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									Discovering Computers 2005                                                            Page 1 of 20

                      Discovering Computers 2005
                                  Instructor’s Manual
                                      CHAPTER ONE
                         INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTERS

After completing this chapter, students will be able to:
 1. Recognize the importance of computer                6.   Distinguish between installing and
      literacy                                               running a program
 2. Define the term computer and identify               7.   Identify the types of software
      its components                                    8.   Describe the categories of computers
 3. Explain why a computer is a powerful                9.   Determine how the elements of an
      tool                                                   information system interact
 4. Recognize the purpose of a network                10.    Identify the types of computer users
 5. Discuss the uses of the Internet and              11.    Discuss various computer applications
      World Wide Web                                         in society

A world of computers, 4
Discuss the widespread use of computer technology. Challenge students to think of a field in
which computers are not used. In addition to general-purpose computers, consider the use of
special-purpose computers in everything from automobiles to electric razors. Discuss Figure 1-1.
Define computer literacy. Dan Bricklin, creator of VisiCalc (the first successful spreadsheet
program), emphasizes that computer literacy implies a general knowledge of computers. “What
does it mean to be computer literate? It doesn’t mean knowing how to use a particular program,
it means knowing how to use a computer. Car literate doesn’t mean knowing how to drive the
particular car you learned on, it means being able to get into any car on any road and drive.” As a
result of the expanding use of computers, in 1986 Florida became the first state to demand
computer literacy of all students by grade 12. Other states have followed Florida’s lead.

Ask students how computers have influenced our daily lives, both positively and negatively.
(“To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.” — Anonymous, from a BBC
Radio broadcast.) Have students list ways in which computers are being used today. What is the
most common use? What is the most unusual use?
Page 2 of 20                                                Chapter 1: Introduction to Computers

“To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.” This anonymous quote, from
a 1982 BBC radio broadcast, reflects the way many people once felt about computers. In 1982,
few people owned a personal computer, and only a few more had much confidence in them.
Since that time, however, almost a billion personal computers have been purchased. Today, more
than 60 percent of Americans own a computer. As computers become easier to use and computer
prices continue to fall, this percentage is expected to rise. Even people who do not own their own
computers often can access them through work, schools, libraries, and community centers. Has
the increasingly widespread availability and use of computers changed people’s feelings about
them? If so, how? Are people today more optimistic about the impact of computers than people
were a generation ago? Why?
The place of computers in today’s schools can be an interesting discussion topic. Advocates
argue that computers add interest, reinforce skills, and even improve behavior. Critics claim that
computers promote superficial thinking, lead to shortened attention spans, and even damage
vision and posture. Consider having students debate the merits of computer use in schools.
Students can find many works, such as Bill Gates’s The Road Ahead, to support the inclusion of
computers. (Gates is one of this chapter’s Technology Trailblazers on page 41.) Books such as
Jane Healy’s Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Minds and What We
Can Do About It and Clifford Stoll’s High-Tech Heretic: Why Computers Don’t Belong in the
Classroom, present a less optimistic view of computer use in schools.

News about computers is reported daily. Consider setting up a bulletin board on which students
could post computer-related articles for class discussion. Some popular computer magazines
offer special rates for students and instructors. This textbook deals primarily with general-
purpose computers, but special-purpose computers can be a fascinating area of study. For
example, biophysicists recently have experimented with using computer technology to treat
visual impairments — implanting a computer chip in the eye or using a digital camera attached
to a small computer that stimulates electrodes in the visual cortex. Have students do an extra-
credit project on the use of special-purpose computers.

What is a computer?, 6
Define computer. Although computers are thought of as a relatively recent innovation, the term
“computer” has a long history. Prior to 1940, computer was a job title that referred to anyone
performing calculations.

Computers have a singularly ubiquitous (being or appearing everywhere at the same time)
presence. Watching television, driving a car, using a charge card, and even ordering fast food all
involve computers; not to mention typing a term paper on a PC. A car computer can be described
as special-purpose, because it only accepts specific input and performs limited functions. A PC,
on the other hand, is general-purpose, meaning it accepts a wide range of input and can perform
a variety of tasks. For one day, have students make a list of each computer they encounter (be
careful not to limit themselves just to the computers they see). How is the computer used? Is the
Discovering Computers 2005                                                           Page 3 of 20

computer special-purpose or general-purpose? Why? How was the task the computer performs
done before computers?

Data and information, 6
Differentiate between data and information. Discuss Figure 1-2. Emphasize that data is
processed into information. Mention FAQ 1-1: Is data a singular or plural word?

Challenge students to give examples of data and information. Encourage them to explain why
they classified each example as they did. Clifford Stoll — lecturer, computer security expert, and
author of Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Superhighway — notes a wide
gap between data and information. Information, Stoll writes, has a pedigree, or lineage. Its
source is known, whether it is by a respected professor or a seventh grader. “The Internet has
great gobs of data,” Stoll maintains, “and little, little information.” Students familiar with the
Internet might be interested in discussing Stoll’s observation. Is Stoll right?

How is data different from information? (Answer: Data is a collection of unprocessed items;
information conveys meaning and is useful to one or more people.)

