Introduction to Computers and their Applications
My office hours
(in Alumnae Hall 113A; if I'm not there, look around the corner in 112)
are Monday 12:00-2:00, Tuesday and Thursday 9:00-12:00.
The main textbook for this class is Using Information Technology, by
Sawyer & Williams; later in the semester we'll switch to Learning
Web Design by Jennifer Niederst.
Both books are in the bookstore as of Jan. 22.
Who should take this course?
This course is for people who want to learn how to use computers for
word processing, number processing (spreadsheets), databases, e-mail, Web
browsing, etc. If you are (or are considering being) a math or computer
science major, you'll need to take one or more programming courses like
CSC 160 or CSC 171 (ask me for advice on which). If you are a Computer
and Management Information Systems major,
you need both this course and some programming courses.
For General Education requirements, this course counts as a Second
Competency but not as a Math/Science Distribution course.
- My web page on
privacy, computers, and telecommunications (includes summaries of a
lot of different issues, with links to other organizations)
- The ImpactCS project's
the social and ethical impact of computing
- "Triumph of the Nerds", a 3-hour public-TV documentary
(on videotape in Swirbul Library) about the development of the
microcomputer industry from 1975-1995.
article from the Chronicle of Higher Education on college students
being overwhelmed with information from Web searches.
- The Personal Computer
Show, Wednesday evenings on WBAI 99.5 FM, discusses a lot of
"how-to" issues, including backup, firewalls, virus and spyware
protection, etc (mostly for Windows users). In particular, their
page of links and downloads points to a lot of useful stuff.
Gator Advertising and Information Network FAQ. GAIN is an example
of "adware" or "spyware": you visit a Web site that offers useful
software or Web services for free, you download and install the
software, and you have (perhaps unknowingly) also installed a program
named Gator that tracks what web sites you visit and displays pop-up
ads on your screen until you figure out how to delete it.
- Steven Levy's book Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the
Government (Saving Privacy in the Digital Age), which discusses
the history of computer cryptography and its implications for privacy
and policy. Makes the claim that strong cryptography is here to stay,
and nothing governments or corporations can do will stop it, so we'd
better get used to a world in which anything can be secret.
(If you like Levy's writing style, you might enjoy his earlier book
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution.)
- David Brin's book The Transparent Society, which also
discusses privacy and and policy issues. Makes the claim that surveillance
and spying technology are here to stay, and nothing cryptographers can
do will stop it, so we'd better get used to a world in which nothing
can be secret, and the best we can hope for is to
give ordinary citizens the same ability to spy on corporations
and governments that corporations and governments already have to
spy on ordinary citizens.
- Brad Templeton's Copyright Myths
- A Guide to
Home Computer Security written by CERT/CC, a part of Carnegie Mellon
University's Software Engineering Institute
- The HTML 4.01 standard
(not always easy reading, but definitive on what is legal and illegal
- Tutorials and Style
Recommendations for writing Web pages
- WebMonkey, a widely-used
source of information for Web developers, including handy HTML
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