barcode scanner


A barcode reader (or barcode scanner) is a computer peripheral for reading barcodes printed

on various surfaces. Like a flatbed scanner, it generally consists of a light source, a lens and a

photo conductor translating optical impulses into electrical ones. Additionally, nearly all barcode readers currently produced contain decoder circuitry analyzing the barcode's image data provided by the photo conductor and sending the barcode's content to the scanner's output port.

Types of Bar Code Readers


Many different types of barcode scanners are available. They can be distinguished as follows:

Pen type readers Pen type readers consist of a light source and a photodiode that are placed next to each other in

the tip of a pen or wand. To read a bar code, you drag the tip of the pen across all the bars in a steady even motion. The photodiode measures the intensity of the light reflected back from the light source and generates a waveform that is used to measure the widths of the bars and spaces in the bar code. Dark bars in the bar code absorb light and white spaces reflect light so that the voltage waveform generated by the photo diode is an exact duplicate of the bar and space pattern in the bar code. This waveform is decoded by the scanner in a manner similar to the way Morse

code dots and dashes are decoded.


Laser scanners Laser scanners work the same way as pen type readers except that they use a laser beam as the

light source and typically employ either a reciprocating mirror or a rotating prism to scan the laser beam back and forth across the bar code. Just the same as with the pen type reader, a photodiode is used to measure the intensity of the light reflected back from the bar code. In both pen readers and laser scanners, the light emitted by the reader is tuned to a specific frequency and the photodiode is designed to detect only this same frequency light.


CCD Readers CCD readers (also referred to as LED scanner) use an array of hundreds of tiny light sensors

lined up in a row in the head of the reader. Each sensor can be thought of as a single photodiode that measures the intensity of the light immediately in front of it. Each individual light sensor in the CCD reader is extremely small and because there are hundreds of sensors lined up in a row, a voltage pattern identical to the pattern in a bar code is generated in the reader by sequentially measuring the voltages across each sensor in the row. The important difference between a CCD reader and a pen or laser scanner is that the CCD reader is measuring emitted ambient light from the bar code whereas pen or laser scanners are measuring reflected light of a specific frequency originating from the scanner itself.

Camera-Based Readers 2D imaging scanners are the fourth and newest type of bar code reader currently available.

They use a small video camera to capture an image of a bar code. The reader then uses sophisticated digital image processing techniques to decode the bar code. Video cameras use the same CCD technology as in a CCD bar code reader except that instead of having a single row of sensors, a video camera has hundreds of rows of sensors arranged in a two dimensional array so that they can generate an image. Scanners have become widespread as companies who are re-engineering are using them to eliminate paper and to put incoming documents onto the computer network. Thus Document imaging is becoming more and more a known and fast document capture solution. Document Imaging is an information technology category for systems capable of replicating

documents commonly used in business. Document Imaging Systems can take many forms including microfilm, on demand printers, facsimile machines, copiers, document scanners,

Computer Output Microfilm (COM) and archive writers. In the last 15 years Document Imaging has been used to describe software-based computer systems that capture, store and reprint

images. Document Imaging is part of the set of technologies within the Enterprise Content Management

category. 151

In the early days of content management technologies, the term "Document Imaging" was used interchangeably with "Document Image Management" as the industry tried to separate itself from the micrographic and reprographic technologies. Organizations like National Micrographic Association (NMA) and American Records Manager Association (ARMA) found themselves inventing new ways to describe these new archive and library tools. The 'NMA' became the Association of Image and Information Management. In the late 80's and early 90's a new document management technology emerged: Electronic

Document Management. This new technology was built around the need to manage and secure

the volume of electronic documents ( spreadsheets, word processing documents) created in


organizations. Electronic documents can change constantly and those changes require security authorizations and tracking, which are the core functionality of an EDMS (Electronic Document Management System). EDMS is not limited to native word processing and spreadsheet files, scanned images also have a life being redacted by users as you would a paper document.

10.3.4 VOICE AND VIDEO Telecommunication is the transmission of signals over a distance for the purpose of

communication. In modern times, this process almost always involves the sending of

electromagnetic waves by electronic transmitters but in earlier years it may have involved the

use of smoke signals, drums or semaphore. Today, telecommunication is widespread and


devices that assist the process, such as the television, radio and telephone, are common in many

parts of the world. There is also a vast array of networks that connect these devices, including computer networks, public telephone networks, radio networks and television networks.

Computer communication across the Internet, such as e-mail and instant messaging, is just one

of many examples of telecommunication. In a conventional wire telephone system, the calling party is connected to the person he wants to

talk to, by the switches at various exchanges. The switches form an electrical connection

between the two users and the setting of these switches is determined electronically when the caller dials the number based upon pulses or tones made by the caller's telephone. Once the

connection is made, the caller's voice is transformed to an electrical signal using a small 152

microphone in the telephone's receiver. This electrical signal is then sent through various

switches in the network to the user at the other end where it transformed back into sound waves by a speaker for that person to hear. This electrical connection works both ways, allowing the

users to converse.

The fixed or land line telephones in most residential homes are analogue that is, the speaker's

voice wave directly determines the signal's voltage. Short-distance calls may be handled from end-to-end as analogue signals; usually, however, telephone service providers transparently convert signals to digital for switching and transmission before converting them back to analogue for reception. The advantage is that digitized voice data can travel more cheaply, sideby-side with data from the Internet, and digital signals can be perfectly reproduced in long distance communication as opposed to analogue signals which are inevitably impacted by noise. Mobile phones have had a significant impact on telephone networks. Mobile phone subscriptions now outnumber fixed-line subscriptions in many markets. Increasingly these phones are being serviced by digital systems such as GSM or W-CDMA with many markets

choosing to depreciate analogue systems such as AMPS.


Telephone has long been the communication media for person to person contact. The introduction of digital technology into the telephone systems has enabled many more services to be delivered to a company via its own switch-board.

New technologies such as Skype and MSN on the Internet are causing a new tendency in communications and in fact moving towards free voice and video communications.

Telephone are now equipped with cameras to enable image to be transmitted, thereby enabling video conferencing.

Video conferencing is also popular using the Internet technology. Voice and vision now goes together, and has therefore given rise to a merging of these two technologies.

Mobile phones have emerged as the major technological leap in the past few years and still evolving with Video, TV, Images, Internet etc.,


10.4 IMPACT ON SOCIETY Changes are very constant in this area and very fast moving. The changes that will come about in the next twenty or thirty years will be so great that our society will be hardly recognizable from the one in which we live today.

Workers are becoming more individualistic and isolated. For many people work has become something that is undertaken looking at a screen rather than relating with other people. Nowadays people communicate via the Internet for free and with free tools that is permitting a new revolution.

Teleconferencing and video conferencing is revolutionizing business today. It means that there is no longer any justification for most business trips. Telecommunications has brought about tremendous changes in communications. We have access to huge amounts of information from all around the world.

We are able to use techniques that allow us to search for the information we want. Impact on the General Public

High speed Internet connectivity has become more widely available at a reasonable cost and the cost of video capture and display technology has decreased. Consequently personal video teleconference systems based on a webcam, personal computer system, software compression and broadband Internet connectivity have become affordable for the general public. Also, the hardware used for this technology has continued to improve in quality, and prices have dropped dramatically. The availability of free software (often as part of chat programs such as Windows

Live Messenger) has made software based videoconferencing accessible to many.


For many years, futurists have envisioned a future where telephone conversations will take place as actual face-to-face encounters with video as well as audio. Desktop PC videoconferencing promises to make this a reality, although it remains to be seen whether there is widespread enthusiasm for video calling.


Impact on Education

Videoconferencing provides students with the opportunity to learn by participating in a 2-way communication platform. Furthermore, teachers and lecturers from all over the world can be brought to classes in remote or otherwise isolated places. Students from diverse communities and backgrounds can come together to learn about one another. Students are able to explore, communicate, analyze and share information and ideas with one another. Through video conferencing students can visit another part of the world to speak with others, visit a zoo, a museum and so on, to learn. These "virtual field trips" can bring opportunities to children, especially those in geographically isolated or the economically disadvantaged. Small schools can use this technology to pool resources and teach courses (such as foreign languages) which otherwise couldn't be offered. Teachers can use this technology to acquire additional college credits for recertification without driving to classes.

Impact on Medicine & Health Videoconferencing is a very useful technology for telemedicine and telenursing applications,

such as diagnosis, consulting, transmission of medical images, etc., in real time. Using VTC,

patients may contact nurses and physicians in emergency or routine situations, physicians and

other paramedical professionals can discuss cases across large distances. Rural areas can use this

technology for diagnostic purposes, thus saving lives and making more efficient use of health care money. Special peripherals such as microscopes fitted with digital cameras, videoendoscopes, medical

ultrasound imaging devices, otoscopes, etc., can be used in conjunction with VTC equipment to

transmit data about a patient.

Impact on Business

Videoconferencing can enable individuals in faraway places to have meetings on short notice. Time and money that used to be spent in traveling can be used to have short meetings. Technology such as VOIP can be used in conjunction with desktop videoconferencing to enable

face-to-face business meetings without leaving the desktop, especially for businesses with widespread offices. The technology is also used for telecommuting, in which employees work from

home. 155

Telepresence videoconferencing, where participants are able to see each other in reasonable lifelike sizes and little delay in video transmissions, has started to make an impact on business meetings. Some good business cases have been built on substitution of international travel with telepresence conferencing.

Videoconferencing is now being introduced to online networking websites, in order to help businesses form profitable relationships quickly and efficiently without leaving their place of work.

