The Need for Computer Literacy in Modern Society 

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The Need for Computer Literacy in Modern Society

The introduction of new procedures and new technology is said to be disruptive. Many people, particularly the older generation, cannot and do not want to change their ways of life. They tend to be afraid of the new systems. They believe that they won’t be able to learn the new skills and will appear awkward and dumb. Nevertheless, changing technology tends to enforce this on them.

The introduction of computers is said to follow that pattern. Computers have crept into our life. The microcomputer is now widely accepted as a very efficient device for performing many types of operation, such as the display of business and other information from a data base. It is used for performing computations of varying types at high speed including professional, scientific, engineering and accounting calculations for the classroom as well as for word processing in typing and secretarial departments.

In business the computer is known to be a means increasing administrative efficiency, payroll processing, sales, etc.

Therefore the pressure on those who still are unfamiliar with computers and their use is ever greater. So almost everyone will need to become familiar with data processing and computing, particularly microcomputing to a greater or lesser extent. No matter whether we need it in the home, office, school, college or factory, it will be almost as commonplace to use a computer as it is to drive a car.

Computers today are said to become more and more user friendly. That is they are becoming much easier to use and understand. To use a computer in the past, one had to learn computer languages such as FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation) or COBOL (Common Business­ Oriented Language). The learning process was difficult for many students.

Today's computers are much easier to use. Focus in many schools is shifting away from programming computers to using them for managerial decision making a more enjoyable high-level function. Clerks do not need to become involved with the programming of computers as this is the prerogative of the systems staff. Package programs may be used for the various applications in most instances.

Let's make acquaintance now with some of the terms and uses of computers, robots and other high-tech equipment in today's organizations.

Here are selected computer languages:

Ada: A government (especially military) computer language;

ALGOL (Algorithmic Language): math-oriented language used most often for larger computers;

APL (A Programming Language): IBM-devised language useful for math; BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instructional Code); used mostly for math and statistics;

COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language): used for business applications such as billing, payroll, or inventory;

FORTRAN (Formula Translation): used most often for scientific problems;

LISP: Advanced artificial intelligence language for programs that deal with human languages;

LOGO: Language useful for graphics; widely used in schools;

PASCAL: Language that teaches a structured approach to programming; PLl (Programming Language 1): similar to ALGOL, but handless business files better;

PROLOG (Programming Language 1): basic artificial intelligence program.

Due to computer application, a lot of new jobs have appeared.

Systems analysts have the challenging job of analyzing the many functions of the firm and designing a computer system to perform those functions more efficiently. First the systems analysts study how the job is now being performed. Then they design a system to do the job better. To do that, they must learn what information must be collected and processed, what output is needed, what computer capacity is needed, and the costs involved. Systems analysts must explain the system to the various computer users and tell the programmers what the system needs to do.

The greatest increase in computer jobs in the future may be for computer service technicians. During the last decades, companies were busy installing computers. Someone has to maintain and fix those computers. This is a great opportunity for someone to start his or her own service business.

Dozens of careers have evolved because of computers and the information revolution. Someone, for example, must teach people how to use computers (computer trainers). There are computer consultants who advise firms which computer to buy. Computer librarians keep track of all the tapes, disks, and other data storage devices. A data processing manager supervises the data processing center. Computer security specialists try to prevent computer crime. Technical writers write the manuals that tell how to use the computer. Naturally, there are also computer engineers who design computers and manufacturers that produce computers.

There is a device that allows people to stay at home and work with a computer at work. It is called a modem. A modem converts data into a form that can be sent over phone lines so that one computer can "talk" to another.

Another major revolution is occurring in the use of computers to run machines, including robots, i.e. the use of computer-driven machines to do work formerly done by humans. Robot technology has improved dramatically in the last few years. Today, intelligent robots are being used in factories. Some robots can seeand readusing cameras. One robot, for example, detects irregularities in welded seams and corrects any mistakes. Another robot reads identifying numbers in nuclear fuel rods. The newest robots can feel the difference between an egg and a piece of steel and handle each of them accordingly. Some robots even respond to voice commands. Computers linked with robots can perform dirty, difficult, repetitive tasks faster, cheaper, and better than people.

Unit 3

Text Study: Personal Computers.

Additional Text: Application of Personal Computers.

Grammar: The Future Simple Tense.

Text Study

I. Pre-reading Exercises

1. Repeat the words in chorus:

Durations, occupied, generally, onslaught, distinguishing, origi­nally.

