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Parts of computer
Listen and name the part of a computer..

Alright, this computer part is essential for connecting to the internet. It will be connected to a modem or maybe to your telephone jack or to the same place where maybe your cable tv is connected and you hook it in to the back of your computer.

This is a pretty small computer part. It's not too expensive but not so many people have them actually. It's not rare but not everyone has them. And what it does is it allow you to other people when you are chatting online.

You might be too young to know what this is because people hardly use these at all anymore but they were used for storing memory. But they have basically gone out of style because they can't store nearly as much memory as some newer memory storage devices.

If your computer didn't have this, it wouldn't work. Your computer definitely needs to have this. I don't know how it works, it looks really complicated but I'm glad it works.

This part is also absolutely necessary for your computer to work but it's nearly nearly as complicated as the last question. You plug it in to the wall and it provides the electricity to power your computer.

Now the last two questions I said were necessary for your computer to function but without this one there would never be computers at all. There would be no one to invent them and there would be no one to use them. This is the reason why we have computers.

Computers and Ears
We're listening to electromagnetic signals from outer space that have been picked up by radio telescope and translated into frequencies that we can hear. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont. The cornucopia of signals in space includes bursts of energy from distant stars and planets mixed together with signals from our own planet, such as radio waves and radar. Well, trying to make sense of it all involves an increasing interdependence between humans and computers. 

"We don't actually listen to the cosmos with earphones. The reason is that the computers are much better at detecting weak signals than we are. They do it the same way that the human ear does it, but their quote senses unquote, their senses are much better." 

Kent Cullers is a physicist with the SETI Institute. SETI stands for the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. 

"So the computers do the analysis. We listen to the radio equipment because it tells us whether in general the systems are behaving well. And from time to time we enhance what the computers do to make sure that in the end, what is supposed to correlate with our senses actually does. You need a direct perceptual link with the science that you do or in fact, you never quite believe it. The data is too abstract. So, yes, sound is useful for reality contact, but computers make billions of tests per second. No human being can possibly do that. I design the equipment that look for weak signals from the stars and I design the methods for weeding out the rather stronger signals that come from the earth. Within a century we will have searched the galaxy. But the only way that is possible is through the power of the growth of the computers." 

Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner. 

Disasters Social Media

The sounds of an earthquake in Japan, posted online, shortly after the event. Social media is changing the way that we respond to a natural disaster. I'm Jim

Metzner and this it the Pulse of the Planet Zobel: I don't know that we want to base our systems on the use of social media, but I think it's a very important tool to add more information to the picture.

Chris Zobel is a Professor of Business Information Technology at Virginia Tech. He helps municipalities and relief organizations to plan for disasters.

Zobel: One of the issues with social media is that it's much harder to establish truthfulness of what somebody is saying. And so, you don't necessarily want to put as much belief in Tweets coming from people you've never heard of before as you would from someone who's a fireman who happens to be on the scene. 

Zobel: There are a number of good examples of emergent groups where people have come together in response to, for example, the disaster in Haiti. There's a group called Crisis Mappers that a bunch of people who are very good with computers and very good with maps got together and built a new piece of software to be able to identify in Port-au-Prince exactly where the damage was that occurred. And enabled them to provide a way for people who are in Port-au-Prince who may be buried under rubble to send a tweet saying, "I'm here." The group back in the United States could then collect that information and then pass it along to people who were actually in-country, so that they then could mobilize the resources to go find those people.

3D Printing - Quadcopter

You've seen remote controlled copters. Here's one with a difference it was made on a 3D printer. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Buss: So, this a remote-controlled quadcopter. It flies with four motors and a control board in the center. It uses propellers that are nine inches long to create thrust. This one here's set up with a camera and a video transmitter to fly remotely. 
That''s Cam Buss, a student at Blacksburg High School, and an intern at Virginia Tech's DREAMS lab - where they do a lot of 3D Printing. Using layer upon layer of polymer plastic, 3D printers can manufacture just about anything you can dream up including helicopters. This quadcopter was designed by Cam. Except for the electronics, the entire folding structure was made on a 3D printer.

Buss: So I used a computer automated design, so it was completely on the computer, and I modeled each part and then did a stress test. After three designs, I finally accomplished it, and it's fully 3D-printed and folds up into a circular tube.

Williams: The entire design process was done digitally.

Chris Williams is Director of the Design, Research, and Education for Additive Manufacturing Systems or DREAMS Laboratory at Virginia Tech.