10.5 EFFECTS ON SOCIAL ASPECTS The first electronic computers were only constructed around 50 years ago and were used during the war to calculate firing tables for field guns and to crack German codes. They used glass tubes called valves and the machines filled large rooms. They consumed huge amounts of electrical power and their processing power was tiny by todays standards. The widespread use of computers in homes, schools and businesses only really began about 20 years ago. This growth continues as computers become more sophisticated, with larger memories, better displays, faster processing, new features. However, despite all these improvements, their price remains the same or even falls. Many people think this is leading to a society that is divided by technology. Those who cannot afford the hardware or lack the confidence are disadvantaged compared to those who embrace each new advance. Not keeping up with technology leads to people being disadvantaged socially, in education and in employment in many ways, some of which are outlined below: Not being able to access the huge range of information available over the Internet or on CD-Rom and digital television etc. Not being able to use ICT skills such as using word processing and DTP software. Not being able to sort, search and analyse data using software such as spreadsheets and databases. Not being able to use creative tools such as graphics software, CAD and 3D design software, as well as music and video editing software.


Not being able to use more advanced communication methods such as email, news groups, phone texting (SMS), video phones, chat rooms, bulletin-boards, telecommunications etc.

This rapid increase in the use of computers is having an enormous impact on our lives. Our modern way of living simply could not exist if this modern technology were removed. Examples: Our financial system is dependant on modern technology to process the millions of cheques written every day. With modern telecommunications, it would be impossible to control the millions of telephone calls made every day. Modern communication has become almost instantaneous. Email is cheap and fast and Information and Communication Technology allows documents and diagrams to be faxed around the world. More and more people are now working from home and this is likely to increase as video-conferencing becomes more and more commonplace. In communication technology, there have been huge advances in digital communication through satellite and cable television and digital radio. The vast quantity of information available through the Internet requires new skills to search out and select the information needed from the various sources and articles. Mobile phones are now used to communicate via text messages, images and even video as well as being able to access information over the Internet and send/recieve email. The introduction of computers has resulted in many changes in employment patterns. Many jobs were lost, particularly from the manufacturing industries, as the repetitive tasks of unskilled workers were replaced by machines. An example would be the replacement of car body assembly workers and body part painters by robots. However, computerisation has replaced jobs across most areas of the workplace, right up to middle management positions.


There have been positive effects on employment, many new jobs have been created in communication technology and computing, both in the service and manufacturing industries. Many experts also argue that the increase in jobs in the service sector; shops, hotels, catering and leisure industries is partly due to the increased wealth generated by the more technologically advanced industries. Advances in ICT have also allowed teleworking to become a significant factor in employment patterns. This involves carrying out work away from the office and communicating with the employer through the use of computer and telecommunications equipment. This has obvious advantages for individuals but society as a whole benefits in terms of reduced commuting and hence savings in costs and pollution, as well as allowing employment to those working in remote areas. As a factory invests in computerised equipment some of its workers may be made redundant. Its productivity rises as its labour costs are reduced and it will become more competitive. If it does not invest in computerised equipment then higher labour costs and lower productivity will means its products will be less competitive. This could result in the company failing and jobs being lost anyway. This is the issue that employers, trade unions and governments have to face. The switch to computerised systems involves considerable retraining and means that a modern society needs to have a more flexible workforce. Individuals need to understand how computers work and the effects that Information and Communication Technology has on their lives so that they can influence the changes that are taking place and ensure that a better quality of life results from those changes. The rapid advances mean individuals may have to retrain for employment several times during their working lives. Those who said that the use of computers would lead to the paperless office were sadly wrong. In fact, computers have lead to an increase in the overall amount of paper printed. This is partly due to the amount of information about people held on computer files which is then used to generate computerised mail that is delivered to our houses as letters, bills, forms and advertising. Such data may be highly confidential, for example criminal, medical and financial data. Any errors in this data due to errors in the source of the data or when it is entered can have an issue that may have a huge effect on our lives. 158

In education, schools will use teachers as facilitators rather than instructors. The instruction will increasingly be undertaken by interactive programmes. These will be available at home as easily as at school.

In health high tech will take over more and more of the diagnosis. Doctors will be able to call on the knowledge of banks of experts from all around the world. Diagnosis will be largely done without a visit to the surgery.

In social terms there will be little need to leave the home. Shopping, banking even visiting the library will be possible without leaving the house.

Carefully targeted advertising is being performed by electronic mail. With the advent of virtual reality students are able to get a vast number of varied experiences without the prohibitive costs that would be incurred in traditional systems. There would also be a great saving in time.

10.6 CHOICES FOR THE FUTURE The rate at which technology is developing means that most people will change the type of job they do several times throughout working life. Unless we undertake regular retraining we shall become unemployable. The automation of many jobs means that there will not be enough work for everyone unless we decide to make radical changes. Changes that may be necessary are: a shorter working week a shorter working life (longer in education and earlier retirement) regular sabbaticals throughout working lives job sharing.

Automation, firstly takes over the jobs of the unskilled and these are people who are least likely to be able to cope with retraining and upskilling.


10.7 HEALTH There are clear advantages in the progress of treatment, but disadvantages in the form of the damage to the health of individuals, both physically and psychologically. Patients who are sick will be able to ring the doctor and have their ailment diagnosed. The prescription form will be forwarded automatically to the chemist and where necessary it could then be delivered. The patient need never have left home and the doctor need never have left the surgery or, indeed, his/her own home. When a local doctor sees a patient, instead of referring him to a specialist, he/she will be able to use a camera and the specialist will be able to give a diagnosis and recommend treatment over the Internet. This will mean that the specialist will be able to see many more patients or, put another way, society will be able to make much better use of specialists' skills. (This will also be true of other professions such as accountants and lawyers amongst many others.)

10.8 SUMMARY IT can be broken into six generic areas : Data, Text, Image, Voice and Vision, Communications Data Technology is based on collecting, manipulating and presenting of information to enable management to make better decision. EDI refers to the exchange of structured data between computer systems of trading partners. EDI can be used together with communications techniques to convert fax and wordprocessed document into EDI standards 4GLs are used to construct report and screen enquiries easily without having to call upon computer professionals An expert system or knowledge-based system is a program that simulates human reasoning 160

The use of wordprocessing packages has brought tremendous advantage to the production of textual information A further development in the manipulation of text is the introduction of what are called DeskTop Publishing (DTP) packages. A scanner detects the presence of shaded dots on the page and then converts this information into an easily manipulated stream of 1 's and 0's. The introduction of digital technology into the telephone systems has enables many more services to be delivered to a company. In education, schools will use teachers as facilitators rather than instructors. The instruction will increasingly be undertaken by interactive programmes. In health high tech will take over more and more of the diagnosis. Doctors will be able to call on the knowledge of banks of experts from all around the world. Diagnosis will be largely done without a visit to the surgery.



11.1. OVERVIEW 11.2. LEARNING OBJECTIVES 11.3. COMPUTER SECURITY AWARENESS 11.3.1. Different types of Threats 11.3.2. Physical Environments 11.4. PASSWORDS 11.5. MALWARE 11.5.1. What is a computer virus? 11.5.2. Different types of viruses File infectors Boot Sector Viruses Macro viruses 11.5.3. Worms 11.5.4. Trojan Horses 11.5.5. Protection yourself with an antivirus software 11.5.6. How not to get infected? 11.5.7. Diagnosing a virus infection 11.5.8. Recovering from a virus attack 11.6. UNDERSTANDING SPAM 11.6.1. How spam works? 11.6.2. Why Spam is a problem? 11.6.3. How to block Spam? 11.7. PROTECTION AGAINST EXTERNAL THREATS 11.7.1. Firewall 11.7.2. Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) 11.7.3. Intrusion Detection System (IDS) 11.7.4. Network Address Translation (NAT) 11.8. CRYPTOGRAPHY 11.8.1. What is encryption? 11.8.2. A historical encryption example Caesar Cipher 11.8.3. Uses of cryptography Cash withdrawal from ATM Pay TV Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) Secure web browsing 11.9. PROTECTION SECURING A BROWSER 11.9.1. Activate and Configure Content Advisor 11.10. SUMMARY 11.11. SUGGESTED READING 11.12. REFERENCES 162

11.1. OVERVIEW o Computer Security awareness: Internal and External threats, malicious, non-malicious and environment threats o Importance of using strong passwords o Different types of computer malware such as viruses, worms, Trojan horses o Understanding spam and how to block spam o Protection against threats to computer networks by using firewalls, DMZ and intrusion detection systems o Protection of information by using cryptography o Configuration of browser for security

11.2. LEARNING OBJECTIVES Upon completion of this lesson, students should be able to: Understand the importance of security awareness Classify the different types of threats Understand the importance of implementing password based authentication and of choosing good passwords Describe different types of malware List and explain the different protection methods to ensure security

11.3. COMPUTER SECURITY AWARENESS In order to be able to safely protect a computer or a network of computers against security threats all the users in the computer network has to understand the risks and mechanisms of those different threats. Attack techniques are constantly evolving. Many security attacks are widely publicized. Due to security awareness, many companies are now more motivated to support security initiatives. Upper management must provide the authority and support to implement and maintain security. Employees must understand why they need to take information security seriously. End-users choosing weak passwords can easily neutralize the best technical security solutions. Security Awareness is therefore the most important step in implementing any security strategy. 163

Computer Security is never absolute, that is any computer system can never be 100% secured. The determined and persistent attacker can find a way to defeat or bypass almost any security measure. Network security is a means of reducing vulnerabilities and managing risk. Computer Security is about hardware, software, communication, data, people, legal framework, privacy protection. It is therefore important to understand that computer security has to be viewed in a much more global context.

Computer security measure is about the prevention and detection of security attacks, and recovery from attacks.

