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NEW ENTRANT TO SCRIBBD-----A SET OF ARTICLES ON COMPUTERS /ONLY FOR CHILDREN

BY SBVR SHASTRY

1. MINIATURISATION OF COMPUTER (BY SBVR SHASTRY)

When computers were first invented around 1940 each computer had very big
sized
components. A single computer required 15 or 20 almirahs of airconditioned space
in a big a/c hall. Construction of only one or two such computers(i.e fast
calculating
machines which could solve lakhs of mathematical problems of the military
engineers
in a second) was ordered by U.S. military as a purely military project. A single

computer costed about 2 crores rupees . But today's pocket calculater costing
rs 50/-is more powerful than those anicient machines!this is how it is explained.

A few decades after introduction of the giant size calculating machines by the
US
military, scientists succeded in creating very small transistor
circuits(i.e.electronic
circuits) called "printed circuits".These circuit units were smaller than a
match box
and were meant for use in computers. These tiny parts had in side them all the
necessory
electronic circuits required for use in computers.These tiny parts could be mass
produced.
As a result the size of computer itself decreased very much. The computer, was
now the
size of a tv set and was called(technically categorised) as MINI.The cost also
decreased
though the computer became more powerful in its data processing and problem
solving
capacity.It was also easier to operate.Powerful 'operating
systems'(i.e.automatic way
of fully controlling computer by the computer's own brain) were invented. Many
middle
level businesses and institiutions like universities,govt departments began to
purcase MINIs.But they were still very costly and not quite usable from an
ordinary
person's view.

After this came the real revolution---still more extreme miniaturisation of


computer
circuits (i.e.transistorised logic circuits). Millions of complicated circuits
required
for managing an entire computer could be assembled on a small silicon crystal
of the size of a shirt button!The process of miniaturisation has accelerated year
by year
and still has not quite stopped .At present twenty million transistor circuits
can be chemically etched in to the shirt button-sized silicon chip by software
programmes.
The small computer in our house is powered by such a very powerful processor.
Only because of the micro processor chip the the robot,cell phone,notebook
computer,
the digital camera."ipod" and other electronic wonders have become possible.
Also only because of it,error-free and most efficent and powerful networking
in LAN,WAN,INTERNET have become possible

2. how computers are linked and arranged (BY SBVR


SHASTRY)

Since the early computers(MINIs) were very costly, even a big business or
university
or govt department could purchase only one computer in those days.All the MEMORY
(i.e thinking and data recording part of computer) was centralised in the single
big MINI.
So several terminals looking like typewriters or printers were
connected to the computer by specially built coaxial cables. Some of these
terminals
were for typing in information into the centralised brain and some to print the
output
( answer given by computer).There used to be dozens of terminals all working in
the same campus.
The terminals as mentioned earlier had no thinking/processing part but were only
input/output devices.The central computer( MINI) was kept in a
extremely clean a/c room.Keeping in view this configuration scientists developed
the early "operating systems". Operating systems are very powerful software
within computer which give self regulating and self managing capacity to
computer.
The famous UNIX operating system is such a one.It has a central powerful computer
and small computers connected to it.

The CLIENT-SERVER model is the principle behind many computers having a


powerful
central computer connected to many small computers.It is like the arrangement of
a bank manager helped by several counter clerks to deal with public at counter.
The counter staff type all data relating to deposits/withdrawals as and when
transaction
occurs. The central computer accepts each entry
(after checking) and sends that data to the big DATABASE in its central memory.
The central computer maintains many such huge huge data bases for different
categories
of work.All the important data arising in the terminals is sent to the central
computer
(called SERVER) for safe preservation.The terminals have to get every transaction

done in them okayed by the SERVER. Any person sitting at any of the terminal has
to have
a password i.e.a gate pass.Otherwise the terminal and central computer simply
block
entry of all data.

Another view of client server model(the real view) is behind most of the
work
we do on internet.It also works in systems like automatic enquiry countetrs such
as
those in ralway stations, banks,bus stations,aerodromes,telephone offices, etc.The
member of
public uses the CLIET machine. They are connected to the central
computer which is called the SERVER(i.e a kind of chief manager who provides
required
data to any client).The customer at the CLIENTS type their questionin with proper
computer code words.The SERVER sends the answers to
the CLIENT in millionth of a second. The client asks for some data stored in
server and
the server retrieves it and sends it to client in millionth of second.

