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Using and Managing Application Software
1. Walking Survey of Applications
People do things like word processing and web surfing, download and cataloging, and viewing and recording digital images and sounds. There's a tonne more you can do with computing devices and applications. Let's take a walk and check it out. I'm at the park with my smartphone and an application called Ingress. It's a worldwide application where I find portals, capture them, and defend them against other people who are trying to take them away from me. with Star Wars-like efficiency. Okay, it's geeky. I get that. But it's an app with a purpose. It helps me get my 100 steps in each day and not get bored in the process. It's also made by the same people who make Pokemon Go. Now, that's geeky. Here's Michael using an app on his tablet to control this drone. He can take high-resolution pictures and videos up to 50 metres away. Cool. Let's go check out what applications are happening inside my office. Let's see what Ivan is working on.
Ivan's working in an application called Adobe PremierePro, taking raw video footage like what my camera person and I are creating right now and putting it into a finished product, like the episode you're watching right now. Nice. Thanks, Ivan. Let's see what Michael is doing in his meticulously clean office. On the left, he has an iPad Pro with a breaking news feed. Central is his IMAC, and he's programming. That means he's creating an application to enable users to do stuff. In this case, a web application that enables people to take practise tests online Sweet. On the right is his Linux laptop, where he's multitasking while playing a game. One of the perks of working in a technology firm Productivity tools, exploration programs, music and picture apps, games, exercise, moviemaking, and more Anything you can imagine, you can do with modern programs. In fact, with the emergence of virtual reality tools these days, the ultimate dream of computing is just around the corner. The holodeck from Star Trek.
2. Managing Applications
when a mommy application and a daddy application really care for each other. Whoa, Scott, we have a nice, clean shot. A typical application has three stages. You install it, you maintain it by patching and keeping it up to date, and when you're done with it, you uninstall it. Installation follows a clear pattern; you insert an optical disk, and the installation routine starts automatically. Or, more commonly today, you download a programme from the Internet, open your Downloads folder in File Explorer (I'm assuming Windows here), and double-click the downloaded file to start the installation routine. You will almost certainly get a UAC notification asking for admin account information or a simple "are you sure?" kind of text. User Account Control is a security feature in Windows that stops malicious software from installing without permission. It's a good thing. Once you provide credentials or accept the offer, follow the prompts to install the software. You can register the software, tell the company that made it who you are, and go through activation. Activation means you connect the programme to your specific computing device. It's an anti-piracy feature to stop folks from installing the software on multiple computers or selling it off to someone else for additional uses.
Developers often update features, fix things that didn't work perfectly when their product was first released, and add security patches to any vulnerabilities. Many applications will periodically check with their parent developer to see if the version installed is the latest and prompt you to update. If not, some will update automatically, though this is more true about the operating systems these days. Finally, you can check the current version of an application, often on an Info tab or via Properties, and check for updates manually. You can uninstall applications in a couple of ways. The common way in Windows is through the Control Panel's programmes and features. Select the application to uninstall, and then click the uninstall button. When prompted, click the "Uninstall" option. Some applications offer an uninstallation option. You'll find such things in the Start menu. Follow the same routine as in "Programs and Features." Well, that's it for managing applications. You install them, keep them up-to-date, and, if necessary, uninstall them.
3. Applications and Extensions
This makes it easy for you and the operating system. You look at a file in File Explorer. It has a distinctive icon next to its name, like the little W for Microsoft Word. You double-click the file, and the operating system opens Word with the file open to text. That's called file association. It is absolutely necessary in Microsoft Windows and is used in other operating systems as well. Windows tracks file association based on the name of the file, or more explicitly, the last part of the file name called the file extension. A Word document has a name like My Awesome Chapter and an extension that relates to the associated program, in this case, Docx. Don't forget the icon too.
Let's look at examples of common applications, their uses, and their file extensions. Productivity software enables standard office tasks like word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. Word was considered for spreadsheet creation. Software like Microsoft Excel enables you to perform math on a bunch of data. Look for an Xlsx file extension. Presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint adds visual punch to meetings. Look for the file extension "pptx" on this one. Email software comes in many forms and has a lot of applications. You'll encounter Microsoft Outlook. That's the big dog in many workplaces. But you'll also see Google's Gmail gracing many systems as the private email of choice. It's fast, free, and easy to use. Email files have extensions, but you're unlikely to encounter them as something separate from the application. Graphic design programmes use various visual media. Standard image files you'll find on the Internet, for example, are JPEG files with the file extension ".jpg" or ".jpeg for print." Most of us use much higher-quality TIFF or PNG files with TIF or PNG extensions. Compression files enable efficient storage of data for backup and transport.
Compression does just what the English word sounds like. You squish a big file into a smaller file. These extensions include dot, zip, ISO, RA, R, Tar, and others. Let's do two more. Executables and Multimedia An executable file is a programme of some sort. This is the kind of thing you download off the Internet and save to your desktop. Double-click the file, and the programme runs. Executable files usually have the file extension "exe." You'll also run into some others, such as Co, M, Bat, and MSI. Multimedia files have a couple of different elements because they carry a lot of information. The episode you're watching right now has an audio track—the sound of my voice, in this case in MP3 format—and also a video of me in MPEG-4 format. But to access this episode, you only clicked on one file. You clicked on a container file or wrapper with the extension MP4. Other multimedia wrappers or container filetypes are Avi, MOV, and Dot. MPG operating systems use file extensions to connect data with the best programme for accessing that data. I know it's complicated. Try this. In Windows, open File Explorer. Right-click on a file and select Properties. The type of file section tells you the file type and extension. Right below that, you'll see the application used to open that file.
