omputers & Economics In the business world today, computers and the software applicationsthat run on them basically control a well organized business. Every majorcompany is equipped with a computer, or network that connects throughdifferent branches throughout the firm.Computer Hardware: To keep up with the fastest technology that dominates the market is tobe a sensible buyer. A system can be outdated in a matter of two yearstime. Software applications based on today's needs require more hard diskspace and speed to run efficiently. The most powerful system would be the586 machine which was developed in November, 1992. The space required on abusiness system depends on the firm. If a company has a network, theirmemory would range on the applications required to run the systemproductively. A one to three gigabyte hard drive would be most common forbusinesses. To keep these applications on the computer, you need a fairamount of RAM memory as well as hard disk space. An application developedin 1993, probably will be to powerful and run quite slow on a previoussystem that was 'top of the line' in 1991. That's why it is important forcompanies to understand that they must think years down the road beforespending thousands of dollars on the technology of today. The best way isto prepare for the future such as making sure your mainframe is upgradeableand contains at least 8 expansion slots, which should already be loadedwith enhanced graphics cards, the necessary amount of serial ports etc.. Networks are everywhere in the world of business. A network is aseries of computers throughout the company which rely on one or twofileservers. Or it can be used in long distance communication throughmodem. An example would be that a company located in Calgary can call upits other branch in Toronto via modem, also able to up and downloadvaluable files or records. Networks have their disadvantages also.Computer viruses are always present somewhere in a disk or computer systemready to strike. If an over powering, destructive virus enters a networksystem, all data can be severely damaged or lost completely. That's whythere is back-up drives to store existing data that is written onto thedisk each day. Anti virus programs are there to alert the user and wipethe virus off the system before it does any destruction to the data storedon the network. As far as practicality and mobility is concerned, thelaptop has been around for quite a long time. A laptop computer is aportable computer, about the size of a brief case. This is a good featureto save time and money. Laptops allow you to connect to fileservers ormini systems after you travel around with them. Once you are at yourdestination, you can give another system a "unit to unit" data exchange.This means you connect the laptops serial port to the other system's port

and transfer data without external data. Diskettes are also capable ofholding small quantities of information that can be used for transferring.In this day and age every computer has a hard disk which contains theprograms and applications that are used in the business industry.Programs and Applications Used in Business: Many computer applications can make a computer do wonderful things foryou. Most of you have heard of programs such as Wordperfect, Lotus,Freelance, etc.. that are productive in helping the user perform functionsthat save time. In businesses, word processing is always included on a system.Different programming companies supply many programs that are quite helpfulfor the user. Wordperfect is probably the best designed word processor onthe market so far. This program is easy for the user to learn, it containsa spell and punctuation check, it contains pre designed graphic arts, athesaurus, and runs efficiently on a 386 machine that is basically not fastenough for modern applications today. Another application which is helpfulin business is a data base. This application stores records and inventoryon disk, which can be added and deleted as needed. An example where youwould use a data base could be records of customers you have and would liketo see what they previously purchased. Spreadsheets are a great commodityin business. a spreadsheet does many different calculations on products orother prices imputed into the computer. a math co-processor is quite usefulfor applications like this since you are using mathematical functions. Thebest brand name spreadsheet on the market is Lotus. Firms prefer user-friendly systems that people can understand how touse. The user does not want to be stuck in an environment where there iscommands unheard of. Windows was developed for this purpose. Windows is asolution for MS-DOS which usually runs the system. MS-DOS still runs mostnetworks today but Windows does all the DOS features except in a userfriendly way. Windows is a pop up menu environment where you can clickyour mouse to access the menus and double click it to perform the tasks,such as to load a program. Many programs are run off of Windows as well asMS-DOS. Multi-Tasking has been introduced in the last couple of years to makeit easier to access many programs with them running on the system at thesame time. Instead of logging off one program and reloading another, youcan load several programs at the same time and change to them by pop upwindows. Windows is a multi-tasking program that runs well according tothe RAM memory that is accessible. IBM recently has come out with theirOS/2 program which is the largest multi-tasking unit available. Thisprogram is compatible to any program on a system, and runs much quickerwhen you load up several programs. The business world will continuouslyadvance as years go by, and many businesses will be upgrading more all thetime. This chain will go on all the time as new programs are invented tosuit a company's needs.

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