History and Components of a Modern Mainframe Computer

Mainframe computers are critical for some of the largest corporations in the world. Each mainframe has more than one modern processor, RAM ranging from a few megabytes to multiple-score gigabytes, and disk space and other storage beyond anything on a microcomputer. A mainframe can control multiple tasks and serve thousands of users every second without downtime.

The chief difference between mainframes and other computing systems is the level of processing that takes place. Mainframes are also different in terms of data bandwidth, organization, reliability, and control. Big organizations-banking, healthcare, insurance, and telecom companies, etc.-use mainframes for processing critical commercial data.

In this article, we discuss the evolution of mainframe computers and their components.

History of mainframe computers

IBM developed a critical part of mainframe computing, the Automatic Sequenced Controlled Calculator (ASCC) for arithmetic operations, in 1944. From the late 1950s through the 1970s, several companies manufactured mainframes: IBM, Burroughs, RCA, NCR, General Electric, and Sperry Rand, for example. Since then, System / 390 by IBM is the only kind of mainframe in use. It evolved from IBM's System / 360 in 1960.

An Early mainframe occupied a huge space. New technologies have drastically reduced the size and cost of the hardware. A current-generation mainframe can fit in a small closet.

Components of a modern mainframe computer

Like a PC, a mainframe has many components for processing data: operating system, motherboard or main board, processor, controllers, storage devices, and channels.

• Motherboard: The motherboard of a mainframe computer consists of a printed circuit that allows CPU, RAM, and other hardware components to function together through a concept called "Bus architecture". The motherboard has device slots for input cards and cable interfaces for various external devices. Where PC motherboards use 32- or 64-bit buses, mainframes use 128-bit buses. General instructions regarding the internal architecture help the motherboard connect to the other devices and retrieve data using binary computation.

• Processor: A CPU acts as the central processing point in mainframe architecture and includes an Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) for performing arithmetic calculations. It also works as a controller for the bus architecture and handles traffic and data requests. The processing power of mainframes is much higher compared to PCs, so that they can handle huge amounts of data.

• Storage devices: Storage devices are for entering, retrieving, storing, and recording data. Many are external devices, such as hard drives, tape drives, and punch card readers, all connected to terminals of the mainframe and controlled by the CPU. Their capacity for data storage can be hundred or even thousands of times that of a PC.

• Communication controllers: Communication controllers allow remote computers to access a mainframe. With the help of networks, LAN or WAN, communication controllers establish connections with various devices, perform data transmission over communication channels, and keep track of users at terminals.

• Channels: The "channels" are the cables used to connect the CPU and the main storage to other parts of the system and make sure that data is moved in a systematic way without losing its integrity.

Modern mainframes have advanced features such as expanded service management capabilities, cross-platform integration facilities, etc. And so are suitable for critical data center operations. The cost of maintaining modern mainframes is much less compared to older models.

What Is A Blog Or What Does Blog Stand For

What is a blog or what does blog stand for are two questions that many internet users still often ask. Well, in short, a blog is basically an online journal whereby a blogger or a contributor to a blog, can digitally note their own thoughts, ideas, opinions and practically anything else that bloggers want people to read about.

Blogs are often called weblogs because after all they are a particular type of website, usually maintained and updated by an individual with regular entries of events, descriptions of situations, personal commentaries or other material such as graphic images or video. Entries are, more often than not, displayed in reverse-chronological order.

Blogs are fluid, interactive platforms for bloggers to get their message across to readers, as opposed to a more static website platform.

There are many resources available on the internet to provide you with blogging tips and information. For instance should you create your blog via a blogging platform such as blogger.com or buy your own domain and set up your blog via a platform such as WordPress. One important aspect of setting up your own blog is that it enables the blogger to create a bond with their readers and to be able to interact with them. It is a great way to make your own thoughts known to others, to pass on valuable information to interested readers, or to create a web presence for your business. The options are numerous.

To achieve this it is advisable for the blogger to include an “About Us” type page, where the blog owner can outline who they are and to disclose the purpose of the blog to their readers.

It goes without saying therefore that, in the main, the blogger needs to know the subject well enough to write regular blog posts. I say “in the main” because the flexibility of a blog will allow the blogger to write a post inviting their readers to comment on a subject that is not so well known by the blogger.

This approach will further enhance the bloggers bond with the readers and will provide more, fresh unique content to their blog.

As mentioned above, blog posts need to be made on a regular basis, but not too regular if the quality of the blog posts are of a poor quality. For instance it is better to post just one really informative, quality blog post every 2 or 3 days rather than several flimsy posts on a daily basis. In short it is the quality of the post rather than the quantity. Posting poor quality posts too often will drive your readers away.

Very often forgotten by bloggers is the need to include tags in their blog posts. Tags let you target your posts into different categories, which can then be searched by readers. For each of your posts you should be looking to have two or three tags. Make use of tags correctly. For example, ensure you use the same words for similar posts but don’t give posts too many tags, as this tends to clog up categories.

Don’t have too many widgets and/or images on your blog to the extent that it slows down the loading of your blog. Readers will exit very quickly if the blog takes too long to load.

