Text A. Information Age: For and Against

Text A. Information Age: For and Against


We are now living in the 21-st century in which various kinds of technology have been developed and are being developed. Some examples of these are computers, videotelephones, computerised television, and sat­ellite systems. People have benefited and are benefiting from these kinds of technology. I'm sure the life in the nearest future will be more exciting and comfortable.

It is common now to have a computer at home. Home computers plugged into phone lines become powerful tools of knowledge because they are con­nected to libraries, universities and major research institutions. A specialist is able to locate the latest facts and get new information.

'Smart' TVs provided with new satellite systems are changing. Soon will be available as many as half a thousand channels. Home shopping pro­grammes will allow viewers to shop everything from a yacht to a loaf of bread. Travel services, weather reports, video games, financial services, any kind of educational courses will be available at the touch of a button. The possibilities are almost endless.

By combining the technologies of computers, telephones, and television and then finding new methods of storing and transmitting data it will be possible to transport any information to every home.

Meanwhile, the time saved by not having to travel from one place to an­other for information, goods, and services can be used for rest, recreation, and education. The quality of life will be surely improved. The world will certainly become a more interesting place in which to live.


We have a very comfortable life because of modern technology, but it has created some negative aspects. I do not support the idea of having ad­vanced technology because it takes away time from reading and thinking. Before television, people used to read, think, and converse. They had the time to look at their lives and values. Today, people prefer to watch exciting things on video and television. Students today belong to the 'TV genera­tion', few of them find time to read books, journals, and newspapers.

Another negative aspect, to my mind is computerised service. If most services are computerised, it will be easy for others to get information about a person. For example, the use of a credit card number to pay bills or go shopping can take away your privacy. Someone can easily find out what you bought and what you paid for it. This can also lead to others using your credit card number, or, in other words, theft.



satellite, n спутник
to benefit, v извлекать пользу
to excite, v волновать
to plug into, v вставлять, встраивать
tool, n инструмент
major, adj. главный
research, n научное исследование
to locate, v определить местонахождение
to provide (with), v обеспечивать, снабжать
to be available быть доступным
viewer, n зритель
financial, adj. финансовый
to touch, v касаться, трогать
button, n кнопка
to combine, v сочетать, соединять
to store, v хранить, запоминать
storage, n память (в компьютере)
to transmit, v передавать
data, мн. ч. (datum, ед. ч.), n данные
meanwhile, adv. между тем
to save, v спасать, экономить
to create, v создавать
recreation, n развлечение, отдых
to improve, v улучшать, усовершенствовать
to support, v поддерживать
to advance, v продвигать, развивать
to converse, v разговаривать
values, n ценности
to belong to, v принадлежать
generation, n поколение
privacy, n секретность, тайна
to find out, v выяснить
to pay (for), v платить
theft, n воровство


I. Read the following international words. Try to guess their meanings.

Technology, computer, video, telephone, television, system, comfortable, line, university, specialist, channel, program, yacht, service, report, game, financial, course, combine, method, transport, information, interesting, modern, negative, aspect, idea, journal, person, credit, lead.


II. Find in the text the verbs of the same root.

Benefit, plug, connection, local, provision, combination, transmission, transport (-ation), improvement, creation, conversation, support, computer, payment, leader, development, shop.


III. Write the four forms of the verbs.

To lead, to pay, to get, to buy, to take, to find, to read, to think, to become, to know.

IV. Find antonyms to the following words:

same, furthest, uncomfortable, powerless, old, unavailable, unable, nothing, impossible, to worsen, positive, out-of-date, tiring, to lose, hard, to waste.


V. Suggest Russian renderings for:

1. It is common now to have a computer at home. 2. Home computers plugged into phone lines become powerful tools of knowledge. 3. Soon will be available as many as half a thousand channels. 4. … any kind of educational courses will be available at the touch of a button. 5. Meanwhile, the time saved by not having to travel from one place to another for information, goods and services can be used for rest, recreation and education. 6. The world will certainly become a more interesting place in which to live.


VI. Give the English equivalents from the text for the following:


любой образовательный курс; финансовые услуги; в ближайшем будущем; сейчас принято; средства получения информации; туристическое обслуживание; почти безграничны; методы хранения и передачи информации; благодаря современной технологии; она отнимает время у …; по-моему; оплачивать счета.


VII. Translate the following sentences. Pay special attention to used to (to say that something regularly happened in the past but no longer happens). Used to + infinitive is always past. There is no present. The normal question form is “Did … use to ?”

