Math in Computing

Modern Computers and Mathematics

What makes personal computers, laptops, cellphones,
and even iPods and iPads so popular today?

When it comes to private use outside the business and scientific communities, computers and other high-tech devices are primarily used for communications—and most of that is for entertainment purposes. These devices have a variety of functions and activities to participate in, all of which, in an indirect way, are controlled by mathematics (in other words, they all need computer programs and codes to work). Although there are too many to list here, the following lists a few examples of some popular devices and their “output” to the user.

Modern personal computers and laptops often have enough processing power now to allow several functions never thought of before. For example, a user can partake in what is called a blog (a shortened version of web log) or a website or part of a site used to relay information about, for instance, the user’s personal feelings about an issue or issues. Such blogs are updated whenever a person deems it is needed—daily, weekly, and even monthly or more—and are usually displayed in chronological order.

A personal computer or laptop user can participate in or listen to a podcast, or non-streamed webcast. Podcasts (once more commonly called a webcast until iPod became popular) are downloadable media content files, such as a concert, or an interview or lecture on a specific topic put together by someone (or a group) who is interested in offering such information. These series of audio or video digital media files can be released periodically over a special website, often through web syndication, or through a person’s personal website.

There are also social networking venues. For example, Twitter is a website owned and operated by Twitter, Inc., which offers social networking (essentially “meeting and chatting” with others on the Internet); it also allows a person to partake in what is called microblogging, in which people are able to send short messages about, for example, what is happening in their lives at that moment in messages called “tweets.” These text-based listings, which can contan no more than 140 characters per tweet, as of this writing, can be displayed not only on a person’s cellphone (if it is capable), but also on a person’s user profile page on Twitter.

Devices called iPods and iPads are some of the latest in technology, and are mostly used for entertainment. For example, iPods allow the user to pick and download favorite tunes or webcasts from various Internet sites (many times for a price). iPads are used mostly to browse the Internet and check email, but they also excel at gaming, video (especially through places such as Netflix, which offers downloadable, sometimes streaming movies over computers or iPads), and book reading.


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