Chapter 4: Hardware and Software
Why do you Need to Know About Information Technology?
Understanding & applying IT to everyday life is a fundamental building block for success
Where Did All This Information Technology Stuff Come From?
Early Computers: 1939-1952
The first computers were financed by the US military
The term “bug” came to be when a moth was found in a computer and it was “debugged”
o Term is now used to describe the process of fixing computer program problems
Mainframes were the first digital computers that took up a whole room
o First gen used vacuum tubes which were slow, expensive, bulky
o Second gen used transistors which were smaller, easier to maintain, reliable
o Third gen included operating systems and multiprocessing capabilities, $$$
Many large companies have mainframes designed for fast processing/massive storage
People wanted smaller/compact computers developed microprocessors
Early microcomputers didn’t have screens/monitors and didn’t come with any software
Networking Personal Computers: 1985-Present
As microcomputers evolved and become more powerful, they also became easier to use
but were primarily designed to be used one at a time
o If you wanted to transfer data you would have to save to a “floppy” and download
it on the other device took too long
o This problem was solved by Local Area Network (LAN) technology
LAN allowed many PC’s to connect together providing shared access to data, printers…
This was followed by the Wide Area Network (WAN) giving access to the worldwide
network of computers, email, web browser, etc.
Mobile and Tablet Computing
Decreases in cost lead to innovation and the above technologies became commonplace
and were adopted by large groups of people in NA and EUR
1. Price and Performance Advances – IT is continuously evolving (Moore’s Law says in 18
months the price of IC will be halved, data storage and network capability will also ↑)
2. Small is powerful – trying to make more powerful machines that are smaller and smaller
3. The Network is the Thing – The value of IT can be measured by the processing power
and also power of the network that can be accessed through the machine What Does a Manager Need to Know About Computer Hardware?
Hardware consists of the physical electronic components and related gadgetry that input,
process, output and store data according to instructions encoded in the computer
programs and software
Input, Processing, Output, and Storage Hardware
These are hardware devices that are attached to the computer
o Ex. Keyboard, mouse, barcode scanner, etc.
Because they vary so much, they are often evaluated on the basis of physical dimensions
or according to how they will be used
These are computing technologies that allow for the modification, storage, or deletion of
data includes the central processing unit(CPU) aka, the “brain” of the computer
The CPU selects instructions, processes them, performs arithmetic and logical
comparisons, and stores results into memory
o CPU performance is measured in Hertz the type of CPU you need all depends
on the type of computing that you will be doing
The CPU works in conjunction with the computer’s main memory (RAM)
This is hardware that displays the results of the computer’s processing
o Ex. Video displays, printers, audio speakers, projectors, etc.
Most familiar since we interact with it more
Storage hardware saves data and programs magnetic disks are the most common way
Other storage devices include CDs, DVDs, solid state memory (like USB)
Also called bits, they represent either a 0 or 1 and are used in computer data because they
are easy to represent physically
Sizing Computer Data
All computer data can be represented by bits can be numbers, characters, photos, etc.
o All are simply a string of bits
Bits are grouped into 8-bit chunks called bytes a kilobyte = 1024 bytes, a megabyte =
1024 kilobytes, a gigabyte = 1024 MB, a terabyte = 1024GB How Does a Computer Work?