11.3.1. Different types of Threats The various threats to computer security can be classified as: o Internal - These threats are internal to an organization or within a LAN. For example, a frustrated employee who cracks her managers password in order to access confidential data or infect the LAN with a macro virus. o External - These threats generally comes from outside (Internet) the organization or the LAN. Example: A computer virus in the file attachment in e-mails or a paid hacker engaged in industrial espionage. o Malicious threats are intentional threats generally attributed to hackers (external) but users in an organization (internal) also can pose malicious threats. Its all depends upon the intention of the user. Usually, internal malicious threats are more damaging as the insider has access to resources in the network. There are many motivations behind hacking or damaging a computer system: Intelligence challenge Cause harm to an organization Monetary and other frauds Unfair competitiveness Access to privacy 164

o Non-malicious threats are threats that are caused non-intentionally by users of the computer system. Misuse of applications or wrong manipulations of hardware devices can engender problems for the well functioning of computer systems. For example, imagine a user working directly on a file found in a diskette who suddenly removes the diskette without properly closing the file. Such negligence can cause the system to freeze or permanently corrupt files such that it cannot be read anymore. Computer applications also very often do not perform all validation checks to be completely secure. Therefore users need to understand and be trained to the good use of computer systems and applications and the system analyst should configure maximum security settings in order to avoid any disruption of the system due to nonintentional threats.

11.3.2. Physical Environments The physical environment in which computer systems are placed is important for the physical security of the computer hardware. For example computers should be protected against spikes (sudden rise in voltage amplitude) generated from thunders during cyclones.

Generally, we use an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) to protect the computer power supply and consequently the entire system.

There is a strategy in large companies for disaster recovery whereby if the computers systems infrastructure is severely hit by a natural catastrophe, they should be able to move their data very rapidly to another location and resume their business as soon as possible. This is often referred as ensuring business continuity.

11.4. PASSWORDS Previously, confidential data could be securely stored by locking it away in a filing cabinet such that only the authorized user with the key to the lock can access the file. Similarly with computer systems, data can be protected by using a password such that data is accessible only to those with the proper password.


Passwords thus provide a simple and easy way of controlling access to resources. However, security depends on the secrecy of the password. Passwords should therefore be carefully chosen. Many users have easy to remember passwords like their children, friends, and pets name. Such passwords can be easily guessed by someone with some familiarity with the user.

Typically, it is recommended that a password be at least 8 characters long, that it is made up of at least one uppercase alphabet, one lowercase alphabet, one number, one punctuation mark as well as some symbol such as ~!@#$%^&*(){}[]:";'<>?,./\|. Passwords should not be words in any language or employed slang as well as names and proper nouns.

Many people may find such strong passwords difficult to be remembered and so write it down near the computer. Someone may easily get hold of written passwords, therefore passwords should never be written down. One solution to help keep password secret is to create a password from an easy to remember sentence to create a somewhat proper password. E.g. My son Richards friend is 4 years old MsRfi4yo. It is also a good policy to change passwords frequently such that even if password is guessed, it may not be used for long by the attacker.

11.5. MALWARE Viruses and worms are two well-known types of malicious software. The term Malware (short for malicious software) is used to describe a number of malicious threats, including viruses, worms, and more. Malware is the largest security threat to computer users. 11.5.1. What is a computer virus? A virus is a small program or application (malicious code) that, when activated or opened, performs a mischievous task such as displaying nonsensical messages on the screen, making the keyboard work erratically, deleting files or entire hard disks. Viruses can be very destructive as it can render computers and networks unusable. Its an apt metaphor, because a computer virus is, in many ways, similar to the biological viruses that attack human bodies. Because they are common, we must be protected against them.


A biological virus is nothing more than a fragment of DNA sheathed in a protective jacket. It reproduces by injecting its DNA into a host cell. The DNA then uses the host cells normal mechanisms to reproduce itself. A computer virus is like a biological virus in that it also isnt an independent entity; it attaches (infects) itself on a host (another program or document) in order to propagate. These viruses are called file infector viruses, and when the host program/document is launched, the code for the virus is also executed, and the virus loads itself into your computers memory and performs other operations many of which are wholly destructive. From there, the virus code searches for other programs on the system that it can infect; if it finds one, it adds its code to the new program, which, now infected, can be used to infect other computers. The different propagation media for viruses are the Floppy disk, pen drive, Internet, mobile hard disk drives.Viruses can also be transmitted as attachments to an email or can be in the email itself so that just opening the email can activate the virus. 11.5.2. Different types of viruses Viruses can be broken down into the following three main categories: o File infectors o Boot sector viruses o Macro viruses File infectors

File infectors are the most traditional form of computer virus. It hides within the code of another program and wreak havoc to any form of data on the machine, including word documents, program files, and spreadsheets. The infected program can be a business application, a utility, or even a game just as long as its an executable program, typically with an EXE, COM, SYS, BAT, or PIF extension. When an infected program is launched, the virus code copies itself into your computers memory, typically before the program code is loaded. By loading itself into memory separately from the host program, the virus can continue to run in your systems memory, even after the host program is closed down.


Boot Sector Viruses

Boot sector viruses reside in the part of the disk that is read into memory and executed when your computer first boots up. The boot record is the location of the logical pointer to the operating system; if it is compromised, then the machine wont boot to the operating system that the user configured on the machine. (On a floppy disk, thats the boot sector; on a hard disk, the equivalent area is called the Master Boot Record.)

Once loaded, the virus can then infect any other disk used by the computer; a diskbased boot sector virus can also infect a PCs hard disk. Most boot sector viruses were spread by floppy disk, especially in the days before hard disks were common. Since removable disks are less widely used today, boot sector viruses have become much less prevalent than they were in the early 1990s. Macro viruses

Some computer viruses are created with the macro coding languages used with many of todays software applications such a word, excel, powerpoint. Macros are small programs that are created to do highly specific tasks within an application and are written in a pseudo-programming language designed to work with the application. The most common macro language, used in all Microsoft applications, is called Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). VBA code can be added to a Word document to create custom menus and perform automatic operations; unfortunately, VBA code can also be used to perform mischievous operations such as modify files and send unwanted e-mail messages. Macrosand thus macro virusesare more difficult to find and stop as they can be attached to any document files (word, excel ) unlike file infectors which are embedded in executable programs. Because data files are commonly used and shared, macro viruses are potentially more dangerous than file infector or boot sector viruses. Macro viruses are able to spread rapidly from one machine to anotherand run, automatically, whenever the infected document is opened.


However, macro viruses create mischief rather than severe damage. W97.Marker is the most common example of a macro virus. They can be easily cleaned with antivirus software and occasionally destroy their host Word documents. They can also be attached to templates such as Normal.dot.

Beware of Macro viruses when accepting Word documents from other users via email. Macro viruses are sometimes activated when you receive a message in office package requesting to enable or disable macros. You should be careful when you enable any macros.

Microsoft proposes Service Packs which enable to fix bugs and add more secure features to existing application packages. It is always good to install the latest service packs for the packages.

11.5.3. Worms A worm is similar to a virus. Worms replicate themselves like viruses, but do not alter files like viruses do. They reside in the memory of the systems that they infect and repeatedly replicate themselves. Worms are difficult to find as they usually remain unnoticed until the rate of replication causes system slowdowns, which occur because the worm takes over much of your systems resources, such as memory and CPU time.

Worms may not be attached to a host, they can exist independently - fileless worms. While in operation, these programs exist only in system memory, making them harder to identify than conventional file-hosted worms.

The worm typically scans a companys network, or the Internet, for another computer that has a specific security hole. It copies itself to the new machine (through the security hole), and then starts replicating itself there. Many e-mail viruses and worms hijack your e-mail program and send themselves out to all the contacts in your address book, thus replicating itself to a large number of PCs. Email being commonly used, it is the fastest medium for virus and worm delivery today.


Viruses and worms that replicate themselves via e-mail or over a computer network cause the subsidiary problem of increasing the amount of Internet and network traffic. Worms replicate themselves very quickly; and can completely overload a company network thus preventing users from using the network. 11.5.4. Trojan Horses A Trojan horse got its name from the story of the Trojan horse in Greek legend in which a horse hiding the enemy (greeks) was offered to the citizens of Troy. During the night, the soldiers piled out of the horse to take over and capture the city.

This is much the case with the Trojan horse virus. It is a malicious program disguised as a normal safe application. It claims to do one thing but then does something totally different. Unlike a virus or worm, it is a program that neither replicates nor copies itself to anything; it causes damage and compromises the security of a computer when you open it and let it in. Trojan horses are generally propagated through e-mail, or from downloaded files from the Internet. 11.5.5. Protection yourself with an antivirus software An antivirus software is essential for protection against virus, worms, Trojan horses and more. Antivirus programs vigilantly guard your system from any viruses that might arrive via file download or e-mail attachment, scan all the files on your system for hint of infection, and either clean or delete any files found to be infected. Typical examples are McAfee VirusScan or Norton AntiVirus.

Antivirus software has evolved to include many other security components. Depending on the vendor, the antivirus software may also contain anti-spyware tools, anti-spam filtering, a personal firewall, and more.

Typically, an antivirus software detects virus by doing a signature scan and/or a heuristic scan. The anti-virus program contains a virus database definition. Each virus contains a unique sequence of binary code that can be used to identify itits code signature. A virus 170

database definition contains the signatures of all known viruses, worms etc. The antivirus program scans the system against the code signatures of known viruses from the virus definition database.

