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ICT in society Essay

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ICT is a major part of my life, many jobs require ICT skills, therefore, computers are becoming increasingly more useful to me, they are fantastic for work, school, or just for fun. Just about everything can be done on a computer, and just about anywhere in the world! I could write an essay, sell some old pyjamas, talk to a friend on the other side of the world or even order a pizza!

In this assignment I will be focusing on 6 features of the computer, which I use in everyday life. These are:

* Music downloads

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* Word processing

* Online Gaming

* Personal spaces/websites

* Online Auctions

* Instant messaging



Where used






Microsoft Word

Personal + Work

Home and school


Online games












MSN messenger




For people of my generation, you would find it hard to find a job in which you don’t need ICT skills, as in the next 10 years, I think all jobs will rely on computing. 20, even 10 years ago you would of found it very easy to find a job that doesn’t require computing skills, as computers were rarer, a lot less advanced and a lot more expensive than they are now!

Most people in England of my age have been bought up with computers therefore we would find them a lot easier to use, and perhaps a lot less daunting than some older people. However I think we take it all for granted. There are many millions of children around the globe that haven’t had the opportunity to be educated on computers many have never even seen one!

The way in which I use ICT at home and at school.

Music Downloads: Home personal

CD’s have not always been the leading music medium, there have been many other ways to listen to music, including, Vinyl discs, cassettes and wax cylinders. However since their introduction in 1982 CD’s remained the most popular source of music up until around 7 years ago when Napster (a music swapping site) was released. Music download software has been ever evolving since then, and is now commonly used all over the world. Music downloads allow you to get access to millions of songs right in front of you, whenever you want. You can buy songs off itunes (the world’s biggest online music store) for 79p each. However many illegal software’s have been produced, this way you can get your songs for free, but you could face a big fine.

i used to use a P2P sharing software called Limewire, but I later realised that I was downloading my files illegally, and the quality of songs was of a low standard. However I opted for my own files not to be shared, this way nobody could access the files on my computer.. I could receive pretty much any song/file I want at a touch of a button. The speed of download depends on how fast my Internet connection is, how fast the source of the file’s Internet connection is and how large the file itself is. A song can take anything from 30 seconds to many hours.

This programme is illegal as you are breaching the copyright law. However copyright for a song only lasts for 50 years, so if I was wishing to download a song more than 50 years old, it is legal to download this song without having to purchase it. It is not only music that I could download from Limewire, I could download, PowerPoint presentations, word documents, films, Internet pages, pictures and many more. MP3 files are the most commonly used form of digital music, and this is what I use. I have an Ipod, and MP3 files are the only digital format it recognises.

There are many other file sharing programmes other than Limewire, including, Napster, Aries and Bareshare. I did not only use the songs I downloaded from Limewire for putting onto my ipod, but I occasionally made compilation CD’s, where I downloaded various songs and burned them all onto a CD using Windows Media Player or iTunes.

The advantages of using illegal P2P software such as Limewire

* Files I download are 100% free

* There is generally a bigger range of files on programmes such as Limewire

* I do not have to enter any bank details

The disadvantages of using illegal P2P software such as Limewire

* You could face a hefty fine

* Most songs come without album covers/artwork

* Files are more likely to be corrupt

* Viruses are spread through programmes such as Limewire

* I may not always get what I ask for, e.g. the song I want may be cut short, or maybe the wrong song entirely!

Word processing: Home personal and school personal.

Of all the things you can do on a computer word processing is one of the most frequently used. Before computers were around you would have to use a typewriter or even just pen and paper. But as technology has evolved so has the way in which letters, essays, and books e.t.c. are written.

I use word processing at home and at school, at home mostly for bits of homework, and at school for school-work, mainly in ICT or sometimes we would go down to the ICT rooms to visit websites related to various subjects and then we would have to write a report on that website, using Microsoft Word. I find Word processing incredibly easy, all you need is a keyboard, the software, and of course a computer! Every letter you type on the keyboard will then be displayed on the monitor. I have used Microsoft Word (a word processing software) for this piece of coursework. Microsoft word is by far the worlds favourite word processor and now comes as standard with most computers you buy. Not only can you type on a word processor but you can, add pictures, format fonts (the size, colour, style…), spell check, mail merge, draw and lots more…

After having written a document on Microsoft Word it is best to check it for spelling and grammatical mistakes, you can do this by using the spell check tool, just press F7 or click the button at the top of your screen. This will then go through all the mistakes it recognises and will give suggestions on how to correct them. You can accept the change by clicking “change” or ignore the change by clicking “ignore” However, spell check does have its downsides, if I was to write “when are you going to right your essay?” spell check would not pick up that I have written “right” instead of write. Therefore, I have to be extra careful and always proofread my work after I have performed a spell check.