Williams: So, when Cam mentions that he did a stress test, it means he did that virtually, using analysis software. And then he did the assembly, meaning the integration of parts is all done digitally, and then, because the input to the 3D printer is the digital file itself, and that entire process is automated. So, Cam put the part into the printer and left it to print by itself overnight. So you can come in the next day, and the print is complete.
Computational Psychiatry - A Periodic Table of the Mind

Might it be possible to create something like a periodic table for the human mind? I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Montague: When you're sitting here looking me in the eye and measuring me up, what exactly do you see happening in me? And the answer is almost nothing. I'm just sitting here, but a whole lot of stuff is going on inside of my head. And so, one of the things I focus on are these quiet, silent operations that go on during social interactions.

Read Montague is director of the Human Neuroimaging Lab and Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. He and his colleagues are trying find new ways of understanding the way we think and it has a lot to do with how we interact with others.

Montague: We have had to invent a series of new kinds of technologies for studying active social interactions. So,we've designed a way to link brain-scanning devices up, set people into staged social interactions, and eavesdrop on both the interacting minds.

So, how do I turn your feelings into numbers in a way that's useful for me to understand healthy human cognition and the way it breaks down in disease and injury? That's the question we're after... So, we take pairs of people, up to 20 - 25 people at a time. We construct staged experiments where they're doing trade back and forth. They make gestures to one another over favors, over simple things like this. You try to guess what the other person's thinking, so to speak something that you do every day of the week in normal context. 

And our hope is that we can use these staged interactions to take the whole of your cognition, chop it into a bunch of little pieces, and then, use those pieces reassembled to make a model of how it is that humans navigate their way around the world and think about other people. Using that model, you could then characterize how particular people are different. We call that computational psychiatry. It's a very new area. The analogy is with the periodic table of the elements.

Network systems
A=Agatha; K=Katharina

A: Hi, Katharina. It’s good to see you again. How are you?

K: I’m fine. And you?

A: Fine, thanks.

K: I’m really glad to hear about your success.

A: Thank you.

K: So how can I help you?

A: I wanted to see you because I need your advice. We think we should offer our products and services online to increase our market share. What do you think?

K: That’s a great idea. You should definitely do that.

A: Good. So what exactly should I do?

K: I’d recommend that you set up an E-commerce flower shop.
A: OK.

K: I’ll send you an e-mail with some recommendations.

A: Oh, thank you very much. We ought to be ready for Mother’s Day.

K: in that case, I’d suggest we start right away. Let me ask you some questions…

B = Boris; A = Ahsan

B: I have a problem with the network download speed. What can y o u suggest?

A: Why don't you change the hub?

B: I don't think that will work. The hub is fine.

A: OK. How about adding a repeater then?

B: Hmm, I 'm not sure it will help. It's not a problem with the signal strength.

A: OK, then you should check the cables and network devices to make sure that they are compatible with your network.

B: What about changing t h e modem?

A: I don't think it's necessary. I think it's a problem with the bridge, switch or the router. You

should look at t h e specifications.

B: OK, I will. Thanks for y o u r help.

A: Why don't you check user recommendations on the internet as well?

B: Good idea. I'll do that.
IT security and safety
L=Ludek; A=Ales

L: Ales, can y o u check my laptop? Nothing seems to work.

A: Hmm, what have y o u done this time? Wow! Your laptop is a mess.

L: Sorry about that. I'll clean it up.

A: Have you updated your antivirus software recently?

L: Yes, I have. I did it last week.

A: Well, that's good.

L: I'm afraid I may lose my project. I haven't backed it up.

A: Hmm. You might have spyware or some other malware on your computer. You should install a good spyware doctor program. A n antivirus program may not catch everything.

L: OK, I'll do that.

A: And w h y don't you protect your WLAN access with a password? It's likely you will attract hackers and piggybackers and then you might lose a lot of work.

L: Fine, I'll do that.

A: I'll scan y o u r system with my anti-spyware software now and see if there is a problem.

L: Thanks.

H = Helpdesk technician; T = Tuka

H: Hello, Aqhel speaking. How can I help you?

T: Hi, my name's Tuka. I've upgraded my computer to Windows 7 and now I can't find my personal files anywhere!

H: I see.

T: I've checked Windows 'help' and that didn't tell me anything. I need one file urgently.

H: I'm sure we can find your file. Don't worry.

T: Well, I hope so.

H: What Windows version did y o u have before?

T: Before I had Windows Vista.

H: OK. Is y o u r computer on?

