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The Advancement Of Computers Essay, Research Paper

Computers are one of the most important inventions ever. If computers had

not been invented, technology would not be developed to its current state.

Since the computers invention, society has changed drastically. Computer

technology is so helpful, that it is even used to create newer, better

computer equipment. Almost everything today is linked in some way, to


Before computers were invented, very little was known about outer space.

With the technology we have now, we are learning new things everyday.

Computers are used to follow the paths of asteroids and predict their future

movements. On 6 December 1997, a mile-wide asteroid was discovered by

astronomer Jim Scotti, a member in the University of Arizona’s Spacewatch

group. He used a 77-year-old telescope along with an electric camera that

caught the asteroid on film. He then used a computer specially programmed

to look for objects moving against the background of fixed stars. The

computer worked so well that Scotti described the asteroid as "sticking out

like a sore thumb" (Jaroff 68). His information was relayed to Brian

Marsden, a Harvard

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astronomer, to determine the course of the asteroid. After many

calculations, Marsden’s computer showed the rock would pass Earth

approximately 600,000 miles away. This may not seem important, but if an

asteroid was on a line with Earth, the computer would show us and enable us

to deflect the projectile with nuclear power (Jaroff 69). Thus, computers

can even help save lives.

In "Spies in the Sky", Bill Sweetman writes about the use of satellites and

computers for spying on other countries. On 20 December 1996, three

computer operated satellites were released into orbit for use against Iraq.

Each one costs 800,000,000 dollars or more, most of which is spent on the

computer equipment needed to control them. When the radar data is received

from the satellite dish, it has low resolution and lacks clarity. Computer

texturing and imaging clear the pictures and even show objects that may be

hidden beneath sand, soil, or snow. When resolution was questioned by

critics, the American government produced a readable spy photo of a Russian

car’s license plate (42-48).

Computers have also made communications easier than ever. Today, e-mail is

beginning to replace the ordinary post office and telephone as a way to keep

in touch. E-mail provides the best of both worlds; it is instantaneous and

free. Before e-mail, one would have to send a letter that

page 3

would take days to arrive, or they would have to use the telephone, which

would cost money if the call was long distance. The Internet saves

businesses money because they do not have to send out catalogs to thousands

of customers (Internet World 48-51).

Automobiles have undergone several changes since computers were put in

them. Computers provide options like cruise control, traction control,

power steering, anti-lock brakes, and the use of fuel-injected engines. The

other options are nice, but fuel-injection is a vast improvement over the

older, caurberated engines. Fuel-injected engines give a car more power,

better gas mileage, and burn gasoline cleaner (Sherman 61-63). With the

help of computers, automobiles run faster, longer, and are safer to the


In the article, "The Big Bank Theory", Joshua Cooper Ramo writes that in

the not so distant future, the world’s money system could have a major

change. It is possible in the next ten years that cash, credit cards, ATM

cards, ID cards, insurance cards, all information pertaining to one’s

medical needs and the amount of money in your possession could all be on a

single electronic card(Time 50-51). Conceivably, this idea would make

things simpler than the current way of spending. Digital cash has many

advantages. Money could be sent over e-mail using a string of digits,

page 4

ending the need to balance a checkbook every month. Also, one could program

the money to be spent only on certain things. Only places with the same

encoded number as the consumer would allow people to spend their money

there. One other good thing about digital money would be it would continue

to collect interest up until the moment it is spent, instead of the instant

it leaves the bank. Perhaps the best feature of digital money is it could

end all money-based crime. Because the person could cancel their old number

and get a new one at anytime, it would be pointless to steal one’s cash

card. It would be like robbing someone for a check. It is hard to imagine

how different things would be without cash theft.

Computers have revolutionized meteorology, allowing us to predict with good

accuracy how the weather will behave in the near future. They also allow us

a generalized prediction of changes in the climate farther down the road.

Some scientists think they have discovered reason to believe the polar ice

cap is going to melt soon. These scientists scraped up volcanic ash and

other debris from the land areas surrounding the ice and ran tests on it

with a computer. They seem to think that only three million years ago there

was a warm period and some of the cap melted off (Livermore 38-43). This is

totally different from conventional thinking which says the cap has been

there for fifteen million years.

page 5

If the ice cap were to melt, the face of the United States, and every other

coastal country in the world, would be altered.