4. AMA - Ask Me Anything About Working with Applications
I wanted to take some time to hear from you and answer questions you might have on computer fundamentals or computer literacy. So that's why we put together these Ask Me Anything episodes. My friend Aaron is going to ask questions about stuff in this chapter from viewers like you. I also want to hear from you as well. Well, my email is at the end of the episode; ask me anything. So, I often collaborate with coworkers on projects. Is there software that I can use where they can review, edit, and view the work with me? Oh, absolutely.
The biggest player in the office productivity world is Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft Office 365 includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, which allow you to share documents, collaborate in real time, edit documents, and make changes as long as your coworker has Office 365 and you're all using OneDrive. The other big player is Google Drive, and the apps in Google Drive, like Google Docs and Google Sheets, enable real-time collaboration all over the world. Awesome. Yeah, it's pretty amazing software. Great. What's the difference between Office 365 and Open Office? Oh, a nicely pointed question after the first one.
Office 365 is, as I mentioned, Microsoft's flagship Office productivity suite. It has things like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. It's an incredibly powerful tool that you can use for everything from doing your taxes to making presentations to writing your next novel. Great. Open Office is also a very powerful office productivity suite and has all the same tools that you find in Microsoft Office. Open Office is different, though, because it's open source. That means a bunch of programmers got together and, just for the love of programming, created this Office suite and then gave it away. Wow, how nice of them! Yeah, you can download it, install it on your home computer, and it will work just fine without costing anybody anything. Oh, wow. So the difference is one of the big differences. open source versus Microsoft Office 365 Office 365 is commercial software. which means that the developers enable you commercially. You can pay them, download, and use their software, but you can't make any changes to it.
Okay? Right. They reserve the right to what's called the "source code," the stuff that makes Word Word. Microsoft retains all the control over that stuff. Open Source, on the other hand, is typically licenced so that anyone can download and modify the software itself—not just make documents with it. And the standard licence requires you to make any changes you've made to that programme available for the rest of the world to download as well. It's a very interesting software distribution model. Yes. Now keep in mind that commercial shipping means it costs money. Open source does not mean free. Okay? Okay. Many of the open source licences are free for noncommercial use. So if, for example, you have an open-source piece of software and want to use it at your place of work, you'll need to pay the developers some money. Makes sense. Yeah, but it's still a great software distribution model. Great. Sounds interesting. Manuel in Akron, Ohio, wants to know, "How do I know when to update my software?" Good question.
Many applications will have a little check that comes up periodically or sometimes just when you first open the programme where, as long as you're connected to the Internet, it'll go ping its manufacturer and say, "Am I affiliated with this version?" Yeah. And if not, then you'll get a little prompt saying, "Hey, your software is out of date; do you want to update it?" I know those All right? You know those, right? Other programmes are going to be a little more manual in the process, but there's usually some sort of organisation in the menus along the top. There'll be something like that about this software, and you'll be able to prompt me to go to the manufacturer and tell me if this is the latest version so I can update if I need to. Isn't it simple enough? can handle that. So that brings the real question up: why do you want to update your software? Right.
So software gets updated for a couple of reasons. The biggest ones are bug fixes. Of course, software developers rigorously test their products before selling them, but there's nothing like putting your software out there and having millions of people play with it because they find humans amazing. They find every little thing that doesn't quite work perfectly. And so manufacturers will say, "Oh, that's a fix that needs to get changed," and they'll push out a new version or a patch of their software. The other reason, and you'll get this with multimedia software, is that multimedia files can be huge. Right. And multimedia format developers are constantly looking for ways to compress those beautiful images, sounds, and motion into much smaller packages. And so they will come out with new formats for their multimedia files. Multimedia software then needs to be updated to take advantage of the new format. I see. So thank them for that. Yeah.
So bug fixes and product updates I see. Kelly from Fort Wayne, Indiana, asks: "When I buy a product online, I don't get a CD; what do I need to install the software?" Yeah, in the bad old days of computing, like a couple of years ago, we used to get our software from the computer store, and it would come with a CD or a DVD, and we'd put it in the optical drive and install away. These days, because the Internet connection is so fast, manufacturers can skip that whole step and just make their stuff available as electronic downloads.
So the usual process is that you'll buy a piece of software, say from Amazon or Newegg, and you'll click the link to download that software. In the process of doing this, you'll have some sort of registration with the company. And you'll receive the software licence via email. And so you just go to your download folder, double-click the file you downloaded, and one of the very first prompts that will come up is, "Do you have a license?" And you type in what you got in your email, and then you follow the prompts. Easy enough. easy as that. Well, that's it for chapter seven. Thank you. Thank you, Erin. And thank you. Ask me anything.
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