In course of time computers became cheap.But the processing power and memory
capacity
increased. Business people ,government oganisations,banks etc could purchase
several equally powerful computers. Then it became possible for each section of
office(like salessecton,purchases section etc) to keep its data in a powerful
computer
kept in that section instead of sending to some central computer. However the
computers
were kept inter connected to draw data from each other whenever required.
So the client-server type configuration lost its
predominant positoion.At present in many networked configurations most of the
computers in the network are treated as equals i.e peers.The communicatio
between
computers became peer to peer.However there is always a chief computer i.e. the
all powerful SERVER where data from all sections is finally locked up.

Nowadays all the computers in a office or campus are inter connected by


LAN/ETHERNET
type grouping. LAN means local area connection. Members of a LAN can
intercommuinicate
without difficulty. But to communicate with a faraway computerin another LAN
within
the city or outside the ROUTER COMPUTER of each LAN has to permit. The router
of one
LAN first establishes connection only to router of the other LAN i.e.first the
routers
of the concerned LANs come into contact and then establish connection to its
Own member computers with member computers of other LANS

There is a most fundamental differance between client- server and peer-to-peer


models.
In client- server all data is finally preserved in central memory of server and
terminals
are switched of at end of day after their memory chips are cleared of all data
and
erased. But in peer-to- peer model all the final data is preserved with in memory
of
each computer.each computer itself is powerful with big memory section
and has permission to keep all data.It need not send to any other computrer. Thus
it
became possible to keep categorywise data in different powerful computers
avoiding the
inconvenience of keeping all data in a single very costly machine. In PEER TO
PEER
model whenever required the members could draw data from or send data to each
other as already
mentioned.This method is called distributed computing which is an important
concept
in computing.

3. THE OPERATING SYSTEMS IN COMPUTERS (BY SBVR


SHASTRY)

The famous MSDOS(microsoft disc operating system) was extremely suitable for
the
small computers. It was mostly responsible forlarge increase in sale of small
'personal
computers'. A small magnetised plastic disc which could store millions of 0's and
1's in
circular tracs(like a grammaphone record) recorded an entire" operating system"
(OS),to help
the computer to manage all its work by itself--the starting and stopping of
computer,
checking all electric and electronic circuits and informing the human
operator,alloting work
to different inside parts of computer,alloting time by turns to different parts to

use the inside and outside facilities etc. All this could be done by the floppy
and
even a school boy or an educated housewife could work on the computer to do
exciting and
interesting work just by giving commands in specified English code words. The
IBM company produced small size table top computers and the Microsoft company
produced the MS DOS( floppy disc operating system record).The sales of computers
jumped
suddenly with many homes,college students,schools,small businesses wanting a
computer,
the magic machine.The small home/office computer of to day is called micro or
personal computer.

Soon came the still more popular MS WINDOWS operating system. Its upgraded
versions from time to time are known as windows-95,windows -98, windows
2000,windows-NT
and the latest is WINDOWS VISTA. along with Windows OS came the" Mouse"
facility and has made computer operation easy for even a primary school
student.Computer
sales have first jumped from hundreds of thousands to hundreds of millions.
The personal computer (i.e PC or MICRO)can be ussed as part of small office
networks
or as 'stand alone machines'. The powerful language
called 'c' and its advanced version'c++' also helped popularise use of personal
computers
as "Stand alones". The computer at home was like a big proffesor sitting in your
home.

Simlarly in modern networked environment in which there are hundreds of


thousands
of computer LAN and WAN networks which are all again interconnected as
INTERNET,
the famous JAVA language and its dependent group of languages run the show.
With out JAVA there is no Internet.One more fact about mustle power of modern
computer we can mention.It can process textual,audio and visual data with equal
ease
That means it can type or print like type writer,play song and music or speech
files or can play cinema and vedeos with sound and music.This type of capacity is
called Multimedia.This became possible only because of modern microchips and the
Windows and Mouse environment.

The astounding fact behind functioning of all modern


computer
systems and computer groupings is this.The shirt button sized silicon chip
called
the MICROPROCESSOR which functions inside every modern computer (and cell phone)
has inside it about twenty million transistor circuits. A single
such silicon chip runs the entire operations of a modern compurer by managing of
and
giving commands to each and every part in side the computer. The micro processor
chips
have most complicated circuits etched on molecular scale inside them with the
help of specially programmed super computers.Production of such chips is an
extremely
costlyaffair. To produce such chips on a mass scale costs a few crores ofrupees
per one hour!

