ICT GCSE : ICT in Context

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  • Created by: Samantha
  • Created on: 11-06-13 13:31

Computer Hardware Specifications

The specification is dependant on the task.

The staff at Aqua inflatables will need computers with different specifications because they all do different jobs.

They are thinking of using thin client technology which makes use of low specification computers. 

They also plan to use CAD which requires a much higher specification computer. Auto CAD requires a minimum clock speed of 1.6GHz.

Even higher specification is needed to view graphics, for example boat designs, or videos, such as videos of the boats on water. 

Each member of staff will be supplied with the computer suited to their job.

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Proprietary, Open Source and Bespoke Software

Proprietary: Someone will purchase it, it is licenced to purchaser, and gives the right to the software but not the right to modify or redistribute.

Advantages: Automatic updates, manufacturer offers support (eg. help sites, videos ect.), it is tested to make sure it is good quality

Disadvantages: May have complex devices that aren't used, can be complicated to use

Open Source : Freely available for download

Advantages: Free, can be modified by anyone to improve and solve problems

Disadvantages: Updates are unscheduled and scattered, it may lack some features and quality that proprietary software has, doesn't have as good support as proprietary software

Bespoke: Software that is developed especially for a particular organisation 

Advantages: Meets the exact requirements of the organisation, give company major advantage over other companies, can be designed so it is easy to learn

Disagdvantages: Expensive, hard to find viruses, long development time, hard to get someone to fix it.

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Legislation Regarding Software Licencing

Software licencing is a set of rules on how the software can be used.

The copyright law, to protect people who have created and produced materials based on their own ides, it is to stop them being copied or stolen.

The software licencing rules change with the different software types:

Open source swoftware - Give the option of using the software for free, also have the option to copy and improve the design because the code can be obtained.

Propriatary software - Give the user the permission to use one or more copies that they have purchased, they do not have the right to copy or modify or redistribute to others, have to agree to these terms before purchasing

Bespoke software - The software made for one company can not legally be used for other organisations, the contract will outline the terms of agreement

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Project Planning

Gannt chart - A horizontal bar chart that shows all the tasks and activities involved in a project to illustrate the overall schedule 

Advantages: Help set realistic time frames, organise order in which the tasks are carried out, widely understood (easy to understand), useful method for small projects, fit on a single page

Disadvantages: Each bar indicated the time allocated but not the amount of work involved, if dependancies are shown between tasks it can become very cluttered and hard to understand, hard to do for large project as you have to visualise the whole project

Critical path analysis - Used to map out the project tasks, task timescaled and the dependancy between tasks

The project manager would break down the entire project into smaller tasks, so they are easier to allocate to small groups.

Milestones - The date that indicates the end of a section of the project

Deadlines - The date in which all milestones have to be completed

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Project Management

Project management teams need to be aware of the progress so they can alter the plans if the project is behind or ahead of schedule. 

For this staff enter their progress into software, the project manager can send email alerts for any task that is running late and the project progress can be viewed against the plans. 

There can be tracking software to track the progress of the project and reports can be made from this.

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Distributed Databases

Definition - Where elements of a database are distibuted throughout a network to allow acess to the location where they are most needed.

Aqua Inflatables need this as they work across the world (in the UK and China).

Distributed databases have advantages over single databases as they dont rely on a single storage system.

A distributed database has a central database, a wide area network then remote databases.

Advantages: Less risk of total database failure, increased speed of response to local queries and there is less network traffic jamming up the system

Disadvantages: Highly dependant on high quality communications links, possible security issues as it is distributed over a wide ares  and possible data inconsistency as 2 versions of the database are running parallel for a period

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The use of Language Translation Software

Aqua Inflatables need to use language translation software to overcome the language barrier, Aqua Inflatables is based over 2 countries, the UK and China

Many companies provide text to text language translation.

There are also speech to speech translation software.

Instant translation is used by many companies like Aqua Inflatables.

