ITC – What it is, and its uses

The hardware that is standard with most computer systems is:

* A mouse

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* A keyboard

* A monitor (screen)

* A printer

* And a computer system itself including, usually, a floppy disk drive and a CD-ROM drive. Other drives can be added.

The two types of hardware are “input” and “output” devices. Input devices are devices that are used to input data into the computer, examples are keyboards, mouse and CD-ROM drives. Output devices are devices that send data out of the computer, examples are monitors and printers. Floppy disk drives can be used as input and output devices.

Keyboard

The most widely used keyboard is the “standard keyboard”. It us just a normal sized keyboard with all the normal functions. Problems with the standard keyboard are that if someone is typing on them for a long time it can cause discomfort and also permanent injury. Other types of keyboard are the “ergonomic keyboards” and “concept keyboard”. Ergonomic keyboards are easier to use and let the wrist relax in a more natural position therefore reducing injury, and the concept keyboard is a keyboard which is covered in flexible plastic so it can be cleaned easily if it gets dirty.

Mouse

All mice look very similar. A standard mouse has a ball underneath and the whole thing is moved around, moving the ball underneath which moves a cursor on the screen.

Another type of mouse is the tracker ball, which has the ball on top of the mouse and you use by moving the ball with a single finger. These types of mouse are easier to draw with and are more comfortable to use.

A wheel mouse is another type of mouse and as well as having a ball on top has at least one ball or wheel on top which can be used to scroll up and down pages, and to zoom in and out of documents etc.

CD-ROM drives & Floppy disk drives

CD-ROM drives are necessary today for most programs. A single CD can store up to 650 MB of data. Fast CD-ROM drives have been a big topic in the past, but all of today’s CD-ROM drives are sufficiently fast. CD-ROM drives are generally used just to install a program or copy CDs, both of which are usually done rarely on most users’ computers, the extra speed isn’t usually very important. The speed can play a big role if you do a lot of CD burning at high speeds or some audio extraction from audio CDs (i.e. converting CDs to MP3s).

The floppy disk drive is always called the A: drive and it is used to read floppy disks. Floppy disks hold about 1.44MB of information, which is far, far less than CD-ROMS can hold.

Monitors

There are two main different types of monitors; there are VDU’s and flat screens. VDU’s are the most widely used and are not too expensive; but flat screens take up a lot less space, therefore are more expensive because they require better technology.

Printers

Dot Matrix: These printers are very cheap but not the best. They are also called Impact Printers, and they have two main parts:

* The print head

* The ribbon

Dot matrix printers produce characters and illustrations by striking pins against an ink ribbon to print closely spaced dots in the appropriate shape. They are relatively expensive and do not produce high-quality output. However, they can print to continuous stationery multi-page forms, something laser and inkjet printers cannot do.

Ink-Jet: These printers are a good compromise because they cost less than laser printers and produce high quality prints. The print head has lots of tiny nozzles which squirt out water onto the paper when printing. There are a lot more nozzles on an ink-jet printer than on the dot matrix therefore there is a higher printing resolution with these types of printer. A bubble-jet printer is another type of ink-jet.

Software

Microsoft PhotoDraw V2

This is the program I used to create my logo. Microsoft PhotoDraw V2 was an excellent program for designing the logo because it has many drawing features and different tools to help draw different shapes etc. It also has templates for different things which you might want to do, these could sometimes be quite easier but it was better to start from scratch when designing the logo.

Other programs that could have been used were Paint and Artworks. Paint is a very simple program and would not be suitable for designing a whole logo; it is more for creating simple pictures using different shapes and lines etc. Artworks is an Acorn program and would be quite good to create a logo, but I chose PhotoDraw over this because PhotoDraw was a lot easier to use.

Microsoft Word and Excel

Microsoft Excel is a program for creating spreadsheets and was used to create a spreadsheet including information about the people who worked at the cinema. The main information on there was the amount they got paid and the tax they had to pay, and the overall amount they made in a year. When all this data was put into a spreadsheet it was saved and mail merged into a word document and was put together to make a wage slip.