4.NEW PHANTASIES ENACTED BY COMPUTERS (BY SBVR SHASTRY)

Speaking not from a technical view but from a utility view we can say
that we have aready entered the "next generation "in computing. We have Notebook
computers which we can carry any where. They have extremely powerful memories
i.e thinking and data storage facilities.They can be used as E-text books,E-
notebooks,
E-novels. A student can put physics text book in its memory in the physics class
and
then chemistry text book in chemistry class simply by ordering new data into it
through the
library network. Then you can change the database in the memory and read a novel
by Thomas
Hardy or an anthology of poems by Rabindranath Tagore by clicking the library
network.

The "Personal Digital Assistants" are computers which ably do the work of a

personal secretery if only you feed relevant daily data in to it. It maintains
your daily business diary,reminds you of engagements,gives recorded answers
to incoming phonecalls (in permitted routine matters)and records the incoming
answer in your
absence,updates your expenditure records,tax staements etc. USB is a device
which
looks like a key but is an external COMPUTER MEMORY which you
can carry on your key chain. It can easily contain a 1000 page file.There are high

capacity CDs i.e compact discs which can record a whole dictionary,a whole cinema
or
big song albums in a palm size plastic disc which you can play on your
computer.The
"ipods" which have inside them a small silicon chrystal chip can play 20000
selected
film songs in a perfect manner with out having any moving wheels,motors etc like
the
tape recorder! We have the tiny giant 'the cell phone' which
can connect with any telephone or computer anywhere in the world.
However we have not still mentioned the "read aloud" computers,"smell
emitting" computers(when you are drinking coffee acoffee like smell is emitted
from
inside computer)"humanoid robots" etc. They are all a reality.
There are new concepts like geographical software which can guide your car to
destination in a maze of unfamiliar roads or guide a soldier who lost his way
in mountains and jungles to his army base etc.Most of these have become
possible only because of networking in computers.Networking is a compulsion and
rule.

Let us see a small picture of e-money. Suppose, under huge shady trees in a
clean
garden like atmosphere, there are in the lane next to your house
a hotel,a cloth store,music store,a bookshop and the cigarette selling
kiosk.There
are also a newspaper vender and a fruit and vegetable vender. First you
have tiffin at hotel and put your magnetic credit card(MCC) in the hotel's
computer
for transfer of money from your bank account to that of the hotel.
Then you go to clothstore,purchase a dress and put your MCC in their
computer.Then you
purchase a novel at book shop and then a cigarette pack at the cigarette kiosk
(smoking is injuriuos to health!).You also purchase a newspaper and some
vegetables
and fruits. at all these places you pass your MCC through the computers .since
your computer and the computers in all these shops are connected to the bank
through a highly secure computer network,money is debited from your bank account
and credited to their bank accounts in a second. Then where is the necessity of
paper money or coins?

In a similar way you can order a TV from Japan sitting in your house.
The shop in Japan displays the car vedeo on your computer screen showing
all outside and inside views as desired by you and answer all your queries
through its FAQs(frequently asked questions). He will also play vedeos of real
running demonstration .Since it is a fomous company with great 'goodwill'
you order the TV and then transfer cash to him through reliable and coded cash
exchangwe networks. You have the TV delivered at your doorstep
by air mail in next few days.

5. DATAMINING IS JUST LIKE COALMINING (BY SBVR SHASTRY)

The concept of "Relational Databases" is very important. An entire


set of computer languages has been invented to enable us to feed mountainous
quantities
of data into computer memory. The data is stored in memory neatly in prescribed
interlinked proformas just as we use lots of forms and bound registers with
printed
proformas in every office ,bank and business concern.By giving coded commands in
the
specialised computer languages we can feed data into and also retrieve data
from
the database or the'data mountain' as per our requirement. All computerised
Offices,
banks,business houses,big educational institutions etc feed huge quantities
of data into computers over long periods for permanent preservation.

For example datewise transactions for twenty years for 10 branches of a big
bank are to be preserved in a database.For this purpose the software engineer uses
strict database rules and requires that the institution should provide data only
in
rough computer proformas prescribed by him. the data is to be entered into the
prescribed
profarmas only by trained bank staff or proffessinal "data entry operators".
This laborious work may take a few months or even longer.

Then the software engineer rearranges the data in final revised proformas as per
" Relational Database" storage rules.The "Relational database" proformas are
interrelated
and remove duplication in data storage though there may be numerous cases of
unnecessory repetition in the rough profarmas used at data entry stage. The
Relational Database software
ensures that day's transaction particulars as they happen(and entered in computer
by the counter staff
at time of transactions) flow into the memory files relating to daily,weekly
,monthly
lists etc instantly and automatically.