There are disadvantages that come with Language translation which could cause business problems:

  • It isn't always accurate
  • There may be a misunderstanding of context by the software in some cases
  • Slang words may not be understood fully and therefore translated wrong
  • A special font would need to be installed on the computer to understand Chinese Hieroglyphics 
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CAD and CAM

CAD - Computer Aided Design : Aqua Inflatables would use it for creating designs of their boats,

Advantages: they would be constructed in 3D format, they would be saved automatically, more accurate than hand drawn(HD), can be easily modified unlike HD, can zoom in on drawing, objects can be copied and pasted

Disadvantages: Company will have to buy expensive software, need to train workers to use it, need a computer system to be used, need to get a suitable file back up to prevent loss of work, many people lost their jobs due to CAD

CAM - Computer Aided Manufacturing :Aqua Inflatables would use it for the manufacturing of their boats

Advantages: Can work 24/7 without a break, all products are exactly the same, no human error, useful for large scale production

Disadvantages: Expensive, if there was human error putting the measurements into the computer it will make mass amounts of useless products, need to train staff how to use it, many people lost their jobs due to CAM

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Methods of Digital Document Sharing

Web sharing is set up so that large files can be shared for business use. Uses can access their files from any device with Internet access. They can be password protected for security purposes.

Email - Files can be attached to a message and sent to multiple recipients, useful for small businesses without a network. It is inefficient as it is time consuming for person to set up email, the file may not open on the recipients end, or the document size might be too big.

Shared Workspace - Intranet, it is internal, in the company for staff to use, it allows staff to access different files, such as templates and forms, they can also store their work on this that they are working on. This can be extended to form an extranet where other companies can log on and share the files. 

Cloud collaboration - Where the files are stored on an online database, they can be accessed from anywhere with internet access, your collegues can work on the same files as you 

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Cloud Computing

Can be defined as internet based computing, which shares resources and software on demand. So organisations can store their data on a server and they get to use software from the cloud.

Advantages of Cloud Computing:

  • Cloud provides software which can be used by many organisations, they avoid the perchase of the software and the purchase of hard ware to operate it
  • Data can be obtained by staff who are teleworking
  • If the website is hosted by a cloud the site will become popular
  • The use of equipment is rented from cloud, which is cheaper than perchasing it for a new project
  • Special hardware environments aren't required

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing:

  • Web service provided may be unreliable
  • There is a concern about how secure the data is when stored globally
  • Organisation may become dependant on proprietary cloud applications
  • Legal issues mar aride if the cloud opperatews outside the Eropean Union
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Thin Client Computing

When a computer relies on a server to provide the software and to run it based on inputs from the thin client user. 

Advantages of Thin Client Computing:

  • The installation, updating or removal of software only needs to be added to the server which saves time and created a consistent system
  • Backing up and recovering files is fast, and no need for any user involvement
  • Makes use of low spec computers, easy to maintian and set up
  • Less maintenance on a thin client computer to carry out hardware and software upgrades are not necessary
  • Security is improved

Disadvantages of Thin Client Computing:

  • The system is dependant on the server, if it fails the whole system fails
  • There is a limit to the number of thin clients that can be run from a server
  • Users of thin client computers may find the operation of software is slower when the server is heavily loaded
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Online Data Security

When data is transmitted between computers and website there is a danger of data being stolen or hacked. 

This can be avoided by using HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) and is encripted.

Encription is used to make stored data more secure, by making it unreadable to people who do not have the key to decode it.

It is common for data to be encripted in a database, many schools use Microsoft Access as a relational database and it had many security features built into it, including the option to encript data and use a password protection on the system.


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Online Communication Methods

Aqua Inflatables need to communicate with their homeworkers and their worldwide manufacturers in China on a regular basis; to supply design drawings, answer technical questions, discuss new products and pricing and to download and modify documents.

Fax - Used to transfer hard copies of documents, can use a telephone line, this method is still widely used

VoIPC - Internet telephone, voice over internet protocol, main advantage calls are cheap when dealing with suppliers on a worldwide basis, disadvantages are the quality of sound reproduction is often poor

SMS - Short message service, texting, one mobile to another, limited to 160 characters including spaces, increasingly used as a brief informal method of communicating with business parteners

Instant Messaging - Two or more people in a conversation, all have to be online, is used across the internet mostly, like text messaging online, create chat rooms for business groups, can use video using webcams

Video Conferencing - Uses a computer, webcam, internet connection, microphone, high quality, good way of communicating world wide, business meetings, can be based in 2 or more locations

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Relevance of Survey Data

Customer survey data from 2005.

Survey is a data gathering method used to collect information about individules.

Survey data is relavent to Aqua Inflatables as it increases the chance of acheiving their goals.

It isnt relevant from 2005 as that is 8 years ago, technology and people's views on technology has changed, society has changed. So it isn't up to date.

The information can be used for marketing for decision making, but it needs to be accurate, customer addresses taken from a survey 8 years ago may not be accurate now.

Information obtained, should it be relevant, can help a business acheive it's goals, however customer habits have changed over the years, more people use technology than used to

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