Information processing cycle, 6
Recall that computers process input (data) into output (information). Define instructions.
Describe the information processing cycle. The first three operations (input, process, and output)
are performed to convert data into information, while the fourth operation (storage) refers to a
computer’s electronic reservoir capability. To reinforce the information processing cycle,
consider how each phase is performed in the “human computer” (i.e., the human brain) while
completing a common task, such as learning a telephone number. Note that communications has
become part of the information processing cycle.

The components of a computer, 7
Define hardware. In essence, hardware is “hard,” or tangible. Software is intangible. A CD-
ROM is hardware; the program on the CD-ROM, however, is software. Use Figure 1-3 to
identify common hardware components (parts) of a computer. If possible, visit the school
computer lab or use a computer set up in the classroom to further familiarize students with the
components of a computer system.

Ask students to examine the components of a computer shown in Figure 1-3 and encourage them
to consider why each part is important.

Many areas develop a vocabulary unique to their discipline, and computer science is no
exception. Wired magazine’s book, Jargon Watch, is a dictionary of patter used by computer-
Page 4 of 20                                                 Chapter 1: Introduction to Computers

philes. The book defines such terms as alpha geek (the most technologically advanced person in
an office), meatspace (the real, as opposed to the virtual, world), and scud memo (a memo that
does more harm to the writer’s standing than to the intended target). Have students visit a local
office, or the school’s computer lab, and compile their own list of computer-related jargon.
Include both the terms and their meanings. What terms are most universally understood? What
terms rarely are heard? Will any terms be accepted as status quo in the future? Why or why not?

Input devices, 7
Define input device. Different types of input devices are designed to transmit different types of
data or to transmit data in different ways. Using Figure 1-3, characterize six commonly used
input devices: the keyboard, mouse, microphone, scanner, digital camera, and PC video camera.
Note Web Link 1-1: Input Devices, on page 8. Input devices are dealt withdiscussed in detail in
Chapter 5.

Ask how many students have used each type of input device. What type of data was the device
used to input? Encourage students to suggest other input devices (such as joysticks, touch
screens, and so on).

Output devices, 8
Define output device. Use Figure 1-3 to point out three frequently used output devices: the
printer, monitor, and speakers. Because it is more lasting than output from a monitor or speaker,
the printer’s output often is called hard copy. Note Web Link 1-2: Output Devices. Output
devices are explained in detail in Chapter 6.

Have students name other output devices with which they are familiar (such as data projectors,
computer output microfilm, and so on).

System unit, 8
Define system unit. Point out that the system unit’s circuitry usually is part of or connected to
the motherboard. Characterize the processor and memory. The system unit is explored in
Chapter 4. Mention FAQ 1-2: What is a CPU?

Storage devices, 8
Note how storage and memory are different. This difference between the temporary nature of
memory and the permanent character of storage will become painfully clear the first time
students experience a power failure while working on a computer. Describe storage media.
Define storage device. Using Figure 1-3, identify common storage devices: floppy disk drive,
hard disk drive, CD/DVD drive, card reader/writer, and flash drive. Use Figure 1-4 to describe a
floppy disk drive. If possible, show students a floppy disk. Note the higher capacity of a Zip
disk. Use Figure 1-5 to describe a USB flash drive. Use Figure 1-6 to characterize hard disks.
Discovering Computers 2005                                                           Page 5 of 20

Use Figure 1-7 to characterize a DVD-ROM. Note how miniature storage devices are used..
Storage devices are further explained in Chapter 7.

Ask students what storage devices they have used and for what purpose (e.g., files on floppy
disks, music on CD-ROMs, or movies on DVD-ROM). Have students suggest other examples of
storage devices (magnetic tape, PC Cards, and so on).

Communications devices, 9
Define communications devices. Describe a modem. The capability to communicate might be
one of the most significant factors influencing how computers are used now and in the future.
Point out Web Link 1-3: Communications Devices. Communications and networks are discussed
in Chapter 9.

Discuss Issue 1-1: Does Technology Discriminate?.

Why is a computer so powerful?, 10
List the capabilities from which a computer’s power derives. Define user.

After describing each capability, encourage students to debate which, if any, is the most
important source of a computer’s strength. This reflection should result in a greater
understanding, and appreciation, of a computer’s capabilities.

Speed, 10
Describe the speed at which processing is accomplished. Light travels at about 286,000 miles per
second. In one billionth of a second, an electronic signal travels almost 12 inches (Grace
Hopper’s nanosecond wire). A supercomputer can perform more than 12.3 trillion instructions
per second. If a person did one arithmetic operation a second without stopping, it would take
more than 211,800 years to perform the number of operations a supercomputer can do in one
second. Researchers predict that one day computer speed will be measured in exaflops, or one
quintillion (1 x 1018) calculations per second.

Reliability and consistency, 10
Discuss the reliability of computers. The reliability of computer components often is measured in
MTBF (mean time between failure, in hours). A typical component might be rated 10,000
Page 6 of 20                                                 Chapter 1: Introduction to Computers

Accuracy, 10
Consider the accuracy of computers. Explain garbage in, garbage out (GIGO). Although the
term “computer error” is widespread, most computer errors can be traced to human mistakes.

