11.5 Questions: Technical Aspects

Anatomy of the Internet

1. What is the Internet exactly? Explain how it differs from the World Wide Web.
2. List and briefly explain the functions of the hardware involved.
3. What is the server-client model, and why is it important?
4. Draw a rough map of the Internet, from backbone to last mile facilities.
5. Where may technological advances be expected?

Telecommunications

1. Explain the difference between analog and digital signals: why is digital preferred?
2. Explain the principles of packet switching.
3. What are network protocols?. Give some protocols important to the Internet, and explain what they do.
4. Outline the channels of the Open System Interconnection standard.
5. Explain how Ping and Tracert are used, and why.

Wireless systems

1. Describe the transmission protocols operating in US wireless systems.
2. Describe the frames that make up a wireless transmission.
3. What new components have been added to the web ecosystem by mobile phones, and illustrate them by reference to some popular mobile phone groups.
4. Compare six wireless Internet access systems, their transmission speeds, ranges and implementations.

Client Computers

1. Describe the main components of a Personal Computer and explain how they operate.
2. What backup routines would you impose, and why?
3. How do viruses differ from spyware, and how can you minimize the risk they represent?

Mobile Devices

1. How do mobile phones differ from personal computers?
2. What functions do smart phones increasingly perform?
3. Describe the components of a mobile phone, and the functions they perform.
4. Describe some popular smart phone models and the operating systems they employ.

Operating Systems

1. What is an operating system, and what are its common functions?
2. Describe four popular operating systems.
3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of open source operating systems?

Computer Programs

1. What are computer programs, and how are they written?
2. Explain the differences between machine code, assembly language, p-code and higher-level languages. What are the pros and cons of each?
3. Why is client-server programming necessary, and what languages are commonly employed?
4. Compare and contrast the use of PHP and Javascript in web pages.
5. Why is Ruby often employed to write content management systems, distance learning languages and the like? What other languages are also employed for these tasks?
6. Write the code to display an empty HTML page in PHP, Cold Fusion and Active Server Pages.

Security

1. What are the four requirements of any security system?
2. Explain how PKI encryption works.
3. What protocols are available for secure channel communication? Explain briefly how they work.
4. How are networks kept secure? Name some popular services and/or software available.
5. What security measures surround the online handling of credit card information?

Browsers

1. What is a browser, and what does it do exactly?
2. How have browser wars returned with mobile web pages?
3. List the more important differences between HTML, XHTML and XML. Suggest Internet uses for each.
4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Cascading Style Sheets? Find examples of CSS-controlled web pages on the Internet.

Business Intelligence Systems

1. What is meant by business intelligence systems?
2. Name the nine types under which business intelligence systems are commonly grouped.
3. Distinguish between business intelligence systems, databases and content management systems.
4. Choose three business intelligence system types and explain their use in detail.
5. Your company wants the latest in business intelligence systems. How would you a. conduct an Internet search and b. evaluate the software available?

Cloud Computing

1. Why is cloud computing being so promoted?
2. What are its advantages to:
a. the small company just starting out, and
b. the global company with semi-independent subsidiaries?
3. Describe the problems that could arise with cloud computing services.
4. In making their choice of cloud computing services partner, what should companies investigate?

Databases

1. What are relational databases, and why are they preferable to flat files for storing information?
2. Explain records, fields and data types.
3. What is Structured Query Language? Give some important commands relating to table creation, use and removal?
4. Explain what is meant by database normalization. Why is it undertaken?
5. Your company has switched from an Apache server to (Windows) SQL Server. Undertake a literature search to find the best way of migrating data from the original MySql database.

DTP Programs

1. For what tasks would you employ a word processing package to lay out a page?
2. What DTP package would you employ for these tasks, and why:
a. a mass market novel,
b. a flyer for your local pizza takeaway,
c. a scientific paper involving complex math formulas,
d. your company parts manual with 6,000 entries, and
e. a photographic journal?
3. Your fashion company's magazine is to become available on tablet computers. Investigate the format conversion software available and devise a preproduction flow path.

eBook Readers

1. Give a short history of ebooks, and suggest why they have recently taken off.
2. Describe the two display systems for ebook readers. Which would you prefer, and why?
3. How would you, on a regular basis, convert content for an iPod to something that could be read on a Kindle?
4. Your masterpiece is to be published in ePub, Kindle and PDF formats. Do an Internet search to find what digital rights management software is available to discourage piracy.

eMail Services

1. What is an email service, and how is it supplied?
2. Briefly describe the four types of email service. What protocols are involved?
3. How can email be made more secure? Compare three such services found by an Internet search.
4. What is instant messaging and online chat? What are their commercial applications?

