Fluency With Information Technology: Global Edition

Lawrence Snyder  
Total pages
August 2014
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Fluency With Information Technology: Global Edition
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For the introduction to Computer Science course


Fluency with Information Technology: Skills, Concepts, and Capabilities equips readers who are already familiar with computers, the Internet, and the World Wide Web with a deeper understanding of the broad capabilities of technology. Through a project-oriented learning approach that uses examples and realistic problem-solving scenarios, Larry Snyder teaches readers to navigate information technology independently and become effective users of today’s resources, forming a foundation of skills they can adapt to their personal and career goals as future technologies emerge.


Teaching and Learning Experience

This program presents a better teaching and learning experience—for you and your students.

  • Skills, Concepts, and Capabilities Promote Lifelong Learning: Three types of content prepare students to adapt to an ever-changing computing environment.
  • Engaging Features Encourage Students to become Fluent with Information Technology (FIT): Interesting hints, tips, exercises, and backgrounds are located throughout the text.
  • Student and Instructor Resources Enhance Learning: Supplements are available to expand on the topics presented in the text.



Skills, Concepts, and Capabilities Promote Lifelong Learning

Through three different types of content–skills, concepts, and capabilities–Fluency with Information Technologyprepares students to adapt to an ever-changing computing environment through lifelong learning:

  • Skills consist of competence and proficiency with contemporary computer applications like email, word processing, and Web searching. Skills make the technology immediately useful to students and ground students’ learning of other content in practical experience.
  • Concepts are the fundamental principles upon which information technology is based, such as how computers work, digital representation of information, and assessment of information authenticity. Concepts provide the principles on which students will build new understanding as IT evolves.
  • Capabilities are the aptitude to apply higher-level thinking in complex situations, such as problem solving, reasoning, complexity management, and troubleshooting. Capabilities embody modes of thinking that are essential to exploiting IT, but they apply in many other situations as well.


Engaging Features Encourage Students to become Fluent with Information Technology (FIT)

In-chapter and end-of-chapter featuresinclude:

  • fitTIP: Practical hints and suggestions for everyday computer use.
  • fitBYTE: Interesting facts and statistics.
  • fitCAUTION: Warnings and explanations of common mistakes.
  • Try It: Short, in-chapter exercises with solutions provided.
  • Checklists: A useful list of steps for completing a specific task.
  • Great fit Moments: A historical look at some of the major milestones in computing.
  • Great fit Minds: A closer look at some of the influential pioneers in technology.


New to this Edition

Topics are Explained in Contemporary Terms Consistent with Student Experience
The Sixth Edition of Fluency maintains the core “fluency vision,” while positioning the presentation squarely in the second decade of the 21st century. 


  • Much of the text has been rewritten to accommodate how students encounter computation: advances in smartphones, HTML5, CSS3, and on and on. These affect how students use and perceive the fundamentals.
  • Topics like crowd sourcing, privacy, security, phishing, AI, netiquette, copyright, and so forth evolve, and so they must be explained in contemporary terms consistent with student experience.
  • As “ambient knowledge” changes—for example, unlike the past today’s students have at least heard a term like algorithm—concepts need to be explained with a new, more intuitive approach that promotes understanding. Other newly familiar terms have been similarly treated.
  • Part 1 has undergone a complete makeover. Chapter 1 “Defining IT,” Chapter 3 “Networking,” and Chapter 5 “Web” are (again) new. Chapter 4 “HTML” is redeveloped to teach HTML5 and CSS3. Chapter 2 “Human-Computer Interface” and Chapter 6 “Debugging” have been substantially revised.
  • In Part 2, the “bits part” of Chapter 7 “Digital Information” has been redeveloped, Chapter 9 “Computer Organization” has been completely rewritten to be more intuitive, and Chapter 10 “Algorithms” is new and much simplified.
  • In Part 3, Chapter 11 “Social Implications” is mostly new, and Chapter 12 “Privacy and Security” is completely revised to deal with recently revealed privacy threats (NSA) and ongoing security attacks. The “Spreadsheets” chapters (13 and 14) have been revised to increase compatibility with different implementations, including various Excel versions. Chapter 15 “Database Concepts” has a complete reformulation of the relational model. Chapter 16 the “iDiary Database” received a wholesale revision.
  • In Part 4, the “JavaScript” chapters (17–21) have been redeveloped to use the Firefox Scratchpad sandbox for code development, a definite pedagogical advance. Chapter 22, the artificial intelligence chapter, has had its Watson discussion augmented by a new interview with David Ferrucci, the Watson project leader.