New threats are constant. Securing your computer or network requires maintenance to keep pace with the changing attack methods and techniques. In any given week there may be anywhere from five to twenty new malware threats discovered. If you install antivirus software today and do nothing else, your computer will be vulnerable to dozens of new threats within a couple of weeks. It is very important to update the virus definition database daily. Antivirus software can be configured to automatically check with the vendor site for any updates on a scheduled basis. Keep in mind that the computer needs to be turned on and connected to the Internet in order for the software to be able to connect and download the updates.

Heuristic scanning is a way to scan for new and unknown viruses that dont yet appear in the programs virus definition database. Instead of looking for specific known sequences of code, it looks for virus-like behavior, such as attempting to change the Windows Registry. Most major antivirus programs incorporate some sort of heuristic scanning, to help catch new viruses before they become well known.

Most antivirus software includes two basic types of scanning: real-time, and manual.

Real-time scanning is the main line of defense that will keep your computer system clean as you access the Internet and surf the Web. This is the scanning that is done on-the-fly while you are using the computer. Antivirus software real-time scanning typically scans all inbound Web traffic for signs of malicious code, as well as inspects all incoming e-mail and e-mail file attachments. Antivirus products like McAfee VirusScan also include the ability to scan instant messaging or chat sessions and file attachments from those applications. Often, you can also enable outbound scanning to try and catch any malicious code which might be coming from your computer.

The manual scan is a scan run on your computer to check the files that are already on it and
make sure none of them are infected. These scans can be initiated by you if something


suspicious seems to be going on, but they should also be run periodically to make sure that no malware got past the real-time scanners. It is also possible that an infected file may make its way onto your computer before your antivirus software vendor updated their software to detect it. Performing a periodic manual scan can help identify and remove these threats.

Most antivirus products allow you to set up a schedule to run the scan automatically. You should configure the scan to run at least once a week, preferably late at night or at some other time when you wont be using your computer as computer would be slow while scan is running.

No system is totally immune to viruses.

11.5.6. How not to get infected? Running up-to-date antivirus software is recommended, but there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your chances of becoming infected.

Restrict your file downloading to known or secure sources. The surest way to catch a virus is to download an unknown file from an unknown site; try not to put yourself at risk like this unless you absolutely have to.

Dont open any e-mail attachments you werent expecting. The majority of viruses today arrive in your mailbox as attachments to e-mail messages; resist the temptation to open or view every file attachment you receive.

Enable macro virus protection in all your applications. Most current Microsoft applications include special features that keep the program from running unknown macrosand thus prevent your system from being infected by macro viruses.

Create backup copies of all your important data. If worse comes to worst and your entire system is infected, you may need to revert to noninfected versions of your most critical files. You cant do this unless you plan ahead and back up your important data.


11.5.7. Diagnosing a virus infection How do you know if your computer has been infected with a virus? In short, if it starts acting funnydoing anything it didnt do beforethen a probable cause is some sort of computer virus. Here are some symptoms to watch for:
Programs quit working or freeze up. Documents become inaccessible. Computer freezes up or wont start properly. The CAPS LOCK key quits workingor works intermittently. Files increase in size. Frequent error messages appear onscreen. Strange messages or pictures appear onscreen. Your PC emits strange sounds. Friends and colleagues inform you that theyve received strange e-mails from you, that

you dont remember sending.

Files disappear or new files appearing System seem to run slower that normal Hard drive seems to keep on working even when you are not doing anything on the

computer All of these are potential signs that your computer system might be infected with some sort of malware. If you have suspicions that your computer may be infected, you should run a manual scan using your antivirus software. First, make sure that your software has the most up-to-date virus information available from your antivirus software vendor, and then initiate the manual scan. 11.5.8. Recovering from a virus attack The manual scan detects and may remove the problem. But it may also be unable to remove it. Antivirus and security software vendors often create stand-alone tools that are available for free to help detect and remove some of the more insidious threats. Thus, quite often, running an antivirus program is all you need to do to recover from a virus infection.


However, if a virus has deleted or corrupted any document or program files on your PC, youll probably have to restore those files from backup copies (its important to make backup of important files)or reinstall any damaged programs from their original CD-ROMs. In a worst-case scenario, where your operating system files have been affected, you may need to reinstall your entire operating systemor even, in some instances, reformat your hard disk and rebuild your entire system from scratch.

11.6. UNDERSTANDING SPAM Spam is the unsolicited, unauthorized, and unwanted messages (mainly advertising) that show up on a daily basis in your e-mail inbox. The spam messages you receive also can vary tremendously in sophistication. Some of the spam you receive is fairly simplea plain text message, perhaps with a link to a related Web site. Other spam is much more elaborate with graphically intense HTML messages, complete with buttons and links and all sorts of things to click. If you clickor reply to the message via e-mailthe spammer knows that the email address is an active one and your email address is added to their database, so that you are targeted for numerous future mailings.

11.6.1. How spam works? As you can see in diagram below, the spammer creates his message, gathers a list of e-mail addresses, and then bulk e-mails his message to all the names on his list. The spam message then travels across the Internet to your e-mail server and eventually to your e-mail inbox.


Spam message

List of addresses Figure 11.1: A typical spam mailing 174

The spammers bulk mailing typically is routed through the e-mail server on an open mail relay (OMR). This is a separate server (not the e-mail server of the spammer or the spammers ISP) that forwardswithout restrictione-mail aimed at third parties. The OMR is a mail server which has not been configured securely. They are thus exploited by spammers to sent email at no cost and relatively anonymously. Thus, the OMR mask the true origin of the spam, it looks like it came from the unsuspecting OMR server, not from the spammer. Unlike postal marketing (cost of envelope, stamp, catalog), email messages are essentially sent for free by exploiting the OMR. Spammers accumulate e-mail addresses through a variety of methods. Some use high-tech methods to harvest e-mail address from Web pages and Usenet newsgroup postings. Others use the tried-and-true approach of buying names from list brokers. In any case, the cost of name acquisition is kept to a minimum. Because users are aware of spamming, they typically delete the spam without reading or clicking on the link. Spammers thus also use IP addresses of trusted institutions to send email to trick the user to look at the spam message. Some spammers even insert the recipients address into the senders address field, so that it looks as if the e-mail you receive is actually coming from you or they use the address of someone in the same organization! Spammers also use different subject lines such as your mailbox is over its size limit (appearing to come from your ISP) or heres the information you requested. Its their way of standing out from the flood of spam that clutters the inboxes of users today. And, unfortunately, it often works.

11.6.2. Why Spam is a problem? Other than being an inconvenience for the user, the increasing amount of spam is also becoming costly as part of your monthly internet bill went to processing spam! Spam takes up space in your mailbox, whereby legitimate messages may bounce back due to lack of space. Spam also uses up bandwidth, thus overloading the network.


11.6.3. How to block Spam? The following items a checklist that can help spam reduction:

Dont reply to any spam messages you receiveand dont click the unsubscribe link, either.

Dont include your e-mail address on any posting you make to a public message board or Usenet newsgroup.

Dont include your e-mail address on your personal or company Web page unless you really have to.

Create a second, public, e-mail address to use when you have to enter your e-mail address on the Web; reserve your main e-mail address for private communication.

Use any spam-blocking features offered by your ISP Use content filtering in your Email application. Content filtering blocks email based on specific words and phrases in the message text e.g. incredible offer, buy today, and so on.

Use block lists in your Email application. Block lists block mail from specific addresses and domains. You can create your own block lists from the addresses of the spam you personally receive, or you can use block lists assembled from third parties. For example, the Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS)

However, you cant catch all of it, spammers can figure out how to get around the block by using different subject lines etc. Also, while using content filtering you might block some good e-mail with the bad.

11.7. PROTECTION AGAINST EXTERNAL THREATS 11.7.1. Firewall To make your private network more secure you may need to invest in a firewall. A firewall is a group of components and programs set up between two or more networks to control the data moving between your private network and any outside network.


A firewall is a combination of hardware and software that protects your internal systems or hosts from outside access. It controls access to a companys internal resources such as file servers, database or other protected assets from the outside world (namely the Internet).

An administrator can allow specific access to the internal network by adjusting the basic rule sets that firewalls provide. A rule set is what you can configure to either allow or disallow access through the firewall. Thus the firewall examines each packet that attempts to pass through it and checks the passing data against the configured rules. If it detects a packet which is considered harmful and not allowed according to the rules, the firewall will drop the packet preventing it from entering the network and causing harm.

A firewall should be the only entry point to your network else an attacker can connect to the network bypassing the firewall and thus the attack will not be detected.


Private LAN

Firewall Figure 11.2: A typical firewall connection The firewall however does not ensure complete network security because attackers always seem to find new ways to break in the network. Security actually is a process not a product. Security mechanisms have to be reevaluated constantly as the attackers get more sophisticated. 11.7.2. Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) A demilitarized zone (DMZ) is the network segment between a companys private network and the outside public network.

The DMZ allows controlled access to publicly accessible resources such as web applications (on a web server) that need to be reached via the Internet, without jeopardizing internal resources such as your mainframes, database, or other private assets. 177

FTP Server Internet Web Server DMZ Figure 11.3 A: Demilitarized Zone using two firewalls Private LAN



Firewall Internet

Private LAN

FTP Server Web Server DMZ

Figure 11.3 B: Demilitarized Zone using multiple interface firewalls

The firewall is configured such that it allows most people to access to some resources such as web server (HTTP), FTP server, Mail Server (SMTP/POP3) and DNS server but allows only few authorized access to the private LAN. 11.7.3. Intrusion Detection System (IDS) The goal of the network firewall is straightforward. A network firewall protects the private network from another external network such as the Internet by allowing or denying traffic based upon a number of criteria. With security, however, there is always a lingering doubt. How can you know that your firewall is doing its job? How do you know that you have configured the firewall properly in the first place, and how can you know that your firewall is not letting through attacks that you had not foreseen when you first configured it?