Frequently the depositor ,counter assistant, accouts manager,inpection


officer
or statistician may ask for some particular data.(ex::what is total
withdrawal in January 2008 in a a/c no 007 ? What is the deposit by Mr.ABCD in
Feb2008 ?
What are datewise trasactions of Mr PQRS from 9th August 2008 to 17th August
2008?).
Any of them can access the Database as prescribed in the accessing rules in
proformas
prescribed for each category of users.The Database gets data from database and
rearranges
data as per their individual requirements and prints in a second on computer
sreen.
This method of asking questions in the prescribed proforma( proforma prescribed
by the
software engineer) and getting reply on the sceen or printer is called"Client-
Server" model.

The entire database technology is constructed on client-server


model.Databases
may be constructed for textual data(like printed text books),
audio data( speeches,songs etc ) vedeo data(cinemas,vedos etc). Nowadays most
computer files and Databases are usually in multimedia i.e textual,audio,vedeo
all combined on every page existing in same database .Databases may be very huge
like huge statistical records of banks,business houses,govt departments of several
decades,
huge telephone directories of metro cities ,a set of a few dozen
huge dictionaries each running to 10000 pages, medical histories of a million
patients of a hospital for a 50 year period Etc.It must first be remembered that
somebody
should first enter all the data in rough proforma presribed by software
engineer.
Somebody should check and certify the correctness of the data.It is even then
equal to
raw data. The Database expert rearranges the data as per" Relational
Database" rules.The Model Proformas for questioning Database are also kept in
a seperate file so that anybody who wants data should use only those proformas.

such huge data storage areas are called datamines and the rules for retrieving
data
from them is called imaginatively as "Datamining". Database languages are called
"Query
languages" i.e language specially developed for the' client-server environment'to

conduct long question-answer sessions.these data bases are normally kept as


external memory in magnetic tape casettes,compact discs,memorychips etc.
database technology has an extremely prominent place in modren
computing as it helps in carefully securing large data in easily accessible
manner.

6. protection to databases and data. ( BY SBVR SHASTRY)

when we think of huge databases in computer we should also think of their


security
--protection against accidental loss/destruction,security to very important
financial,
governmental etc data,maintaining high secrecy by keeping in secret coded state
etc.
what if the computer system of a big bank fails and data regarding all transaction

of the day from morning to evening have evaporated from the magnetic memory.
the big computer center of a government office or a university is completely burnt

in a fire accident.it is a frightening prospect.

to gaurd against such eventualities a procedure called "daily backup" is


folowed
at end of every day by every institution which has computerised all its work
(office,bank,business,college etc) as per international software rules. the
entire
data of transactions of every big institutioni.e.every sigle word and numerical
data typed into the computer on any day is copied, into the "hard disc"(i.e
internal
memory) of a" stand alone computer" outside the network or to specially prepared

high density magnetic tapes,cds(compact dics) etc. compulsorily two or three


copies
are prepared . the cartridge containing a week's entire data is sent to one or
two far away higher controlling offices perhaps in another town .after a few
days
the controlling offices send them back for updating (all the several hundred or
several thousand transactios). the lower office where the backup was originally
done
updates the old backup.the updating is completed in an instant due to the
unbelievable speed
at which data is processed in every computer memory and also as per the back up
rules of relational databases.the backup cartridge is again sent back to the
two or three higher offices concerned for safekeeping. the office copy is also
made
uptodate along with them. if due to a big calamity like fire,flood or
even criminal tampring by computer knowing persons the first copy in office
is lost the higher offices can supply copy from the data preserved in their
offices after taking necessory precautions .

important data like defence department data,high secret governmental data,


similar high secret business or even other private data are kept in
databases and strangers should not be allowed to tamper with them.similarly high
value cheques,defence,governmental,business messages are transmitted
through computernetworks and they should be extremely secretly transmitted.
all important databases are protected by firewallsi.e very extensive intelligent
softwares which put questions in ununderstandable and undecipherable 01010101
codes
containing millions of 0's and 1's.only the person having the "key" the answer
code
can enter.similarly important documents are transmitted in computer networks
in a highly encrypted coded language reversing the words,alphabets,numbers
etc a thousand times.technically it will take months or years to break
such secret computer codes with out the key.governments assisted by
international engineering and science experts have made rules for encryption
and decryption. the" keys" are prepared automatically on computers. for
exampleif two billionaire businessman are talking secret business matters
the encryption and dycryption codes are constructed by those two persons
and no other persons on the earth have access to their secret codes.
also secret networks work over other networks to ensure stability in tranmission.