Digital Revolution and Digitization
Columbia Southern University
Advantages and Disadvantages of Magnetic Storage, Optical Storage, and Solid State Storage
There are many factors that go into the different types of storage and how they are used today. Each type of storage has its pros and cons and how they perform with the job they were made to do. Versatility, durability, capacity, access time, and transfer rate all come into play when choosing the right type of storage for the task it is needed for. Storage used for a college student would differ greatly than that used for a military operation where durability would be a great factor.
Magnetic Storage. Magnetic storage is also called hard drives. These are the most widely used types of storage today and can be found in almost all types of laptops and desktop computers. It uses magnetic charges on a metal disc to store data and due to the high speed of the disc, the data can be accessed at a very fast rate. It can be installed permanently into a computer, or used as an additional hard drive to take around with you to transfer data from one computer to another. The cost of a magnetic storage unit is very low considering how much storage space you receive. With all the advantages of a magnetic storage device, there are however some disadvantages. Due to the fact that it uses magnetic charges in order to store data, it gradually loses its charge when not in use and can cause data to be lost. Also due to it having many small and intricate moving parts, it is acceptable to mechanical problems. The magnetic storage unit would be a poor choice for say a Military operation where durability is a main factor, but for say an author who wants to store his writing, would suit him perfectly.
Optical Storage. Optical storage is a plastic disc that uses lens and lasers to write and read stored information. There are many different types of disc such as CD’s, DVD’s, and Blu-Ray’s. The storage capacity of the disc varies by the model but is limited. A CD is very light weight and can easily be transported but at the same time is very easily scratched which can cause a failure in reading the data. Also only certain optical storage devices can re-write over old data, where as a magnetic or solid-state storage can be re-written time and time again.
Solid-State Storage. Solid-state storage or flash memory, are becoming more and more popular and has the ability to one day replace magnetic storage all together. Solid-state storage comes in many different sizes and can hold a large amount of data in a small device. The storage uses no moving parts and is the fastest of the three in accessing and writing data. Another benefit of not having any moving parts is it makes it extremely durable. Solid-state drives however are acceptable to power spikes and magnetic fields where it can damage the unit and cause memory loss. As you get higher in the storage capacity, solid-state storage units can become very expensive.
A Microprocessor and Its Relationship to Software
A microprocessor is a small component that is responsible for completing task asked of the computer. It controls everything from the boot up sequence to executing commands. A microprocessor can be found in almost all electronic devices ranging from a simple LED flashlight to a cell phone and all also some Military weapons. A microprocessor is useless without anything to tell it what to do, that is where software comes in. Software tells the microprocessor what to do and in what order to boot up in, called the operating system. Software also is what tells the microprocessor to do certain task and what other components within the computer it needs to perform those tasks.
The Four Different Types of Memory
RAM. RAM (random access memory) consist of several microchips that temporarily hold data. When a computer is powered on, the RAM holds data such as application instructions and the operating system so when needed it is quickly available. RAM is not used for permanently storing data as when it loses power all the stored data is wiped off.
Virtual Memory. When the RAM becomes full it begins to use a small portion of the hard drive. That small portion used as temporary RAM is called virtual memory. It acts just like RAM and performs the same task, but due to it using the hard drive it can cause the computer to become sluggish and lack performance.
ROM. ROM (read only memory) is a circuit that is hardwired unlike RAM where it is easily removable and upgradeable. ROM is reprogrammable but is not done easily. It holds firmware that in most cases cannot be changed or removed. ROM also once powered down does not lose its data.
EEPROM. EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read-only memory) performs the same tasks as ROM but with the ability to be re-written. Using special machines and software, a EEPROM can be erased and reprogrammed but can take a lot longer than the speed of RAM.
Computer Programs, System Software, Operating Systems, and Application
Software and how they differ.
A computer program is a set of instructions needed in order for a computer to execute a specific task. Different types of software are used in order for the computer program to carry out either a task asked by the operator or performed by the computer itself. When the operator asks the computer to carry out a certain task, it uses application software. Application software can be used in computers and also mobile devices such as a cell phone. When a person wants to find a route on a map they open the application and search the address. The application software then calculates the route and presents it to the user. Although the application software is what executes the request, it is the system software that communicates with the computer in order for the request to be carried out. System software also is what keeps the computer or device running smoothly and efficiently. A large part of the system software is the operating system. Where the operating system may not help someone type a report on a word application, it stores the file on the hard drive and when requested, it retrieves it.
The Significance of Digitization and Its Impact on The Digital
Revolution in Reference to Data Representation, Processing, and Security
Digitization is what happens when an item such as a song, picture, or book, is converted for use in digital devices. Before where if you wanted to send someone a picture you had to take the picture, develop the film, print the picture, and mail it to the recipient. Now a day it is as simple as taking a picture with your phone and sending it to the recipient via text or e-mail all because of digitization. In the 1990s when the ownership of personal computers raised significantly it was due to the availability of the internet and web to the public. Digitization made this all possible and the digital revolution took off. Digitalized data could now be viewed worldwide from your home. Before where you had to go to the library to read a book you can now simply perform a search for it and get it in a digital form. Where for the public this was a great leap, for businesses it was major. In the early times of data processing, businesses were limited to keeping track of time cards and payroll, but now digitization has made it possible for them to know what is selling the best and where. In return the business can grow faster using programs that track all the sales for them. Another great outcome of digitization and the digital revolution is security. Home security systems can now be viewed using your phone half way around the world. Banking can be done from your living room with very little risk of hacking. Now with the benefits it also comes with its risks. With taking the human interaction out of say banking, it is much easier for someone to steal your identity. When everything becomes a number then it can be used by anyone and anywhere. Although Digitalization has made everything so much easier and accessible, caution is still needed. When something is put onto the web there is no way to take it back and the more the world transforms into the digital revolution the more security is needed. But with the risk, digitalization has made things possible today that where only dreams 50 years ago. Imagine where we will be in 50 more years.