Ask students to describe instances of computer error with which they are personally familiar.
How might human blunders have resulted in the “computer error”? Why are people apt to blame

Storage, 10
Discuss storage. Supercomputers have more than 600 gigabytes of memory (meaning that they
can store more than 600 billion letters, numbers, and special characters), and have two terabytes
(two trillion bytes) of disk space. Equally important, is the speed at which data can be retrieved,
processed, and stored again.

Communications, 10
Explain the importance of communications. Note that connected computers can share each
operation in the information processing cycle. Encourage students to read High-Tech Talk:
Analog versus Digital: Making the Conversion on page 39.

To help students recognize the value of communication, ask them to imagine trying to solve a
problem individually, and then trying to solve the same problem with the assistance of several

As a quick review, have students visit the Discovering Computer 2005 Quiz Yourself Web page
( and click Objectives 1 – 3 below Chapter 1.

Networks and the Internet, 10
Define network. Point out any networks with which students might be familiar, such as the
school computer lab. Mention that some networks are wireless. List resources that can be shared
on a network. For example, the school computer lab might share a single printer. Define online.
Use Figure 1-8 to explain the relationship between servers and clients. Note the difference
between server and client computers. Point out that many homes and most businesses and
schools network their computers. Networks are explained further in Chapter 9.

Server computers often are used in academic environments. Ask students what features of server
computers would make them particularly attractive to schools. Why are most business computers
are part of a network?
Discovering Computers 2005                                                            Page 7 of 20

What are the major differences between server and client computers? (Answer: Servers
ordinarily have more poser, more storage space, and are more reliable.)

The Internet, 11
Characterize the Internet. Discuss Figure 1-9. Although the growth rate of the Internet and
online services has slowed from a peak of more than 140 percent in 1994-95, the growth rate still
is around 20 percent annually. Point out Apply It 1-1: Wireless Internet Access Anywhere. List
the ways in which people are using the Internet. Discuss Figures 1-10a through 1-10f. More than
14 million U.S. homes are connected to an online service provider. Point out Web Link 1-4: The
Internet on page 13. Describe the Web (World Wide Web). Surveys show the number of Web
site visitors continues to expand rapidly, practically doubling every year. Characterize and define
a Web page. Mention ways in which people communicate on the Web. Introduce e-mail, instant
messaging, and chat rooms. Explain how Web pages are created. Define publish. With today’s
Web page authoring software, children as young as 10 years old (and sometimes younger) can
create and publish their own Web pages. List reasons that different types of users create Web
pages. Tell how Web pages are accessed and used. Web pages are a visual medium. Explain how
photographs and other images are incorporated into Web pages. Define photo community.
Discuss Figure 1-11. Encourage students to read Making Use of the Web in Appendix A.
Chapter 2 deals extensively with the Internet and the World Wide Web.

Ask students if any have created a Web page. If so, what type of information did they provide?

Discuss Issue 1-2: Is Everything You Read True? on page 13. According to a Newsweek
magazine-sponsored poll of Internet users, 59 percent trust sites run by small businesses, 46
percent trust sites run by charities and nonprofit organizations, 45 percent trust sites run by
financial companies, 40 percent trust sites run by the federal government, 34 percent trust sites
run by health-care organizations, 29 percent trust sites offering buying advice, 29 percent trust
sites run by large corporations, and 26 percent trust sites selling products or services. Emphasize
that each category of user not only uses the Internet to access information, but also to provide

Computer software, 14
Define software, or program. Students should understand the difference between computer
hardware and computer software. A 3½-inch floppy disk is hardware; however, the programs
stored on it are software. Mention different types of software instructions. Point out Web Link 1-
5: Computer Programs. Use Figure 1-12 to tell how programs are purchased. If possible, show an
example of a software package. Define installing. Explain how to install a program. Define run,
loads, and executes. Use Figure 1-13 to describe installing and running a program. Programs,
like data, are input into the computer. Explain the purpose of a user interface. Use Figure 1-14 to
describe graphical user interface (GUI) and icon. If possible, compare a text (or command
driven) interface, such as DOS or some versions of UNIX, to a GUI. Have students consider
Page 8 of 20                                                Chapter 1: Introduction to Computers

which interface is easier to use and explain why. Studies comparing GUI users to text interface
users have found that GUI users generally complete tasks more accurately, work faster, are more
productive, and feel less fatigue. The Macintosh operating system — the first popular GUI —
actually was developed from an earlier, unsuccessful GUI-based operating system created by
Xerox. Steve Jobs, an originator of the Macintosh interface, said, “Creating the interface for the
Mac was like being in a jungle with a compass that worked one day a month, not knowing if you
were headed for a river or a mountain or a snake pit, and thinking there might be a pot of gold at
the end, but not sure if it wasn’t a pot of fool’s gold.” The first version of Windows (1985)
imitated the GUI used by Apple’s Macintosh computer (Apple sued Microsoft, unsuccessfully,
for copyright infringement). Although most people find a GUI easier to use, a few still believe
that once it is learned a text interface is faster. Explain why computer software is important.
Emphasize that software is the key to productive computer use. The phrase, “Software drives
hardware,” implies the fundamental connection between software and hardware. Identify the two
types of computer software. Point out FAQ 1-34: Which spelling is correct, disk or disc?

