History and Components of a Modern Mainframe Computer

Mainframe computers are critical for some of the largest corporations in the world. Each mainframe has more than one modern processor, RAM ranging from a few megabytes to multiple-score gigabytes, and disk space and other storage beyond anything on a microcomputer. A mainframe can control multiple tasks and serve thousands of users every second without downtime.

The chief difference between mainframes and other computing systems is the level of processing that takes place. Mainframes are also different in terms of data bandwidth, organization, reliability, and control. Big organizations-banking, healthcare, insurance, and telecom companies, etc.-use mainframes for processing critical commercial data.

In this article, we discuss the evolution of mainframe computers and their components.

History of mainframe computers

IBM developed a critical part of mainframe computing, the Automatic Sequenced Controlled Calculator (ASCC) for arithmetic operations, in 1944. From the late 1950s through the 1970s, several companies manufactured mainframes: IBM, Burroughs, RCA, NCR, General Electric, and Sperry Rand, for example. Since then, System / 390 by IBM is the only kind of mainframe in use. It evolved from IBM's System / 360 in 1960.

An Early mainframe occupied a huge space. New technologies have drastically reduced the size and cost of the hardware. A current-generation mainframe can fit in a small closet.

Components of a modern mainframe computer

Like a PC, a mainframe has many components for processing data: operating system, motherboard or main board, processor, controllers, storage devices, and channels.

• Motherboard: The motherboard of a mainframe computer consists of a printed circuit that allows CPU, RAM, and other hardware components to function together through a concept called "Bus architecture". The motherboard has device slots for input cards and cable interfaces for various external devices. Where PC motherboards use 32- or 64-bit buses, mainframes use 128-bit buses. General instructions regarding the internal architecture help the motherboard connect to the other devices and retrieve data using binary computation.

• Processor: A CPU acts as the central processing point in mainframe architecture and includes an Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) for performing arithmetic calculations. It also works as a controller for the bus architecture and handles traffic and data requests. The processing power of mainframes is much higher compared to PCs, so that they can handle huge amounts of data.

• Storage devices: Storage devices are for entering, retrieving, storing, and recording data. Many are external devices, such as hard drives, tape drives, and punch card readers, all connected to terminals of the mainframe and controlled by the CPU. Their capacity for data storage can be hundred or even thousands of times that of a PC.

• Communication controllers: Communication controllers allow remote computers to access a mainframe. With the help of networks, LAN or WAN, communication controllers establish connections with various devices, perform data transmission over communication channels, and keep track of users at terminals.

• Channels: The "channels" are the cables used to connect the CPU and the main storage to other parts of the system and make sure that data is moved in a systematic way without losing its integrity.

Modern mainframes have advanced features such as expanded service management capabilities, cross-platform integration facilities, etc. And so are suitable for critical data center operations. The cost of maintaining modern mainframes is much less compared to older models.

Benefits of Leisure and Recreation

Although it may not seem so, in reality, Leisure and Recreation is the largest industry in the world. The benefits of leisure and recreation as an important part of life are easy to see. As an industry, it offers a variety of related employment and creates billions of dollars in revenue. Workers in parks and recreation, community agencies, sports agencies, youth development organizations, non-profit organizations, rehab and hospital agencies, the travel and entertainment industries all utilize and benefit from parks and recreation facilities world-wide. Additional benefits of leisure and recreation include environmental improvements from expanding green spaces, health benefits, and personal satisfaction benefits.

There are many civic benefits of leisure and recreation activities. Sports and youth activities offer leadership development for adults and children. Strong communities are built as parks become a hub of community life. Benefits extend to all ages, childhood, youth, young adults, families, and seniors. Both care for environment and wellness through green spaces are enhanced by beauty. This same beauty helps combat stress through the opportunity for mild exercise and mediation upon natural beauty. Wilderness experiences are available in some locations.

For personal benefits, leisure activities may include:

Hobbies

Exercise

Sports

Gardening

Crafts

Health

Coping

Family Bonding

Physical benefits include increased lung capacity from sports participation, plus reducing serum cholesterol and hypertension, increasing bone mass, strengthening the spine, reducing disease, increase in feelings of well being, reduction in stress hormones, improved attitudes and performances, and improved social skills. For childhood development, recreational areas assist in learning, can keep kids off the streets, and enhance their confidence. Studies confirm that physical activity can aid the learning process in children. Sports activities enhance large motor skill development and social skills. Adult leaders offer positive role models to children. Group sports are well known for promoting social support, networking, and developing friendships.

As if all the above is not enough to encourage support of leisure and recreational activities, consider the following additional benefits:

Stress management – the mild stress of leisure activity can reduce overall negative stress by contributing to relaxation.

Self esteem – especially in children and seniors, mild exercise, group activities, and hobbies and crafts will help create positive self images.

Positive lifestyle development – contributing to society, social interaction, development of leaders, being part of organized sports all encourage good lifetime activities.

