Internet

There is no need explaining what internet is, and what it can do. Modern civilization practically thrives on internet–it has in many ways become a contemporary necessity like food and water. The internet is what connects together the digital world onto one network; a phone, laptop, desktop, game consoles, even some wristwatches and refrigerators can connect to the internet. But how many of us have actually considered how the internet actually works? For some of us it is magical, as we are instantly granted access to hundreds of millions of websites as if out of thin air, right to a smart phone or a tablet.

Where does the internet signal come from? If your device is wireless, then your device utilizes wireless fidelity, or WiFi, which receives its signal from a router within your house or facility. If your device is not wireless, then it might use the wired Ethernet Cable connection instead. That router in turn is connected to your ISP, or Internet Service Provider. There are many available ISP’s that offer their services, such as Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T.

But what does an ISP actually do? In this 5 minute video, Aaron explains exactly how an ISP functions when doing everyday functions, such as sending an e-mail or visiting aol.com. Aaron’s video also talks about what packets are and how routers help direct the flow of packets!

These are just the bare bones on how the internet in your house or facility operates on a basic scale. If you would like to expand your knowledge further on the internet and would like to impress your friends, I would like to share with you an entertaining yet educational animated video my Professor Wendy Liu Battalora showed me in her class Digital World 2020:

Thank you for reading my post!

Controlling 1’s and 0’s

As we know, computers using binary use a language comprised of 1’s and 0’s. Think of each bit as two states: on or off, similar to a switch. In the digital world, we refer to these switches as Transistors.

  • One of the most common uses for transistors are as simple switches: a transistor switch reads incoming voltage as either high or low, and sends an output, on or off in response.
  • A transistor that detects a very wide range of voltage for either high or low is not a very accurate transistor. CMOS transistors have a very narrow detection range for high or low voltage, and even narrower outputs for on off signal levels.
  • Think of circuits as a combination of transistors:  in circuits, we use transistors to perform the most basic of functions: to act as switches for incoming signals to produce an output signal.
  • Boolean algebra is a type of binary mathematics that present variables in either two states: true or false, 1 or 0. We use Boolean algebra to logically analyze the electrical switching of circuits.
  • We can use Boolean algebra to form a truth table for a NOT gate: Let us assume 0 = 0 volts and 1= 5 volts. If x = 0 volts, then z=1 (5 volts).
  • Here is the truth table for an AND gate:And here is the truth table for an OR gate:

Endless fun awaits in the world of circuits and logic gates. To learn more about the fundamentals for logic gates, visit this website:http://www.circuitstoday.com/logic-gates#OR.

To engage in an interactive activity involving circuit building, visit this website: https://logic.ly/

Bits, Bytes, and Representation of Information

Brian W. Kernighan is the author of Understanding the Digital World. I am learning a lot of things from this book! Here are a couple of facts that I’ve learned from chapter two: Bits, Bytes, and Representation of Information:

  • What’s the difference between analog and digital? Analog describes any indiscrete values of information that we as humans interact with. For example, the sensations that we sense, see, hear, smell, taste, or feel with our bodies are analogous to the items themselves. A sweet taste that I sense is analogous to the sugar within a cake that I eat. Most of what we deal with in the real world is analog.
  • Digital information is simply analog information that has been quantized. In an analog watch, time is told by the position of two hands. In a digital watch, hours, minutes, and seconds are displayed digitally, in the form of decimal numbers. We may give an analog interpretation of the weather: “the weather is hot”, or use an analog thermometer which is read based on how high the level of the mercury is; But a digital thermometer displays a numerical value: 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If we want computers to process analog data, we must convert it first to digital form. Pictures, instead of being stored as typical colors, are stored as numerical data behind red, green, and blue values, quantized into pixels. Pictures may be compressed using techniques such as JPEG.
  • Music, instead of being presented as typical sound waves, are converted using a device called an A/D converter (analog to digital), which converts waves into numbers. Conversion is never perfect, as a converter may only be able to sample a wave approximately, and at certain frequencies. However, digital music may be compressed with techniques such as MP3.
  • Why do computers use binary instead of a decimal system? In truth, computers love only dealing with two states instead of ten—its just simpler and a more efficient way of processing data that produces fewer errors.
  • Do you know binary? The binary number for 1 is 1. The binary number for 2 is 10. The binary number for 4 is 100. The binary number for 932 is 1110100100!
  • hexadecimal values are a base 16 counting system. The order goes: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F. The hexadecimal value for 16 is 10. The hexadecimal value for 256 is 100. The hexadecimal value for 932 is 3A4!

I hope now you have a better understanding on how our digital world works, and how analog is converted to digital. Practically all modern media is now digitized, and for a very good reason! We can capture, upload, download, and share digital information at ease!  Here is a 5 minute quick video that expands on this topic by Luke from techquickie:

Computers are a college student’s best friend. I certainly could not possibly imagine taking notes, checking mail, or talking to friends without either my Iphone 8 or Lenovo Y510p laptop. Smartphones, Laptops, and Desktops are essential parts of modern life. Some even consider computers as an extension of their minds–servants at the touch of a fingertip, with access to the internet, and with it, an unending pool of resources, tools, and entertainment…

but what exactly makes a computer?

Here are some facts about computers:

  1. The CPU (central processing unit) is a small processor that is responsible for performing arithmetic and logic operations.
  2. The RAM (random access memory) is a form of data storage that allows data items to be instantaneously and randomly accessed. Data stored in RAM is volatile, however, meaning data is lost once power is severed.
  3. Secondary Storage typically stores the OS, and takes several forms: they are typically hard drives and solid state drives, but range from old floppy disks to new HAMR drives.
  4. Peripherals include mice, keyboards, monitors, game controllers etc..
  5. Computers have a long history! Arguably the oldest computer dates all the way back to 100 BCE! The Antikythera mechanism was an analog computer used to predict astronomical positions for calendar use!

Computers can be compared with cars. Cars require engines, a transmission system, wheels, a steering wheel, at least one seat, etc. Cars of the 19th century are quite similar to cars of the 21st century. In the same way, computers have retained much of the characteristics and components of their predecessors, though they are smaller, faster, and cheaper by magnitudes.

There’s no better way to learn the inside-outs of a computer by building your own pc. Here is a video guide provided by H3Vtux:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExxFxD4OSZ0