Ask how many students have purchased software packages. What type of software did they buy?
What information was on the software package? Software packages usually stipulate hardware
requirements, such as processor speed and memory capacity.
Ask students who have worked with a GUI to describe the experience. Was the GUI easy or
difficult to use? Why?

Developing icons for a graphical user interface is not an easy task. Although a good icon need
not be a work of art, it must be a memorable symbol of the task it represents. According to Susan
Kare, creator of the icons used with many popular GUIs, “The best icons are more like traffic
signs than graphic illustrations.” Have students choose three commonplace activities and, using
three sheets of graph paper, create an icon to represent each. Color the appropriate squares on the
graph paper to create the image for each icon. On the back of the graph paper, have students
explain why the icon is suitable for the activity chosen.

System software, 15
Define system software. Because they interact with it directly, users might be more consciously
aware of application software than system software. Nevertheless, students should remember that
system software determines how users interact with application software. Note the two types of
system software. Operating systems and utility programs are explored in Chapter 8.

Operating system, 15
Define operating system. Popular operating systems have included DOS (Disk Operating
System), Windows 3.x (technically, not an operating system but an operating environment that
made DOS easier to use), Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Mac OS,
OS/2 Warp, UNIX, Linux (rhymes with cynics), NetWare, and Solaris. Discuss Figure 1-13.
DOS, developed for IBM personal computers, was the operating system that initiated
Microsoft’s climb to the top of the software world. More than 100 million people have used
Discovering Computers 2005                                                            Page 9 of 20

versions of DOS worldwide. DOS was a command-driven interface, meaning that users typed
commands to interact with the computer. Although once firmly entrenched, today DOS has been
almost entirely supplanted by Windows, Linux, the Mac OS, UNIX, and other operating

Utility programs, 16
Describe utility program. Utility programs are used for functions such as viewing files,
compressing files, diagnosing problems, uninstalling software, scanning disks, defragmenting
disks, backing up files and disks, checking for viruses, and displaying screen savers.

Ask students if they know any tasks performed by utility programs.

Application software, 16
Define application software. Have students describe software packages with which they are
familiar. List the more widely used application software packages. Point out Web Link 1-6:
Application Software. If possible, bring in several examples of application software packages.
Most software packages are designed to be used with specific operating systems. Identify the
operating system required for each application software package. List the types of application
software available. Application software is described in Chapter 3. Discuss Figure 1-154.

Ask students to guess the cost of various application software packages. Write student estimates
on the board and compare them to the prices shown in current advertisements.

Discuss Issue 1-3: Does Software Promote Violence? on page 17. In the wake of tragic high
school shootings, the connection between computer game violence and real-life violence has
become a hotly debated topic.

Software development, 17
Describe a programmer. Because of their complexity, most software programs are written by
teams of programmers working together. Point out that computer programs are written in a
programming language, which consists of specific sets of words, symbols, codes, and syntax
used to communicate with a computer. Just as people understand a variety of spoken languages
(English, French, Chinese, and so on), computers recognize a number of programming
languages. Use Figure 1-16a and 1-16b to illustrate an Internet application and the instructions a
programmer writes.

As a quick review, have students visit the Discovering Computer 2005 Quiz Yourself Web page
( and click Objectives 4 – 7 below Chapter 1.
Page 10 of 20                                              Chapter 1: Introduction to Computers

Categories of computers, 18
Use Figure 1-17 to describe the six five major categories of computers. Tell how the categories
are determined. Other factors, such as size of main memory and number of peripheral devices,
also should be considered. Point out how rapid changes in technology make it difficult to define
categories precisely. As a rule of thumb, today’s personal computers have about as much
memory and processing power as the mainframes of a decade ago. The table in Figure 1-17
shows categories of general-purpose computers — special-purpose computers (like those in
VCRs, microwaves, automobiles, and so on) are not represented. Mention Looking Ahead 1-1:
Wearable Computers Serve Practical Purposes.

Personal computers, 18
Define personal computer and PC-compatible. Use Figures 1-18 and 1-19 to characterize the
two most popular series of personal computers — the PC and the Apple Macintosh. The
Macintosh operating system was the first commercially successful operating system to use a
GUI. Microsoft borrowed the idea of a GUI for its popular Windows operating system. Mention
the two major types of personal computers.
During the mid-1990s, the personal computer industry growth rate was 15 to 20 percent. Today,
more than 60 percent of households own a personal computer. Recently, however, the growth
rate has slumped. Analysts suggest two reasons for the downturn. First, most people interested in
owning a computer might now have one. Second, today’s more inexpensive personal computers
have enough power to do most of the things consumers want. As a result, industry profits have

Ask students what makes personal computers “personal.”
Have students describe personal computers with which they are familiar. How was the computer
used? What factors influence the choice of a personal computer? In addition to such obvious
considerations as processing speed and amount of memory, less apparent factors, such as
available software or even the computer’s “footprint” (the amount of space it occupies on the
work surface) also might be important.

