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Computers: Tools for an Information Age. An Overview. CIS 105: Mesa Community College. Topics. Computer Literacy Information Literacy Definition of a Computer The information processing cycle: Input, Processing, Output, and Storage Categories of computers. Computer Literacy.

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computers tools for an information age

Computers:Tools for an Information Age

An Overview

CIS 105: Mesa Community College

  • Computer Literacy
  • Information Literacy
  • Definition of a Computer
  • The information processing cycle: Input, Processing, Output, and Storage
  • Categories of computers
computer literacy
Computer Literacy
  • Computers are used everywhere in society – home, school, work.
  • To take full advantage of computers and to be an informed consumer, individuals should become computer literate.
  • Computer Literacy involves having knowledge and understanding of computers and their uses.
    • Includes being aware of the various components in a computer system and understanding how they work together (hardware).
    • Need to learn to use various applications (software).
    • Need to know some of the related jargon (RAM, Bytes, SATA, etc).
information technology
Information Technology

Information Technology or IT

IT is the set of techniques used in information handling and retrieval of information automatically.

IT includes computers, telecommunications (networks), and software.

Throughout the course we’ll be looking at the various components in detail.

information literacy
Information Literacy
  • Information Literacy is knowing how to find, analyze, evaluate, and use information.
  • A lot of information is published or readily available on the Internet, including public records. Users need to validate the information before using it.
  • Individuals and businesses collect and store a lot of information on their computers.
    • It needs to be accurate, organized and retrievable in order for it to be useful.
    • This means having a good initial design and maintaining the data.
definition of a computer
Definition of a Computer
  • A computer is an electronic device, operating under the control of instructions stored in its own memory that accepts data (input) and processes it to produce useful information (output) that can also be stored for future use.
  • A computer system includes all of the hardware (including peripheral devices) and software installed in a computer.
personal computer system
Personal Computer System

Peripheral Devicesare the External Devices

System Unit is the case that contains the internal devices.

computer system components
Computer System Components
  • Hardware refers to the electronic and mechanical components – usually tangible
  • Software refers to the applications or programs that contain instructions that tell the hardware what to do.
    • Two categories: Operating System and Applications
  • People
    • Computer Engineers design hardware
    • Computer programmers write software
    • Users purchase and use the hardware and software
information processing cycle

InputRaw Data

Process (Application)



Information Processing Cycle
  • A computer system’s hardware and software support the Information Processing Cycle – the process of converting raw data to information and/or storing.
raw data vs information
Raw Data may include a collection of unorganized facts





Raw Data vs. Information
  • Information is data that is organized, meaningful, and useful
    • Reports
    • Newsletters
    • Receipt or Invoice
    • Picture
    • Checks
why is a computer powerful
Why is a Computer Powerful?
  • Speed of light... Can calculate, sort, edit text, graphics, sound and video very fast.
  • Reliability – electronic components last a long time.
    • Power surges or overheating can damage them.
    • Most failures are in mechanical devices (hard drives).
    • Software conflicts cause hardware problems.
  • Accuracy – given the same input and processes, a computer will produce the same output each time.
    • Garbage in, Garbage out means that the accuracy of a computer’s output depends on the accuracy of the input.
  • Storage – access to hard drives and other media is relatively fast and efficient.
  • Computers can be networked to share peripheral devices and to facilitate communication.
where are computers used
Where are Computers Used?
  • Everywhere.
  • See textbookfor additional examples of how computers are used in various careers.
computer categories
Computer Categories
  • Personal Computers (PC)
    • Micros and Workstations
  • Notebook
    • Portable, laptop, Tablets
  • Mobile Devices
    • Portable Digital Assistant (PDA ), Handhelds, Smart Phones
  • Servers
    • Web, Print, Network Servers
  • Mainframe and Supercomputers (Cray)
    • Support many users
    • Cluster of computers
    • Host applications
commercial computing timeline
Commercial Computing Timeline

1946 – The Vacuum Tube

1958 – Transistors incorporated, but were invented in 1947.

1964 – The Integrated Circuit – a complete electronic circuit on a small chip of silicon.

1971 – Microprocessor – a separate general-purpose processor on a chip

Next slide – Apple and IBM…

commercial computing timeline1
Commercial Computing Timeline
  • 1976 – Apple II Computer(Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak)
  • 1981 – IBM PC’s
    • IBM shared “blue prints”so IBM-compatibles became available.
    • MS-DOS – Microsoft Disk Operating System (Bill Gates)
    • Bill Gates and Paul Allenfounded Microsoft in 1975
  • See Textbook for other significant and more recent events
  • Capron; Computers: Tools for An Information Age, 8th Ed. 2003
  • Pfaffenberger; Computers in Your Future 2003
  • Shelly: Discovering Computers 2008
  • Microsoft Clipart
  • Webopedia