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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Types of Databases

Analytical Databases
Analytical databases are read-only type of databases. These can be mostly seen online, on the web; wherein you can see a collection of items present, but you cannot modify them. You can consider this to be like inventory catalogs. The best instance would be any online shopping site that jots down the available products and data about them. The information stored in analytical databases is mostly extracted from operation databases or external databases. This is mostly screened and edited data which is often used by the management of the organization. It is expressed as a summary of the organization’s or employee’s performance or sales, marketing records, etc. The main purpose of an analytical database is to allow the user to analyze the data, depending on which a management policy can be formulated.

Relational Databases
It is a digital database that stores data into tables in the form of rows and columns. Each row has a unique key (its identity, mostly primary key). This helps linking one table to another (which is referred as foreign key). In general, each entity has a table―the row being its instance, and the columns are the values attributed to the instances. In this type of database, all the data is stored and retrieved with the help of ‘relations’, which are nothing but collection of tables; hence the name ‘relational database’.

Operational Databases
Operational databases store information needed for the operations of an organization. This is mostly a detailed information about a particular person or an employee, department, or subject. Therefore, they are also called Subject Area Databases (SADB). Thus, these databases are based on functional lines of an organization.

Centralized Databases
These databases store the entire information in a single location―the centralized computing facility. Users at various locations can access this data through a computer network. Examples can be a mainframe computer, the server CPU, etc. The advantages of this type of database are its cost-effectiveness and preservation of data all at one place, thereby increasing data integrity. However, the transactions depend highly on network connectivity.

Distributed Databases
Distributed databases are the databases of an organization that are distributed at various geographic locations. The database can be either common to all the sites, or it may be specific to that local site only. Distributed databases are remotely accessed from the respective local site. The reason this type of database was developed was parallel execution of work, division of tasks, thereby reducing the overall time.

End-User Databases
End-user database is the database which results out of various operations that the user performs on different databases. These contain information about the end-users of an organization. Such databases are used for deducing summary information about all the transactions in an organization. These are faster than operational databases, though the latter ones can serve the purpose too. The example of this is spreadsheets, word documents or downloaded files.

External Databases
External database refers to an online access to an external, privately-owned data. This access is mostly free and available from commercial online services. Hence they are also called ‘commercial databases’. These databases are usually for external users who cannot afford maintaining huge databases. The examples include access to information of wealth regarding a particular individual or his address/phone number through online directories.

Hypermedia Databases
When you surf online, you come across a number of web pages that contain images, video clips, links (or hyperlinks as we call it), graphics, media files, etc. This information has to be retrieved or ‘called’ from somewhere―the hypermedia database. These comprise a set of interconnected multimedia web pages, wherein the information is stored online and the data can be accessed by several users at a time.

Data Warehouse
As the name suggests, data warehouse is a large collection of data extracted from various other databases. This data can be used by anyone from a management personnel to an end user. The data is mostly expressed as an edited and screened information.

Depending on the scope of data, databases can be classified into three major types.

General Interest Databases
General interest databases are the databases that offer information on myriad subjects. The purpose of these databases is to provide all the necessary information to the user on any topic that he searches for. They are mostly used for research work.

Discipline-Specific Databases
Discipline-specific databases are similar to general interest databases, however, information is more streamlined here. This type of databases are useful for professionals in a particular field.

Subject-Specific Databases
Subject-specific databases are devoted to a particular subject only. They are mostly used for academic purposes. The information is usually in the form of research papers from journals etc.

Way to Connect a Laptop to a TV

Using RCA Connector
The RCA standard was originally designed for transmitting analog audio and composite video signals between devices such televisions, satellites receivers, VCRs, etc. It comprises three separate ports and cables: the red and white colored cable stand for right and left analog audio respectively. The yellow cable is used for composite video. Most laptops and computers do not have the RCA connection feature. But you can use an RCA to S-video converter for getting the RCA connector hooked onto your computer. The picture quality that you will get in this technology, compared to the other options out there, is acceptable at best.

Using S-Video Connectors
S-Video or Super Video is another method of connecting the laptop to a TV. Though not very good, this technology will still give you a sharper picture quality as compared to composite video. It is also one of the most feasible methods, as the S-Video port is available in almost all televisions.

The S-Video connector-cable is usually bundled along with a laptop. If not, then you will have to purchase it separately. These cables may have either a 4-pin or a 7-pin connector. If the number of pins on your computer and those on your TV don’t match, you can use a converter.

Using VGA Connector
VGA is the abbreviation of Video Graphics Array, which is a video transmission technology that can be used for connecting a laptop to an HDTV. Ordinary televisions do not have a VGA port. However, this can be found in newer ones. It is also present in almost all PCs as the basic standard.

The picture quality that you get on connecting a laptop to an HDTV using a VGA connector is definitely superior to what you get when using an S-Video connector.

