Information Communication Technology ATD Notes

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Complete copy of ATD INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY NOTES is available in SOFT copy (Reading using our MASOMO MSINGI PUBLISHERS APP) 

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TOPIC ONE

DEMONSTRATE FOUNDATIONAL CONCEPTS OF COMPUTERS

 

A computer is basically a programmable machine capable to perform arithmetic and logical operations automatically and sequentially. It is also known as a data processor, as it can store, process, and retrieve data as per the wish of the user.

DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS

  1. CPU (Central Processing Unit): The primary component of a computer that performs most of the processing tasks.

Some of the key characteristics of a CPU include:

  • Clock speed: The speed at which a CPU can execute instructions is measured in GHz (gigahertz). The higher the clock speed, the faster the CPU can process data.
  • Cores: Modern CPUs can have multiple cores, which allow them to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. More cores generally mean better performance for multi-threaded applications.
  • Cache: CPUs have built-in caches that store frequently used data and instructions. The larger the cache, the faster the CPU can access frequently used data.
  • Instruction set: The set of instructions a CPU can execute determines the types of tasks it can perform. Modern CPUs support complex instruction sets that allow them to perform a wide range of tasks.
  • Power consumption: CPUs consume a significant amount of power, especially when running at high speeds. Energy-efficient CPUs are becoming increasingly important as power consumption becomes a more significant concern.
  • Heat dissipation: CPUs generate a lot of heat, and proper cooling is essential to prevent damage to the CPU and other components. Modern CPUs have built-in thermal management features to prevent overheating.
  • Overclocking: Some CPUs can be overclocked to run at higher clock speeds than their rated speed. Overclocking can increase performance, but it also increases power consumption and generates more heat, which can reduce the lifespan of the CPU.
  1. RAM (Random Access Memory): The short-term memory of a computer that temporarily stores data that the CPU is actively using.

Some of the key characteristics of RAM include:

  • Capacity: The amount of RAM a computer has determines how many programs can run simultaneously and how much data can be processed at once. RAM capacity is measured in gigabytes (GB) or terabytes (TB).
  • Speed: RAM speed is measured in megahertz (MHz) or gigahertz (GHz), and it determines how quickly data can be read from and written to RAM. The higher the speed, the faster the RAM can respond to requests from the CPU.
  • Latency: RAM latency is the delay between when the CPU requests data from RAM and when the data is available. Lower latency means faster access to data.
  • Type: There are different types of RAM, including DDR3, DDR4, and DDR5. The type of RAM determines its speed, capacity, and compatibility with a computer’s motherboard.
  • Dual-channel and quad-channel support: Some motherboards support dual-channel or quad-channel memory, which allows for faster data transfer between the CPU and RAM.
  • Non-volatile memory: Some types of RAM, such as NVRAM or MRAM, retain data even when power is turned off, making them useful in certain applications where data retention is critical.
  • Upgradability: Many computers allow users to upgrade their RAM by adding more memory modules. Upgrading RAM can improve overall system performance and allow for more demanding applications to run smoothly.
  1. Hard drive: A storage device that stores data permanently, even when the computer is turned off.

Some of the key characteristics of a hard drive include:

  • Capacity: The amount of data that a hard drive can store is measured in gigabytes (GB), terabytes (TB), or even petabytes (PB). Hard drive capacity has increased significantly over time, with modern hard drives capable of storing many terabytes of data.
  • Speed: The speed at which data can be read from and written to a hard drive is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). The faster the RPM, the faster data can be accessed.
  • Interface: The interface determines how the hard drive connects to the computer. The most common interfaces for hard drives are SATA and SCSI.
  • Form factor: Hard drives come in different physical sizes, or form factors. The most common form factors for desktop computers are 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch, while laptops typically use 2.5-inch or smaller form factors.
  • Cache: Hard drives have built-in caches that store frequently accessed data to speed up data access times. Larger caches generally result in faster performance.
  • Durability: Hard drives are relatively fragile and can be damaged if dropped or exposed to strong magnetic fields. Solid-state drives (SSDs) are generally more durable than traditional hard drives because they have no moving parts.
  • Power consumption: Hard drives consume power when they are in use, which can impact a computer’s energy efficiency. Modern hard drives are designed to consume as little power as possible to reduce their impact on energy consumption.
  • Noise level: Traditional hard drives can generate significant noise when they are in use due to the spinning of the disk platters and the movement of the read/write head. SSDs, on the other hand, are completely silent because they have no moving parts.
  1. Operating system: The software that manages the computer’s hardware and provides a user interface for interacting with the computer.