Since I got my computer around six years ago, my awareness of the keyboard has become greater. This has increased the speed in which I write a document and I now feel that I can type a document or letter quicker than I can write it with a pen. I also feel if I was to make a mistake on a letter written in pen on paper, then I would have to start again, where as if I make a mistake whilst writing a letter on the computer I can easily correct it using the keyboard or spell check, without it looking a mess.

Advantages of using a word processor such as MS word

* Word processed documents look neater than pen written documents

* Spell check facilities are available without having to start your work again

* There are many fonts available, so you can format your work depending on how you want it to look

* You can insert pictures easily

* If you loose a document you only have to print it off again, instead of writing it again.

Disadvantages of using a word processor such as MS word

* Work can be lost if your computer crashes

* Spell checkers do not always pick up mistakes

Online Gaming: Home personal and Home social.

Games have been around for millions of years, you can play games outside, inside, on your own or in a group. There are many different sorts of games, board games, video games or simple games like hide and seek. In this part of this assignment I am going to be talking about online gaming, an aspect of the Internet of which has boomed within the last 5 years.

Online gaming has made an incredible rise; today it is one of the major aspects of the Internet. There are hundreds of websites around offering games, some free and some you have to pay for. Children can play these games and so can adults, no matter how old you are or what your hobby is, there’s a game out there somewhere for you, in that big wide world of the Internet. You can play games to win money, or just to have fun and be placed on the leader board. Some of these games are for download and many of them you can play on a website, games that are strictly for download are often better or bigger than games on a website.

Some games including World Of War Craft have over 10million players! These aren’t all children, millions of these are adults, games like this are appealing as they let you play the role of a character. I can chat, make friends or just fight against an enemy. Online gaming is not just available on a PC but on other games consoles such as the Xbox or the Playstation. Many games released for these consoles include services such as Netplay (a online service provided by Sony’s Paystation) or Xbox Live (an online service provided by Microsoft’s Xbox). These services allow me to play my game as usual, but I can also log into the appropriate service and play the exact same game but against millions of people all over the globe. I can speak to them through a headset or chat to them via a keyboard.

Advantages / Disadvantages

bookmakers such as Ladbrokes and William Hill have provided online gambling sites that allow you to win money via betting or having a game of poker without having to step out of your front door. I have not experienced any gambling websites and I am underage 18 (the legal age for gambling.) Not all online gaming sites offer cash prizes however. Sites such as miniclip.com offer free, harmless, gaming fun, for people of all ages. “Miniclip” is proud to host over 400 online games fitting in to 17 categories. “Miniclip” has multiplayer games or single player games that I play by myself. Multiplayer games can either be played against people around the world, or against a friend sharing the same keyboard as me, but using different control keys.

Computer outlets have now brought out special game related hardware (controllers) for specific online games, as some of these online games have grown so big!

I believe that within that next 5-10 years there will be no need to buy games consoles, as computers will have them already built in, and all gaming will be done via a computer.

Personal spaces/websites: Home personal and Home social.

15 years ago it was a privilege for a large company to have a website, as they cost a lot of money to design and the Internet world was just beginning. In this day and age almost anybody can get a website, you can pay or even get one for free. Personal website hosts, such as myspace and msn offer free personal websites, for you to basically advertise yourself.

Myspace the world’s most popular personal space host has almost 200million members, and there is more signing up everyday. Whether you are an amateur musician or just a member of the public, myspace will have specific designs for you. Many musicians’ careers are started via myspace, for example the arctic monkeys, they made a profile on myspace and just a year later they had the UK’s fastest selling album ever! Myspace has now become more of a fashion statement; most celebrities even have a Myspace profile.

On myspace I can add other profiles as my “friends” so basically the more profiles I add, the more “friends” you have. These friends appear on my profile, I can either choose to display 4,8,16 or 24 “top friends” or not show any at all. I can add anybody to be my friend, but I can restrict whom I want to be my friend by putting a block against people that don’t know me. I can chat to others via “comments” or message others via “messages”, each comment I send to someone is displayed on their profile, but only the last fifty are directly displayed.

I can personalise my profile using layouts supplied by other websites, I can add songs, videos, games and pictures. To start with, my myspace domain is displayed as my myspace “friendID” but as I join I have the option to change it to a personalised domain. Myspace has many features that are designed to entertain the public, and its growth has been inspiring to many other websites of its kind. I find myspace very useful, as I can visit friend’s profiles, and chat to them via comments, messages and even myspace instant messenger. I live quite far away from school, so it is more awkward for me to visit friends after school time, however I can keep in touch with them via myspace.

