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Welcome to the wonderful world of Wireless! (WiFi)

What is wireless?

Simply put, devices that don’t rely on physical cabling
or wires to transmit data, or talk to one another.
They transmit data (talk) through the air.
Just like anything with a mouth.

No need for that clutter of wires anymore.

Is this magic? How do they talk? I can’t hear them.

Today’s technology of wireless communication is based on decades old technology of radio broadcasting’s, both short range (distance) and long range (distance) and infrared transmissions.

They don’t speak with audible noise, but with frequencies in the air all around us. These frequencies are all around us all the time, but our eyes are not sensitive enough to see them.

So my computer is a radio station now?

Sort of. Let’s look into the different
technology widely used today
to see what this is and how it works.

Your cell phones, black berries and even
game controllers are all wireless. Even your
house phone may be wireless.
You’ve heard of cordless phones?
Also known as wireless (WiFi)!.

Okay, but how do these things talk to one another without those big clunky cords?

It depends on which device we’re talking about.

To keep things simple, there are basically three types of wireless.

  • Bluetooth: talks in short  distances to devices of low power. Such as hands free cellphone ear pieces, mice, keyboards, PDAs, etc.

  • Wireless: WiFi, also known as Wireless Fidelity
    Used for devices requiring bigger bandwidth , like routers, access points (AP), modems, CB radios, baby monitors, cordless phones, etc.

  • Infrared: which is the shortest distance wireless device relying on Line Of Sight transmission. It’s the most secure wireless transmission technology today, but is not very popular and the equipment can get kind of expensive.

So, let’s examine what these devices are, and
what makes them different from each other
and how they work.

Bluetooth:

is a short range (distance) wireless (no wires) form of
electronic communication (transmission) that
uses short length (short distance) radio waves (electronic radio signals).

The name is a standard (a way) of communicating primarily
designed for devices that don’t use a lot of power and
can communicate within a short distance of each other.

Okay, but how does it talk to the other devices?

In the world of electronic communication
information is arrange in neat packages.
They are called Packets.

It’s broken down from long big
streams of information into a nice
neat order with number assignments
and destination addresses.

Basically what happens is that bluetooth takes a
big chunk of data and chops it up (into packets)
and sends pieces of it on through the air.

The point of Bluetooth is to have a simple form of WiFi. That’s basically Bluetooth’s job. Bluetooth exists to be the simpler form of WiFi, whereas WiFi is for bigger bandwidth devices over long distances, Bluetooth is for short bandwidth devices in a very local area.

Bluetooth is very popular today as mobile headsets.

The standard is used is what is known as a Personal Area Network. That means the device is on you. A mobile phone, PDA, The reach of the device is not long range, meaning it has to be close enough to the other device in order for it to work.

Infrared:

Used in remote controls, keyboards, mice, etc. It’s a very short distance standard. Relying on what is known as Line of Sight, or lining up the devices so that they can see directly in front of them.

It makes wireless very secure though. Because
the transmissions aren’t throw in the air. You
have to be in the line of sight in order to get the data.

It’s expensive, and you won’t find it at the popular
electronic stores. It’s also harder to put it together
and configure it for rapid use.

December 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is USB?

I’d thought I’d stick to the simple popular devices for now, and then get into the complex stuff later on.

So in this episode, I’ll be talking a bit about USB. Once again explaining it without all the technical jargon
that most people run into, even on the internet.

What is USB?

USB stands for Universal Serial Bus.

This standard is a very multi useful standard,
meaning that it is used for most everything
today because it is so flexible.

It’s used for Digital Cameras, Printers, Scanners
Mice, Keyboards, Game Controllers, MIDI controllers,
External Storage Devices (Hard drives, CD/DVD drives), etc.

Today’s computers, whether they are laptops, netbooks,
desktops or servers have at least two
USB ports on them if not more. Most likely more due to the
popularity of the standard.

USB is a very fast data transferring standard. It competes with the apple standard called FireWire,
which is another serial fast transferring data device for today’s computer.

So how does it work?

USB is a device that utilizes what is known as Plug N Play. Or PnP.

Plug N Play is a standard on more modern computers that allows users
to simply plug a device into their computers via the appropriate port and
have the computer recognize it without shutting the computer down and
restarting it. As was the method on older computers.

The point of Plug N Play was to have a faster method of using devices on your computer.
Before PnP, you had to connect the device to the computer and then restart the computer.
Sometimes hope that the computer recognized the device, or you’d be starting it again and again.

So that’s how USB works. Simply plug the USB device into a free USB port, either on your computer
or in a USB hub connected to your computer and the device is automatically recognized by your computer.

Of course you may need to install the software that comes with the device as well
in order for it to operate correctly.

Okay, now for the tech stuff.

USB is a serial bus.

Serial means that data is transferred one bit at a time. Like a single file line of people.
Each person behind the next person, etc.

As opposed to parallel which transferred information in lanes, like a highway.

USB has two current standards today. USB 1.0 and USB 2.0.

Most devices and computers today come equipped with USB 2.0 ports on them. However if you have
an older computer that only sports USB 1.0 ports, you can still use USB 2.0 devices on them, but they
will be slower in transmitting the data than the USB 2.0 port would be.

USB 2.0 is a very fast data transferring standard. It’s also very heafty.