Microsoft Publisher could have been used to do the same thing as Word, but a simple task was only what was required so Microsoft Word was a sufficient program to do this.

Inputting Data

Data is entered at the input stage:

* Information is converted into data before it’s entered into the computer.

* This may mean having to convert information into a code.

* For example, the date 26th September 1964 might be converted into 260964.

* The data that has been entered should be validated to make sure it is of the right type.

* The data should also be verified.

Validation checks the data that is inputted is the right type. For example, it would check that a percentage integer is between 0 and 100. There are four types of validation techniques:

* Range Check: This checks that the data is within a specified range. For example, a person’s month of birth should be a number between 1 and 12.

* Presence Check: This check makes sure that the important information has actually been entered. For example, a customer record must contain a postcode so the postcode field will not be allowed to be left out.

* Check Digit: This checks that the numerical data has been entered accurately. The final digit of a number is determined by a formula that uses all the previous digit. For example, the ISBN number on a book. The last number is a check number

* Data Type Check: This checks that text hasn’t been put where numbers are needed, for example.

Verification is different from validation because it checks the data that has already been inputted. There are two main types of verification techniques:

* Proof-Reading: This is when a person reads the data that has been entered onto the system and compares it with the original.

* Double-Entry: This is when the data is entered twice by two different people. The computer compares the two entries and any mistakes will be edited.

System Output

There are two main types of output connected to a computer; they are the monitor and the printer.

The printer is used to produce a permanent copy of the information onto paper. The main types of printer are Dot-Matrix and Ink-Jet, which has already been discussed. I am now going to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.

The advantages of the Dot-Matrix printers are that they are cheap to buy and to operate. They can print on continuous stationery or multi-part stationery (e.g. copies of invoices). The disadvantages are that they have a very low resolution so print quality is poor. They are also very slow and noisy and sometimes can only print less than 100 characters per minute.

The advantages of the Ink-Jet printers are that they have a high resolution so print quality is good (about 300-600 dots per inch). They are also pretty cheap and are small so are ideal for home use. The disadvantages are that they can sometimes be quite slow when printing colour documents such as photos. They are also expensive to run; the cartridges usually cost between �20-30.

Monitors, also called visual display units (VDU) are the most commonly used output device because a computer cannot be used without it. They’re used when visual information is needed but it is not a permanent record of what is on the screen. There are two ways that monitors are different from each other:

* Resolution: Resolution is measured by the number of pixels or dots that make up the image on the screen. The main sizes are high (1024×768), medium (800×600) and low (640×480).

* Size: The size of a computer monitor is measured in inches across the screen, diagonally. Most PC monitors have a size of 17 inches, this may differ.

The two main types of monitor are LCDs and CRTs (Cathode ray tubes).

There are also other types of outputs, for example, a graph plotter. A graph plotter is a printer used for precision drawings such as architect’s plans. The most common graph plotter is a flat bed plotter. The paper lies on a flat surface and a plotter arm moves over it from left to right. On the plotter arm is a pen holder which moves up and down. In this way the pen can draw accurate images in any direction.

AO2 Analysis

Research

When I was first set the task to design a logo for a cinema. I thought the best idea would be to look at what some other cinemas had as their logo and what sort of style they were in. I looked at the designs of other cinemas and tried to incorporate the ideas into my design.

For the making of the wage slip I had to find out what sort of information would be put on a wage slip.

Design

When I first came to actually start designing the logo, I had to find a suitable program to do it in. There were a few drawing programs in acorn which were available, and also some Microsoft packages. The Microsoft packages available were discussed earlier but the one I chose to use was Microsoft PhotoDraw because it has drawing features and tools which are helpful.

When I decided which program to use, I made a sketch of the logo I would like to try and design and then I started to make it on the computer.

With the wage slip I first had to create a spreadsheet in Excel with all the employees information on, such as, name, position, salary, taxes etc. When I had the spreadsheet finished I created a layout for the wage slip, in Microsoft Word and then mail merged the information from Excel, into it.

