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Since computer terminology can often be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to understanding the world of personal computers,I've tried to make things a bit easier by defining new terms at the beginning of the chapter in they first appear

Sunday, 5 February 2012

COMMUNICATING WITH A MAINFRAME


Personal computers first found their way into most organizations for uses that generally required little additional information beyond what was readily available. People were quick to realize, however, that the real power in computing came from having access to the large volumes of information that were found on mini or mainframe systems. This information wasn’t available to personal computers because of their inability to exchange files with, or access software from, these larger computers. To get around this, terminal emulators were developed to allow a personal computer to act as if it were a part of the terminal network for a larger system. An emulator (sometimes called an emulation, or Irma, board) essentially fools the computer into thinking it is dealing with another dedicated terminal. A dedicated terminal is one that can be used only to put information into and take information out of a mainframe or minicomputer (the host). A dedicated terminal has no computing power of its own, and cannot process information it receives from the host. This is what makes personal computers so valuable and data processing departments so nervous. Personal computers equipped with emulators can access the main storage banks on the larger systems and then download, or remove information, from the host and place it in the personal computer’s memory, so that computing can actually take place on a worker’s desk. This essentially sidesteps data processing altogether under some circumstances. When the worker has finished whatever manipulation of the data is needed, it can be returned to the host through a process known as uploading. In order to accomplish these tasks, personal computers need to have: An emulation board installed Cabling, or another form of connection, such as a telephone line to the host Software, to make it work it is estimated by some data processing professionals that by 1990 as many as 25 percent of all mainframes installed in large companies in the United States will have personal computer-to- mainframe communications.


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