USB 2.0 can handle up to 127 devices on one port. With enough hubs, and enough RAM that’s a lot of
devices.

It’s a great standard because it’s universal. Meaning that even though there are two
kinds of USB standards, they still work in either type of USB ports. So regardless of
which USB device you have, you can still use it in either standard port.

So there you have it.

I hope I at least explained a little bit into what USB is and kind of how it works.

November 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Types of RAM

In my last blog, I talked about that thing called RAM in your computer.
Random Access Memory.
Basically discussing what it is and why it’s there and why you need it.

There are many different types of RAM, for many different reasons.

Today, I’d like to take that a bit further. Discuss some types of RAM and get past all the technical
jargon to simplify the meanings of these things.

Volatile and Non Volatile memory:

what is volatile memory?

simply put volatile memory is RAM or primary memory.

Why is it volatile?

Volatile simply means temporary.

RAM is temporary memory because it doesn’t retain information when power is off.

Unlike a hard drive or CD/DVD/BluRay/HD disk, RAM needs power in order to retain information.
Which is why you can swap these devices with a lot of machines and not lose the information on the device.

Okay, but why is it primary?

Primary means first. Before there were such things as hard drives, and floppy disks to store information on,
there was RAM. Though you couldn’t store things on RAM for long periods of time,
this was the first in the evolution of computer components before storage devices were invented.

And we still refer to it today as
Volatile Primary Memory. Or RAM for short.

November 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

RAM? What’s the big deal and why do I need so much of it?

Hello all!

Today I thought I’d talk a little bit about RAM. You know, that thing in all the computer commercials that get’s bigger and bigger and they say you need more of?

But what is RAM? More importantly why do you need it, and why do you need so much of it?

Well, those are great questions, let’s see if I can shed some type of light on that for you today.

RAM or Randomly Accessible Memory, is place in your computer that holds information  so that it can be used by your computer.

That’s simply put.

Information moves around in computers just like people in a city. Lots of people, lots of information. Think of data in a computer as people in a city. They travel everyday to work, church, supermarkets, the ball games, friends houses and the lot.

In order for there to be fairness and harmony in the city, not everyone can move at once. We have to give everyone a fair and equal chance to move about and get to where they are going.

Therefore, we have RAM. RAM sticks to be exact. Big places to hold information until the processor can process it.

That’s the logic of RAM. That’s simply what it is. It is used to control the flow of information so that things run smoothly inside the computer.

The more we do with computers now a days, the more information is flowing around in there. Just as population increases, information increases in size. So in turn, RAM sizes increases to accommodate the capacity needed to be processed.

Inside the computer, information moves according to what’s known as a clock cycle. A clock cycle is the timing that all information in the computer flows. Every second, information flows one step. Now a days it’s more like two to four steps, depending. But the point is, just as people walk in two steps, information also moves in steps. These steps, are clock cycles.

Back to RAM.

RAM is like a battery if you will. It holds the information at a certain size (512 MB, 1 GB, 2 GB, 4 GB, etc) in a line so that the processor has time to finish it’s current task and then begin with a new line of information to process.

Much like the waiting line at a bank. Lots of people needs to complete different transactions. So there is a queue or line there, so that it’s all done in order and everyone has a chance to complete their transaction with the teller.

That’s RAM. It’s the line, the queue. The tellers would be the processor.

But why do I need so much of it?

Well, today’s computers are handling lots of information as new software and hardware demands on new technology come around. These are complex things and have much more information today then they did before. So as before, there is a need to have order and equality inside the computer so that everything gets its chance to be processed.

So more RAM or, a bigger waiting line is necessary. The more RAM you have, the more information can be processed quickly without bumping into each other and causing chaos.

That’s basically what RAM means to the computer.

There are different types of RAM of course, different speeds and different sizes for different reasons. But I thought I’d just give you the basics of what RAM is and what it does in your computer for today.

Join me again next time as I explain other parts of the computer.

November 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Introduction to PCs.

Today I will be posting this blog as a starter page to what will become an easy to grasp introduction into computers.

Specifically for those people out there who are new to computers and to those people who insist they are horrible with computers. And you know who you are.

This will be a first posting of many, so it will not be cool and fancy and flashy as of yet. That will come later.

So without further ado, this is my introduction into some of the things that make a computer work.

Have you ever wondered for a second how your computer worked? How information got around in the slim or big fat box next to the one or many screens you may have sitting on a desk somewhere.

I mean, you push the power button and things make noises and the screen lights up (assuming the monitor is on) and it comes to life and the screen then says Windows and you login to the desktop and are ready to go. Unless you have one of those slow computers that take hours to simply get you into the desktop.

But what goes on behind the scenes? What is really happening in there? Does it have something to do with that Intel Core sticker on the front? What about that Windows XP or Vista sticker? How does it all work together? Obviously there is electricity involved, you plugged it into the wall outlet, or the power strip. But what goes on inside that makes it go? How does it know what to do when you push the power button?

If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, then this blog is for you.

I will be talking about and showing very detailed explanations of how today’s computers work. From microprocessors (Intel, AMD) to memory allocations (RAM, Virtual Memory, Hard Drives, Flash Drives, Plastic Media, etc.) to wireless keyboards and how to setup the wireless or wired router you just bought from Best Buy or Egghead.com or compusa or wherever.

 

 

November 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

November 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment