Application software or "software" are software programs that help you to accomplish a specific job. Typical software programs that individuals use include programs that help to write reports or letters, programs that allow you to draw, manage your checkbook, and also to play all sorts of exciting computer games.
These programs usually are installed on your computer by inserting a CD-ROM disk, or a series of 3.5 diskettes, into your computer and installing the program to your hard drive. Another way to install an application program is to acquire the program through the Internet and download it to your computer. Most computer programs can be bought at a computer store or through magazines. Even retail stores now sell computer programs.
Programs are developed and labeled by version numbers. As the software is revised and fixed for what are called "bugs" (program errors) newer versions are released to replace the previous versions. Be sure and investigate what version of software you are buying so that you get the latest version with newest program features that have been developed. Also make sure that your current computer can run your software. Check the side of the package and make sure you have the requirements listed to install the software on your computer.
Wordprocessing means writing with the computer. The program can edit, delete, insert, rearrange, and space out material until it is exactly what you want it to look like. Technology today allows for "WSYWIG" technology (what you see is what you get). Whatever the screen looks like, is what the page will look like when it prints out. The computer then sends the information to be either saved, or printed. People use wordprocessing to write reports, letters, and papers.
Databases store large amounts of information. Telephone numbers, mailing lists, cataloging, inventories, etc. are all items that can be stored on a database. Even recipes can be stored. Databases keep the information organized and as up to date as possible. It gives the individual user the ability to manage large amounts of information. Reports can easily be generated through a database by querying the database for specific information, or finding a particular phone number or name in a large database is just as easily accomplished. Since the database is managed by the computer, the information can easily be rearranged or changed around.
The spreadsheet allows for the manipulation of large amounts of data. Usually, spreadsheets refer to financial matters that are involved in a business, scientific analysis of numbers, or your own personal acccounting needs. Spreadsheets are used to calculate, numbers, compare and analyze data and use the data for report preparation and presentation. Spreadsheets then generate graphs and charts using the numbers that are obtained from the spreadsheet. This allows for a more graphical presentation of the results of the spreadsheet and is a lot easier to read for a quick comparison of results. For more exact comparisons of course, the actual numerical data is present.
This software helps to draw animations, 3-D images and pictures. Clipart (predrawn art) is usually available with the software that you can use "as is" that you can modify for your own purposes. The software enables the user to create illustrations, designs, logos, and 3-D rendered images graphically. Presentation graphics are used as a way to present an idea or concept, this software helps to design business and educational presentations in a slide show format. Tools include: bulleted lists, graphs, charts, animations and some video.
The desktop publishing software includes features that help you professionally produce quality products for brochures, books, newsletters, and newspapers. Page layout and design tools are included in the package. Text and graphic manipulation are a main feature. This application program allows you great flexibility in design. Templates allow the user to format the document according to a set design while only having to type in the text. Also the user can design their own template from scratch and set up the page layout according to their own design. Great for publishing newsletters and fliers, the ease of changing graphics and formats puts this tool into the hand of the average user.
Most entertainment software that people are familiar with is game software. You can solve a mystery, play card games, explore strange lands, or fly a plane. Simulation game software is the newest type of entertainment software such as the "SIM City" series and also the new 3-D interactive games such as Quake, Doom and Flight Simulator.
Educational Software is designed to help an individual learn about a specific topic area, this software has become very interactive. Computer-aided instruction (CAI) helps you to learn to fix things, learn a language, strengthen math skills, etc. It is "how to" software.
Educational Simulations are computerized models are now available that allow students to simulate experiments which would otherwise be too dangerous to do in a classroom. Also, simulations allow student to try out situations and make prediction when the real equipment is not available. Students can also build their own computerized models to simulate understanding of complex problems.
Reference Software includes electronic maps, encyclopedias, electronic dictionaries, electronic books, etc. This is research software, that allows the user to look up facts on various topics. Reference software can also interface with the Internet to provide updated reference material.
Software called browsers allow the user to connect to the Internet. Also needed with this software is a telephone connection, modem, and a communications link (Internet Service Provider). On-line services can be used to help find information and communicate with other people. (Common software browsers include Netscape, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and AOL Internet Explorer.)Electronic Mail Software:
This software lets the user send and receive electronic mail messages. It sets up a computerized mailbox that collects documents "mail" that you receive electronically. Options available to the user include composing electronic replies to mail, saving or throwing away mail, and composing your own mail to send.
You can produce your own personal Webpage, or advertise a product, or provide educational information through Web development software. Web Development software could include publishing software (Microsoft Front Page,Corel Web Suite, Hot Dog etc.) or website management (Corel Web Master, NetObjects Fusion,VirtualSpan, etc.). This software provides an opportunity to publish on the World Wide Web. The results of the software are "uploaded" to the Internet Web Site Server through specialized protocols and languages. Most of this software provides an easy way to do this. You usually do not need to know how to program in "html" (Internet programming language) to use these applications. Adobe Page Mill,Corel Webmaster,
These applications allow the programmer to write programs and routines needed by the computer to create applications using English-like language. The language is then translated "compiled" into a format the computer can process. (Examples of languages are Visual Basic, Visual C++, Visual C, Cobol, Basic, Paschal, etc.)
Utility software provides an additional way for the computer user to control the use of hardware resources. Utility software can rescue data from damaged disks, troubleshoot computer problems, uninstall software, and manage disk space. (Examples of utility programs include: Norton Utilities, MACACCESS, PC Tools, First Aid, Drive Copy, etc.)Included in the utility software is virus protection software. This program looks at files stored on disks to determine if they are infected with a virus. The software program usually then kills or "disinfects" the virus when given permission to clean the virus from the machine. (Names of virus protection software include: Norton AntiVirus, PC Penicillin, Virus Scan, to name just a few.
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