Here are some of the key characteristics of an operating system:

  • Resource Management: The operating system is responsible for managing system resources, such as CPU, memory, and I/O devices. It allocates these resources to different processes and manages them efficiently.
  • User Interface: The operating system provides a user interface that allows users to interact with the computer system. The user interface can be a command-line interface, a graphical user interface (GUI), or a web-based interface.
  • File Management: The operating system manages the storage and retrieval of files on the computer system. It provides a hierarchical file system and allows users to create, delete, copy, and move files.
  • Process Management: The operating system manages the execution of processes on the computer system. It creates, schedules, and terminates processes, and provides mechanisms for inter-process communication and synchronization.
  • Memory Management: The operating system manages the allocation and deallocation of memory on the computer system. It keeps track of which parts of memory are in use and which are available for allocation.
  • Security: The operating system provides security mechanisms to protect the computer system from unauthorized access and malicious attacks. It implements user authentication, access control, and encryption to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of data.
  • Device Drivers: The operating system provides device drivers to interact with different hardware devices on the computer system. These drivers provide a standard interface for software applications to access the hardware devices.
  1. Graphics card: A component that is responsible for rendering images and graphics on the computer’s screen.

Here are some of the key characteristics of a graphics card:

  • Graphics Processing Power: Graphics cards are optimized for processing complex visual data, making them much more powerful than standard processors when it comes to graphics-intensive tasks such as gaming, video editing, and 3D rendering.
  • Memory: Graphics cards have their own dedicated memory known as VRAM (Video Random Access Memory), which is used to store the data required for rendering images and videos. The amount of VRAM determines the amount of data that can be processed at any given time.
  • Parallel Processing: Graphics cards are designed to perform parallel processing, which means they can handle multiple tasks simultaneously. This is achieved through the use of thousands of small processing cores, each of which can handle a specific task.
  • Cooling: Graphics cards generate a lot of heat due to the intensive processing they perform. Therefore, most graphics cards come with built-in cooling systems, such as fans or liquid cooling, to dissipate heat and prevent overheating.
  • Interface: Graphics cards are connected to the computer’s motherboard via a PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) interface. The speed of the PCIe interface can affect the performance of the graphics card.
  • Compatibility: Graphics cards are designed to be compatible with specific types of computers and operating systems. It is important to ensure that the graphics card is compatible with your system before purchasing it.

 

Types of graphics cards

  • Hercules Graphics Card (HGC): The Hercules Graphics Card (HGC) was an early graphics card introduced in 1982 by Hercules Computer Technology, Inc. It was designed to provide high-resolution graphics and text for IBM-compatible computers. The HGC had a resolution of 720×348 pixels in monochrome, which was considered high resolution at the time. It used a special text mode that allowed for 80 characters per line, compared to the standard 40 characters per line. The HGC also had a graphics mode that allowed for detailed black-and-white images.
  • Color Graphics Adapter (CGA): The Color Graphics Adapter (CGA) was an early graphics card introduced by IBM in 1981. It was designed to provide color graphics and text for IBM-compatible computers. The CGA had a maximum resolution of 320×200 pixels in four colors or 640×200 pixels in two colors. It also supported a text mode with 80 characters per line and 25 lines per screen. The CGA was widely adopted by early PC gamers and was the first graphics card to support color graphics.
  • Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA): The Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA) was introduced by IBM in 1984 as an upgrade to the Color Graphics Adapter (CGA). It offered higher resolution and more colors than the CGA, with a maximum resolution of 640×350 pixels in 16 colors. The EGA also supported a text mode with 80 characters per line and 43 lines per screen, compared to the CGA’s 25 lines per screen. The EGA was widely adopted by businesses and professionals who required higher-quality graphics and text for tasks such as desktop publishing and CAD.

 

  1. Motherboard: The main circuit board in a computer that connects and controls all the other components.

Here are some of the key functions of the motherboard in a computer:

  • Communication: The motherboard facilitates communication between different components in the computer system, including the CPU, memory, storage devices, and input/output (I/O) devices.
  • Central Hub: The motherboard acts as a central hub for all the other components in the computer system, allowing data to flow between them and ensuring that they all work together smoothly.
  • Power Management: The motherboard manages the distribution of power to different components in the computer system. It regulates the voltage and current to ensure that each component receives the appropriate amount of power.
  • Expansion Slots: The motherboard contains expansion slots that allow additional components, such as graphics cards and network cards, to be added to the system.
  • BIOS: The motherboard contains a Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) chip, which is responsible for initializing the hardware components of the system when the computer is turned on.
  • Clock Generation: The motherboard generates a clock signal that synchronizes the operation of the CPU and other components in the system.
  • Connector Ports: The motherboard contains various connector ports that allow external devices, such as monitors, keyboards, and mice, to be connected to the computer system.
  1. Peripheral devices: Devices that can be connected to a computer, such as a keyboard, mouse, printer, or external hard drive.