Using DVI Connector
Many computers and laptops are equipped with Digital Visual Interface (DVI) connectors. This technology was developed to convert analog signals into digital signals, to work with both analog and digital monitors.

For connection, it is necessary that your TV should have the DVI port as well, which most LCDs and LEDs nowadays do. DVI connectors and cables are only useful for transmitting video. For transmitting audio from your laptop to your TV, you will need to use a separate audio cable. The video quality obtained from a DVI connection is cleaner and sharper than VGA.

Using HDMI Connector
There is nothing that can beat the picture quality of this mode of connection. Most HDTVs come with the feature of connecting an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface). However, not all laptops have this feature. A way around this is to use an HDMI to DVI converter or adapter for establishing the connection. The cost of an HDMI connector is definitely more than that of any other connectors, but the picture quality that you will get with this technology is definitely worth it. It is far superior than any other method.

Note: There are chances that, in spite of making the necessary connection, you may not get the output on your TV screen. Under such cases, try reducing the screen resolution of your laptop. This is one of the most common solutions to such a problem.

Thus, using one of the above technologies, you can easily connect your laptop to your TV. While some of the technologies will give you a better result than the others, albeit at a higher cost, one thing is for certain – all of them will give you a bigger display than your laptop, and thus, let you enjoy a better viewing experience.

Types of Computer Motherboards

There are different ways to classify motherboards, which are:

Classification Based on Assembly

Integrated Processors
Video, graphics, sound… such facilities involve components. Peripheral device slots, serial parallel ports and input output ports are other physical components or parts that are involved in the working of a computer. When such components are provided for by the motherboard, i.e. they are built into the motherboard, the motherboard is called integrated.

For example, to make a computer capable of connecting to networks, a network card is integrated onto the motherboard itself. So you do not need to buy a network card. This sort of motherboard allows for better air flow within the computer’s case. Integrated motherboards cost less to make but their downside is that, if even one component on the motherboard fails, the entire board might have to be replaced. Repairing or replacing this sort of motherboard, is expensive.

Non-integrated Processors
With non-integrated motherboards, electronic components and parts are fitted individually and as needed. Input output ports, connectors, RAM etc. are fixed to the motherboard using expansion slots. So you can add one or more components as needed. This allows for greater customization and freedom in designing a PC. Gamers, for example, could fix a high-end graphics card of their choice, using the expansion slot, instead of settling for an average video card on an integrated motherboard.

But customizing a motherboard can get expensive and this is the problem with non-integrated motherboards; the initial cost is high as components need to be bought and fixed. Plus, there should be enough expansion slots to accommodate the multiple components. However, if a single component fails, then only it has to be replaced or repaired, which is a cheaper operation as opposed to replacing the entire motherboard.

Classification Based on Processor

This way of differentiating computer motherboards is based on motherboard socket types. The CPUs that are available in the current market, are compatible only with specific motherboards.

Socket A Motherboards
These motherboards are meant for AMD and Durons processors. The Socket A motherboard is also known as Socket 464 motherboard. The CPU socket in the motherboard has 462 pins and it comes in a PGA (Pin Grid Array) packaging. The bus speed of this type of motherboard is 100 to 200 MHz.

Socket 370 Motherboards
Meant for Intel Pentium III and Celeron processor, this motherboard comes for CPUs with 370 pins. It can also support VIA Cyrix III and VIA C3 processors. The bus speed for this type of motherboard is 66 to 133 MHz and it also comes in a PGA package.

Socket 378 Motherboards
This is meant for Pentium 4 processors. It also comes in a PGA package and has 478 pins. The bus speed is 100 to 200 MHz. This motherboard can also support Intel Pentium 4EE and Intel Pentium M processor. This type of motherboard is also known as Socket N motherboard.

Socket T Motherboards
Also known as LGA 775, this motherboard is meant for Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel Core 2 Quad and Intel Xeon processor. Of course, this motherboard can also support other Intel processors such as Celeron, Pentium 4, Pentium D, Celeron D and Pentium XE processor. Its specifications include 775 pins and a very high bus speed of 1600 MHz. It also comes in a PGA package.

Socket 939 Motherboards
The Socket 939 is meant mainly for the AMD family. It can support AMD processors like the Athlon 64, Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64 X2 and Opetron. It has 939 pins and can have a bus speed from 200 to 1000 MHz. Just like the types described above, it also comes in a PGA package.

Socket AM3 Motherboards
Socket AM3 is among the most recently developed motherboards. Introduced in 2009, this motherboard is meant for AMD Phenom II and AMD Athlon II processors. It has 941 pins and a bus speed range of 200 to 3200 MHz. The packaging for Socket AM3 motherboard is PGA.

Socket H Motherboards
The Socket H or LGA 1156 is meant for Intel Core i3, Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7processors. It has 1156 pins and comes in LGA (Large Grid Array) packaging.

