Technology Guide 2 Notes.doc

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York University
Administrative Studies
ADMS 2511
Cristobal Sanchez- Rodriguez

Technology Guide 2 Significance of Software - computer hardware is only as effective as the instructions we give it, and those instructions are contained in software - first software applications of computers in business were developed in the early 1950’s - software makes up a much larger percentage of the cost of modern computer systems because the price of hardware has dramatically decreased, while the complexity and the price of software has dramatically increased - increasing complexity of software also leads to the increased potential for errors or bugs - potential for errors is huge and testing and debugging software is expensive and time consuming - regardless of the overall trends in software (increased complexity, increased cost and increasing number of defects) it has become an everyday feature of our business and personal lives - software consists of computer programs, which are sequences of instructions for the computer - the process of writing, or coding, programs is called programming - individuals who perform this task are called programmers - unlike the hardwired computers of the 1950’s, modern software uses the stored program concept in which software programs are stored in the computers hardware - these programs are accessed and their instructions are executed (followed) in the computer’s CPU - once the program has finished executing, a new program is loaded into the main memory, and the computer hardware addresses another task - computer programs include documentation, which is a written description of the functions of the program - documentation helps the user operate the computer system and it helps other programmers understand what the program does and how it accomplishes its purpose - documentation is vital to the business organization since without it, if a key programmer or user leaves, the knowledge of how to use the program or how it is designed may be lost - software enables the user to instruct a computer system to perform specific functions that provide business value - there are two major types of software: systems software and application software - systems software: set of instructions that serves primarily as an intermediary between computer hardware and application programs - provides important self regulatory functions for computer systems, such as loading itself when the computer is first turned on and providing commonly used sets of instructions for all applications - systems programming refers to both the creation and maintenance of systems software - Application software: set of computer instructions that provides more specific functionality to a user - that functionality may be broad, such as general word processing, or narrow such as an organizations payroll program - an application program applies a computer to a certain need - application programming refers to both the creation and modification and improvement of application software Systems Software - class of programs that controls and supports the computer systems and its information processing activities - also facilitates the programming, testing and debugging of computer programs - system software programs support applications software by directing the basic functions of the computer - for example when the computer is turned on, the initialization program prepares and readies all devices for processing - systems software can be grouped into two major functional categories: system control programs and system support programs 1. System Control Programs - control the use of the hardware, software, and data resources of a computer system - main system control program is the operating system (OS): supervises the overall operation of the computer - one of its key functions is to monitor the computers status and scheduling operations, including the input and output processes - the operating system allocates CPU time and main memory to programs running on the computer - also provides an interface between the user and the hardware - this interface hides the complexity of the hardware from the user - that is you do not have to know how the hardware actually operates, you simply have to know what the hardware will do and what you need to do to obtain the desired results Functions of the Operating System - the operating system manages the program or programs (called jobs or tasks) running on the processor at a given time - operating systems provide various types of program management, such as multitasking, multithreading and multiprocessing - Multitasking: the management of two or more tasks or programs, running on the computer system at the same tiem - for example may create a graph in excel and inset it into a word document - although both programs are open, at any given moment you are either working in Excel or word, both programs can not execute at the same time - Multithreading: form of multitasking that involves running multiple tasks or threads within a single application simultaneously - for example a word processor application may edit one document while spell checking another - Multiprocessing: occurs when a computer system with two or more processors can run more than one program at a given time by assigning them to different processors - in addition to managing programs executing on computer hardware, operating systems must also manage main memory and secondary storage - operating systems enable a process called virtual memory, which simulates more main memory than actually exists in the computer system - it allows a program to behave as if it had access to the full storage capacity of a computer rather than just access to the amount of primary storage installed on the computer - virtual memory divides an application program or module into fixed length portions called pages - the system executes some pages of instructions while pulling others from secondary storage - in effect, virtual memory allows users to write programs as if primary storage was larger than it actually