One of the fastest growing segments of the computer market is “budget PCs.” Recently
introduced, these inexpensive personal computers — most sell for less than $1,000 — already
represent about 10 percent of PC sales. Although they pack less power and have less software
than their more expensive kin, budget PCs satisfy many people’s computing needs. Most
customers are first-time PC buyers, but almost one-third of purchasers invest in a budget PC as a
second home computer. Have students visit a computer vendor and compare a budget PC to a
high-end PC. Contrast the hardware (processor speed, hard drive, CD-ROM speed, modem, and
so on) and software included with each machine. Think about such intangibles as ease of use and
length of warranty. Based on the students’ comparison, would they consider buying a budget
PC? Why or why not?
Discovering Computers 2005                                                          Page 11 of 20

Desktop computers, 19
Define desktop computer. Compare a desktop computer with a system unit that sits on the desk
to the more popular, tower model. When the system unit sits on a desk, the computer monitor
often is placed on top of the system unit case. This sometimes can be an ergonomic problem,
forcing users to look up to see the screen and resulting in neck strain. Note the heights in which
tower computers are available. Point out Web Link 1-7: Personal Computers. Describe a
workstation. Discuss FAQ 1-4: Does the term workstation have two meanings?

Mobile computers and mobile devices, 20
Define mobile computer and mobile device. If possible, bring in one or more mobile computers
or devices to show the class. Point out that the notebook computer is the most popular type of
mobile computer.

Notebook computers, 20
Define notebook computer, or laptop computer. In today’s mobile society, notebook
computers have become indispensable tools. Describe a notebook computer. Discuss Figure 1-
20. If possible, show an example of a notebook computer. Since 1993, sales of laptop, notebook,
and smaller computers have rivaled sales of larger systems, partly because of their enhanced
capabilities and increased use by field sales forces. Point out Web Link 1-8: Notebook

Have students list places they have seen notebook computers being used.

Because they are portable, notebook computers often are more convenient and can be used more
often. Desktop computers, however, tend to be less expensive and more reliable —– one industry
analysts estimates that notebook computer users call for support 10 to 20 times more frequently
than desktop computer users. In addition, if a desktop computer component, such as the
keyboard, fails, it is simple to get a replacement. When a notebook computer component fails,
the whole computer must be serviced. Notebook computer repairs typically are more expensive
than desktop computer repairs. Have students discuss the merits of notebook computers versus
desktop computers.

Tablet PC, 20
Define Tablet PC. Discuss Figure 1-21. No less an authority than Bill Gates (co-founder of
Microsoft) claims that the Tablet PC is one of today’s most innovative computing products. Tell
how users input data into a Tablet PC. Describe a digital pen. Note purposes for which a Tablet
PC is used.
Page 12 of 20                                              Chapter 1: Introduction to Computers

Mobile devices, 21
Define Web-enabled. Explain how mobile devices store programs and data. List three popular
types of mobile devices: handheld computers, PDAs, and smart phones.

Handheld computer, 21
Describe a handheld computer. Tell how data is input into a handheld computer. Point out that
some handheld computers are industry-specific. Discuss Figure 1-22.

Ask if students have ever used a handheld computer in signing for a package or delivery. When
was the handheld computer used?

PDA, 21
Describe a PDA (personal digital assistant). Discuss Figure 1-23. If possible, show a PDA to the
class. Note the application software available on a PDA. Point out that many PDAs are Web-
enabled. Mention Apply It 1-2: Prescription for Save Saving Doctors’ Time on page 22. Explain
how a stylus is used.

Smart phones, 22
Describe a smart phone. Discuss Figure 1-24. To date, Web-enabled cellular telephones have
sold more slowly than was projected. Industry analysts suggest that most smart phones take too
long to connect to the Web, have a too-small display space, use a too-clumsy keypad, and are too
expensive. The technology is developing, however, and sales are expected to improve.

Encourage students who have worked with handheld computers, PDAs, or smart phones to tell
how the computers were used.

Midrange servers, 22
Describe a midrange server, once known as minicomputers. Show Figure 1-25. Characterize
terminals. A terminal with no independent processing power sometimes is called a dumb
terminal, while a terminal that has some processing power is called a smart terminal.

The growing movement toward decentralization in business, coupled with the increasing power
of mid-range servers, has led to a recent trend away from mainframe computers and toward
midrange servers. Ask students what advantages midrange servers might have over larger
computers, such as mainframes, for a business.
Discovering Computers 2005                                                         Page 13 of 20

Mainframes, 23
Define mainframe. Show Figure 1-26. Organizations that deal with huge, constantly changing
collections of data accessed simultaneously by many users, such as banks, insurance companies,
universities, and government agencies, use mainframe computers. Despite this, mainframe sales
are declining approximately 10 percent per year.

If the school has a midrange server or mainframe in a central computing center, arrange for a
guided tour.

Supercomputers, 23
Describe a supercomputer. Show Figure 1-27. One of the most important features of
supercomputers is their capability to create complex, three-dimensional images almost
instantaneously. Television networks often use supercomputers to generate complicated images
and then give viewers the sense of “going through” the image. Due to their size and expense,
only large businesses and government agencies use supercomputers. IBM’s Option Blue
supercomputer was used by the Department of Energy to simulate nuclear explosions, so the
effects of aging and adverse conditions on nuclear weapons could be explored without
underground detonations.

