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ICT

Evaluation of software and hardware

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All computers are made up of hardware [hardware: the physical components of a computer ], software [software: a general term used to describe an application or a program ] and data [data: information without context, eg a list of students with numbers beside their names is data, when it's made clear that those numbers represent their placing in a 100 metre race, the data becomes information ]. In your exam, you will need to be able to explain how and why particular hardware or software is suitable for a particular task; and list and discuss criteria which can be used to evaluate or judge the suitability of hardware and software.

Main types of software

Generic

General-purpose software, such as word processors [word processor: an application used to write, edit and format text ] and spreadsheets [spreadsheet: A spreadsheet is made up of cells, rows and columns. Each cell holds a piece of numeric (numbers) or alphanumeric (text) data. Cells can also contain formulae to calculate their contents. ].

Specialised packages

Sold for specific uses, eg managing the accounts of a large organisation.

Bespoke software

Written specially for the end user by a team of people within the company or by external consultants; for example the software which manages London's congestion-charging system.

For more detailed information about software types, go to the section on Applications and programing languages.

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