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Developments in Computing When were computers first used? What were they like? How have they changed since? How have things advanced in your lifetime?

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Presentation on theme: "Developments in Computing When were computers first used? What were they like? How have they changed since? How have things advanced in your lifetime?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Developments in Computing When were computers first used? What were they like? How have they changed since? How have things advanced in your lifetime? What are the consequences of these changes?

2 History Computers have only been around since the 1940s The first commercially available computers appeared in the 1950s Computers have revolutionised the way offices operate The picture on the right shows a typical Victorian office – what do you notice about it?

3 Pre-History What sort of things in the modern office, school or shop wouldn’t have existed 50 years ago? –Computers –Printers –Photo-copiers –Fax-machines –Mobile phones –The internet –Databases

4 Your Lifetime How has ICT changed things in your lifetime? In my lifetime I have seen the introduction of: –Calculators instead of log tables & slide rules –Barcodes in shops –Itemised bills and receipts –The worldwide web – access to lots more information –Improved broadcasting – digital television, RDS, PVRs, etc. –Digital video, music and photos –Miniaturisation – enables us to carry mobile computing devices and take video, music and photos –Increased processing power, making games much more realistic

5 Performing Calculations

6 Computer History The picture below shows a typical computer of the 1940s In what ways is it obviously different from a modern computer?

7 Mainframes – 1950s The earliest computers were what we now call mainframe computers The first commercially available computers appeared in the 1950s (e.g. LEO, shown right) Mainframe computers centralise the processing and use dumb terminals, which are often text only – they do no processing or storage, they are just monitors and keyboards

8 Mainframes Terminals are cheap It’s easy to add another terminal No software to configure on the terminals Background processing can continue after logout Space – large computer room required! Security – people can use it from anywhere Speed – fast connection required for quality graphics Limited facilities – no local printers, disc drives, etc.

9 Individual PCs – late 70s When integrated circuits (“chips”) made computers small and affordable, everyone could have their own – processing was dispersed throughout the organisation This changed the way people worked - everyone had access to data processing facilities and could word- process their own letters – no more typing pools!

10 Networking When networking is added, dispersed systems become distributed systems Shared hardware, software and data Can share templates for letters, etc. Improved communications Centralised management of users, backups, etc. Dependency - server or cable failure affects all users (potentially!) Security issues - passwords, restricted access, viruses, etc. Performance - network slows down under load

11 Client-Server Database Server Application or web-site Client Request for information Results of query The database is centralised The application or web-site itself contains no data Data stored & maintained centrally Can connect remotely - e.g. from home Improved security - data is not stored by the client Less traffic as only parts of the data are transferred Less secure as users may connect from anywhere Communication cost for remote connections Performance?

12 Examples of Client-Server Systems A large proportion of web-sites use client-server architecture – e.g. the Ill Health Team, Google or Amazon. When you log in to our web-site, the web server fetches your information from a database, puts it on a web- page and sends it to you – you can only see your own information, so pages are smaller and relevant to you. When you search on a site like Google or Amazon, the searching is done on the web-server – the results are then sent to you in the form of a web-page. If the search was done on your computer, you’d have to download all of the data in Google, or information about every product on Amazon every time you searched!

13 Competitive Advantage Networking can speed up or simplify business processes - e.g. mail order and customer management For example: –customers can order goods via a web-site, a confirmation is sent, and the goods are dispatched from the warehouse - no money needs to be sent, or order forms filled in and posted. –sometimes the goods can even be downloaded directly from the web-site, e.g. software, video clips. –customers can view their account activity on-line and track orders, and there is less paperwork for the company - they could even have automated “pickers”

14 Case Study - Guardian Royal Exchange Old “manual” system: –an advisor visits the customer, completes forms them to the head office –actuaries at the head office produce the “illustration” (quotation) and send it to the advisor –the advisor returns to customer with the illustration –if the customer agrees, the “proposal” form is completed and the paperwork is sent off to the head office There was a 60% rejection rate due to proposals being completed incorrectly, or illustrations being done for ineligible customers, etc.

15 Case Study - Guardian Royal Exchange New “computerised” method: –The advisor visits the customer with his laptop and enters the customers personal details –The software suggests suitable products and performs “illustrations” –If the customer chooses to buy, the “proposal” is completed on the laptop and printed immediately. –Back at the office, the advisors laptop uploads the policy data to the server at head office. Using this method, the advisor can complete the sale in one visit, and use of cross-field validation, etc., reduced the rejection rate to less than 2%!

16 Social Implications There can be resistance to using new technology –this can lead to systems lying unused –in the GRE example, so few advisors wanted to use the laptops that they introduced a higher commission rate for policies transmitted electronically The workforce will need to be trained to use new systems Sometimes companies introduce new ICT systems with the intention of reducing the workforce - in the GRE example they would have been able to get rid of head office actuarial staff

17 Social Implications Are there fewer jobs now, because some jobs can be done by a computer or robot? …or are there more jobs, because hardware and software needs to be designed, made and sold? Are people less sociable now, because they can shop, work, and learn from home? …or are people more sociable now, because they can use social networking sites and share their thoughts and photos in blogs? Are people better informed now because of the internet? …or is the internet being used to spread propaganda, conspiracy theories, and other unhelpful material? Does CCTV make you feel safer? …or does it make you feel watched?

18 Environmental Impact What impact does ICT have on the environment? Does it reduce CO 2 emissions because we can shop from home? …or does it increase CO 2 emissions because we need to have everything delivered? Do we use more paper because we print lots of things? …or do we use less paper because we can and text instead of writing letters? Does working, learning and shopping from home use more energy because we’re powering lots of homes? … or does it use less energy, because we don’t need to drive to places and heat shops and offices?

19 Other Issues Information overload – we can access more information than we can actually process! Are we trading quality for convenience? –Is digital radio/television better for the consumer, or just better for the broadcaster, because they can cram in more channel/adverts? –Does downloading MP3s replace the pleasure of browsing in record shops? Or does it just restrict the choice for music fans? –Are digital photos better than ones taken on film? “Early adopters” are required by manufacturers to introduce new technology, but often get a raw deal: –e.g. problems with early versions of software, such as Windows Vista –e.g. specifications change, making early hardware redundant (and, with DAB, a reduction in the quality from the promised “CD-quality”) –Using lossy compression on your media to save space, and then finding that storage becomes cheaper and you didn’t need to do it


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