Classification Based on Dimension

The dimensions of a motherboard, also known as the form factor, is another way of distinguishing between different motherboard types.

ATX Motherboards
The ATX (Advanced Technology Extended) motherboard has a length of 12 inches and a width of 7.5 inches. The I/O ports and USB ports meant for the motherboard are integrated directly in it. The bus speed in ATX motherboard is 100 MHz. This board is mainly meant for Intel processors.

Full AT Motherboards
This was the first type of motherboard, which was 12 inches wide and 11 inches long. This motherboard suffered from a lot of problems, like cumbersome access to components and overheating.

Baby AT Motherboards
With a dimension of 10 by 8.5 inches, this motherboard is meant for classic Pentium processors. The DIN keyboard connector at the top right corner of this motherboard, makes recognizing this motherboard a relatively simple task.

How to Determine a Motherboard Type?

Normally, the documentation that accompanies the motherboard, is the best way for determining your computer’s motherboard. If in case you do not have access to those documents, you can go to the System Devices tab located in the Device Manager and try to find your motherboard type. You can also run msinfo32 to find information about the installed hardware. There are various other third party programs too, which you can use for determining the motherboard. You can also simply open the cabinet of your CPU and look for a label on the computer’s motherboard. It is usually present in the upper left or right corner of the motherboard. Another way of finding out the motherboard is, if you can locate the FCC (Federal Communications Commissions) identification number of the motherboard and perform a search on the type of motherboard using the same.

The type of motherboard used for your computer is also used for determining various other factors. For example, DDR SDRAM is the fastest of all the different types of RAM and only Socket A motherboards can be used for the same. Similarly, SDRAM is compatible with Socket 370 and RD RAM with socket 478. Similarly, the type of motherboard determines various other factors too.

The Computer Output Devices

Output devices of computer are types of peripheral hardware connected to the computer either using cables or over a wireless network. An output given by the computer can be in the form of a display on the screen or a printed document or a song that is played. Immaterial of whether you have desktop computers, laptop computers or supercomputers, you will require at least one output device.

Monitor

A monitor is also called video display terminal (VDT). The users can view the visual display of the processed data on the monitor. Computer monitors come in a variety of screen sizes and not to forget, visual resolutions. All monitors have a video card, which processes the data into images, to be eventually displayed. Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) and flat panel displays are the two types of monitors. CRTs are cheaper, and have good viewing angle. They are also bulkier and consume more power. On the other hand, the flat panel displays have no magnetic interference and lighter. They are also costlier.

Printer

Printer is an external hardware device, which takes processed data from the computer to generate a hard copy of the same. After the monitors, printers are the most used peripherals of computers and they are commonly used to print text data, images, etc. There are three main types of computer printers, namely inkjet, laser and dot matrix printers. The dot matrix printer is an impact printer. It uses striking pins against a ribbon to produce the characters in order to print the data. The inkjet printer uses magnetized plates that spray ink on the paper to produce the data. On the other hand, laser printers use a laser beam to produce the data.

Speaker

A speaker is a hardware device, that is connected to a computer’s sound card, which outputs the sound generated by the card. Audio data generated by the computer is sent to the audio card that is located in the expansion slot. The card translates the data into audio signals, which are then sent to either the speakers or the headphones. In the initial phase, computers had on-board speakers, which generated series of different tones and beeps. When the popularity of multimedia and computer games grew, better quality computer speakers known for higher quality sound effects and music came into the market.

Projector

It is a hardware device with which an image and text is projected onto a flat screen. Image data is sent to the video card by the computer which is then translated into a video image and sent to the projector. A projector is often used in meetings or to make presentations as it allows the display to be visible to a larger audience. Ceiling mount projector and table mount projector are the two types of projectors available in the market today.

Plotter

Plotters, like printers, create a hard copy rendition of a digitally rendered design. The design is sent to a plotter through a graphics card and the image is created using a pen. In simple words, plotters basically draw an image using a series of straight lines. This device is used with engineering applications. Drum plotter uses a drum, on which the paper gets wrapped. The plotter pen moves across the drum to produce plots. The other type of plotter is the flatbed plotter. The paper is placed on the bed and graphics are drawn on it. This kind of plotter is used for larger drawings.

Braille Embosser

It is nothing but an impact printer that prints braille output by punching dots on the paper. A few embossers also emboss graphics. Before printing, the data should be first translated into braille by using braille translation software. There are two types of braille embossers namely, single-sided embosser and two-sided embosser. Interpoint printers or double-sided printers, print on both the sides of the paper by lining the dots in such a manner that the dots do not overlap.

Braille Reader/Display

Specially designed for visually impaired, it is an alternative for a monitor. It is connected to a computer via a USB connection. This device displays the output braille characters by raising nylon or metal pins on a flat surface. The data that is highlighted on the computer screen will be automatically displayed on the device by converting the text to braille.