Result

The idea of the logo was for it to represent the cinema, so when people saw it, it stood out and they knew what it was. It would also be used inside the cinema on things such as letters, tickets etc. The wage slip was something that would be used for managers in the cinema who had to pay their employees.

Evaluation, Applications and Effects

It may have been easier to first design the logo using pen and paper because then the design could be exactly how you want it. It could then be properly designed on the computer using a drawing program.

ICT was the best way to calculate the wages and produce the wage slip. Excel was used to calculate the wages because it can quickly work out large, complicated sums. If pen and paper was used to work out the wages it would be easy to make mistakes.

The wage slip was easy to make in Word because after you had designed it once, you could just copy and paste it as many times as you want, and then mail-merge the information, for each different employee, into it.

AO3 ICT in the Cinema

Using ICT in the cinema has many benefits. If it is used as a booking system, it makes everything a lot easier to control. For example, records can be kept of how many people have bought tickets, number of adults/children etc. Using ICT means that it is a lot easier to have a look at what profit should have been made. If this were all done without ICT, it would mean all profits would have to be counted by hand and the amount of seats taken up would also have to be counted by hand.

ICT also has many drawbacks because problems can easily occur in the system. Viruses can be downloaded somehow, and can cause the computers crash. If backups are not made of the information on the system then the information could be deleted or lost, somehow.

For the wage slip system, the benefits are that when one set out for the wage slip has been made, it can be copied and pasted as many times as desired. When it has been pasted, the information for each of the employees can be taken from Excel and mail-merged into the wage slip document.

The drawbacks are that the information, in the spreadsheet, about each of the employees at the cinema could be lost unless a backup is made. Computers can easily pick up problems and viruses that can make the computer crash.

The good things about my system are that there is a set layout for the wage slip, so the information from Excel could be mail-merged from Excel to Word easily. Also, because I put the information into Excel, all the large sums for the wages were worked out easily and immediately using this program.

The bad things about my system are that because it has all been made using Word and Excel, it may not be suitable to use on the cinema computers, unless new systems were put into the system so the wage system could be used.

AO4 ICT in the wider world

In cinema advertising ICT is used a lot. It is used got things like websites, for the cinema and for films, and for film trailers. Many people use their computers for the Internet and to look at websites. If ICT was used for a website then many people would be able to look at the website and find out information.

In clips for the film, which are shown to advertise on TV; sounds, writing and different effects might be added to the trailer. Computers would probably be used to do this.

My logo would be used whenever there was an advertisement for the cinema, if there was advertisements on television for the cinema then my logo would be somewhere on the screen. On wage slips, tickets, letterheads etc, my logo would be used. My whole logo would be used on banners and sides of buses etc, whereas other cinemas may just right the name of their cinema, which is not as effective because people will remember the cinema in the future if they see the proper logo.

For the staff to be able to use the ICT they must know how to change the information in the spreadsheet where it is required. If someone changes their shifts and have to work more or less hours, then the information about the employee would have to be changed on the wage slip. The person who makes the wage slip would also have to know how to mail merge information and send it to the printer to print it off.

ICT will make the work for the staff a lot easier, because if things like wage slips had to be edited then it could be changed easily. If it was all written by hand then it would take an awful lot longer, because the wages would have to be worked out, then each one would have to be written one by one. If mistakes were made while writing the wage slips then it would all have to be written again and would waste a lot of time.

When making leaflets and letters to advertise the cinema then it could all be made and edited easily using ICT. If making leaflets for the cinema then things would obviously change every now and then, so this could all be easily done on the computer, instead of creating whole new leaflets. Graphics and patterns etc could be added to leaflets and letters to make them better, which could not be done without ICT.

To advertise without using ICT would take a lot more time and effort and would probably be more expensive. The cinema would have to revert back to using advertisements in papers, on billboards and on the radio. To advertise in papers and on the radio is quite expensive and will not be seen or heard by everyone all the time. But, if a website was created, it would be there 24 hours a day and almost anyone who wanted to would be able to look at it. Websites are a lot cheaper and more effective than advertising in newspapers and on the radio etc.

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