2. While reading the text you will come across a number of international words. Try to guess what Ukrainian words they remind of you:

Interactive, hobbyists, technicians, productivity, company, microprocessor.

3. Pay attention to some grammatical points:

1) Personal computers are supposed to appear in the late 1970s. 2) Although these systems would still have been too expensive to be owned by a single individual. 3) During the late 1970s and early 1980s, new models and competitive oper­ating systems seemedto appear daily. 4) In less than a decade the microcomputer has been transformed from a calcula­tor and hobbyist's toy into a personal computer for almost everyone. 5) Regardless of the purpose for which it is used, either for leisure activities in the home or for business applications in the office, we can consider it to be a personal computer.

II. Reading

Read, translate the text and point out the main characteristics of PC.

Personal Computers

Personal computers are supposed to appear in the late 1970s. The capabilities of a personal computerhave changed greatly since the introduction of electronic computers. By the early 1970s, people in academic or research institutions had the opportunity for single person use of a computer system in interactive mode for extended du­rations, although these systems would still have been too expensive to be owned by a single individual. The introduction of the microproces­sor, a single chip with all the circuitry that formerly occupied large cabinets, lead to the proliferation of personal computers after 1975.

Early personal computersgenerally called microcomputers, sold often in kit form and in limited volumes and were of interest mostly to hobbyists and technicians. By the late 1970s, mass-market pre-assembled computers allowed a wider range of people to use com­puters, focusing more on software applications and less on develop­ment of the processor hardware. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, home computers were developed for household use, offering some personal productivity, programming and games, while somewhat larger and more expensive systems (although still low-cost compared with minicom­puters and mainframes) were aimed for office and small business use.

One of the first and most popular personal computers was the Apple II, introduced in 1977 by Apple Computer. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, new models and competitive oper­ating systems seemed to appear daily. Then, in 1981, IBM en­tered the fray with its first personal computer, known as the IBM PC. The IBM PC quickly became the personal computer of choice, and most other personal computer manufacturers fell by the way-side. One of the few companies to survive IBM's onslaught was Apple Computer, which is sure to remain a major player in the personal computer marketplace. In less than a decade the microcomputer has been transformed from a calcula­tor and hobbyist's toy into a personal computer for almost everyone.

What is a personal computer? How can this device be char­acterized?

— First, a personal computer being microprocessor-based, its central processing unit, called a microprocessor unit, or MPU, is concentrated on a single silicon chip.

— Second, a PC has a memory and word size that are small­er than those of minicomputers and large computers. Typical word sizes are 8 or 16 bits, and main memories range in size from 16 К to 512 K.

— Third, a personal computer uses smaller, less expensive, less powerful input, output and storage components than do large computer systems. Most often, input is by means of a keyboard, soft-copy output being displayed on a screen. Hard-copy output is produced on a printer.

A PC employs disks and USB flash drive as the principal online and offline storage devices and also as input and output media.

— Finally, a PC is a general-purpose, stand-alone system that can begin to work when plugged in and be moved from place to place.

Probably the most distinguishing feature of a personal com­puter is that it is used by an individual, usually in an interactive mode. Eventually the market segments lost any technical distinction; busi­ness computers acquired color graphics capacity and sound, and home computers and game systems used the same processors and operating systems as office-bound computers. Even local area networking, origi­nally a way to allow business computers to share expensive mass storage and peripherals, became a standard feature of a home computer.

Regardless of the purpose for which it is used, either for leisure activities in the home or for business applications in the office, we can consider it to be a personal computer.

Vocabulary Notes

circuitry['sWkItrI] схеми

competitive operating systems — конкуруючі операційні системи

IBM (International Business Machine) — фірма, яка виробляє комп’ютери

to enter the fray — встрянути у бійку

computer of choice — кращий комп’ютер

to fall by the wayside — залишитись збоку, уступити дорогу

to survive onslaught[sq'vaIv 'OnslLt] — витримати конкуренцію

word size — розмір слова

soft-copy output — недокументальні вихідні дані (зображені на екрані)

hard-copy output —друковані копії вихідних даних

online storage['stLrIdZ] — неавтономне зберігання даних

offline storage — автономне зберігання даних окремо від комп’ютера

input media — носій для вхідних даних

output media — носій для вихідних даних

to employ[Im'plOI]використовувати

general-purpose — універсальний, загального призначення

stand-alone — автономний

to plug in [plAg In] — підключати; під’єднувати

office-bound['OfIs baund]computer — комп’ютер призначений лише для офісної роботи


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