Elements of an information system, 24
List the elements essential for obtaining useful and timely information from a computer. Define
information system. Discuss Figure 1-28. Note that it is essential for each element of an
information system to provide accurate, timely, and useful information. Mention the importance
of properly trained IT personnel and documented procedures. Point out Web Link 1-9: Women
in Technology and Web Link 1-10: Minorities in Technology.

What are the elements of an information system? (Answer: Hardware, software, data, people,
and procedures.)

Examples of computer usage, 25
Use Figure 1-29 to delineate the five categories of computer users, the hardware each employs,
and the types of software each uses.

Home user, 26
Define home user. Tell how computers are used in the home. Use Figures 1-30a through 1-30d
to point out some of the ways people use computers at home. Explain how home users use the
Internet, desktop computers, home networks, PDAs, and special-purpose handheld computers.
Discuss Figure 1-31. Define Internet receiver. Discuss Figure 1-32. Mention types of software
Page 14 of 20                                                 Chapter 1: Introduction to Computers

employed by home users. Point out FAQ 1-56: Can I listen to an audio CD on my computer? on
page 27.

Poll students with computers about the types of applications they use — word processing,
personal finance, reference, entertainment, educational, communications, Web browser, and so
on. The results could be graphed, perhaps with a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Office
Excel 2003.

Small office/home office user, 28
Describe a small office/home office (SOHO). List examples of small office/home offices.
Discuss Figure 1-33 (Figures 1-33a and 1-33b). Explain how SOHO users access the Web.
Describe e-commerce. Discuss Figure 1-34. Note ways in which e-commerce has changed
business. Although e-commerce represents a relatively small amount of total U.S. consumer
spending (less than one percent), the phenomenal growth of e-commerce continues to impress
the business community. The total for e-commerce worldwide is estimated to soon be more than
$7 trillion. Mention goods and services that can be purchased on the Web. Point out how SOHO
users can employ a Web cam. Tell how small offices can use a network. Mention the types of
software used in a small office/home office.

Mobile user, 29
Define mobile users. List examples of mobile users. Discuss Figure 1-35. Note the types of
computers and software utilized by mobile users. Discuss Figure 1-36.

Ask students what kind of personal computer would be most suitable for mobile users.

Discuss Issue 1-4: Are You Ready for Automatic Checkout? on page 30.

Large business user, 30
Describe a large business user. Discuss Figure 1-37. Tell how networks are used in a large
business. Networks have changed the face of business. In the 1970s, executives usually worked
with monthly reports; in the 1980s, they used weekly reports; today, daily or even hourly reports
are available. Define enterprise computing. Enterprise computing is described in Chapter 14.
Point out that most large businesses have an Internet Web site. Discuss Figure 1-38. List the
tasks for which computers are used in a large business and the types of software that are used.
Describe an information technology (IT) department. List the types of software applications used
by large business users. Characterize customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM
software has received somewhat mixed reviews. Some companies feel that CRM promises more
than it delivers, but others insist that it is an invaluable tool. Describe a kiosk. Discuss Figure 1-
39. Define telecommuting. Discuss Figure 1-40. Telecommuters are one of the fastest growing
segments of today’s job market. List reasons why people telecommute. Several studies and
Discovering Computers 2005                                                           Page 15 of 20

anecdotal reports show that telecommuters often are more productive than in-house staff.
Investigations conducted by various telephone companies found productivity gains from 30 to 65
percent. Disadvantages attributed to telecommuting include lack of face-to-face contact with
other workers, inability to obtain technical help rapidly, and absence of management
supervision. Point out benefits of telecommuting. Point out Web Link 1-11: Enterprise

Ask if any students have had corporate computer experience. If so, have them share their
experiences with the class, explaining how computers were used in the department where they
worked and in any other department with which they were familiar.
If possible, encourage students to find Web sites for other large businesses (often, the URL for a
large business is the company
Ask students how computers have affected the efficiency of large businesses. What impact have
computers had on the “interpersonal” side of business (i.e., employee and customer
relationships)? How have computers changed people’s jobs? Have computers cost any people
their jobs? Has any job loss been balanced by the introduction of new, computer-related

Power user, 32
Define power user. List examples of power users. Discuss Figure 1-41. An engineering
department might use computer-aided design (CAD) software. Organizations have found it is
less expensive to use a computer to simulate a design problem than it is to go to the workshop
and build a prototype. If the school has a CAD department, arrange for a guided tour. Define
multimedia. Describe software employed by power users.

Computer applications in society, 33
Note how society has benefited from computers. Point out the disciplines in which computers are
used. Computers have touched fields that some might consider surprising. When the Denver
Broncos football team won its first Super Bowl, one of the recipients of a championship ring was
not a player or coach, but the head of the team’s information systems department that used
computers to make player selections and develop game plans. Throughout this section,
encourage students to suggest ways in which they have seen computers used. Mention Looking
Ahead 1-2: Robots Perform Real-World Tasks. Computers in Our World by Lisa Strite Jedlicka
(available from Course Technology) offers an in-depth look at how computers are used in
business, government, medicine and science, arts and entertainment, the transportation industry,
and education.

