Essential Guide to Computing, The: The Story of Information Technology, 1st edition

  • E Garrison Walters

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  • The complete, easy-to-understand guide to IT—now and in the future!
  • Computers, networks, and pervasive computing
  • Hardware, operating systems, and software
  • How networks work: LANs, WANs, and the Internet
  • E-business, the Web, and security

The guide for ANYONE who needs to understand the key technologies driving today's economy and high tech industries!

You can't afford not to understand the information revolution that's sweeping the world-but who's got time for all the acronyms and hype most technology books give you? The Essential Guide to Computing demystifies the digital society we live in with an intelligent, thorough, and up-to-date explanation of computer, networking, and Internet technologies. It's perfect for smart professionals who want to get up to speed, but don't have computer science or engineering degrees! You'll find up-to-the-minute coverage on all of today's hottest technologies including:

  • The evolution of computing: from the room-sized "monoliths" of the 1950s to today's global Internet
  • Preview of the next revolution: "pervasive computing"
  • Computer hardware: microprocessors, memory, storage, I/O, displays, and architecture
  • Windows, Macintosh, UNIX/Linux, DOS, NetWare, Palm: what operating systems do, and how they compare
  • Programming languages: from machine language to advanced object-oriented technologies
  • Key software applications: databases, spreadsheets, word processing, voice recognition, and beyond
  • Microsoft and the software industry: where they stand, where they're headed
  • How networks work: LANs, WANs, packet switching, hardware, media, and more
  • The Internet, e-commerce, and security
  • Enterprise applications: data warehousing, Web-centered development, and groupware

Whether you're a consumer, investor, marketer, or executive, this is your start-to-finish briefing on the information technologies that have changed the world-and the coming technologies that will transform it yet again!

Table of contents

(NOTE: Each chapter concludes with a Conclusion and Test Your Understanding.)


1. The Core of Computing: How the Key Elements of Hardware Work Together.

An Overview of How a Computer Works. What Happens When a Computer Starts Up. The Computer Begins to Work. Binary and Digital. The Internal Operations of the CPU. Fetch. Decode (Analyze). Execute. Store. The Clock. Interrupts. Designing a Faster CPU. Architecture: Suiting the CPU to the Task. RISC. SIMD. VLIW. Linking CPUs. Microprocessors for Special Purposes. ASICs. DSPs. Media Processors. FPGAs. New Approaches to Computing. Supercooling. Optical Computing. Even More Exotic Stuff.

2. Memory, Storage, and Input/Output.

An Overview of How Storage Works. A File Is Loaded into Memory. The CPU Gets Information from Disk. A File Is Saved to Disk. The Memory System. The Memory Problem. The System (Memory) Bus. Memory Chips. Some Other Types of Chip Storage. Disk Storage. Magnetic Storage. Optical Storage. The I/O Bus. PCI. External I/O. Chipsets.

3. Computer Monitors and Graphics Systems.

Making an Image. Pixels and Dots. Resolution. Resolution, Content, and Perception. Color. Contrast and Brightness. Image Stability and Smoothness of Motion. Monitor Technologies. The Structure of Graphics Systems. Bitmapped Images. Vector Images. Bitmaps vs Vectors. Generations of Graphics Systems. First Generation Graphics. Second Generation Graphics Systems. The Key Elements of Third Generation (3D) Systems. Changes in Graphics Software. Printers. Printer Resolution. Major Types of Printers. Printer Intelligence.

4. Silicon Economics.

Silicon Foundations: Making Chips. Smaller Is Cheaper. Smaller Is Faster. Smaller Uses Less Power. New Approaches to Chipmaking. Microprocessor Families. Intel Corporation. Intel Clones. RISC CPUs. Summary: Can Anyone Compete with Intel? Types of Computers. Mainframes. Supercomputers. Servers and Workstations. Desktops. The Set-top Box. Portable Systems. The Evolving Microprocessor Architecture: What Do You Do with a Billion Transistors on One Chip? ASIC-Oriented. General-Purpose CPU. Media Processors. System on Chip.

Putting It All Together.

Servers. A Graphics System. An Analytical System. A Desktop System. A Portable System.


5. Fundamentals of the Operating System.

Why Have an Operating System? The Core Functions of an Operating System. System Supervision. Services to Hardware. Services to Software. Communications Services. Security. Single-User Systems in a Networked Environment. Directories. The Structure of the Operating System. The Kernel. User Section. The Challenge of Multiprocessing. Multiprocessing and the OS. Multiprocessing in Hardware.

