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How do you configure hardware and software

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Introduction

How do you configure hardware and software A computer system is made up from various components, some of which are inside the "system unit", some of which are outside, and some of which are used to communicate with the user (see also User Interfaces, and Chapters 32 and 33 of Heathcote). Peripherals Peripherals are hardware devices attached to the computer system that expand the capabilities of the system. They are attached via an electrical connection (e.g. they are plugged into one of the ports at the back of the computer), and generally require some software running on the computer to control or "drive" them (see Drivers). Examples of peripherals are things such as: * Printers * Plotters * Scanners * Barcode readers Storage Devices Computers need to store information, in order that it can be retrieved, searched, sorted, etc. There are two types of storage used by computers: Primary Storage: This is the computers "main memory", or RAM (Random Access Memory). RAM is so-called because the information can be accessed by the processor in any order, unlike the information on, say, a tape, which always comes in sequence. When we say that the computers in the school have 16Mb (mega-bytes) of memory, it is the primary storage we are talking about. The programs you are currently running, and in most cases the data they are using (e.g. ...read more.

Middle

Daisy wheel printers are limited to only one font (unless you change the wheel) and are not capable of producing text in different orientations (e.g. landscape), or graphics. The two most common types of printer are ink jet (or "Bubble Jet") and laser printers. These are both non-impact methods. Ink jet printers effectively spray the ink onto the page; this can make the output quite wet if large areas are covered (e.g. a picture is printed). They can also be quite fussy about the sort of paper used; if it is too absorbent, then the ink will spread like in blotting paper, and if the paper isn't absorbent enough, then the ink will set on the surface and take longer to dry, therefore being prone to smudging. Laser printers don't use ink at all, but a black powder called toner, which is melted onto the paper by a hot roller. This means that you need to be careful when using transparencies and labels as they can melt (in the case of labels, the adhesive backing can melt and the labels can come off and stick on the roller). Laser printers are generally faster, but more expensive (especially if you want colour) than ink jet printers. Ink jet and laser printers are described in more detail in Heathcote, page 149. Display Devices The computer's output is normally displayed on a monitor, or Visual Display Unit (VDU). ...read more.

Conclusion

You will not be able to use certain fonts that a printer may support, for example, if the word processor you are using will not let you select that font, or if you are printing from, say, Notepad. Also, there is no point in you being able to scan things in 24-bit colour (i.e. 16 million colours) if your monitor cannot display that many, or you need to save the image as a GIF (GIFs only support 256 colours; if you want more colours than that, save your picture as a jpeg). Some modern printer drivers are applications in their own right, and have minimum hardware requirements specified. The drivers for my printer at home, for example, will not run on a 386. Examination Questions When installing or configuring a particular word processing package, the documentation states that the correct printer driver must also be installed. What is a printer driver, and why is it necessary? (1997) A company sells a range of health foods at five different shops. It also sells directly to the home from a number of vehicles. There are hundreds of different items of stock and many items are seasonal, so items in stock are constantly changing. Customers purchase goods and pay by cash, cheque or credit card. The company is considering a computerised system to help manage sales and stock control. Discuss the capabilities and limitations of current * communications devices, * input devices, * output devices and * storage devices appropriate for establishing a computerised system for this company. (1997) ...read more.

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