T: Yes, it is.

H: Good. Find Windows.old folder in your C drive.

T: I don't understand. How? I can't see it in Windows Explorer.

H: Please go to the search box, write Windows.old and click enter.

T: OK.

H: The Windows.old folder contains different folders. Your folders and files are in

Documents and Settings. You should find the files there.

T: I'll do that.

H: I'll come down to your office if you still have a problem. Good luck.

T: Thanks.

Google Reveals The Computers Behind The Cloud

Next, we'll visit the Internet cloud. That's a term people often use to describe the place or places where we store stuff online. Increasingly, our databases, email accounts, other information are not stored in local computers, but in giant low-rise warehouses packed with computer servers. They're all over the country, all around the world and they are huge consumers of energy.

Google has around 20 of these data centers, and recently allowed technology writer Steven Levy into one of them in North Carolina to show off how energy-efficient Google is trying to be.

It gave Levy a glimpse into the online world as people rarely get to see it. And he writes about his experience in the new issue of Wired magazine.


What strikes you immediately is the scale of things. The room is so huge you can almost see the curvature of Earth in the end. And it's wall to wall, are racks and racks and racks of servers with blinking blue lights and each one is many, many times more powerful and with more capacity than my laptop. And you're in the throbbing heart of the Internet. And you really feel it.


So you're in this data center. It's using energy quite efficiently compared to the average data center, even a pretty good one. What are some of the techniques that are used and what do they look like?


Well, one technique that Google really pioneered was, you know, keeping things hotter than has been traditionally expected in a data center. In old data centers, you would put on a sweater before you went in there. Google felt that you could run the general facility somewhat warmer than even normal room temperature. When I walked into Lenoir, I think it was 77 degrees.


And that doesn't run down the computing equipment?


Computer equipment is actually tougher than people expect. And they isolate the really hot air that comes out from the back of the servers into what's known as a hot aisle, and that's sealed off and it's maybe 120 degrees, and that's where they take that very hot air and do the water cooling.

Google takes a look at the geography and the resources every time they build a data center. So in North Carolina, they did something that was relatively traditional. They have these coolers where the water circulating goes outside and cools down before it reenters the data center to cool down the servers. But in Finland, which I did visit, they use seawater to cool the data center.


Now this is a huge issue because computers generate so much heat that keeping it cool would be a tremendous use of energy, a tremendous waste of energy in the view of some.


There's no way around it. These things burn a lot of energy, and a lot of the energy in a data center is done to cool it down so the computers don't melt. Data centers in general consume 1.5 percent, roughly, of all the world's electricity.


So as you're talking, I'm thinking about cloud computing, the Internet cloud. And many of us are getting used to this idea that if we have an email account, it might not be saved in the machine where we are at; it's going off somewhere. But once you actually got in to look at one of these places and hear it, feel it, did it change your perceptions of what's going on in the world when you went back to your computer screen at home?


It actually did. You know, many, many years ago I went on a journalistic quest for Einstein's brain, which was lost then. And I felt if I saw it, it might be an anticlimax. But when I actually did see it, it really opened up my eyes; it was a revelation. This is where, you know, the power of the atom came from and relativity and all those other things. And I had the same kind of experience inside that Google data center. Here was the ephemeral made real, you know, the cloud really was something and it was something quite remarkable and breathtaking.


Steven Levy, thanks very much.


Thank you.


He's a senior writer for Wired magazine.
Internet safety lessons for 5-year-olds
7th February, 2013

A British organization has recommended that children as young as five should be given instruction on the dangers of the Internet.

The U.K. Safer Internet Centre is co-funded by the European Commission and delivers a wide range of activities and initiatives to promote the safe and responsible use of technology.

Britain's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) welcomed the advice and urged schools to provide appropriate guidance on Internet use.

The NSPCC's Claire Lilley warned of the dangers youngsters faced by being online. She said: "We are facing an e-safety time bomb. Young people tell us they are experiencing all sorts of new forms of abuse on a scale never seen before."

The Safer Internet Centre published an online survey of children's reflections on the Internet on February 5th, to coincide with the UK's Safer Internet Day.

The report summarizes the opinions of 24,000 schoolchildren. It found that 31% of seven to 11-year-olds said that gossip or mean comments online had stopped them from enjoying the Internet.

Children also said they had been exposed to online pornography, experienced cyber-bullying and had been forced into sending indecent images of themselves to others.