It is thus important to have an intrusion detection system (IDS) inside the network. If a firewall is the lock on your door, the IDS is the burglar alarm. The firewall is the network element that actually provides the protection. Should that protection fail, however, the IDS sounds the alarm.

The IDS constantly analyses packets traveling inside the network. If it observes an abnormal packet e.g. attempt to log on the server at midnight when the office premises are closed, it alerts the administrator and keep a log of the packet. 11.7.4. Network Address Translation (NAT) Network Address Translation (NAT) is a device that translates IP addresses used within one network into different IP addresses known to another network.

NAT thus also improves security by hiding private client-based range of IP addresses from the public Internet. When the client with a particular private IP address accesses the Internet, the access is done via a proxy server (which in this case also performs NAT) which maps the private IP address to a public IP address. To someone from the Internet, the request seems to be coming from the proxy server. Thus the client is not visible from the Internet and is therefore less prone to attack.

Security is enhanced because each outgoing and incoming request must go through a translation process.

11.8. CRYPTOGRAPHY Most people seal the envelope before posting a letter as the envelope protects the content of the letter from everyone except the intended recipient (even if it may not contain sensitive information) because personal correspondence are private. Email is now a practical and fast means of communication but sending email messages is like posting a letter without an envelope. To make communication confidential messages sent via email can be protected. One common solution is to use cryptography and to encrypt the message.


11.8.1. What is encryption? Cryptography is the scrambling of the message such that if an encrypted message falls into the hands of someone other than its intended recipient, the message appear unintelligible. The information to be encrypted is often called the plaintext and the operation of scrambling is known as encryption. The encrypted plaintext is called a ciphertext. The set of rules used to scramble the plaintext is the encryption algorithm and such an algorithm requires the use of an encryption key for generating the ciphertext.

The process is reversible such that the ciphertext can be decrypted back into the plaintext. The decryption algorithm typically requires a decryption key. In a symmetric cryptosystem (cipher system), the encryption and decryption keys are the same whereas in a public key cryptosystem the encryption key and the decryption key are two distinct keys.

Encryption Key

Decryption Key

Encryption Algorithm Plaintext Ciphertext

Decryption Algorithm Plaintext

Figure 11.4: Encryption and Decryption

When an encrypted message is sent, someone may intercept the message but not be able to understand the message content. Also, even if the interceptor knows the encryption and decryption algorithms being used, the interceptor will not be able to decrypt the message as the keys used are kept secret and are know only to the communicating parties. Thus the security depends on keeping secret the decryption key. Encryption can also be used to store confidential data on computers.


11.8.2. A historical encryption example Caesar Cipher The Caesar Cipher described by Julius Caesar in the Gallic Wars is one of the earliest examples of a cryptographic scheme. In this cipher each of the letters A to W is encrypted by being represented by the letter that occurs three places after it in the alphabet. The letters X, Y, Z are represented by A, B, and C respectively. This cipher uses substitution technique to encrypt data. A is substituted by D, B by E, C by F etc when encrypting.

Thus Caesar used a 'shift' of 3. The shift here is the encryption algorithm and 3 is the key. The same algorithm can be used but with any number from 1 to 25 as the key. The diagram below shows a mechanism that can be used to quickly encrypt and decrypt using Caesar cipher (here with key 3).

Figure 11.5: Caesar Cipher machine The machine consists of two concentric rings of which the outer one is free to rotate. For encryption with a key of 3, the outer ring is shifted by 3 positions. Assuming that initially the A from inner rings coincides with the A of outer ring, a shift by 3 backwards will map the inner A onto the outer D as shown above. Thus all characters Thus, the encryption of the word DOG would be encrypted to GRJ and CAT would be encrypted to FDW if using a key of 3. If the shift is 7 then the ciphertext corresponding to VERY is CLYF while, for shift 17, the plaintext corresponding to JLE is SUN.


Caesar cipher uses the same encryption key and decryption key and is thus a symmetric cryptosystem. This cipher is not typically used as it can easily be broken. Modern algorithms are much more complex. 11.8.3. Uses of cryptography Cash withdrawal from ATM

To withdraw money from an Automated Telling Machine (ATM), a customer places their magnetic card (plastic, magnetic stripe card) in the ATM slot and enters their PIN. The ATM sends the card details and the PIN to the banks database to check if the pin is correct. Communications between the ATM and the banks database are typically secured using cryptography.

Pay TV

Subscribers to a Pay TV system are able to view those programmes for which they pay. Pay TV systems typically broadcast the programmes in encrypted form and the subscriber who paid is given a key (typically a smart card containing the key is inserted into a card reader) that allows them to decrypt the programmes for viewing.

Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)

PGP is typically used as a user-friendly product for encryption of data on a personal computer and for encryption of email.

PGP also makes sure that data is not intercepted and altered en route by verifying the senders identity. You can download PGP for free from the Internet for personal use. Secure web browsing

Many people now shop on the web. They typically pay using their credit card, which means that their credit card details are transmitted across the Internet. Secure web browsing is an essential feature of e-commerce. The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol can be used to ensure security of sensitive data. SSL makes use of cryptography for providing security.


11.9. PROTECTION SECURING A BROWSER You can use Content Advisor to control access to Web content on the Internet. For example, you may want to prevent small children from accessing content of a sexual or violent nature. Content Advisor gives you the power to restrict access to certain content and allow only material that meets your criteria to be displayed in the browser. You can adjust the Content Advisor settings in your browser to tighten security as desired and protect your Content Advisor settings with a password so that no one else can alter them.

11.9.1. Activate and Configure Content Advisor You can activate and configure Content Advisor in Internet Explorer 6 as follows:

1. Select Tools > Internet Options 2. When the Internet Options dialog box appears, select the Content tab. 3. To enable the Content Advisor, click the Enable button; when prompted for your Supervisor Password, enter your password and click OK and proceed to Step 5. (If password not established, you will have to record it first click on general tab). 4. If youve already enabled Content Advisor, click the Settings button. 5. When the Content Advisor dialog box appears, select the Ratings tab (shown in Figure 11.6). 6. Select a category; a Rating slider appears. Adjust the slider to the right to increase the tolerance for this type of content; leaving the slider all the way to the left is the least tolerant level. Click OK when done.


Figure 11.6: Configuring Internet Explorer to filter various types of content You can also configure Internet Explorer to always block specific sites or always allow access to specific sites, regardless of your content settings. To configure IE on a site-by-site basis, follow these steps:

1. Select Tools > Internet Options. 2. When the Internet Options dialog box appears, select the Content tab. 3. Click the Settings button. (Or, if you havent yet activated Content Advisor, click the Enable button.) 4. When the Content Advisor dialog box appears, select the Approved Sites tab (shown in Figure 11.7). 5. Enter the URL for a specific Web page into the Allow This Web Site box, and then click the Always button (to always view the site, regardless of its rating) or the Never button (to completely block access to the site). 6. Click OK. 184

Figure 11.7: Configuring IE to always or never allow access to specific pages

11.10. SUMMARY

Security engineers and strategists need to be aware of the risks and threats for computer systems

There are internal as well as external threats and also threats due to natural physical environment.

Threats could be also intentional (malicious) or non-intentional (non-malicious) Passwords can be used to ensure that authorized users are allowed access to resources. Passwords have to be strong to prevent password guessing.


Computer viruses are very harmful to data on computer systems. There three categories of viruses and other forms of malicious codes such as worms and Trojan horses. In order to protect computer systems from viruses we use anti-virus software.

Spam is a major problem. Computers users should be aware of spam and try not to respond to it.

Firewall and DMZ technologies to prevent a compute network generally from external threats.

Encryption methods are also utilized to protect data and privacy. Browser can be configured for content filtering such as to prevent access to some type of content on the internet.

11.11. SUGGESTED READING [1] [2] [3] [4] Computing Essentials by OLeary Introduction to Computers by Peter Norton Basic Computing Principles by NCC UK Computers: Tools for an Information Age 7th Edition by H.L. Capron & J.A. Johnson(2002)

11.12. REFERENCES [1] [2] [3] Cryptography: A very short Introduction by Fred Piper and Sean Murphy Fundamentals of Network Security by John E.Canavan Absolute PC Security and Privacy by Michael Miller, Sybex, 2002



Unit Structure 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 12.8 12.9 Overview Learning Objectives Characteristics of Information Information System Model Types of Information Systems Information Systems Development Managing information systems Summary Suggested Readings



Information systems are present everywhere in organisations and in our daily life today. There are various confusing definitions of information systems. A proper definition starts with the difference between data and information. It is important to realise that information has got to have certain characteristics to be useful to an organisation or rather that, without these characteristics it can easily become redundant if not a hindrance to an organisation. Having a conceptual model of an information system allows a proper understanding of the multiple facets of an information system. The IT literature is rampant with different terms around information systems a fundamental classification allows us to go above the terms and really understand the difference between different types of information systems. Developing information systems involves proper co-ordination of different phases for the successful implementation of an information system. Managing information systems requires a proper organisation structure to ensure that the appropriate services are delivered to users.




The objectives of this chapter are as follows: Describe the characteristics of useful information in an organisation Outline the components of an information system Introduce a classification of information systems Describe the different stages involved in the development of an information system Depict a typical organisation structure for managing information systems

At the end of the chapter the student should be able to: Differentiate between data and information Understand the characteristics that information should exhibit so as to be useful to an organisation Describe the different technical and non-technical components of an information system and understand the role played by each component Know how to classify an information system into transaction processing system, management information system and decision support system and understand the specificities of each of these types of information systems Describe the different stages an organisation has to go through to develop and implement successfully an information system Organise an IT department properly to manage information systems in an organisation.