Engaging Features Encourage Students to become Fluent with Information Technology

  • A number of TryIT exercises and the end-of-chapter Review Questions have been heavily revised; new exercises have been added.

Table of Contents

PART 1 Becoming Skilled at Computing

Chapter 1 Defining Information Technology

Terms of Endearment 3

Computation’s Greatest Hits 5

Terms of Endearment 14

Computers, Software, Algorithms 15

The Words for Ideas 19

Summary 22

Try It Solutions 22

Review Questions 22


Chapter 2 Exploring the Human-Computer Interface

Face It, It’s a Computer 25

A Few Useful Concepts 27

Perfect Reproduction 29

What We See and What We Think 34

Summary 38

Try It Solutions 38

Review Questions 39


Chapter 3 The Basics of Networking

Making the Connection 43

Comparing Communication Types 45

The Medium of the Message 48

The World Wide Web 60

File Structure 63

Summary 67

Try It Solutions 67

Review Questions 68


Chapter 4 A Hypertext Markup Language Primer

Marking Up with HTML 71

Marking Up with HTML 73

Lab Practice I 75

Structuring Documents 78

Lab Practice II 83

Get Into Style with CSS 85

Marking Links and Images 88

Referring to Files 91

Span, Lists, Tables, and Boxes 93

Cascading Style Sheets 99

Styling with Class 101

Hovering Above Links 104

HTML Wrap-Up 106

Summary 107

Try It Solutions 108

Review Questions 108


Chapter 5 Locating Information on the WWW

The Search for Truth 113

Web Search Fundamentals 115 Advanced Searches 121

Web Searching 126

Authoritative Information 131

Truth or Fiction? 135

Summary 139

Try It Solutions 139

Review Questions 140


Chapter 6 An Introduction to Debugging

To Err Is Human 143

Precision: The High Standards of

Computing 145

Debugging: What’s the Problem? 145

A Dialog About Debugging 147

Debugging Recap 151

Fixing HTML Bugs: A Case

Study 152

No Printer Output: A Classic

Scenario 162

Ensuring the Reliability of

Software 165

Community Debugging 166

Summary 167

Try It Solutions 167

Review Questions 168

Interview with Vinton G. Cerf 171


PART 2 Algorithms and Digitizing Information

Chapter 7 Representing Information Digitally

Bits and the “Why” of Bytes 177

Digitizing Discrete Information 179

Information Representation 181

Binary and Hex 185

Digitizing Numbers in Binary 187

Digitizing Text 190

UTF-8 194

The Metadata and the OED 195

Summary 200

Try It Solutions 200

Review Questions 201


Chapter 8 Representing Multimedia Digitally

Light, Sound, Magic 203

Digitizing Color 205

Computing on Representations 212

Digitizing Sound 218

Digital Images and Video 221

Optical Character Recognition 226

Multimedia Challenges 228

Bits Are It 229

Summary 230

Try It Solutions 230

Review Questions 231


Chapter 9 Principles of Computer Operations

Following Instructions 235

There’s an App for That 237

Software Isn’t So Hard 238

Instruction Execution Engine 242

The Program Counter:

The PC’s PC 248

Instruction Execution 249

Translation 254

Integrated Circuits 257

How Semiconductor Technology

Works 260

Combining the Ideas 262

Summary 264

Try It Solutions 264

Review Questions 265


Chapter 10 Algorithmic Thinking

What’s the Plan? 269

Algorithms 271

Algorithms–A Basic Concept 277

A Closer Look 278

Doing the Right Thing 282

Summary 285

Try It Solutions 285

Review Questions 286

Interview with Ray Kurzweil 288


PART 3 Data and Information

Chapter 11 Social Implications of IT

Computers in Polite Society 295

The Power of the Crowd 297

Out on Good Behavior 299

Expect the Unexpected 303

Creating Good Passwords 304

Spam 309

Scams 310

Protecting Intellectual Property 315

Creative Commons 319

Summary 321

Try It Solutions 322

Review Questions 322


Chapter 12 Privacy and Digital Security

Shhh, It’s a Secret 327

Privacy and Technology 329

A Privacy Definition 330

Enjoying the Benefits of Privacy 331

Fair Information Practices 332

Is There No Privacy? 333

Tracking 336

Cookies 340

Digital Security 342

Prevention 345

Encryption 349

Redundancy Is Very, Very, Very

Good 355

Summary 358

Try It Solutions 359

Review Questions 359


Chapter 13 The Basics of Spreadsheets

Fill-in-the-Blank Computing 363

Arranging Information 365

Computing with Spreadsheets 369

Daily Spreadsheets 378

Importing Data 384

Summary 389

Try It Solutions 390

Review Questions 390


Chapter 14 Advanced Spreadsheets for Planning

“What If” Thinking Helps 395

Designing a Spreadsheet 397

Conditional Formatting 400

Conditional Formulas 403

Naming: Symbolic Reference 406

“What If ” Analysis 409

Analyzing Data Using Filtering 415

Summary 419

Try It Solutions 420

Review Questions 420


Chapter 15 Introduction to Database Concepts

A Table with a View 423

Differences Between Tables and

Databases 425

XML: A Language for Metadata

Tags 426

Tables and Entities 432

The Science of Tables 435

SQL: The Language of Databases 446

Structure of a Database 449

Summary 451

Try It Solutions 451

Review Questions 452


Chapter 16 A Case Study in Database Organization

The iDiary Database 455

Thinking About a Personal

Database 457

A Preliminary Exercise 458

The iDiary Database 468

Using the iDiary Daily 478

Summary 480

Try It Solutions 480

Review Questions 481

Interview with Alan Kay 483


PART 4 Problem Solving

Chapter 17 Fundamental Concepts Expressed in JavaScript

Get with the Program 489

Overview: Programming

Concepts 491

Names, Values, and Variables 492

Three Basic Data Types of

JavaScript 496

The Assignment Statement 499

Lab Practice 502

An Expression and Its Syntax 504

A Conditional Statement 508

The Espresso Program 513

Summary 515

Try It Solutions 516

Review Questions 517


Chapter 18 A JavaScript Program

The Bean Counter 521

Preliminaries 523

Background for the UI 524

Creating the Graphical User

Interface 527

Event-Based Programming 530

Critiquing the Bean Counter 534

Bean Counter Recap 537

Summary 538

Try It Solutions 538

Review Questions 539


Chapter 19 Programming Functions

Thinking Big 543

Anatomy of a Function 545

Forms and Functions 548

Writing Functions, Using

Functions 550

Customizing Pages 556

Making a Web-Based Phone App 559

Social Functions 564

Summary 570

Try It Solutions 571

Review Questions 572


Chapter 20 Iteration Principles

Once Is Not Enough 575

Iteration: Play It Again, Sam 577

JavaScript Rules for for Loops 579

Experiments with Flipping Coins 582

Indexing 587

Arrays 588

It’s Magic 590

The Busy Animation 592

Not So Busy Animation 597

Summary 599

Try It Solutions 600

Review Questions 602


Chapter 21 A Case Study in Algorithmic Problem Solving

The Smooth Motion Application 605

The Smooth Motion Application 607 Planning Smooth Motion 608

Build the Basic Web Page UI 611

Animate the Grid 612

The Best Laid Plans . . . 616

Build Controls 617

Sense the Keys 618

Staircase Detection 621

Assemble Overall Design 622

Primp the Design 624

Summary 625

Try It Solutions 626

Review Questions 627


Chapter 22 Limits to Computation

Computers Can Do Almost {Q Everything, Q Nothing} 629

Can Computers Think? 631

Acting Intelligently? 633

Watson 638

Acting Creatively? 642

The Universality Principle 645

More Work, Slower Speed 648

Are “Best” Algorithms All Fast? 649

Summary 651

Try It Solutions 652

Review Questions 652


Chapter 23 A Fluency Summary

Click to Close 655

Two Big Computing Ideas 657

Fluency: Less Is More 658

Lifelong IT Learning 660

Shifting for Yourself 662

Try It Solutions 662

Review Questions 662

Interview with David Ferrucci 664


Appendix A HTML5 Reference 669

Appendix B RSA Public Key Cryptosystem 675

Appendix C iDiary: Tags and Templates 681

Appendix D JavaScript Programming Rules 687

Appendix E The Bean Counter Program 695

Appendix myApps Page 699

Appendix G Smooth Motion Program 707

Glossary 711

Answers to Selected Questions 721

Index 731

Credits 751