Always remember as well that blogs and blog posting should be enjoyable. It is not like writing articles for article directories. A blog post should be written more like your own experiences rather than a regurgitation of a load of researched facts. For instance, one of my passions is football. If I was posting a blog post on a football match then I would write it based on my own experiences of attending a football match rather than spout a load of facts about what a football match is – rules, the time a match lasts for etc.

The flexibility of a blog enables the blogger to get their message across and to take on board any responses or feedback from their readers. It doesn’t take that long to set up a blog – again there are many tips and guidelines available on the internet.

On a more administrative level, if you do set up your own blog, don’t forget to include a “Contact Us” and a “Privacy Policy” page as a bare minimum.

Try blogging, you will find it to be both enjoyable and rewarding.

The Significance of Computers in Our Lives

2010; mankind has come a long way since the first discovery of fire a few hundred thousand years ago. Fire used to be a necessity then, now the computer is a necessity for us as we use it in our daily lives.

One way computers help us is in our lives. We use the computer to communicate with people such as web conferencing with friends who are overseas, to look up on information about a particular topic, socialize on social networks such as Facebook or even to do something as simple as sending an email or digital cards to friends and loved ones.

The computer has also managed to change us from reading hard copies of books, magazines and newspapers, to reading online digital documents such as online newspaper articles and e-books.

In education, lecturers are now using PowerPoint to make their lecture slides which are used during their lectures and students are now able to download the lecture slides into their computers and store it as reading documents.

In the working place, paperwork is now slowly converting from manual printing and keeping documents to storing documents in the computer. The problem with paperwork is that it takes up a lot of space and an office has limited space. Moreover, going digital will help the environment as there will be less demand for paper which results in lesser trees being cut down to be made into paper.

However, there have been some issues raised about digital documents. A digital document can be created and edited by anyone, thus this leads to the owner verification problem. It is dangerous in the working environment, because anyone can edit a contract or agreement after it has been signed and used it against the other party. Another problem would be if one accidentally deletes the document, it will be hard to trace the perpetrator and also very hard to retrace the document.

Online Forums – How to Use an Online Forum

Online forums (also known as online discussion sites, message boards, newsgroups and internet forums) are powerful tools for sharing information. Their use has become omnipresent and wide reaching. Many people use discussion sites on a daily basis, whether it’s to gain knowledge, share ideas or simply to feel as part of a community.

Why use Online Forums?

* communicate with other like-minded people who have the same or similar interests

* exchange intellectual ideas and thoughts

* offer your opinion or advice

* submit materials for others to consider and provide feedback on such as your website, business ideas or questions

* find out new opinions and ideas

* be up to date with latest news and trends

* meet new friends and leads

Participating in forums is another way to stay in contact with persons belonging to the same community and to keep abreast of recent events. It’s a place to voice your opinions, be heard and discover other’s thoughts.

This social media outlet can become addictive. For some, Online Forums provide a haven; a place to escape the daily grind and indulge in the community aura. Forum usage is certainly a concern for employers, due to reduced productivity and procrastination on behalf of the users involved. However, most of us are thankful for their existence.

How to Use Online Forums:

The appearance of an online forum may seem daunting at first. There’s information, posts and threads flowing all over the home page in what appears to be an ad hoc manner. Occasionally, the initial reaction of first time users is to put discussion sites in the too hard basket. Here’s an easy step by step guide to using Online Discussions:

* Registration. Most discussion boards require you to become a member by registering or signing up in order to post. Invariably, you will need to provide a Username (your alias), password and an email address. The forum will also require your agreement to its terms and conditions.

* Validation. After registering to an internet forum, you will need to validate your email by following the validation link emailed to you by the site.

* Rules. Familiarize yourself with the rules and netiquette required by the forum. Generally, spamming, double posting and registering multiple user accounts is prohibited. Try to adhere in order to avoid being called a troll for unintentionally breaking the rules.

* Posting. A forum has predefined topics (called threads). Members may submit messages or comments (called posts) within these topics. The message will be enclosed in a box with the username, time and date notified either on the left hand side or appearing at the top of the post. Usually members are allowed to edit or delete their own posts. Many online forums limit posts to a certain number of characters.

* Threads. A thread (topic) is started by a post. Other members may then follow in the conversation started by the original post (sometimes called the thread starter). At times the responses and comments can become derailed. The tread generally displays posts in opposite chronological order (from first to current). The abbreviation OP often refers to the original poster. Some message boards enable you to customize the view to commence with the starting post. They may also have a thread view which shows the branching of replies in priority to chronological order.

* Moderating. Moderators monitor and enforce the message board rules. They may have access to all posts and threads or just those within their area of responsibility. Mods have the power to delete a post and to ban and suspend members who violate the discussion site’s policy. The moderator is usually the site owner’s friend. Among other responsibilities, they also help members in need and respond to complaints.

If you’re a first timer to online forums, try some smaller message boards to start with. Smaller sites still have that community feel and are more than happy to accommodate beginners. Once you become accustomed to the way discussion websites work, you can then join some larger expert message boards if you wish. Above all, don’t be shy to voice your opinion; that’s what forums are for.