is - the ease or difficulty of the interaction between the user and the computer is determined to a large extent by the interface design - older text based interfaces like DOS *disk operating system* required the user to type in cryptic commands - effort to make computers more user friendly, programmers developed the graphical user interface (GUI) allows users to exercise direct control of visible objects (such as icons) and actions that replace complex commands - the next generation of GUI technology will incorporate features such as virtual reality, head mounted displays, speech input, and output, pen and gesture recognition, animation, multimedia, artificial intelligence, and cellular /wireless communication capabilities - Future GUI’s also will provide social interfaces – which is a user interface that guides user through computer applications by using cartoon like characters, graphics, animation and voice commands Types of Operating Systems - operating systems are necessary in order for computer hardware to function - operating environments: are sets of compute programs that add features that enable system developers to create applications without directly accessing the operating system; they function only with an operating system - therefore operating environments are not operating systems but they work only with an operating system - operating systems for mobile devices are designed to support a single person using a mobile, handheld device or information appliance - small computer operating system (laptops, notebooks, desktops and workstations) are designed to support a single user or a small workgroup of users - large computer operating system (midrange computers and mainframes) support between a few dozen and thousands of concurrent users --- these offer greater functionality than other types, including reliability, backup, security, fault tolerance and rapid processing speeds - today’s desktop operating systems use GUI;s with icons to provide instant access to common tasks, and plug and play capabilities - Plug and play: feature that can automate the installation of new hardware by enabling the operating system to recognize new hardware and then automatically install the necessary software called device drivers - these operating systems also provide transparent, three dimensional windows to make it easier to see giles and other windows on your monitor - your screen itself can be a movie or an animated image - plug and play provides you with an area of your screen where you put mini application such as clocks, stock tickers, calendars and RSS readers - you can view all open windows in a fanned out, playing card view and you have a GUI for finding and organizing directories, folders and files - current desktop operating systems allow your computer to become a digital hub, for example and can store and transmit pictures wirelessly from your computer to a digital picture frame also can listen to your digital music and wirelessly stream your tunes to speakers located around your home - can also view videos (movies) on your computer 2. System Support Programs - support the operations, management, and users of a computer system by providing a variety of support services - examples of system support programs are system utility programs, performance monitors and security monitors - System Utilities: programs that have been written to accomplish common tasks such as sorting records and creating directories and subdirectories - these programs can also restore accidentally erased files, located files within the directory structure and manage memory usage - System Performance Monitors: programs that monitor the processing of jobs on a computer system - monitor performance in areas such as processor time, memory space, input/ouput devices and system and application programs - System Security: programs that monitor the use of a computer system to protect it and its resources from unauthorized use, fraud and destruction Application Programs - application software consists of instructions that direct a computer system to perform specific information processing activities and that provide functionality for users Types of Application Software - application software includes both proprietary and off the shelf software - Proprietary Application Software: addresses a specific or unique business need for a company, this type of software may be developed in house by the organizations information systems personnel, or it may be commissioned from a software vendor - specific software programs developed for a particular company by a vendor are called contract software - Off the Shelf Software: can be purchased, leased, or rented from a vendor that develops programs and sells them to many organizations - these may be standard packages, or it may be customized - special purpose programs or ‘packages’ can be tailored for a specific purpose such as inventory control or payroll - the word package is a commonly used term for a computer program that has been developed by a vendor and is available for purchase in a prepackaged form Categories of Personal Application Software - general purpose, off the shelf application programs designed to help individual users increase their productivity are referred to as personal application software - some example of these are spreadsheets (excel), word processing (Microsoft word), desktop publishing (Microsoft publisher), data management (Microsoft Access), presentation (Microsoft Powerpoint), graphics (Adobe Photoshop), etc ***(all listed on page 365 with major functions and examples) - speech recognition software is an input technology rather than strictly an application that can feed systems software and application software - speech recognition software also called voice recognition, recognizes, and interprets human speech either one workd at a time or in a conversational stream - many companies using this, for example call center, bell Canada, IBM, apple etc --- examples listed page 364 -365 Software Issues - such as software defects (bugs), software eval
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