Some common peripheral devices in a computer system include:

  • Input Devices: These devices are used to input data and commands into the computer system. Examples include keyboards, mice, touchpads, scanners, and digital cameras.
  • Output Devices: These devices are used to display data and information that has been processed by the computer system. Examples include monitors, printers, projectors, and speakers.
  • Storage Devices: These devices are used to store data and information on the computer system. Examples include hard drives, solid-state drives (SSDs), USB flash drives, and memory cards.
  • Networking Devices: These devices are used to connect the computer system to a network, such as the internet. Examples include modems, routers, and network cards.
  • Sound and Video Devices: These devices are used to process and enhance sound and video on the computer system. Examples include sound cards, video cards, and webcams.
  • Other Devices: Other peripheral devices include game controllers, touchscreens, barcode scanners, and microphones.
  1. Firewall: A security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic to prevent unauthorized access.

Here are some of the key functions of a firewall:

  • Packet Filtering: A firewall examines each packet of data that enters or exits the computer system and filters out any packets that do not meet certain criteria, such as source or destination IP address, port number, or protocol type.
  • Access Control: A firewall can be configured to block or allow specific types of network traffic, based on predefined rules or policies. This helps to prevent unauthorized access to the computer system and to protect sensitive data from being compromised.
  • Application Control: A firewall can also be configured to monitor and control the traffic generated by specific applications or services running on the computer system. This can help to prevent malware from using certain applications or services to communicate with the outside world.
  • Intrusion Detection and Prevention: Some firewalls also have the ability to detect and prevent network-based attacks, such as Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, by monitoring the incoming network traffic and blocking any suspicious activity.
  1. Virus: A type of malicious software that can damage or disrupt a computer system.

Here are some of the key characteristics of computer viruses:

  • Self-Replicating: A virus is a self-replicating program that can spread from one computer to another by attaching itself to other programs or files. Once a virus infects a computer, it can replicate itself and spread to other computers through infected files, email attachments, or other means.
  • Malicious Intent: Computer viruses are designed to cause harm to the infected computer system or to steal sensitive data. Some viruses are designed to cause damage to the system’s files or hardware, while others are designed to steal personal information or financial data.
  • Hidden Code: A virus is typically designed to hide its presence from the user and to avoid detection by antivirus software. Some viruses use techniques such as encryption, polymorphism, or rootkit technology to evade detection.
  • Activation: Once a virus infects a computer system, it may remain dormant until triggered by a specific event or condition, such as a certain date or the presence of a particular file on the system.
  • Propagation: Viruses can spread rapidly through computer networks, email attachments, and other means. Once a virus infects a computer, it can quickly spread to other computers on the same network or to other systems that are connected to the infected computer.
  • Prevention: Antivirus software and other security measures can help to prevent virus infections by detecting and removing viruses from computer systems. It is important to keep antivirus software up to date and to avoid downloading or opening suspicious files or attachments.

Here are some ways to prevent computer viruses:

  • Install Antivirus Software: Antivirus software can help to protect your computer from viruses by detecting and removing them. Make sure to keep your antivirus software up to date, as new viruses are constantly being developed.
  • Keep Operating System and Software Up to Date: Regularly updating your operating system and software can help to close security vulnerabilities and prevent viruses from exploiting them.
  • Use a Firewall: A firewall can help to block unauthorized access to your computer and network, protecting your system from viruses and other threats.
  • Avoid Opening Suspicious Email Attachments: Emails from unknown senders or with suspicious attachments can contain viruses. Avoid opening attachments or clicking on links from unknown sources.
  • Use Strong Passwords: Strong passwords can help to protect your computer and online accounts from unauthorized access, which can lead to viruses being installed on your system.
  • Be Careful What You Download: Download software and files from reputable sources, and avoid downloading files from unknown or suspicious sources.
  • Backup Your Data: Regularly backing up your data can help to protect against data loss in the event of a virus infection or other system failure.
  • Be Careful on Social Media: Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading files from social media, as they can also contain viruses.

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COMPUTING

Computing refers to the use of computer technology to process, store, and transmit data and information. It encompasses a wide range of activities and applications, including software development, computer programming, database management, networking, web development, and cybersecurity.

