Effective communication is vital in today’s life, be it for work related application, social interaction, access of trending political events, among other uses. Various devices are invented and developed day by day to enhance effectiveness in communication (Lule 12). With such devices, the performance of day-to-day activities has been made easy, thanks to quick and reliable transmission, storage, and access of information.
A computer is a device which manipulates data by following human instructions. Unlike calculators, which have few applications, computers have many programs that make them extremely versatile. With sufficient storage capacity and time, a computer can perform any form of computational work regardless of the size of the task. The first computer was created by Charles Babbage in the early 19th century. This great innovation came to being after Charles, a mechanical engineer and polymath, originally came up with the idea of a programmable computer. For this reason, Charles Babbage is seen as the “father of the computer”. The purposes of computers include carrying out calculations, acting as information storage, recovering data, and processing information. A computer is guided by computer language or programmed data in the fulfillment of its purpose; it does only what it is programmed to perform (Gadducci, Fabio, and Tavosanis 9).
Computers have changed over time since the 19th century and their evolution has resulted into four categories: first, second, third, and fourth generation computers. The first generation of computers existed from 1940 to 1955. These computers used magnetic drums for data storage and utilized vacuum tubes for powering purposes. First generation computers were slow and costly to make and operate, consumed a lot of energy, generated large amounts of heat, and had minimal application capabilities. The second generation of computers hit in 1956. Transistors replaced vacuum tubes to power the computers. The computers were faster, less costly, more efficient to operate and smaller as compared to first generation computers (Gadducci, Fabio, and Tavosanis 10).
Third generation computers were developed in 1964 and powered using integrated circuits in place of transistors. These computers were faster, consumed less energy and more affordable for purchase by average people as compared to second generations. The era of fourth generation computers (which are still used up to date) started in 1971 and it marked the onset of mass usage of the communication devices. Intel 4004 chip initiated the fourth generation computers which are characterized by thousands of integrated circuits housed by one silicon chip. The computers are smaller, faster, and affordable to buy and operate as compared to those in the third generation (Gadducci, Fabio, and Tavosanis 11).
A Smartphone is usually referred to as an intelligent phone since it resembles and functions as a cell phone and performs some functions of a personal computer. The first Smartphone, Simon Personal Communicator, was created by IBM in 1992. The Smartphone had a monochrome touch screen and a charging base and needed to be charged after about an hour when using data. Other several brands followed Simon but the significant game changer, iPhone, was released in June, 2007 by Apple. iPhone incorporated an incredible touch-screen display offering the best Web-browsing experience ever on any mobile device. The Smartphone has a thinner design as compared to its predecessors and retains power for a long time. Many current smartphones are benchmarked against iPhone. Unlike in the 1990s where just a few people could afford to buy a Smartphone, today, almost 90% of American youths possess the communication devices. The purpose of a Smartphone is to enable a person to perform various tasks such as calling, texting, shooting of photos, gaming, watching videos, social media use, and web browsing, among other tasks on a mobile device (Reed par. 3).
A television (TV) is a telecommunication device, which receives images of a stationary or moving object as well as sound through a wire or wirelessly from a special transmission system. The first television was created in 1926 by John Logie Baird who used a scanning disk which was invented by Paul Nipkow and cathode ray tube, an innovation by Karl Ferdinand Braun. Mechanical television systems and electronic television systems evolved because of the invention of cathode ray tube and scanning disk. Nevertheless, there were several issues in mechanical television such as unclear images, excessive flickering, and the broadcasts were done only in black and white colors. By 1939, electronic television broadcasts replaced all mechanical broadcasts. Color television became popular in the late 1960s and started to replace black-and-white broadcast. In 2009, digital television replaced the primitive analog system giving pictures of higher quality to viewers and reduced congestion of broadcast frequencies. By 2010, almost 50% of American viewers own a high-definition television, enabling them to view clear pictures on wide screens. The main purpose of a TV is to entertain people and to offer them information regarding events occurring in faraway places (Lule 15).
Life would be very difficult in the absence of some of the most prominent communication devices such as computers, televisions, and computers. With them, very many tasks that were previously impossible at all or done manually are currently performed in a fraction of a minute.
Gadducci, Fabio, and Tavosanis, Mirko (eds). History and Philosophy of Computing. Berlin: Springer, 2016.
Lule, Jack. Mass Communication, Media, and Culture. N.p. Available at: http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/mass-communication-media-and-culture/