Expert Systems

1. Define an expert system. Where are they typically used?
2. Describe the usual components.
3. What is a knowledge base, and how is it generated?
4. Describe an inference engine. What is meant by rule-based, backward chaining and confidence factors?
5. Weigh the pros and cons of expert systems.

Graphics Programs

1. Compare the features of Photoshop, Paintshop Pro and Corel Painter.
2. What are the typical areas of use for each of these programs?
3. Exactly what is a graphic file format?
4. What graphic file formats are used in:
a. web pages,
b. photo storage, and
c. photographic journals?

Internet TV

1. Differentiate between videocasts and video streaming.
2. Explain the elements of Internet Protocol Television.
3. Describe some commercial applications of Internet television.
4. Outline the technology behind Internet telephony.

Music & Video

1. Explain the piracy problems faced by the music industry.
2. Why was Apple iPod so successful?
3. What is digital rights management. Discuss the pros and cons of its use.
4. What technologies are employed in video transmission?

Really Simple Syndication

1. What is really simple syndication, and how does it work?
2. What are three formats of RSS in common use, and how do they differ?
3. How would you find RSS feed for your company site? And add it?
4. How would you get your company's promotional material syndicated?

Rich Media

1. What is meant by 'rich media' and how does it apply to web advertising?
2. Describe four popular programs. How do they compare with respect to range of use, ease of learning and display on mobile platforms?
3. What are the main ad types? List a site employing each type.

Search Engines

1. What three operations do search engines perform?
2. Provide a short history of search engine development.
3. How do search engines specialize? Give some examples.
4. How do search engines differ from search directories?
5. What are the five most popular search engines in the US? What are the more striking differences in other countries?

Spreadsheets

1. What are spreadsheet programs, and how are they employed?
2. Give a brief history of their development and marketing.
3. Explain their limitations, and give some examples of costly errors.

Video Conferencing

1. Why is video conferencing becoming an important aspect of business life?
2. Describe the three types of video conference, and the three ways it may be set up.
3. What components are required for video conferencing? Show how they interact.
4. Give some account of Voice over Internet Protocol, and the other protocols involved in video conferencing.
5. Consider three popular video conferencing services and compare their features in detail.

Word Processing

1. How has word processing changed office life? Has all been for the good?
2. Describe five word processing procedures useful for typesetting.
3. How has word processing empowered authors?
4. Compare Microsoft Word facilities with those of two free programs. Why as an impecunious author might you still use Word?

Cluster Analysis

1. Define cluster analysis. What is the significant word in the definition?
2. How could it be useful in webpage design, pay-per-click marketing and search engine optimization?
3. Evaluate some statistical packages available, both free and commercial.

Neural Networks

1. Explain briefly how neural networks operate.
2. What sorts of problems are they used to solve?
3. Provide five examples of their successful use.
4. Describe in detail their use in Microsoft's direct mailing study.

Pricing Models

1. What matters need to be weighed when setting a price?
2. Give the advantages and disadvantages of common pricing models.
3. Explain the k-nearest neighbor (kNN) approach.
4. What is cross validation?
5. What further measures are needed to deal with uneven data?
6. Explain, in outline, how you would use real time data from eBay.

Realtime Systems

1. What is meant by realtime systems? How are programming expenses justified?
2. Give three examples of realtime systems, and their commercial advantages.
3. You've been asked to design the logical system of realtime video hire company. Describe the steps you would take.
4. You're presenting a consultant's plan for a realtime travel company startup. What approaches are possible, and where would the company get its realtime data from?

Regression Analysis

1. What is regression analysis? Why is it useful?
2. Give a hypothetical example of its use.
3. In what circumstances could regression analysis be more useful than cluster analysis or neural networks?

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