By Graham Wright (auth.)
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7. Outline the distinguishing characteristics of micro, mini and mainframe computers in terms of costs, hardware and software capacities and types of application. 28 CHAPTER 2 THE WHO, WHAT, AND WHY OF COMPUTERS Although reliable official statistics are not available, the best estimate is that computer hardware accounts for 15 per cent of the UK's annual investment in plant and equipment and that in the UK one home in five now contains a personal computer. More important, in the face ofworldwide stagnancy and even decay in trade and production, expenditure by business and domestic users on computers is likely to grow at a rate of about 15 per cent per annum until the end of the decade.
Similarly, the computer will accumulate the weight of passengers' luggage, both to ensure that the 47 aircraft is not overloaded, but mainly to compute the weight of additional cargo that can be carried on board up to the safe load limit. The airport itself will show flight arrivals and departures, and other flight information, on large displays around the passenger concourse. , from a central source of information held on the airport's computer. 7. When all the passengers are on board, the aircraft is ready to leave, and the captain will await clearance from Air Traffic Control (ATC).
In fact, they face some particular problems which makes this harder than for other sectors of the economy and accounts for their characteristic use of computers: (a) A highly seasonal market, partly a hangover from habits originally caused by the short-lived summer in northern climates, and reinforced by the school summer holidays; (b) A highly competitive business with a lot of unused capacity except at a few peak periods, partly created by (a) above and partly because of national economics (tourism) and national pride in airlines; (c) their product has a short shelf life - once the date has passed, or the plane taken off, it does not exist; 26 (d) As a result profits are low (a Tour Operator's net profit on a packaged holiday may be no more than a few pounds, and the Travel Agent takes only a small commission of about 7-10 per cent), or are nonexistent for most airlines and railways; and for commercial companies the margin between success and failure is very slight; (e) Commercial success depends partly on customer service and partly on low prices which are achieved by getting the maximum use out of the expensive facilities of planes, coaches and hotels - it is bottoms on seats and bodies in beds that count, or the load/occupancy factor.
Mastering Computers by Graham Wright (auth.)