Computing involves the use of hardware components such as computers, servers, storage devices, and peripheral devices, as well as software applications and programming languages. It is used in a variety of industries and domains, including business, education, healthcare, entertainment, and government.

Some of the key areas of computing include:

  1. Software Development: This involves the creation and maintenance of software applications, including desktop applications, mobile apps, and web applications.
  2. Data Management: This involves the storage, processing, and retrieval of data and information using databases, data warehouses, and other data management systems.
  3. Networking: This involves the design, implementation, and maintenance of computer networks, including LANs, WANs, and the Internet.
  4. Cybersecurity: This involves the protection of computer systems and networks from unauthorized access, malware, and other security threats.
  5. Artificial Intelligence: This involves the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as image recognition, natural language processing, and decision-making.

Overall, computing is a rapidly evolving field that plays a critical role in the modern world. It is important for individuals and organizations to stay up to date with the latest advances and trends in computing in order to remain competitive and secure in the digital age.

 

Advantages of computing:

  1. Efficiency: Computing enables faster processing, storage, and retrieval of data and information, allowing individuals and organizations to work more efficiently and make better use of their time.
  2. Communication: Computing enables real-time communication and collaboration among individuals and teams, regardless of their location. This can help to improve productivity, reduce travel costs, and facilitate knowledge sharing.
  3. Innovation: Computing is a key driver of innovation, enabling individuals and organizations to develop new products, services, and business models. Computing also facilitates research and development in a wide range of fields, including science, engineering, and medicine.
  4. Automation: Computing enables the automation of routine tasks and processes, reducing the need for manual labour and freeing up time and resources for more strategic activities.
  5. Globalization: Computing has enabled globalization by facilitating international communication, trade, and commerce. This has created new opportunities for individuals and organizations to reach new markets and customers around the world.
  6. Personalization: Computing enables personalized experiences and services, allowing individuals to customize their interactions with technology to meet their specific needs and preferences.
  7. Cost Savings: Computing can help to reduce costs by streamlining processes, reducing the need for physical infrastructure, and enabling remote work and collaboration.

Disadvantages of computing:

  1. Security Risks: Computing systems are vulnerable to security risks such as hacking, viruses, and malware. These security risks can lead to data breaches, identity theft, and other forms of cybercrime.
  2. Dependence: The increasing dependence on computing technology has led to concerns about the potential impact of system failures, cyber-attacks, or other disruptions that could cause widespread harm.
  3. Social Isolation: Computing technology has led to increased social isolation as individuals spend more time interacting with screens rather than with other people in person.
  4. Job Displacement: The increasing automation of routine tasks and processes through computing technology has led to concerns about job displacement and the potential impact on employment.
  5. Privacy Concerns: Computing technology has led to concerns about privacy and the collection and use of personal data. Individuals may be concerned about how their data is being used and who has access to it.
  6. Environmental Impact: Computing technology consumes significant amounts of energy and resources, contributing to environmental issues such as climate change and resource depletion.

Limitations of computers:

  1. Lack of Creativity: Computers are great at processing and analyzing data, but they lack the creativity and intuition of humans. They cannot replicate the creativity and innovative thinking of humans.
  2. Dependence on Power: Computers require a source of power to operate, which means they are limited by the availability of electricity. This can be a problem in areas with unreliable power grids or during power outages.
  3. Limited Learning: While computers can be programmed to learn and adapt to new information, they are limited by the quality and quantity of the data that they are trained on. They also cannot learn from experiences in the same way that humans can.
  4. Security Risks: As mentioned earlier, computers are vulnerable to security risks such as hacking, viruses, and malware. These security risks can lead to data breaches, identity theft, and other forms of cybercrime.
  5. Lack of Emotional Intelligence: Computers cannot understand emotions or social cues in the same way that humans can. This can make it difficult for them to perform certain tasks that require emotional intelligence, such as counseling or negotiation.
  6. Environmental Impact: As mentioned earlier, computing technology consumes significant amounts of energy and resources, contributing to environmental issues such as climate change and resource depletion.

Overall, while computers offer many benefits and advantages, it is important to be aware of their limitations and to use them appropriately. By understanding the limitations of computers, we can better appreciate their strengths and weaknesses, and make more informed decisions about how to use them to solve problems and achieve our goals.

 

SAMPLE WORK

Complete copy of ATD INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY NOTES is available in SOFT copy (Reading using our MASOMO MSINGI PUBLISHERS APP) 

Phone: 0728 776 317

Email: info@masomomsingi.co.ke

 

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