1. He used to be good at programming but then he gave it up. 2. He didn’t use to take interest in computing until he came across a new software product. 3. Before television, people used to read, think and converse. 4. Now she is not able to get information as soon as she used to. 5. Did you use to play video games when you were a child ? 6. It’s unbelievable that long ago people used to live without PCs. 7. Unfortunately I am not so skillful as I used to be. 8. I don’t type as well as I used to. My injury is to blame. 9. He used to waste a lot of time in front of the telly but now he spends all his spare time trying to access Internet / Intranet and graphics applications.


VIII. Pick out from the text the verbs in:

- Present Indefinite (Active, Passive)

- Present Continuous (Active, Passive)

- Present Perfect (Active, Passive)

- Future Indefinite (Active, Passive)


IX. Answer the following questions:

1. Why do home computers become powerful tools of knowledge ? 2. How will the quality of television viewing improve ? 3. Do you think the possibilities of the advanced technology will bring people together or isolate them ? 4. Are there any advantages of having lots of TV channels ? 5. What do you think we mean by saying “TV generation” ? 6. Do you waste as much time watching TV as you used to when you were a schoolboy (schoolgirl) ? 7. What do you think of advanced technology ? Are you for or against it ?


X. Say in English:

1. Я уверен, что жизнь в ближайшем будущем будет более интересна и комфортабельна. Возможности новых технологий практически безграничны. 2. Компьютер в доме стал обычным явлением. Домашний компьютер, подключенный к телефонной сети, становится мощным источником получения любой информации. 3. Становится доступной связь с библиотеками, университетами, исследовательскими учреждениями. 4. Телевизор, обеспеченный спутниковой связью, позволит телезрителям купить практически любую вещь, от яхты до булки хлеба, не выходя из дома. 5. Исчезает необходимость тратить время в поисках информации. Сэкономленное время можно использовать для отдыха, развлечений или образования. 6. Конечно, жизнь в современном мире достаточно комфортабельна, однако она порождает и некоторые отрицательные моменты. 7. Раньше, когда не было телевидения, люди читали, размышляли, беседовали друг с другом. Сегодня они предпочитают развлекаться, смотря видеофильмы и телевизионные шоу. Мало кто находит время для чтения книг, журналов и газет.


XI. Compose a story. Produce your point of view on the problem of the information age. Try to explain whether you are for or against. Give reasons. Use the following:

to my mind; as far as I know; I think that …; I would like to mention that …; it seems to me; as far as I am concerned; in my opinion; it goes without saying …; to begin with; by the way; in this way; to some extent; if I am not mistaken.

Text B. Computer System

A computer system is made up of five fundamental units. The central part of a computer is the Central Processing Unit (CPU). The CPU includes 2 units: the Control Unit (CU), and the Arithmetic-Logical Unit (ALU).

The Arithmetic-Logical Unit is the "brain" of the computer sys­tem. It performs the most important operations of a computer sys­tem - arithmetic and logical operations on the data.

On the other hand, the Control Unit functions more like a "ho­use master". It decides the sequence of operations for the system. It generates and manages all control signals to streamlining the operations and flow of data within the ALU.

Memory module is the next part of a computer system. 'The memory of the computer is used to store information. Several types of memories are normally present in a computer system. These two ba­sic types of memories are respectively known as ROM (Read Only Me­mory) or RAM (Random Access Memory). Secondary memories can reside externally to the computer. A typical example would be diskettes.

The last part of a computer system is the input /output - mo­dule. The input - module supplies data to the ALU. It can be, for example, a keyboard. The output - module on the other hand displaysto the outside world the data exiting from the ALU. A familiar example is the video display unit (VDU).

Personal computer systems are used now on a wide scale.

The basic components of a personal computer consist of the sys­tem unit, the keyboard, the video display unit, the printer and optionally the mouse. They can be easily connected and ready to be used in a matter of minutes.

The system unit contains a 16 / 24 / 32 - bit microprocessor, the two diskette drives housed in a single table - top unit. The sys­tem unit is powered from a standard 230 - volt ac grounded wall outlet.

The computer system has two modes: alphanumeric (A / N) or text mode and graphics mode.

A few words about A / N mode.

In text mode, it supports either a 40 / 25 or an 80 / 25 display format. Each character is format in an 8 / 8 character box. Charac­ters can be black or white or displayed in colour with 8 backgro­und colours and 16 foreground colours. Multiple pages of text may al­so be stored in the adapter.

The display adapter card contains ROM character generator that provides 256 characters for displaying on the screen. In addition to the standard 96 ASCII characters, there are special cha­racters for supporting games and text processing, plus internati­onal character and symbols, line graphics, scientific notations and Greek characters.

Each display character position is defined by two bytes in the adapter 16K RAM. One byte is for the display character code byte, which is the ASCII character code and the second byte is the att­ribute.

Thus, for the 80 column per 25 rows display, it's required 4000 bytes.