The report said: "Promoting a safer and better Internet for children…involves promoting their online rights - to be safe online, to report concerns and to manage their privacy."
Texts for reading

Information security

A hacker’s life
Have you ever locked yourself out of your home and had to try to break in? First, you get a sense of accomplishment in succeeding. But then comes the worrying realisation that if you can break into your own place as an amateur, a professional could do so five times faster. So you look at the weak point in your security and fix it. Well, that’s more or less how the DefCon hackers conference works.

Every year passionate hackers meet at DefCon in Las Vegas to present their knowledge and capabilities. Mention the word ‘hacker’ and many of us picture a seventeen-year-old geek sitting in their bedroom, illegally hacking into the US’s defence secrets in the Pentagon. Or we just think ‘criminals’. But that is actually a gross misrepresentation of what most hackers do.

The activities and experiments that take place at DefCon have an enormous impact on our daily lives. These are people who love the challenge of finding security gaps: computer addicts who can’t break the habit. They look with great scrutiny at all kinds of systems, from the Internet to mobile communications to household door locks. And then they try to hack them. In doing so, they are doing all of us a great service, because they pass on their findings to the industries that design these systems, which are then able to plug the security holes.

A graphic example of this is when I attended a presentation on electronic door locks. Ironically, one of the most secure locks they demonstrated was a 4,000-year-old Egyptian tumbler lock. But when it came to more modern devices, the presenters revealed significant weaknesses in several brands of electro-mechanical locks. A bio-lock that uses a fingerprint scan for entry was defeated, easily, by a paper clip. (Unfortunately, although all the manufacturers of the insecure locks were alerted, not all of them responded.)

DefCon is a vast mix of cultures as well as a culture in itself. People in dark clothes and ripped jeans talk to people in golf shirts and khakis. Social status here is based on knowledge and accomplishment, not on clothing labels or car marques. It’s kind of refreshing. There are government agents here, as well as video game enthusiasts. Not that people ask each other where they work – that would break the hackers’ etiquette.

In an attempt to attract the brightest hackers, DefCon runs a competition called Capture the Flag. Capture the Flag pits elite hackers against each other in a cyber game of network attack and defence that goes on 24 hours a day. In a large, dimly lit conference hall, small groups of hackers sit five metres from each other, intensely trying either to protect or to break into the system. There are huge video projections on the walls, pizza boxes and coffee cups are strewn everywhere. The room is mesmerising.

In another room, another contest is taking place. Here participants have five minutes to free themselves from handcuffs, escape from their ‘cell’, get past a guard, retrieve their passport from a locked filing cabinet, leave through another locked door, and make their escape to freedom.

If you’re someone who dismisses the DefCon attendees as a group of geeks and social misfits, then you probably have the same password for 90 per cent of your online existence. Which means you are doomed. Because even if you think you’re being clever by using your grandmother’s birth date backwards as a secure key, you’re no match for the people that I’ve met. There is no greater ignorance to be found online than that of an average internet user. I’m happy to admit that I’m one of them. I’m also aware that there are other people out there – big business among them – who are trying to get more and more access to the data of our personal online habits. Sadly, we have few tools to protect ourselves. But there is a group of people who are passionate about online freedom and have the means to help us protect our privacy. Many of them can be found at DefCon.

Computer software, or simply software, is that part of a computer system  that consists of encoded information or computer instructions, in contrast to the physical hardware from which the system is built.

The term "software" was first proposed by Alan Turing and used in this sense by John W.Tukey in 1957. In computer science and software engineering, computer software is all information processed by computer systems, programs and data.

Computer software includes computer programs, libraries and related non-executable data, such as online documentation or digital media. Computer hardware and software require each other and neither can be realistically used on its own.

At the lowest level, executable code consists of machine language instructions specific to an individual processor—typically a central processing unit (CPU). A machine language consists of groups of binary values signifying processor instructions that change the state of the computer from its preceding state. For example, an instruction may change the value stored in a particular storage location in the computer—an effect that is not directly observable to the user. An instruction may also (indirectly) cause something to appear on a display of the computer system—a state change which should be visible to the user. The processor carries out the instructions in the order they are provided, unless it is instructed to ‘jump” to a different instruction, or interrupted.

The majority of software is written in high-level programming languages that are easier and more efficient for programmers, meaning closer to a natural language. High-level languages are translated into machine language using a compiler or an interpreter or a combination of the two. Software may also be written in a low-level assembly language, essentially, a vague mnemonic representation of a machine language using a natural language alphabet, which is translated into machine language using an assembler.

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