Have students compare the ways in which the industrial revolution changed society to the ways
in which computers have changed society.
Page 16 of 20                                               Chapter 1: Introduction to Computers

Education, 33
Define education. Using Figure 1-42, tell how computers are being used in schools. Describe
distance learning classes. Note the sources of distance learning courses. Web-based courses
allow students to pursue subjects and access instructors that otherwise might not be available.
Distance learning students should be careful, however, when choosing a school at which to
matriculate. Experts claim the number of fake “schools” engaged in distance learning tripled in
the past decade. These schools, usually with official-sounding names, profit from offering
courses with little legitimacy or degrees with no validity at prices ranging from $3 to $5,000.
Before enrolling in a distance education course, students should make sure the school’s
accrediting agency is recognized by either the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) or the
accrediting Commission for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Describe the digital
divide. One columnist claims that if the digital divide is not narrowed soon, “the United States
might be headed for a return to the class warfare of a century ago, the last time the economy
changed so fundamentally. It won’t be pleasant.” Another columnist insists, however, that the
digital divide is less evident, and less important, than most people make it out to be. In one way
the digital divide is contracting — as computer prices fall and a greater number of public venues
(such as schools and libraries) obtain computers, more people have access to computers than
ever before. That alone might not, however, be enough to close the digital divide. Michael
Resnick of MIT predicts, “the access gap will close, but the gap in being able to use the
technology in meaningful ways might get even larger.” Note efforts to narrow the digital divide.
Describe the Anytime Anywhere Learning program. Recent reports suggest that the digital divide
exists on several levels:
 According to a Commerce Department report, individuals in the highest income level had
    almost 30 percent greater access to the Internet than people in the lowest income level, and
    the gap might be growing.
 According to the same report, African-Americans earning less than $40,000 are less than half
    as likely to own a computer as whites in the same income group.
 According to an American Association of University Women report, women are under-
    represented in computer classes and technology jobs. The report contends that this is not a
    result of discrimination or inability, but lack of interest.
A small but vocal group of psychologists, educators, and other authorities question the value of
computers in schools, especially for younger children. They contend that instead of providing the
active experiences children need to develop critical thinking, language, and social skills,
computers offer only a passive, brightly-colored substitute that, according to psychologist Jane
Healy, “does more harm than good.” Three books that question the use of computers in schools
 Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Minds and What We Can Do
    About It by Jane Healy
 High-Tech Heretic: Why Computers Don’t Belong in the Classroom by Clifford Stoll
 The Cult of Information: A Neo-Luddite Treatise on High Tech Artificial Intelligence and the
    True Art of Thinking by Theodore Roszak
Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple Computer, believes that computers not only will change how we
learn, but also what we learn. “For the better part of the past century,” Jobs writes, “the medium
was the printed page.” People were educated to read printed materials, such as novels and
newspapers, and to author printed materials, such as letters and reports. Jobs feels that, “the
Discovering Computers 2005                                                            Page 17 of 20

medium of our time is video and photography, but most of us are still consumers as opposed to
being authors.” This will change. “The drive over the next 20 years is to integrate multimedia
tools to the point where people become authors in the medium of their day.” Already, Jobs has
seen students creating movies and presentations to illustrate mathematical principles and social
concepts. “When students are creating themselves, learning is taking place. And teachers will be
at the epicenter of this. Anyone who believes differently has never had a good teacher.”

As an extra-credit, voluntary assignment, consider having students debate the merit of computers
in schools.

A number of important people in the computer industry, including such figures as Gordon
Moore, co-founder of Intel, and Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, have expressed concern
about who is using computers. They fear that, for cultural, financial, or societal reasons, certain
groups of people are more likely to use computers than others. As computers play an
increasingly important role in the race for success, this gives some people a head start, while
others might be beginning with a handicap. Are computers purchased by individuals from a
broad spectrum, or is there a certain type that represents most computer buyers? Have students
visit a computer vendor and interview the manager or a salesperson about the demographics of
computer buyers at that store. What gender are most buyers? In what age range do they fall?
What seems to be the typical educational level? What is the approximate average income of a
typical buyer? Do buyers tend to share any other characteristics? If their interviews show any
trends, what reasons might be behind the results?

Finance, 34
Explain how people use computers to manage their finances. Describe online banking. Discuss
Figure 1-43. Describe online investing.

Ask students who have participated in online banking or online stock trading to describe their

Government, 34
Note the many areas of government. Using Figure 1-44, explain how most government offices
use Web sites to provide information. Point out how government agencies use computers.
Explain how people use the Web to interact with government.

Health care, 35
Using Figure 1-45, point out the widespread use of computers in the medical industry. List
purposes for which computers are used. Describe telemedicine. Note medical information that
can be found on the Web. A survey found that in the year 2000, 93 percent of women and 86
Page 18 of 20                                                Chapter 1: Introduction to Computers

percent of men used the Web to find information about a physical illness (14 percent of women
and 20 percent of men admitted to using the Web to find information on a sensitive health topic).

