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5 Online shopping – a beginner's guide

Buying goods and services online used to be a minority activity – the preserve of the geeks and the ‘early adopters’ who are willing to try anything new. But in the last few years, online shopping has become a mainstream activity. In January 2003, the Office of National Statistics reported that online shopping accounted for 6 per cent of all UK retail shopping expenditure. The same source reported that UK businesses sold £23.3 billion-worth of goods and services over the Internet in 20
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3 What's going on with eBay

eBay is a huge database with a Web interface. (A database is a collection of information organised in such a way that a computer program can quickly retrieve desired pieces of data.) The database is continually being updated as people add items, and bid for them, and as auctions open and close. The software includes database software and web-serving software and runs on a large cluster of powerful servers. It is a formidably complex system and although eBay had some teething problems in its e
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6.4 Pictures

It used to be thought that a photograph could provide proof of an event – someone could be caught red-handed by a photograph, as proof of their guilt. ‘The camera never lies’, it was said. If you have a digital camera and have been ‘touching up’ photographs on your home computer you will know that this is far from true now. It is easy to lie with a digital photograph.

The idea that the camera never lies has always been a myth, however. As far back as 1917 the photographs of th
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4.4.2 Battery parameters

Now that we have covered some background on electricity, I will return to discussing batteries.

Activity 19

What do you think would be the important characteristics of a battery for a portable ICT device such as a camcorder or a
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4.2.4 CCD light sensor

The CCD light sensor is a transducer that converts light to an electrical signal. CCD stands for ‘charge coupled device’, and physically a CCD light sensor is an integrated circuit with a transparent cover. A photograph of one is shown in Figure 6. Under the cover is a rectangul
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2.2 The role of technology in the broadcast news industry

Taylor's introductory comments

Taylor starts with some introductory comments. Notice the informal style he uses because this is essentially a script for a talk to a colloquium. Notice also the other issue that I raised earlier, that Taylor is assuming that his listeners are familiar with terms su
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2.1 Communication technologies

With the Industrial Revolution the idea of ‘news’ developed rapidly, and these days most people in the UK and other developed countries have concept of ‘the news’. We expect to be kept up to date with the news through various sources, and to satisfy this expectation we have the businesses of newsgathering and dissemination of news.

In this section you will be learning about the development of the technologies used for newsgathering and dissemination by reading extracts from a pa
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4.2.7 Some other advice

  • Keep to the subject, and pick the right conference for your contribution.

  • Before you write a message, take time to see what is being discussed and how. Lurking is quite acceptable online.

  • Keep messages short. People don't want to read large chunks of text on-screen.

  • Write a good subject line (title) for your message – people often haven't time to read messages unless the subject line looks relevant.


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4.2.1 Introduction

Netiquette is the unwritten rules of good behaviour online. Although the principles are similar to face-to-face conversation, the limitations of a text-based medium mean you have to learn new techniques. Other people can't see the expression on your face or hear your voice, so it is what you write that sets the tone of the conversation.


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4.2 Netiquette

Work through the following material on ‘netiquette’ and then try the quiz at the end of the section.


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4.1 Introduction

Working with others online requires some skills that are not always obvious when you first start using email and computer conferencing.

Here are some basic rules of good practice about Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) that we recommend to all students when they begin using conferencing. These are collectively known as ‘netiquette’.


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2.2 Evaluating web resources

One of the good things about the Web is also one of its drawbacks – anybody can publish anything. This means that the Web is an amasing source of information and is full of fascinating resources.

However, in order to get to useful information you may have to work your way through lots of irrelevant material. Even when you think you have found something relevant, how do you know it is reliable, and how can you judge the quality, accuracy and bias of what you find?

Most publicatio
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1.2 Guidance on note taking

When taking notes the first thing you have to consider is what the notes are going to be used for, since notes taken for one purpose may not be suitable for another.

Here are some possibilities:

  • to help you understand the information;

  • to help you remember the information;

  • to help you explain the information to someone else;

  • to highlight the points that will be useful in an assignment;

  • <
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Introduction

This unit is from our archive and it is an adapted extract from Networked living: exploring information and communication technologies (T175) which is no longer in presentation. If you wish to study formally at The Open University, you may wish to explore the courses we offer in this curriculum area.

This unit will help you to develop the study skills involved in readi
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7.3 Components

The term component has been used since software engineering emerged as a discipline in 1968, and it reflects the analogy with other engineering disciplines. Like electronic devices that have pins and are connected with wires, software components are seen as independent software artefacts that can be used unchanged to build larger systems.

In most systems, it is usually easy to identify parts that are common to a number of applications. Each system may itself be considered a set o
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6.5 Classes

In the hotel system, each room is different and may have a different occupant. However all rooms are the same in that each has a room name and a rate, for example, and each may have an occupant. If something did not have a room name and a rate, it would not count as a hotel room. Thus we generally talk about objects in terms of general classifications. Instead of repeatedly saying that the objects representing rooms 201 and 302 have names, can be ensuite or not and have a rate, we define the
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References

Michael Jackson, Software Requirements & Specifications, Addison-Wesley, 1995. ISBN 0–201–87712–0.
Suzanne Robertson and James Robertson, Mastering the Requirements Process, Addison-Wesley, second edition, 2006. ISBN 0–321–41949–9

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3.2 FTP

The acronym FTP stands for the File Transfer Protocol. It provides the facility whereby files can be downloaded into a computer from another computer in the internet. Although there are a number of utilities for file transfer most users now employ browsers for this via FTP links.

There are a number of utilities which enable you to load anything from clip art to the latest updates for operating systems. Many of these utilities are very primitive: they use a simple command line int
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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under licence.

Unit image: Courtesy of banlon1964 Flickr [accessed 27 October 2006]

All other material within this unit originated at the Open University

1. Join the 200,000 students currently studying with The Open University.


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3.1 What is revision?

Revision is not, as the word suggests, simply 'looking again' at the material covered in a course - it is a more active task. It involves organising material and finding ways of remembering it, that suit your own particular learning style. Although the time you set aside for revision is important, the approach you adopt and the techniques you use to revise are more vital. Sometimes the thought of having to revise can seem daunting, but be reassured, revision skills and techniques can be learn
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