6. Evolution of the Operating System.

Mainframe Systems. Minicomputer/Server Systems. Proprietary: VMS. Proprietary: OS/400. Open: UNIX and Variants.

7. Microcomputer Operating Systems.

Microsoft's MS-DOS. An Overview of MS-DOS. Memory and Task Management. The Mac OS. Key Characteristics of the Mac OS. Initial Development of the Mac OS. Compatibility Issues. The Mac Shifts to the PowerPC. The Current Mac OS. Windows. Key Characteristics of the Window OS Series. Windows 1.0 to 2.0. Windows 3.0. Windows 95 and Windows 98. Windows NT/2000. OS/2. A Network-only OS: NetWare. Very Small System OSs. The Palm OS. Epoc.

8. Programming, Object Oriented Technology, and Software Development.

Basic Programming Terminology. Subroutines. Interrupted vs Compiled Languages. The Software Crisis. Structured Programming. Project Modeling. Modular Programming. Programming Languages by Level. Machine Language Programming. Assembly Language. High-level Languages. 4GLs (Whatever They Are). Artificial Intelligence: 5GL? Object-Oriented Technology. How OOT Works. Applying OOT. The Compound Document Concept. The Major Object-Oriented Languages. Software Development Strategies and Programming Tools. CASE Tools. Rapid Application Development.

9. Databases, Applications, and Software Reliability.

Databases. The Elements of a Database. Planning a Database. The Relational Model of Database Organization. Nonrelational Databases. The Power of Legacy Database Systems. Database Markets. Application Software. Spreadsheets. Word Processing. Voice Recognition: Coming on Strong. The Software Industry. Microsoft. The Rest.

Putting It All Together.

Choosing an OS for E-Commerce. Choosing a Database for E-Commerce. Choosing a Programming Language and Tools for E-Commerce.


10. Digital vs Analog: Communications Basics.

Waves of Information. Amplitude Modulation (AM). Frequency Modulation (FM). Phase Modulation (PM). Bandwidth. Amplitude and Attention. Frequencies and Diffusion. Replacing Analog Signaling with Digital. Data Compression. Noncontent-based Compression. Error Detection and Correction. Forward Error Detection/Correction.

11. Network Fundamentals.

An Overview of Network Fundamentals. A Quick Analogy. Sending a File. The Importance of Packets. Addresses. Sequencing and Flow Control. Error Detection and Correction. Packet Size. Latency. Protocol Stacks. Layer 4: The Transport Layer. Layer 3: The Network Layer. Layer 2: The Data Link Layer. Layer 1: The Physical layer. Getting from A to B: Circuits, Virtual Circuits, and Circuitless Approaches. Type One: Leased Line. Type Two: Switched Circuit. Type Three: Internet Type. Type Four: Cell or Framed Switched. Media. Wireless. Wired. Topologies, Multiplexing, and Synchronization. Topologies. Channels: Timing and Multiplexing. Network Connecting Points. Passive Devices: Hubs and Repeaters. Active Devices: Switches, Routers and Bridges. The Issue of Multicasting.

12. Types of Networks.

Local Area Networks. Ethernet. Token Ring. LAN to LAN Connections: Campus Networks. FDDI. ATM. Gigabit Ethernet. Which Is Best for Backbone and Campus Links? Local to Wide Area Connections: Access Networks. Carriers (Physical Links). Network Services. WANs. SONET. Wave Division Multiplexing. Wireless Wide Area and Access Networks. Wireless Local Loop. LMDS and MMDS. Satellite Links.

13. Client/Server Concepts.

Network Generations. Terminal-Host. Client-File Server. Client/Server. Distributed Data vs Distributed Processing. Distributed Data Structures. Client/Server Data Systems. Data Warehouses. Computer Telephony Integration. Distributed Applications/Groupware. E-mail and Calendaring. Groupware: Lotus Notes and Others. Web Integration. Agent Software.

14. The Internet and Network Security.

Origins of the Internet. From DARPA to ARPA. Early Uses. Organization. Virtual Private Networks, Firewalls, and the Concept of an Intranet. Network Security. Encryption Concepts. Digital Signatures. Digital Envelopes. Digital Certificates/Digital IDs. Digital Birthmarks. Cracking Codes. Methodology. Summary of Digital Security.

Putting It All Together.

Conclusion: The Next Stages of Computing.


Recommended Readings.


Published by Pearson (August 1st 2000) - Copyright © 2001