Online Auctions: Home personal

Most people have been to an auction at one point in their life, whether it be to bid for an item or just to experience what an auction is like.

Along with pretty much everything, auctions have been transferred onto the Internet, websites such as Ebay.co.uk offer online auctions, and sell thousands of products everyday. Ebay is not the only website offering this service, but it is the one I am going to write about as both my family and I use it.

Ebay has grown from a small business, to one of the worlds most frequently used/visited websites. As long as you have an account with Ebay you can buy or sell almost any product you wish (within the law of course). Some products sell for 1p and some for hundreds of thousands of pounds. I can find everything on Ebay, useless or useful, from a chocolate bar wrapper, to a luxury villa in Florida.

However Ebay not only supports auctioning, but I can buy items at fixed prices as well, this service is called “buy it now”, in many cases the seller may include both a “but it now” and an auction. If the buyer wanted an item there and then, then they would choose “buy it now”, although the price is normally a bit higher than that of the auction. Another service has also recently come into action, which is basically a service where I can buy the item for a fixed price or if this was a bit to expensive for me, I could enter an amount that the I would consider to buy it for, if the seller accepts, the item is mine for the price i suggested.

Ebay offer lots of services to determine how many hits your auction will get, these are optional but will cost extra, as it is likely that your product will fetch a greater amount of money. Ebay is a great service however it is not 100% free, they charge a listing fee for every item I put on Ebay of 12p plus any extra charges I want to include this include.

* Gallery pictures – Add a small version of your selected picture to search results

* Gallery plus – Display a larger picture in search results when buyers mouse over “Enlarge”. Free Gallery Picture included.

* Subtitle – Display a larger picture in search results when buyers mouse over “Enlarge”. Free Gallery Picture included.

* Highlight – Make your listing stand out in search results with a brightly-coloured band

* Plus many more

Ebay is available in 27 different countries, each website being adapted for each country. Not everybody makes a profit on Ebay, either because their item may not sell. If I wanted to I can decide to donate a percentage or all of my profits to charity. Ebay have grown so big and so successful that they even have shops located all around the UK which offer a pawning service, if you take items into the shops they will offer an amount to buy that item off you

The advantages of using an online auction site such as Ebay.

* I can purchase an item on the click of a button.

* The item is advertised to millions of people worldwide.

The advantages of using an online auction site such as Ebay.

* Your goods may be faulty

* Your good may not turn up

* Your computer may crash.

Instant Messaging: Home social

Instant messaging is nothing new; the telephone has always been a quick way of getting a message to a friend. However with the world moving onto computers so has instant messaging, for the last ten years now, Windows has provided a computer based instant messaging service. It involves downloading a software (however, this comes as standard with most computers) called windows messenger. All I need to be able to use this software is an msn or hotmail email address. Many other companies followed in windows footsteps and also released instant messaging programmes, including Yahoo and AOL (America Online) I personally use Windows Live Messenger, an update of Windows Messenger.

And it helps me to keep in touch with friends and family after school, I prefer using this to using the phone as messenger is free, where as you have to pay to use the phone. You can only speak to or message someone if they are on your contact list, for someone to be on your contact list you have to have had added their email address and waited for them to accept your “invitation”. I can not only message people using text on messenger, but I can even draw using an additional feature than windows provides with its software. Or if none of these appeal to me, I could even chat to them using my microphone and watch them, if I/they have a web-cam.

When I sign in to windows live messenger I have the option to appear:

* Offline

* Busy

* Be right back

* In a call

* Away

* Out to lunch

* Or online

This can determine whether people speak to me or not, as sometimes when I sign in to messenger I am bombarded by people wanting to chat to me, this can get very frustrating as it is hard to speak to more than one person at a time.

Messenger gives you the option to save your “ChatLogs”, “ChatLogs” are a record of a conversation I have on msn, so if I forgot what I said to somebody I could simply check my “ChatLogs” which are saved in a folder of my choice.

I do not have to keep my conversation window up all the time, I can minimize it, and every time someone messages me it will flash orange at the bottom of my screen. This is handy as if I was writing a document at the same time as chatting to a friend, I would not have to keep the conversation window open. Contacts recognise by the display name I chose, and the display picture I chose, my display name could be anything I wish, but may only contain numbers and letters. My display picture may also be anything I wish, but animated pictures will not work.

Computers affect my life a great deal, without them I would not be able to complete work to the standard which I do so at the moment. I use computers almost everyday for homework, I not only use the features I have mentioned but many other programmes/features as well, which help me in completing and presenting my work. At school I study ICT and I am constantly learning new things, and my understanding of computers is forever broadening.

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