February 25, 2017 at 8:56 pm #4114
Animation Pagoda StaffModerator
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Analog vs. Digital
Analog technology can be used to store information in a solid state. Film, VCRs, Floppy disks, CDs, Records, Clocks, and old NES cartridges can be considered analog technology. Analog has fallen out of favor since digital storage can store far more memory in less space. Digital information can also be backed up on cloud storage, which is useful if hardware gets damaged or destroyed. Analog technology has one advantage in that it cannot be hacked remotely, because it doesn’t connect to a wireless network.
RAM vs. ROM
Random Access Memory is impermanent memory storage on a computer that gets deleted when the computer is shut down. Read-Only Memory is more permanent and cannot be altered directly, it can only be read. Computers operate using ROM.
Refined silicon is used in electronic manufacturing for its high semiconductor properties. Only a small amount of industry grade silicon is needed to create an integrated circuit wafer. These wafers will be built into the motherboard of a computer or electronic device.
Computers have developed in three major steps. The first generation of room-sized computers used vacuum tubes, which were bulky and fairly unreliable. The tubes constantly had to be replaced by hand when they stopped working. These computers could only perform math calculations and all input and output was completely analog. There wasn’t a mouse, keyboard, or display monitor. Information was stored by punching binary holes onto paper strips that could be fed into the machine.
Transistor computers were developed in the 1950’s and lasted until the 1960’s. They used magnetic memory cores, which are a non-volatile means of safely storing memory. Magnetic cores were eclipsed when semiconductors were invented, which reduced manufacturing costs and allowed increased memory storage. Modern Third Generation computers use integrated circuits, silicon wafers, and other processors and drivers to perform complex tasks that early computer scientists could only dream of.
Electrical currents are used to transfer energy and signals. Direct current is generally used for power transfer cables. Alternating current forms a sine wave that can carry encapsulated data, such as the type used to stream video or audio. A transmitter and receiver are required to convert signals into a form people can use.
When large files are transferred or read, the computer cannot download the entire file at once. Instead, it must gradually send over parcels of data bits. The amount of data that can be transferred per iteration is the bit rate.
Computers sample at a set rate each time they download, which alters the original source very slightly. This means that re-downloading the same file multiple times will eventually cause degradation of the file quality.
Modems, Servers, and Wireless Networks
Servers are large data storage centers that generally comprise of several hundred or several thousand computer hard drives stacked together. These centers can be linked together to form giant data banks, also referred to as supercomputers. Server rooms generate a lot of heat and require complex cooling systems and temperature controlled rooms to prevent hardware failure.
Servers transmit information to modems, which then send signals out to the routers used in homes, workplaces, or personal devices. This forms the rudimentary basis for how the internet works by connecting data stored on computers across the world.
Interconnected technology makes it possible to store inconceivable amounts of information in powerful supercomputers, neural information networks, and the mobile cloud. Keeping everyone connected means that big data, network traffic, and service providers will continue to be extremely relevant in the future.
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