Science, 36
Point out how scientists use computers. Explain how cochlear implants, electrodes in the brain,
and camera pills are used. Discuss Figure 1-46. Note successes in the medical field that resulted
from breakthroughs made by scientists. Biophysicist William Dobelle recently developed a
system to help people who are legally blind, regardless of the cause of blindness. Dobelle
mounts a mini-camera on a pair of sunglasses. The images captured by the camera are sent to a
10 pound computer on the person’s belt, where they are processed. The computer then sends
signals through a cable to electrodes implanted in the visual cortex. The electrodes stimulate the
brain, producing a pattern that forms an image. The result is not perfect sight — in fact, it
equates to about 20/400 vision — but is good enough to allow a formerly blind person to move
about without assistance. Describe a neural network.

Publishing, 36
Describe publishing. Explain how publishers use computers and associated equipment. Use
Figure 1-47 to explain publishers who make the content of their work available online. Mention
that there are handheld devices specifically designed for reading electronic books. Steven
Stephen King, noted horror-story writer, once experimented with making a book available online
as it was being written.

Travel, 37
Using Figure 1-48, describe an onboard navigation system. List features offered by onboard
navigation systems. Note other computer-related options available on automobiles and airplanes.
Several Web sites are available to assist in the purchase of a car. Potential buyers can specify the
car in which they are interested, and then submit the request to dealers in the buyer’s area. If a
dealer has the desired car, the buyer is notified. Other Web sites provide new car reviews, dealer
invoice costs, and Kelly Blue Book values for used cars. Tell how the Web can be used to
prepare for a trip. In addition to directions and a map, these sites also estimate approximate time
for the trip. The Web also can be used to reserve a car, hotel, or flight. Travel-related sites are
among the most popular destinations on the Web. In just one month,, a Web
supplier of travel needs, more than 9 million visitors., a Web provider of low-price
travel needs, cracked $1 billion in revenues in 2000 and turned its first profit in 2001.

Industry, 38
Explain how industries use computers. Describe computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). Point
out that robots often carry out processes in a CAM environment. Discuss Figure 1-49. Mention
how special computers are used on the shop floor.

Discovering Computers 2005                                                           Page 19 of 20

As an extra-credit assignment, challenge students to a contest in which they imagine the most
valuable new use of computer technology and present their concepts to the class. When each
student has presented his or her idea, the class can vote on a winner. This topic gets the students
to ponder what the world might be like for their children. This project will be enjoyed by science
fiction lovers.

As a quick review, have students visit the Discovering Computer 2005 Quiz Yourself Web page
( and click Objectives 8 – 11 below Chapter 1.

Chapter summary, 38
Briefly summarize the material presented in this chapter. Point out Career Corner: Personal
Computer Salesperson.

High-Tech Talk, 39
Have students read Analog versus Digital: Making the Conversion. Use Figures 1-50a and 1-
50b to contrast analog and digital signals. Describe an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and a
digital signal processor (DSP). Discuss the purpose of a digital-to-analog converter. Mention
modulation and demodulation. Explain how students can use the Discovering Computers 2005
High-Tech Talk Web page ( to learn more about analog versus digital.

Companies on the Cutting Edge, 40
Have students read Dell and palm One. Students can visit the Discovering Computers 2005
Companies Web page ( to learn more about Dell and pPalmOne.

Technology Trailblazers, 41
Have students read Bill Gates and Carly Fiorina. Students can visit the Discovering Computers
2005 People Web page ( to learn more about Bill Gates and Carly

Chapter Review, 42
This section provides a general survey of the material in the chapter. Students can use these
pages to reinforce their achievement of the chapter objectives. Students can use the Web address to display this page from the Web.

Key Terms, 44
Students can use these terms to prepare for tests and quizzes. Students should know each
Primary Term (shown in bold-black characters in the chapter) and be familiar with each
Secondary Term (shown in italic characters in the chapter). Primary Terms include terms
commonly used in the computer industry and in advertisements, or terms that identify a major
category. Secondary Terms include terms primarily used by IT professionals and other technical
people, terms that identify subcategories, or terms that are discussed in more depth in a later
chapter. Students can use the Web address to display this page
from the Web.
In the Test Bank that accompanies this Instructor’s Manual, the answers to questions pertaining
to Primary Terms are labeled (P), and the answers to questions pertaining to Secondary Terms
Page 20 of 20                                               Chapter 1: Introduction to Computers

are labeled (S). If you are using the ExamView test generator, you can use the Primary or
Secondary difficulty designations to choose questions that involve only Primary Terms, only
Secondary Terms, or both Primary and Secondary Terms.

Checkpoint, 45
These exercises review key terms and concepts presented in the chapter. Have students complete
the Label the Figure, True/False, Multiple Choice, Matching, Short Answer, and Working
Together exercises. Students can use the Web address to display
this page from the Web.

Learn It Online, 48
These exercises ask students to visit Web pages that offer additional information, resources, and
activities related to topics presented in the chapter. Students can use the Web address to display this page from the Web.

Lab Exercises, 50
These exercises help students learn more about using a computer and working with Windows
XP. Students can use the Web address to display this page from the
Web. Have students complete selected exercises.

Web Research, 51
In these exercises, students use various Web resources to find out more features related to this
chapter. Encourage students to use their browsers and the link in each exercise or a search engine
to complete selected exercises.

Timeline 2005, 52
This feature presents a Timeline of the history of computers. Students can use the Web address to display this feature from the Web. Each picture in the feature
is a link to a Web site or movie.

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