The second possible mode is a graphics mode. The adapter card has two graphics modes - a 320 / 200 four colour mode and a 640 / 200 monochrome mode. In the 320 / 200 mode, each dot on the screen can be programmed with any of the four colours.

The 320 / 200 medium resolution mode uses 16000 bytes of memory, organised in 4 pixels horizontally per byte. The screen is divided into two buffers, the first 8K buffer holding data for the ev­en lines and the second hold data for the odd lines. Each pixel on the screen is defined by two bits

The 640 / 200 high resolution mode requires 16Kb. Every bit is mapped to a pixel on the screen. So, one byte will represent 8 pix­els on the screen.

The personal computer can be connected to either 84-keys or 101-keys keyboard.

The 84-keys keyboard is a AT / XT compatible keyboard. It is changeable to the AT or XT by selective switch at the back of the keyboard.

Various languages keyboards are available: English, German, Russian and others.

The 101-keys keyboard with an outside is to select XT or AT mo­de. It is basically an intelligent and detachable keyboard.




to process, v to include, v unit, n to perform, v brain, n to streamline, v flow, n respectively, adv. random, adj. access, n to reside, v internal / external, adj. input / output, n to supply, v key, n keyboard, n to display, v scale, n on a wide scale component, n optional, adj. to contain , v diskette drive outlet, n mode, n color (colour), n background, n foreground, n in addition to screen, n notation, n to define, v row, n to require, v medium, adj. resolution, n   to map, v to represent, v compatible, adj. switch, n to detach, n even / odd, adj. обрабатывать включать блок, устройство; единица выполнить мозг интенсифицировать поток соответственно случайный доступ размещаться, находиться внутренний / внешний ввод / вывод снабжать клавиша; ключ клавиатура показывать, высвечивать масштаб в широком масштабе элемент необязательный содержать дисковод штепсельная розетка режим цвет фон передний план кроме экран обозначение определять ряд требовать средний разрешающая способность, разрешение наносить на карту; составлять план представлять совместимый выключатель отделять, рассоединять четный / нечетный


I. Read the following international words from the text. Guess their meanings:

computer, system, byte, fundamental, central, process, control, arithmetic, logical, operation, function, master, generate (-or), signal, module, information, type, diskettes, familiar, video, personal, printer, contain, microprocessor, volt, text, graphic, character, format, adapter, position, game, international, symbol, line, notation, bit, attribute, column, monochrome, program, organize, horizontally, selective.


II. Read and remember the following abbreviations:

I/O – input/output R/W – read/write A/N – alphanumeric ALU – arithmetic/logic(al) unit   VDU – video display unit CPU – Central Processing Unit RAM – Random Access Memory   ROM – Read –Only Memory DASD – Direct Access Storage Device   DBMS – Data Base Management System R ввод/вывод чтение/запись текстовый арифметическое/логичес-кое устройство дисплей центральный процессор память с произвольной выборкой постоянная память ЗУ с прямым доступом система управления базами данных регистр


III. Produce definitions to the following:


CPU, character, computer, data, access, instruction, magnetic tape, word, hardware, bit, capacity, address, code, chip.

Use the sentences below:


1.А basic unit of data in a computer memory. It consists of a predetermined number of characters or bits to be processed. The word “bit” is formed from the letter ”b” in the word “binary” and two letters in the word “digit”. 2.The process of acquiring information from a computer register, memory or pe­ripheral unit. 3. One of the elementary operations which can be performed by a computer. 4.The mechanical, magnetic, electronic and electrical devices or components of a computer. 5.The part of a computing system which obtains instructions from the memo­ry and interprets them as well as performs the actual operations. 6.A collection of numeric, alphabetic or special characters de­noting facts and information. 7.Any device capable of accepting information, applying prescribed processes to the information and supplying the results of these processes, in other words, a device for performing sequences of arithmetic and logic opera­tions. 8.One of a set of elementary symbols which may be arranged in groups to express information. The symbols may include the decimal digits 0 through 9, letters A through Z, punctuation marks and operation symbols which a computer may read, store and write. 9.A tape with a magnetic surface on which data can be stored by selective magnetisation of portions of the surface. 10.A system of characters and rules for representing information in a language capable of being understood and used by a computer. 11.A small piece of silicon on which an integrated circuit is fabricated. 12.A unique label, name, or number that identifies a memory location. 13.The number of bits or words or bytes that can be stored. 14.The smallest unit of information within a character which can assume the values of 0 and 1.


IV. Translate the following word combinations. Pay attention to the left-hand attributes:


control unit functions, memory module, input/output module, personal computer systems, video display unit, standard 230-volt ac grounded wall outlet, each display character position, adapter card, 320/200 medium resolution mode, first 8K buffer, 640/200 high resolution mode, 101 – keys keyboard, at/xt compatible keyboard, various languages keyboard.



