Chapter 3 Margin Notes
General Note: In Chapter 3 we move away from the central theme of the course (and book) a bit by looking 'under the hood' to see how computers work. Since many of you have worked with computers for most of your lives, you may feel you know most of what this chapter is talking about (and you probably do). Still, I think you will learn something.
Page 70, A Brief History of Computer Hardware. Pretty interesting---I once had a dog named Babbage. Remind me to tell you about Lady Ava Lovelace.
Page 71. Real World Case #1, Northrup, Grumman, Boeing. Be sure to read the Case Study.
Page 73, Figure 3.2, the Eniac. I love this picture. Where was this located?
Page 74, Types of Computer Systems. Not every computer is a PC--there are Mainframes (typically larger computers) and Midrange computers (the size of a refrigerator)
Page 76, Figure 3.5. Don't worry too much about this--as is typical of any computer book that references Megabytes and Gigabytes, it's already a bit dated.
Page 76, Corporate PC Criteria sidebar. Ordinarily, I tell you not to skip these, but unless you're in the IT department, you probably won't be buying Corporate PC's.
Page 77, Computer Terminals. It's really hard to find these anymore.
Page 77, Network Computers. Today's PC (where software is installed on it) may be moving in a direction where software is installed on a network computer and the PC accesses the program from there, using only the hard drive (storage) on the PC to save file. Viruses, and their many attacks, make this an attractive alternative. Those of you who may have worked with mainframe computers probably recognize this as a typical mainframe-terminal configuration.
Page 79, Figure 3.7. Very interesting...this man looks like my retired dentist. Is that an apron he's wearing?
Page 80, Los Alamos Laboratory and Others. Check out this sidebar--you never know when I might ask you to tell me what a Blade Server is.
Page 80, Mainframe Computers. You might be inclined to skip this section, but don't---you may work on a Mainframe computer some day.
Page 81, Supercomputers. Supercomputers use parallel processing architectures. That means that it contains more than one Central Processing Unit, and has an Operating System that parcels work to be done to the multiple processors. Kind of like having all of your friends over to clean your house--in theory, things should get done faster (they do for a Supercomputer, anyway).
Page 82, Figure 3.9. Yes, that's what a Supercomputer looks like.
Page 82, Technical Note: The Computer System Concept. What's missing? People!
Page 83, Figure 3.10. We'll probably spend some time looking at this on the projector. Remember Charles Babbage and Lady Ave Lovelace?
Page 83. Figure 3.11. Pretty picture. There are other chip manufacturers--AMD and Motorola---that could have been pictured.
Page 84, Computer Speeds. Computer speeds aren't real important, however, this is a computer class, so be sure you understand what they all mean.
Page 84, Moore's Law: I remember 10 years ago nay Sayers stating that this couldn't continue--so far, it has.
Page 86, Peripherals. Peripherals are computer parts that connect/disconnect. Like a monitor, speaker, keyboard, mouse, etc
Page 86, Input Technology Trends. In general, Input is moving towards Natural language recognition (you speak to the computer).
Page 87, Real World Case #2, Apple Inc. What's a Closed System?
Page 89, Figure 3.15, Touch Screen. Have you ever used one?
Page 90, Figure 3.16, PDA. I have one of these.
Page 91, Figure 3.17. Speech recognition---a natural interface!
Page 93, Other Input Technologies, Smart Cards. I believe the main campus uses Smart cards for the meal plan. Do you use them here at Abington?
Page 93, Eastman Kodak sidebar. How has their stock done in the last 20 years?
Page 96, Storage Trade-Offs. Very interesting---we'll talk about this in class.
Page 96, Figure 3.22. Have I told you before how much I dislike the Triangle and Pentagon figures in this book? Although I will spend some time on this figure in class.
Page 97, Figure 3.23, ASCII Computer code. Very interesting---if I gave you this chart on the midterm, could you use it to write your name?
Page 98, Figure 3.24. I think the authors may have borrowed this from one of my books :)
Page 98-99. Geeks like me could discuss the difference between Sequential and Direct Access for hours at a time!
Page 101, RAID Storage. RAID is just more than one hard disk drive linked together as if it was one huge disk drive.
Page 101, Magnetic Tape Storage. Have you ever seen a Magnetic Tape?
Page 101, Optical Disk Storage. Be sure to understand the differences between CD-R, CD-RW and DVD--but there's no need to memorize it.
Page 102, Figure 3.28. Good to read.
Page 103, Radio Frequency Identification. One of my favorite topics.
Page 103, Banks and Casinos Share a Common Bond. Check it out.
Page 105, Computers will Enable People to Live forever. Have you ever seen the move War Games? What else is Kurzweil known for? Would you like to live forever?
Page 111, Real World Case #3. E-Trade, Verizon, AAA and others. Once again, be sure to read ALL the Case Studies.