Information is a very valuable resource today for businesses. It plays a key role in decision making and managing an organization. Information and data are terms which are often used tautologically. These two terms, however, do not have the same meaning.

Data refers to bare facts Information is a set of meaningful data i.e. the data has been organized in such a way that the whole is of more value than the individual data themselves.

Examples: Data: Student Name, Employee Salary, Overtime Hours, Invoice Number Information: Student Performance, Employee Productivity, Daily Sales

Data is continuously produced and manipulated in an organization. However, to be able to make maximum use of data and to facilitate their conversion into information, they need to possess a certain number of characteristics.

These characteristics are: Precise: Data should be free from errors. Inaccurate data can lead to wrong decision making. Dependable: It should such that it can be depended upon. Pertinent: It should be such that it is relevant to decision making. Timely: It should be obtained when needed. Getting data late may sometimes be useless if not harmful to the organisation.

This may mean that it comes from sources which can be depended upon and/or that the data collection method can be depended upon. It is generally recommended to collect data at source i.e. immediately at the site of production.


Example: It is preferable to collect sales information directly at a point of sales terminal using a barcode rather than key in data from sales vouchers. This ensures that there are less errors introduced by human manipulation of data and that the data is available immediately.

Data is rarely presented in its raw form. It has to be processed and presented to the user in a form where it can be easily understood. This process of manipulating and presenting data needs to abide by some criteria: User friendly: It needs to present the data in a simple form to be helpful for decision making. Data which is presented in a complicated form may not be used at all or it may mislead the user. Secure: It needs to ensure that only the authorised users are given access to data and that they are allowed to perform actions according to their roles. Verifiable: The process should leave a trace such that data can be cross checked to make sure it is correct. This helps to detect any errors and also vouches for the accuracy of the data. Cost-effective: This is a golden rule taken from other disciplines the process and any associated control processes should not be more costly than the value of its products i.e. it should not cost more that the value of the data produced.



An information system is a collection of related elements that captures data, processes it into information, presents it to the user and provides a feedback mechanism in view of meeting an objective.

Example: Automated Teller Machines at the bank, Point of Sale system at the supermarket, ECommerce website etc.


The figure below depicts conceptually an information system:

Figure 12.1 Conceptual Model of an Information System

Strictly speaking, an information system can be purely manual. There is then need to define a computer-based information system as an information system which makes use of computers to meet its objective. However, most information systems nowadays make use of computers and thus, the term information system implicitly assumes that computers are being used. The point to note is that a computer-based information system has to meet an objective i.e. an information system is not just a technological achievement it should do something which has been requested by the user.

In its implemented form, an information system would include the following parts: Hardware: This would include all equipment required to capture, process and present data to the users. Examples: Personal Computer, scanner, bar code reader, printer etc.


Software: This would include all system software used to drive the hardware and the application software (both generic and custom developed) used to capture, process and present data to the users.

Database: This would include the central store of related data required by the users. Network: This would include the specific hardware and software which are used to link the different equipment and people which are spread in a building or anywhere in the world. The internet plays an important role in this networking function. Wireless networks are also becoming more and more widespread. All these allow data produced in one part of the world, to be processed elsewhere and to be presented to anyone all over the world.

People: Despite increasing automation, an information system cannot run on its own. Even if it did, it would still have to meet an objective set by people. As it is, human intervention is required in all stages of data collection, processing and presentation. People manage, operate, use and maintain all the technological components mentioned above. It is important not to ignore this non-technical component when setting up an information system.

Process: An information system is always linked to one or more business processes and the objective of the information system is often linked to this component. It is important to optimise this part before trying to automate anything. A poor manual process can be worsened by automation.



Information systems can be classified into several categories: Transaction Processing Systems (TPS) These are basic systems automating routine business transactions. Examples would include sales order systems, payroll systems, inventory control systems, production control systems etc.


Management Information Systems (MIS) These are information systems which are built on top of Transaction Processing Systems and their aim is to provide summarised information to managers to help in decisionmaking. These may include flexible interactive queries on screens or reports which are automatically generated. Often, they might not be separate software themselves but rather exist as add-ons to the TPS. Examples of reports might include weekly sales reports classified by product, market.

Decision Support Systems (DSS) These are information systems which can link up with several internal and external information systems with the aim of supporting problem-specific decision making. Examples of problems might include determination of pricing policy for profit maximisation.

Although both the MIS and DSS are meant for decision-making, the difference lies in the nature of the problem being solved. MIS solves general problems by looking internally at all the different TPS available. DSS solve specific problems which can be more complex and they look at both internal and external sources of information. DSS are often software distinct from the TPS and MIS. Several other classifications also exist but they can all be grouped under the above headings depending on the nature of the problem being solved. It is important to note that the above classification is conceptual only and that it makes no sense to say that we require a TPS or MIS or DSS. Rather it is important to recognise the variety of problems that need to be solved in an organisation. TPS are critical to the smooth running of a business but focusing only on operations does not provide optimal value to the user. Attention needs to be given to higher level problem solving with an MIS as well. Nowadays, with advances in technology, DSS are becoming very popular. However, they are not used in the same way as TPS and MIS. A DSS requires a knowledgeable and interactive user for effective problem solving.




Information systems require complex software and hardware to be put in place. The different phases through which users have to go through are described below:

Figure 12.2 - Information System Life Cycle It is difficult to say how the idea of an information system starts it probably starts with users having problems to manage specific issues, companys performance going down, comparison with a competitor or a mixture of all the above. Once the organisation feels the need for an information system, it normally has to perform a feasibility study to verify if it is worth while proceeding with the project. In the IS field, this is often not done formally. However, even informally, it is worth while justifying the need for the project. 194

The next step is to investigate what are the objectives of the information system and to define these as precisely as possible. This helps assess later on if the project has met the initial objectives. It is important before rushing into implementation to spend some time planning how the information system will meet the customer requirements this is the aim of the system design phase. The system is then ready to be developed using a programming language. After development, the individual components and the whole system need to be tested before being put into operation. An information system requires hardware platform and the process of acquiring and setting up this platform takes time. This is why this can be started as soon as the requirements are finalised. The people dimension of an information system cannot be ignored. This is why the phase of user training is important. If users are not properly trained, it can lead to project failure even though there are no technical flaws in the software and hardware. Co-ordinating the above steps properly and ensuring proper migration lead to the new system becoming operational. An information system is dynamic and will require changes for various reasons (e.g. correction of bugs, changes in requirements, upgrade of hardware platform etc.). This is why the phase of system maintenance is very important. It has been statistically noticed that the costs incurred during system maintenance are much higher than system development costs. Although the above diagram depicts the different phases in a sequence, it is rarely the practice to proceed in this manner. It is nowadays the trend to develop software using an evolutionary approach. Another increasing trend is to make use of off-the-shelf packages and customise them instead of developing software from scratch.




Several organisations have a separate department for managing information systems in their organisation. This department can be structured in different ways but, in any case, it needs to cater for the following services: Consultancy / Project Management It will need to drive strategic IS planning and ensure that IS are aligned to the strategy of the organisation. IS projects need to be professionally managed for increasing chances of success. Often it will also manage vendors working under specific contracts.

System Development It will need to specify requirements of the users, ensure that a proper solution is designed and that system is implemented properly. System maintenance is also of prime importance.

System Support It will need to design a help desk which will provide general IS support (for problems with general office automation equipment) as well as specific application support (for information systems in use in the organisation).

It is nowadays the trend to also outsource some of the above activities for various reasons such as reduced costs or access to rare resources. Thus, some of the activities mentioned above may not be provided in-house. In such cases emphasis is laid more on consultancy, project management and vendor management.




This chapter started with a description of the important characteristics of valuable information. A conceptual model consisting of technical and non-technical components of an information system was presented. A standard classification of information system was proposed to categorise different information systems. The different stages making up the information system life cycle were described to show how an information system can be developed and successfully implemented. In the end, a typical structure of an IT department was depicted to explain how information systems are managed in an organisation.


SUGGESTED READINGS Stair, R.M. and Reynolds G.W., 2007. Fundamentals of Information Systems, 4th ed. Course Technology.



