Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
COM 18
A smart card , which is similar in size to a credit card or ATM card, stores data on a thin
microprocessor embedded in the card. When you insert the smart card in a specialized card
reader, the information on the card is read and, if necessary, updated (Figure 26). Uses of smart
cards include storing medical records, tracking customer purchases, storing a prepaid amount
of money, and authenticating users, such as for Internet purchases.
A communications device is a hardware component that enables a computer to send (transmit)
and receive data, instructions, and information to and from one or more computers. A widely
used communications device is the telephone or cable modem (Figure 1 on page COM 2).
Communications occur over transmission media such as telephone lines, cables, cellular radio
networks, and satellites. Some transmission media, such as satellites and cellular radio networks,
are wireless , which means they have no physical lines or wires. People around the world use
computers and communications devices to communicate with each other using one or more
transmission media.
Computer software is the key to productive use of computers. With the correct software, a
computer can become a valuable tool. Software can be categorized into two types: system software
and application software.
System Software
System software consists of programs to control the operations of computer equipment. An
important part of system software is a set of programs called the operating system. Instructions in
the operating system tell the computer how to perform the functions of loading, storing, and
executing an application program and how to transfer data. For a computer to operate, an operating
system must be stored in the computer’s memory. When a computer is turned on, the operating
system is loaded into the computer’s memory from auxiliary storage. This process is called booting .
Today, most computers use an operating system that has a graphical user interface GUI )that (
provides visual cues such as icon symbols to help the user. Each icon represents an application
such as word processing, or a file or document where data is stored. Microsoft Windows Vista
(Figure 27) and Windows XP, Apple Mac OS X, and Linux are four popular personal computer
operating systems.
For more information,
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Operating Systems.
smart card
A smart card and smart card reader.
FIGURE 27 A graphical user interface, such as Microsoft
Windows Vista, makes the computer easier to use.
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