V. Fill in the table according to the pattern:

Verb Noun Adjective
Pattern: calculate   define compute program divide represent apply require process select store resolve perform change connect organize generate map base power characterize display   calculator calculation    


VI. Translate the sentences below. Pay attention to the meanings of the following words:


a) a result-результат, следствие

as a result - в результате

to result in - приводить к

to result from -вытекать из ....; являться результатом

1.After performing computations a computer displays the re­sults. 2.The development of cybernetics has resulted in growing application of various computers. 3.These data re­sult from the comparison operation. 4.As a result, solving such problems will save human lives. 5.He reported the re­sults of the experiment made by means of a general-purpose computer. 6.The importance of computing machines results from their ability to process information in an extremely short time.


b) rather - довольно, до некоторой степени, скорее

rather than -а не..., вместо того, чтобы; скорее чем

1. These measurements require rather high accuracy. 2.The speedometer reads the instantaneous velocity of a car ra­ther than the average one. 3.This graph is plotted rather for an object moving with uniform velocity. 4.In case of va­rying values an analog computer rather than a digital one should be used.


c) way - путь, способ

way out -выход (из положения)

in this way -таким образом

by the way -между прочим

the other way round -наоборот

1. The only way of solving this complicated problem is to use a computer. 2. In this way, the difference in the design of these computing machines is the difference in their functions. 3. It should be always remembered that the machine serves man, and not the other way round. 4. By the way, some decades ago the principle use of computers was in the area of applied mathematics. 5. There is no better way of raising productivity than by applying modern electronic computers. 6. In this way, the crystal acts as a switch and “remembers” the light impulses. 7. One of the ways of storing information in a computer is storing by using a set of small magnetically polarised spots (пятна) on a magnetic surface. 8. The only possible way out is to simulate the situation by means of a computer.


d) term - термин; срок; семестр

to term - называть

in terms of - с точки зрения; на языке; в терминах

1.Technically, the term microprocessor has come to mean the central processing unit of a small computer system. 2.A code can be wri­tten in terms of automatic language for then it is easy to make changes in it. 3.A program may be termed a routine or code as they are synonyms. 4.If the language being described is called simply "the language", then the language in terms of which the description is being made is called "metalanguage”. 5.Computers are best understood in terms of their real capabilities.


e) a number -число; количество; номер

to number - насчитывать

a number of - pяд, множество

1.If the code for number 3 is stored in register R, the operation will be perfomed by the computer 3 times. 2.A number of computing devices were arranged in our laboratory. 3.An instruction word looks like a number and there is no way to tell from the word itself whether it is a quantity or an instruction.

f) consideration -рассмотрение, обсуждение;


to take into consideration - принимать во внимание

under consideration - рассматриваемый, обсуждаемый

in consideration of - принимая во внимание

1. In view of these considerations one can foresee the development of cryoelectronic memories with extremely high component densities. 2. The prime consideration in choosing this type of a computer is its lower price. 3. It should be taken into consideration that CAD reduces drafting time and effort. 4. The problem under consideration is connected with hardware of the supercomputer. 5. In consideration of advantages in speed, reliability and capacity a great deal of attention will be given to this computing machine.


VII. Put the following sentences into indirect speech with the introducing verb in the Past Tense. (Vary the introducing verb).

a) He said, told us, stated, added, declared, reminded, mentioned, explained

1) An up-to-date computer system is made up of five fundamental units.

2) The ALU performs the most important operations.

3) The two basic types of memories known respectively as ROM and RAM are designed for storing information.

4) Diskettes would be a typical example of secondary memories.

5) The system unit, the keyboard, the video display unit, the printer and optionally the mouse could be called the basic components of a personal computer (PC).

6) Any computer system must have two modes: A/N or text mode and graphic mode.

7) Characters can be black, white or displayed in colour with 8 back ground and 16 foreground colours.

8) In addition to the standard characters there are special characters for supporting games and text processing.


b) She asked, wanted to know, didn’t know, wondered, tried to find out, couldn’t understand.

1) What is each display character position defined by?

2) Can each dot on the screen be programmed with any of the four colours?

3) How many bytes are required for the 80 column per 25 rows display?

4) Will one byte represent 8 or 16 pixels on the screen?

5) What kind of resolution mode used 16000 bytes of memory?

6) Must the personal computer be connected to either 84-keys or 101-keys keyboard?


VIII. Paraphrase the following questions beginning with “I wonder”

1) Could you explain me the difference between ROM and RAM?

2) What unit must store information?

3) What do you mean by saying “up-to-date computer”?

4) Will artificial intelligence be used on a wide scale in the near future?

5) What is the system unit powered from?


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