Personal satisfaction – any creative outlet will enhance personal satisfaction. Being part of the leadership offers self satisfaction, and those who work in the recreational areas can feel the pride in keeping these areas vital and available to others.

Quality of life – fresh air, sunshine, social interaction, health benefits and self esteem all will improve quality of life.

Preventative health – regular exercise, physiological benefits from mild exercise, and stress reduction all are made easier by having leisure and recreational activities readily available.

Since the future seems to be headed for a shorter work week and more extra time, support of leisure and recreational outlets and locations would be prudent, and benefit all involved.

Benefits of Shopping Malls

The earliest malls were Paris Arcades in the 19th century. They became very popular with shoppers instantly. Since then shopping malls have evolved to suit people’s tastes. Shopping malls are the most preferred shopping areas in our times among shoppers across the globe.

Earlier shops in shopping centres catered to the elite. But it is no longer the case. Now, there are shops in shopping malls which cater to different budgets.

Shoppers prefer shopping centres/malls to stand-alone shops for various reasons:

1. They have their own parking facility.

2. There is a wide variety of products available.

3. There are products from competing producers available under one roof. So, they can compare and make purchases.

4. They have facilities such as restrooms.

5. They have gaming zones.

6. There are food courts with a wide variety of cuisine.

7. There are movie theatres in shopping centres.

All these features making shopping a fun-filled and satisfying experience.

Since shopping centres are the most sought-after shopping destinations, it is beneficial for a businessman to set up a store in a shopping mall. Generally, retail store owners rent shop space in a mall. Renting store space benefits the businessman in many ways.

• Shopping malls are usually located in prime locations which are easily accessible. If a retailer sets up a store in a mall, he can have the shop in a prime location with a minimal investment. On the other hand, if he attempts purchasing a shop in such a location, he may not be able to afford it. A rented property implies low initial investment. This enables the businessman to utilize the saved amount on his business.

• He can attract clients of competitors who have shops in the mall. This enables him to build a clientele easily.

• He does not have to direct his time and efforts towards the maintenance of the shop. This helps him to focus on his business.

• Generally, the charges for utilities are included in the rent. Hence, he does not have to involve himself in these matters.

• Many a time, businessmen set up pop-up stores in shopping centres in order to attract customers for new products. This is a popular location for a pop-up store as it is a high traffic area.

With so many benefits of shopping malls to shoppers as well as businessmen we can conclude that shopping centres will only rise in popularity with time.

Talking Cars From Movies and TV

Surely, at some point in your life, you have owned a car and rented that it would come to life in an instant. There are some iconic cars from movies and TV that make us have car envy and hope that with a push of a button we could be in the Batmobile. Here are a few of the top iconic cars from the movies or TV and their features.

First off, Pixar's film "Cars". This movie follows Lightening McQueen (played by Owen Wilson) while he tries to make it back from the run down town of Radiator Spring in hopes to win the Piston Cup. There are many other characters that we meet during McQueen's journey, Mater the loveable tow-truck (played by Larry the Cable Guy), Sally Carrera (Bonnie Hunt), and former Piston Cup winner Doc Hudson (played by Paul Newman). This race car is a new rookie for the races and can reach extreme high speeds. He has some interesting features that model actual race cars, like having stickers instead of headlights. However, this car talks, has eyes, and has a winning personality.

Next on our list is KITT from Knight Rider. KITT, Knight Industries Three Thousand, is a sporty 1982 Pontiac Trans Am and has an artificial intelligent computer installed that allows it to help Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) fight crime. KITT (William Daniels) has a special body armor that protects it from just about any type of firearm and can resist extreme heat. The super computer on wheels of course could talk, but not only that, he was fluent in Spanish and French, and even has a variety of different accents. This really was the best car ever for any human crime fighter since it could talk, smell, hear, could examine the area, had an array of weapons, had different modes like silent mode, and of course he could still function as a regular car . Pardon me, an awesome car.

Herbie is a very iconic car which lands it in the next slot on our list. This old school Volkswagon Beetle race car actually in habits the human soul who made him named Herbie. Herbie can function just fine on its own like any normal car: driving itself, reasoning, thinking, knowing the difference between good and evil. Ok, so normal cars do not do that last one, or any of those. But, Herbie does race and help its owners survive different situations and helping good demand over evil.

Some people can be obsessive about a car, but what about a car obsessed with it's owner. That is the case with the car Chrstine. In the movie, Christine was portrayed as a 1958 Plymouth Fury who was obsessed with her owner Arnie (Keith Gordon). Christen takes it upon herself to find those who insult, hurt, or attempt to separate her and her love, Arnie. She can not talk like some of the other cars like KITT of Lightening McQueen, but like Herbie, it's as if her soul is trapped inside the car. And, what a soul it is. Christen will wreak havoc to anyone who does her Arnie wrong, no matter how much it may hurt her. Hell hath no fury like a woman, um, car scorned.