Laudon, K.C. and Laudon, J.P, 2006, Management Information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm, 10th ed. Prentice-Hall. McNurlin, B.C. and Sprague, R.H., 2007, Information Systems Management, 8th ed. Prentice-Hall.



absolute path: the precise location of a file on a computer, expressed in relation to the folder structure of the computer. accumulator: a register that collects the results of computations. analogue: a property which changes continuously with time; this could apply to data, a measurement, or a signal. (cf. digital). anchor element: an element that marks a specific location within a document. antivirus software: Antivirus software is an application that protects your system from viruses, worms, and other malicious code. Most antivirus programs monitor traffic while you surf the Web, scan incoming e-mail and file attachments, and periodically check all local files for the existence of any known malicious code. application software: is a set of one or more programs designed to carry out operations for a specified application. Arithmetic and Logic Unit: part of the central processing unit, the electronic circuitry of the ALU executes all arithmetic and logical operations. ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange): is a character encoding based on the English alphabet. asynchronous: any form of communication that involves a measurable time interval between the sending and receiving of data. attack: The act of trying to bypass security controls on a system. An attack may be active, resulting in the alteration of data; or passive, resulting in the release of data. Note: The fact that an attack is made does not necessarily mean that it will succeed. attributes: parts of tags that control the behavior and appearance of elements on a page. bandwidth: It is the difference between the highest frequency and the lowest frequency, a communication channel or medium can carry. Bandwidth is measured in Hertz. The range of signal frequencies which indicates how much data can pass along a channel at one time. Broadband networks, the basis of the information superhighway, allow video signals to pass at high speed; narrowband


networks tend to be text-only and are slower. For example, voice over the telephone network requires a bandwidth of 3 kHz, while uncompressed video requires a bandwidth of 6 MHz. bar code: A code formed by lines on the side of goods, products etc. It is the arrangement of vertical lines of varying thickness with spaces in between. The spacing and line thickness represent a numeric code used to enable a computer to identify the item. A scanner is used to read the code. barcode reader: An input device used to scan a barcode. baud: a communication unit equivalent to one symbol change per second. If each symbol only carries only two bits (e.g. 0 and 1), then the baud rate is equal the bit rate. BCD (Binary Coded Decimal): provides a method for coding decimal numbers in which each digit is represented by its own binary sequence. binary digit: called bit is the smallest unit of data a computer can recognize. body element: an element that contains all the content that is displayed on the Web page. Boot Sector Virus: A virus secreted in the boot sector or replacing the boot sector on a floppy disk. Also a virus on the master boot block of a hard disk, or in the partition table of a hard disk. bootstrap loader: it is a small program in the Read Only Memory. It locates and executes the Kernel (core) of the operating system which is in the RAM. It also runs other initialization files of the operating system usually found on the hard disk. CAD: it stands for Computer Aided Drafting or Design. It is a piece of software which helps engineers, designers and architects to speed up their works and also with greater precision. capacity: the maximum data rate which can be carried over a communication channel. The capacity is directly proportional to the bandwidth of the channel. CD drive: Cannot be erased to be written on again. Once time write only! CD-R: recordable compact disk. Disk can be written to by a user with the proper kind of CD drive. CD-ROM (compact disk read-only memory): computer storage medium, optical disk which physically resembles a 12 cm audio CD but contains a range of data types stored digitally, such as words, graphics and sound rather than simply sound. CD-ROMs can store up to 250,000 pages of text with a capacity of 650Mb. Once written, the disk cannot be altered, hence read-only.


CD-RW: rewritable CD disk. User can save data to the disk, erase data, write new data to the same disk. Made of different materials than CD-ROM or CD-R disks. CD writer (compact disk writer): hardware device which can save information on to a CD. cell padding: distance between cell text and the cell border. cell spacing: amount of space between table cells. Central Processing Unit (CPU): Composed of Control Unit and Arithmetic/Logic Unit. It executes stored program instructions. client/server: a network setup that involves a server computer, which controls the network and its services. In particular, the server does some processing, sending the client only the portion of the file it needs and possibly just the processed results. closing tag: the tag that follows the content of a two-sided tag. computer: an electronic device that executes the instructions in a program. A computer has four functions: inputs data, processes data, produces output, and stores results. computer conferencing: development of electronic mail designed to support many-to-many communication. Each conference consists of a group of users who have a common interest in the conference subject matter. Computer conferencing software enables organization, storage, structuring and retrieval of messages. In particular, messages may be organized under different topics, by author or by date of posting. See also listserver, Usenet. Control Unit (CU): it directs and coordinates the entire computer system in executing stored program instructions. cooperative: this is a type of multitasking. Here ach program can control the CPU for as long as it needs it. If a program is not using the CPU, however, it can allow another program to use it temporarily. It is called cooperative because all programs must cooperate for it to work. data: representation of information facts, concepts or instructions in a formalized manner in order that it may be communicated, interpreted or processed by human or automated means. In computing, information that may be processed by a computer. data capture/collection: acquisition and input of information for use on a computer using manual or computer input devices.


database: it is basically a computerized record-keeping system: i.e., it is a computerized system whose overall purpose is to store information and to allow users to retrieve and update that information on demand. It is a structured collection of conceptually related data or data files organized and stored in a computer system. Databases can be set up in different ways: for example, the simplest are tables with a row for each record (a set of related items such as an individuals name and address) and a column for each field (the categories within each record such as last name, house number, street, town, etc.). Hierarchical databases hold their data in tree structures, e.g. one for a school might divide into staff and students at a high level, with individual names at the lowest and divisions like department or class in between. The most powerful databases use a method of storing data which does not restrict the way users can query it. decision support systems (DSS): More evolved information system which is interlinked with internal and external information systems to help managers in complex problem-specific decisions. Demilitarized Zone: The demilitarized zone (DMZ) is a neutral zone or buffer that separates the internal and external networks and usually exists between two firewalls. External users can access servers in the DMZ, but not the computers on the internal network. The servers in the DMZ act as an intermediary for both incoming and outgoing traffic. desktop computer: traditional office or personal computer. This has three or more parts linked together by cables: the system unit which houses the central processing unit and disk drives, the monitor, a keyboard and probably a mouse. desktop publishing (DTP): production via a desktop or personal computer of page layouts which combine words, graphics and images with different sizes and styles of type and form the master copies of materials such as newspapers, magazines and leaflets. digital: In computing, the representation of information as discrete digits, or bits. (cf. analogue). digital camera: These are cameras which convert the captured photograph directly into a digital image and store it locally inside the camera for later download to a computer. diskette: used for storing data. Made of Mylar with an oxide coating. 5"and 3" sizes exist with the smaller size dominating now. Also called a floppy or floppy disk. dot matrix printer: An impact printer that produces characters by using a print head with either 24 or 9 pins that punch through a ribbon onto the paper. DRAM (Dynamic RAM): is the most common form of RAM used for main memory storage.


EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code): created to extend the BCD, uses 8 bit code to define 256 symbols. editor: a program that helps you write HTML by inserting HTML codes for you as you work. education software: this is a group of software meant for the education sector. It can include examples like CBTs, Computer based trainings, Electronic books (ebooks), Digital encyclopedia etc EDI (electronic data interchange): system for exchanging trading information in standard form by computer systems through the use of electronic messaging systems for instance, examination entries, personnel records and transactions between trading partners. EEPROM (Electrically Erasable PROM): EEPROM can be erased using voltage higher than standard operating voltage. E-learning: this a term to describe the learning process which is done electronically that is through extensive use of computers (though not necessarily online all the time) and related technology. electronic communication aid: see augmentative and alternative communication. element: a distinct object in an HTML document, such as a paragraph or a heading. e-mail (electronic mail): sending messages from one terminal or computer to another. encryption: Encryption is when text, data, or other communications are encoded so that unauthorized users cannot see or hear it. An encrypted file appears as gibberish unless you have the password or key necessary to decrypt the information. entertainment software: this is a group of software mainly meant to entertain people. It can include games, media players, Animation software, Movie maker software etc EPOS: Electronic point of sale. A computerized till which can be used for stock control. EPROM (Erasable PROM): EPROM can be erased using a specific frequency of UV light. Ethernet: a popular, frame-based, networking technology mostly used in local area networks. fax (facsimile): transmission of images over the telephone network, most often of letters or other text. Fax messages can be sent direct from a desktop computer fitted with a fax modem. feasibility study: Investigation to decide whether it is worthwhile going ahead with a project or not.


file: a repository of data or a collection of related records. File Viruses: These viruses infect files with *.COM or *.EXE extensions. Friday the 13th is an example. Also included in this category are viruses which use the "corresponding files" technique. These viruses search for directories with files with .EXE extensions and then create a file of the same name with a .COM extension. Firewall: Basically, a firewall is a protective barrier between your computer (or internal network) and the outside world. Traffic into and out of the firewall is blocked or restricted as you choose. By blocking all unnecessary traffic and restricting other traffic to those protocols or individuals that need it, you can greatly improve the security of your internal network. Flash ROM: is EEPROM that can be quickly erased and rewritten using standard operating voltage. floppy disk: small portable data storage medium in which the disk is flexible (as opposed to a hard disk). Currently usually a 3.5 inch disk in a rigid plastic case. See also CD-ROM, hard drive. See also diskette. FTP (File Transfer Protocol): regarding the Internet, a set of rules for transferring files from one computer to another. frame: a section of a browser window capable of displaying the contents of an entire Web page. frameset: the element that describes how frames are organized and displayed. GIF: graphics Interchange Format; a commonly used graphics format on the Web. GUI: it stands for Graphical User Interface. It is an interface which help the user to interact with the computer.Usually it contains a lot of graphics as the name suggests like Icons, push buttons and so on. GPRS: General Packet Radio Service hacker: Commonly used to refer to any individual who uses their knowledge of networks and computer systems to gain unauthorized access to computer systems. hard copy: printed output from a computer as opposed to the soft copy stored on the computer. head element: an element that contains information about the document. high level program: these are programming languages which are fairly similar to English (i.e.easily understood and read by humans) used to write program codes to run the computer and its applications.


host: As far as the Internet is concerned, a host is essentially any computer connected to the Internet. Each computer or device has a unique IP address which helps other devices on the Internet find and communicate with that host. hotspot: a specific area of a graphic that has its own link. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language: the markup language used to create and format Web pages. HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol): a set of rules that provide the means of communicating on the World Wide Web by using links. hyperlinks: elements in a hypertext document that allow you to jump from one location in the document to another. IDS: An Intrusion Detection System (IDS) is a device or application that is used to inspect all network traffic and to alert the user or administrator when there has been unauthorized access or an attempt to access a network. information: A set of meaningful data. information and communications technology (ICT): application of modern communications and computing technologies to the creation, management and use of information. information system: A collection of related elements that captures, processes and presents data to users for a specific purpose. inkjet printer: A printer that works by spraying ink through nozzles onto the paper. input: everything you tell the computer. input device: Input devices enable a user to input data and commands to the computer to be processed. instruction register: it holds instructions currently being executed. internet: a worldwide, publicly accessible, packet-switched, network of computer networks. It is a public communication network once used primarily by businesses, governments and academic institutions but now also used by individuals via various access methods. ISP (Internet Service Provider): an entity that offers, for a fee, a server computer and the software needed to access the Internet.


