Computer Confluence IT Edition

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9780130661852: Computer Confluence IT Edition

Computer Confluence Business Edition explores the promises and challenges of information technology, its effect on businesses, people, society, and the future. Topics include Computer Currents, Hardware Basics, Revolution in Writing, and Networking and Communication. For professionals in the information technology field.

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About the Author:

George Beekman is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Computer Science at Oregon State University. An innovative computer literacy course he created more than a decade ago served as the inspiration for Computer Confluence. He has since designed several classes in interactive multimedia and the social and ethical issues surrounding information technology. He coordinates multimedia components of OSU's New Media program, which focuses on the digital convergence of multimedia, telemedia, and print media. George Beekman has taught workshops in computer literacy and multimedia for students, educators, and economically disadvantaged families from the Atlantic to Alaska. He has written more than 20 books on computers, information technology, and multimedia, as well s more than 100 articles and reviews for Macworld and other popular publications. In his spare time he runs, rides his bike, and plays music with his friends.

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Confluence 1: a coming or flowing together, meeting, or gathering at one point (a happy confluence of weather and scenery);
2a: the flowing together of two or more streams;
b: the place of meeting of two streams;
c: the combined stream formed by conjunction
Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Electronic Edition

When powerful forces come together, change is inevitable. As we enter the 21st century, we're standing at the confluence of three powerful technological forces: computers, telecommunications, and electronic entertainment. The computer's digital technology is showing up in everything from telephones to televisions, and the lines that separate these machines are eroding. This digital convergence is rapidly—and radically—altering the world's economic landscape. Start-up companies and industries are emerging to ride the waves of change. Some thrive; others dive into oblivion. Meanwhile, older organizations reorganize, regroup, and redefine themselves to keep from being washed away.

Smaller computers, faster processors, smarter software, larger networks, new communication media—in the world of information technology, it seems like change is the only constant. In less than a human lifetime, this technological cascade has transformed virtually every facet of our society—and the transformation is just beginning. As old technologies merge and new technologies emerge, far-fetched predictions routinely come true. This headlong rush into the high-tech future poses a challenge for all of us: How can we extract the knowledge we need from the deluge of information? What must we understand about information technology to successfully navigate the waters of change that carry us into the future? Computer Confluence: Exploring Tomorrow's Technology is designed to aid travelers on their journey into that future.

What Is Computer Confluence?

Computer Confluence presents computers and information technology on three levels:

  • Explanations: Computer Confluence clearly explains what a computer is and what it can (and can't) do; it clearly explains the basics of information technology, from multimedia PCs to the Internet and beyond.
  • Applications: Computer Confluence illustrates how computers and networks can be used as practical tools to solve a wide variety of problems.
  • Implications: Computer Confluence puts computers in a human context, illustrating how information technology affects our lives, our world, and our future.

The book consists of 18 chapters, numbered 0 through 17 in the grand tradition of computer science. Chapter 0, ReadMe, new to this edition, provides an introduction for students who have little or no experience with PCs and the Internet. The chapter also includes an orientation to the Computer Confluence book, CD-ROM, and Web site.

The remaining chapters are organized into five broad sections:

  1. Approaching Computers: Hardware and Software Fundamentals
  2. Using Computers: Essential applications
  3. Exploring with Computers: Networks and Gateways
  4. Mastering Computers: Issues, Algorithms, and Intelligence
  5. Living with Computers: Information Age Implications

Throughout the five parts, the book's focus flows from the concrete to the controversial and from the present to the future. Individual chapters have a similarly expanding focus. After a brief introduction, each chapter flows from basic concepts toward abstract, future-oriented questions and ideas.

About this Edition

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit on it.
— Pat Koppman

The pace of change threatens to make even the most successful introductory computer classes irrelevant. Computer Confluence, Fifth Edition, helps students and instructors deal with rapid changes by emphasizes big ideas, broad trends, and the human aspects of technolgy—critical concepts that tend to remain constant even while hardware and software change. Every edition of Computer Confluence is rewritten to reflect changes in the technological landscape. This edition places new emphasis on the latest Web technologies, electronic commerce, multimedia trends, and emerging software platforms such as Windows XP, Linux, and Mac OS-X, and Palm OS. Here's a list of highlights new to this edition:

  • Chapter 0, "ReadMe," is brand new. It addresses the most commonly reported problem of introductory computer concepts classes—the diverse backgrounds of students in those classes. Many instructors report that the majority of their new students have some PC and Internet experience. These students don't need to be told about keyboarding, using a CD-ROM, or navigating a Web site. But if these topics aren't covered, the inexperienced students are at a distinct disadvantage. The ReadMe Chapter is designed for those beginners, so they can fill in the gaps in their knowledge before launching into the rest of the book, the CD-ROM, and the Web site. The chapter also includes an orientation to all three components of Computer Confluence that includes time-saving tips for everyone.
  • Chapter 1, "Computer Currents: From Calculation to Connection," has been streamlined and updated; some of the most basic material has been moved to Chapter 0.
  • Chapter 2, "Hardware Basics: Inside the Box," and Chapter 3, "Hardware Basics: Peripherals," have been updated with coverage of state-of-the-market hardware. There's a more practical emphasis on equipment that students will encounter in their day-to-day computing experience. An expanded section on disk technology helps students make sense of the ever-growing list of storage options, from rewritable CDs to DVD-R. This edition also includes updated coverage of USB and FireWire (IEEE 1394), modern I/O standards that are taking center stage in new machines. Chapter 3 now includes Computer Consumer Concepts, a Rules of Thumb box that illuminates the concepts behind PC buyer's guides.
  • Chapter 4, "Software Basics: The Ghost in the Machine," has been updated and streamlined. User's View boxes covering Windows XP and Mac OS X are now in Chapter 0. Chapter 4 includes examples and explanations of Linux, UNIX, and other operating systems to provide a broader perspective for students familiar with PCs. The chapter includes an updated Rules of Thumb box, Green Computing, containing tips for minimizing our technological impact on the environment.
  • Chapter 5, "Revolution in Writing: from Word Processing to Paperless Publishing," reflects its new title with expanded coverage of publishing for the web, electronic books, and speach input for word processors. The basic word processing material has been condensed.
  • Chapter 7, "Graphics, Hypermedia, and Mutlimedia," includes new desktop video material, with coverage of nonlinear video editing and desktop DVD authoring. The image editing User's View box has been completely reworked using the latest version of Photoshop. The material on multimedia Web publishing has been updated and expanded.
  • Chapter 9, "Networking and Telecommunication," has been reorganized and updated to reflect changes in this dynamic industry. A new section on wireless communication introduces several important wireless technologies.
  • Chapter 10, "Inside the Internet and the Web," and Chapter 8, "From Internet to Information Infrastructure," replace the previous edition's Chapter 7. The new Chapter 7 includes clear explanations of basic Internet technology, including protocols, addresses, and connections. There's expanded coverage of DSL, cable modems, and wireless Internet connections. There's also more on dynamic Web tools, multimedia Web technology, and database-driven Web sites. The chapter includes a new Rules of Thumb box, Weaving Winning Web Sites. Chapter 8 opens with a new profile of Web visionary Tim Berners-Lee. The chapter focuses on the ways people put the Internet to work, including expanded coverage of search engines, portals, email, newsgroups, teleconferencing, peer-to-peer computing, grid computing, and electronic commerce.
  • Chapter 12, "Computer Security and Risks," has been updated with the latest data on computer crime and security. The chapter now includes discussions of fair use, the potential for abuse of intellectual property laws, and several controversial cases involving the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. There's more of an ethical emphasis in the expanded and updated section called "Security, Privacy, Freedom, and Ethics: The Delicate Balance."
  • Chapter 15, "Computers at Work," and Chapter 16, "Computers at School and Home," have been condensed and updated with more current examples and discussions of electronic commerce.
  • Chapter 17, "Inventing the Future," is also downsized and updated. Since the short-term future of technology is explored throughout the book, this chapter looks further down the road, with discussions of optical computing, sensory computing, ubiquitous computing, microtechnology, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and artificial life. As in previous editions, the chapter ends by giving this futuristic technology a human context; the final pages raise difficult questions and pose ethical challenges for all of us.
  • Crosscurrents articles that close each chapter are, with a few exceptions, new to this edition. They include some of the best short essays on our relationship to technology that have been published in the past year. Topics include the role of information technology in terrorism, the erosion of personal privacy, the abuse of intellectual property laws, software reliability, machine intelligence, and our future as borgs.
  • The CD-ROM has been updated with new multimedia material and interactive explorations.
  • The Web site (www.prenhall.com/beekman) is continually updated to refle...

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