Ten Technical Attributes of Communication and Information Systems mas 201 Type of Content

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Ten Technical Attributes of Communication and Information Systems

MAS 201
Type of Content

  • Text

  • Audio

  • Graphics

  • Video

  • Animation (CGI)

  • Raw Data

  • Text includes:

    • Letters

    • Numbers

    • Other characters

    • ASCII Code

  • Graphics vs. Text

    • When is text not text?

  • Audio includes:

    • Vocal communication

    • Music

    • Sound effects

    • Noise

  • Video vs. Animation

    • Moving images of real-world events

    • Computer Generated Imagery (CGI)

  • Timed and Untimed

  • Consider Temporality

  • Raw Data

    • Communications between network components

    • Generally some kind of signaling

    • Communications not intended for and not seen by users

    • The user is aware of it only when it doesn’t work


  • One-way or Two-way

    • Traditionally, mass media are one-way

    • Interactive, interpersonal media are two-way

      • EX: Cell phones, E-mail

    • What does convergence do to tradition?


  • Think only in the context of interactive communication

    • Does not apply to mass communication because it is not two-way communication

  • There are no degrees of simultaneity

  • Non-simultaneous: creation, presentation, and reception occur at different times

Type of Conduit

  • Wired

    • Phone systems use 2X (twisted pair) wire

    • Phone systems use coaxial cable

    • Cable systems use coaxial cable

    • Fiber optic cables are used in both

  • Wireless: Where and how much of the spectrum

    • For instance, FM radio uses frequencies between 88 MHz and 108 MHz

    • Each FM station is allotted 200 kHz of bandwidth (EX: 88.1 FM, 88.3 FM, etc.)

    • Long wave (LF), Medium wave (AM radio), Short wave (HF), VHF (TV and FM radio), UHF (TV and cell phones), Microwave (SHF and EHF)

Analog/Digital Representation

  • Analog vs. Digital Representation

    • Analog – continuous and continuously varying

    • Digital – only samples of the original

  • May be Differences at Each Stage of:

    • Message Creation

    • Message Transmission

    • Message Presentation

    • Message Preservation

Number of Access Points

Think of Terminal Devices

  • What does terminal mean?

  • One to One

    • EX: Phone conversation with another individual

  • One to Many

    • EX: Broadcast radio

  • Many to Many

Type of Connection

  • Three Basic Types of Connections

    • Switched

      • Sender and receiver are directly connected

    • Networked

      • Content is sent across network connections

    • Broadcast

      • Signal is sent out over a specific geographic area

    • Or Some Combination


  • Electromagnetic spectrum for wireless; every service is allocated a channel

  • Wired can be:

    • Narrowband

      • EX: Telephone service

    • Broadband

      • EX: Cable, Internet service

    • Baseband

      • Local Area Networks


  • Not a direct transmission attribute, but an extremely valuable feature of CIS

    • Content Preservability

      • Where is content stored? How is it stored?

    • Content Retrieveability

      • Can we access stored content?

    • Content Searchability

      • How do we access stored content?

    • Content Modifiability

    • Not all content can be modified by users

User Interface

  • The critical link in the system

    • Type of Mediation (text, audio, video, etc.)

    • Input/Output (terminal) Devices

    • Some interfaces are output-only devices

    • System Navigation

    • How do you make it work?

    • Feature Richness (the number and type of features)

      • Do you always want a feature-rich interface?

    • Feature Use

      • Generally make devices easier to use, but that’s not always the case

      • How do you use the features?

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