Java: a network-friendly programming language that allows software to run on many different platforms. Joint Photographic Experts Group: a graphics file format. joystick: An input device used instead of the cursor keys or mouse as a way of producing movement on the screen. Kernel: the Kernel is the main part of the operating system. It is a piece of software responsible for providing, various computer programs, secure access to the machine's hardware. keyboard: Keyboard translates numbers, letters and special characters into machine readable format. laptop computer: portable computer, small enough to carry around and use on a lap. laser printer: Laser printers are non-impact devices that uses laser light to produce the dots needed to form a page of characters or graphics at a time. latency: a measure of the total delay associated with a particular transmission technology. line printers: Line printers use impact methods to produce an entire line of output at a time, in contrast to dot matrix printers which produce one character at a time. machine cycle: Combination of I-Time and E-Time, the steps used by CPU to execute instructions. magnetic stripe reader: A device that reads the data contained in magnetic stripes, such as those on the back of credit cards. Malware: Malicious Code (Malware) is a catch-all term used to refer to various types of software that can cause problems or damage your computer. The common types of malware are viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and macro viruses. management information system (MIS): More evolved information system built on top of TPS to provide summarised information to managers to help in general decision-making. markup language: a language that describes a documents structure and content. mechanical mouse: The Mechanical mouse has a ball on its underside that allows it to roll around on the desktop. memory: it temporarily holds data and program instructions needed by CPU.


memory management: the operating system keeps track of which parts of memory are currently being used and by whom, decide which processes to load when memory space becomes available, allocate and deallocate memory space as needed. microprocessor: silicon chip containing the CPU, ALU, and some memory. MICR: A method of input that involves reading magnetic ink characters on certain documents. modem: a device that modulates an analogue carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the digital transmitted information. monitor: Another name for a Visual Display Unit (VDU). motherboard: main circuit board of the computer. Has on it the CPU, memory boards, device boards, power plugs, etc. mouse: Your mouse is a pointing device that allows you to move your computers cursor or pointer around the screen to select and control program functions. multitasking: it is the ability of the operating system to execute more than one task at a time. network security: This term is used to describe all aspects of securing your computer or computers from unauthorized access. This includes blocking outsiders from getting into the network, as well as password protecting your computers and ensuring that only authorized users can view sensitive data. noise: electrical interference that limits the amount of data that can be transmitted over a communication channel. OCR: Optical Character Recognition which is a combination of software and a scanner which is able to read characters into a computer. OMR: Optical Mark Reader/Recognition is a device that detects marks on a piece of paper. Shaded areas are detected and the computer can understand the information contained in them. operating system: it is the main part of the system software. It is a computer program that manages the hardware. It acts as an interface between the user and the computer hardware. opening tag: the tag that precedes the content of a two-sided tag. optical mouse: It uses reflected light to detect movement.


ordered list: a list of items that must appear in a sequential order. output device: Output devices enable the computer to give or show you the results of its processing. outsourcing: Entrusting the provision of some IT services to an external service provider. packet: a portion of a message to be sent to another computer via data communications. Each packet is individually addressed, and the packets are reassembled into the original message once they reach their destination. path: the location of a file on a computer. PDA: PDAs are pen computers that serve as pocket-sized organisers, notebooks, appointment books, and communication devices. Peer-to-Peer: a network setup in which there is no controlling server computer; all computers on the network share programs and resources. personal computer (PC): computer designed for individual users rather than several users at any one time. Usually taken to mean an IBM or IBM-compatible machine. pixel: a dot on a computer screen that measures 1/72 of an inch. plotter: A device that draws by moving a pen. PNG: Portable Network Graphics, a graphics file format. POST: it stands for Power On Self Test. It is a test which is performed by the operating system to verify the status of all the hardware devices and if everything is ok then it finally loads a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for the user to interact with the computer. portable computer: generic term covering all personal computers which are light enough to carry with one hand, such as laptops, notebooks and palmtops. preemptive: it is a term used to describe the act of taking control of the operating system from one task and giving it to another task by allocating CPU time slices to each program based of some well defined criteria to decide on how long a task is entitled. printer: device used to produce hard copy (paper copy) from a computer. Various types are available: a dot matrix printer produces output by firing pins against an inked ribbon; bubble or inkjet printers squirt or squeeze ink through pins, and a laser printer works in a similar way to a photocopier.


process management: it is a set of activites which can be used to monitor the state of a program often with the aid of a tool like the Task Manager. productivity software: it is a piece of software mostly used in the industry to enhance the day to day activities in all business units of an organization. program: a set of detailed directions telling the computer exactly what to do. Programming Languages: these are languages which are used to write the program codes for exampples C, C++, Lisp, Perl and Java. Programming languages can be categorised as low level and high level languages. protocol: a set of rules that defines how data is to be exchanged between communicating entities. Random Access Memory (RAM): memory that provides temporary storage for data and program instructions. Read Only Memory (ROM): a specialized device used to program programmable read-only memory chips. register: a temporary storage area for instructions or data. relative path: the location of a file on a computer, expressed in relation to the location of the current document. requirements specification: Precise definition of what are the objectives of an information system. SAFE: South Africa Far East scanner: A scanner is an input device that can create a digital representation of a printed image. It is a device by which hard-copy pictures and text can be converted into digital form for use on a computer. Small hand-held devices work by rolling the scanner head across the paper. Larger flatbed scanners work rather like a portable photocopying machine. With a speech synthesizer, it is possible to scan text into the computer and hear it read aloud. Can also be used to read bar codes and convert them into numeric data. SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic RAM): SDRAM runs at the same speed as the motherboard FSB speed. search engine: regarding the Internet, software that lets a user specify research terms that can be used to find Web sites that include those terms.


server: in a client/server network arrangement, the computer controls and manages the network and its services; the server usually has hard disks that hold files needed by users on the network. software: instructions that tell a computer what to do. spreadsheet: this is another general purpose application software used by people who work with numbers in general like accountants, banks etcIt includes many functionalities mostly mathematical formulae, what-if-analysis, graph generation among others. SRAM (Static Random Access Memory): SRAM is a very fast, relatively expensive RAM used for onboard cache. storage management: this is one of the main tasks of the operating system. It helps to manage effectively the use of secondary storage. It includes Free space management, Storage allocation and Disk scheduling. synchronous: any form of communication that involves continuous timing requirements between transmitter and receiver. system bus: an electronic pathway for data travel among the parts of the computer. system design: Technical blueprint to describe how an information system will meet its requirements. system development: Programming of different software modules as per the system design. system operational: System is ready to be used. system maintenance: Process of effecting changes on the information system for various reasons. system testing: Running the different software and hardware components of an information system to check failure-free operation and to verify that requirements are met. system unit: it is the case that houses the electronic components of the computer system. tag: a core building-block of HTML. tailored made software: a term used to describe programs which have been developed exclusively according to the requirements of a user or a groups of users, which can be individuals or a company. telecommunications: transmission of information over distance using telephone lines, cables or satellite signals to send and receive images, sounds and words.


tele-conferencing: using telephone and computer links to connect people in a meeting who are in different locations. Also known as audio-conferencing or video-conferencing if live (real-time) pictures are involved. TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol): a standardised protocol permitting different computers to communicate via the Internet. title element: element that contains the title of the Web page. touch screen: A touch screen is a special kind of screen which is sensitive to touch. tracker ball: The tracker ball is like an upside down mouse, but in this case the ball is rotated by the user while the mouse stays still. transaction processing system (TPS): Basic information system automating routine business transactions. Trojan: A Trojan horse is a malicious program disguised as a normal application. Trojan horse programs do not replicate themselves like a virus, but they can be propagated as attachments to a virus. Unicode: The Unicode is a Worldwide Character set standard, designed to allow text and symbols from all the writing systems of the world to be consistently represented and manipulated by computers. unordered list: a list of items that need not appear in any order. URL (Uniform Resource Locator): the unique address of a Web page or other file on the Internet. VDU: Visual Display Unit. The screen on which data is displayed. Virtual Memory: Virtual Memory (VM) provides the basis for multi process operation. Virus: A virus is malicious code that replicates itself. New viruses are discovered daily. Some exist simply to replicate themselves. Others can do serious damage such as erasing files or rendering a computer inoperable. voice recognition device: These input devices are used to speak directly to a computer to issue commands and enter text. Web browser: client software that retrieves a Web page and displays it. web pages: Hypertext documents within a Web site


web site: a collection of linked hypertext documents. Wi-Fi: Wireless Fidelity wireless mouse: It makes use of either Radio or Infra Red waves to communicate with the system unit. wizard: on-screen step-by-step guide that helps a user perform a particular task. word processor: it is a general purpose software which helps in making word editing much easier. It is the use of an electronic word editor e.g. Microsoft Word to do editing of words, text, letters, some graphics, clip arts, text boxes and symbols. Software originally devoted to the creation, editing,

formatting, storage, revision and printing of text, but currently often including the capacity to include graphs, spreadsheets, and photographs, and to produce sophisticated page-layouts. world wide web (WWW): also known as the WWW, W3 or simply the web, a distributed information service on the internet of linked hypertext documents accessed using a web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape. On the web, any document can be linked to any other document. Worm: A worm is similar to a virus. Worms replicate themselves like viruses, but do not alter files. The main difference is that worms reside in memory and usually remain unnoticed until the rate of replication reduces system resources to the point that it becomes noticeable.