Computer technology is so versatile that it is even used to improve future

computer parts. In 1982, chips were considered above average if they had

1,000,000 transistors; in 1998, chips are good if they have 7,000,000

transistors–constructed into strands only six nanometers wide, or fifteen

percent as thick as a human hair (Greenman 27). Amazingly, computer chips

are only about a square inch in mass. To demonstrate just how rapidly these

processors are developing, in January 1997 the fastest processor was 200

mega-hertz (unit for computer speed) for sale at 3399 dollars (Ziff 130).

By January 1998, one could buy a 333 mega-hertz computer for just under 2000

dollars (Ziff 169).

Another component of the computer that is growing with the times is sound

equipment. In the beginning, computers may not have needed speakers. The

only sounds they produced were beeps or some other little sounds for games

like Space Quarks. Now, a person can buy an assortment of speakers for

their home computers with subwoofers to increase the realism of sound

effects. It is even possible to get a jack that connects the computer to a

big home stereo system. It is relatively cheap to enhance a computer’s

sound quality compared to other improvements that are made. One can buy

page 6

speakers and a subwoofer for less than 100 dollars (Ziff 175). Speakers are

not a necessity, but adding them brings a little excitement to what might

otherwise be a boring program. Soundcards combine with speakers to produce

sound. Without a good soundcard, the quality of sound is going to be bad no

matter how high the quality of the speaker may be. The soundcard is to

computer speakers what the receiver is to home speakers. Ten years ago, all

computers had poor soundcards and good ones were not available to consumers.

Today, there is a huge assortment of them on the shelves, most with 3-D

capabilities (Ziff 214).

The Internet, like it or not, is a very powerful business tool. Businesses

have recently discovered the art of finding helpful information for

generating–and exploiting–a competitive advantage. The Internet is an

easier, more cost effective way for businesses to gather insights on what

the public wants, and to make profitable decisions regarding their product

or service. As a marketing agent, the Internet is by far the cheapest

option. The only problem is companies have to make other advertisements to

show where their web address is located. One last good service the Internet

provides is the ability to order products online. This saves businesses

money that they would otherwise be spent producing and shipping catalogues

to thousands of customers (Internet World 48-51).

page 7

Until this decade, computer technology was non-existent in public school

systems. Donna Baumbach tells how today almost every school in the United

States has a computer lab available. Computers are valuable to schools for

many reasons. They are good for studying and research, if the sites are

indeed factual. Computers supply a way to type papers, they can be used for

business classes, and it can provide children with something they may enjoy

using. If students are interested in what they are doing, they will do it

better. Computers also enable classes such as drafting to be consistent

with the procedures used in today’s architectural world. Using programs

like CADD and AutoCADD, drafting classes become much closer to real life

situations than they used to, when drawing on paper was the only way to

train students. Programs such as this are actually used at the job site

(Multimedia Schools 18). Computer programs are also very helpful to

business classes. Accounting classes and computer related fields of study

must have computers to be current with today’s business. As with drafting,

accounting today is all computerized and it is necessary to familiarize

students to the functions of various programs if they are going to go into

one of those fields (Multimedia Schools 20).

In the article "Doctor’s Advice", Cynthia N. James-Catalano writes of the

newest way to get medical treatment. The Internet is being used by doctors

and nurses

page 8

around the world as a medical advise bulletin board. One can stop by a

medical website without money or an appointment and receive prompt advice

for treating the symptoms of their condition. While these sites cannot take

the place of actual physical examinations, they provide a good second

opinion about one’s illness or injury that

otherwise one would be wasting good money (30-32).

Computers might have done in the last century, more than any other

invention. It seems that the advancements that can be made to improve them

is never-ending. Thus, they are able to help us with many of the tasks that

confront us on a daily basis, and will no doubt continue to become more

useful to us all. The computer may never reach a pinnacle of strength, more

than likely they will continue to improve forever.

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