Scouting For Al - Computer Skills

I was in the scouts as a kid, mainly as a cub scout from ages 7 - 12 and in the proper Scouts for about six months. And while I was in the scouts I got a total of 1 badge. This one:
Leap, Dolphin! Leap!

I can't remember what it's for but I think Ciarán said his dad designed it. So that's nice.

Looking back on that I see a missed opportunity, and something to do with my free time. So I'm going to try and meet the criteria for every SAI merit badge. Leafing through the badgebook there's a lot of variety. I have no idea how I'm going to find a plane, for example, or who'd let a twelve year old fly one. Luckily there's one section I can do right now, computer skills. Talk about falling in my wheel-house.

The Tasks:
Task 1: Identify the different parts of a personal computer and show how they interact.
This is a little bit tricky. Looking round the house we have: 6 laptops in various states of repair, 3 consoles and a few mp3 players. No desktops though so I'll have to resort to stealing an image from the internet.
Bless you Wikipedia.
You're probably familiar with a computer, unless this is being read to you or you get your internet in newspaper form, but I'll explain it for you anyway.
So you've got the monitor, the telly looking thing. That shows you what the computer is thinking. In this case it is thinking about an orange gradient.
The keyboard is the large rectangle in the front. Usually it has a lot of buttons, or keys, which have all the letters of the alphabet mixed up in a funny way and the numbers from 1 to 0. This one doesn't have any buttons so I assume you place your hand on it and the computer reads your mind.
The small round thing on the left is the mouse. You use the mouse to boss the computer around because like elephants the computer fears mice. Or maybe it moves a cursor round the screen. I get those two confused sometimes.
Finally there's the tower. This is like a block of flats where the CPU lives with its friends hard-drive and DVD drive and its noisy neighbour cooling fan. All the other things are connected to it because CPU is a control freak.

Task 2: Describe two different types of data storage and outline their advantages and disadvantages.
These tasks were written in the time of floppy disks and CDs so I hope the fact that I live in a technical age of wonders won't disqualify me from the badge that I'm too old to actually get.

Task 3: Explain to your examiner the uses of two of the following:
a) Compact Disc Read Only Memory
A CD-ROM is a format that's not used much any more because no-one makes programs smaller than the 700MB a CD can hold. If it's read only you're stuck with the stuff on the disc because your puny disk-drive's laser isn't powerful enough to write onto the disc.

b) Operating System
An operating system is the negotiator that gets all that circuitry to get you onto the internet to look at the LOLcats and whatnot. There are a few different ones, Windows, Mac OSX and Linux are the main ones. Every one of them sucks.

c) Text Editor
It edits text.You type it in, it's there on the screen. You can fancify it if you like. Many will have a  spell-check to tell you that fancify isn't a word. And then you can print your text.

d) Anti-Virus Software
 Scans every pore of your computer for nasty programs out to steal your credit card information or just wreck your stuff. I personally prefer Avast because it's free. Also, yay pirates!

Task 4: Using a Word Processor or a Desktop Publishing package prepare a log of one of your recent Scouting activities.
You're reading it right now. Recursive.

Task 5: Describe how one of the following programmes could be used in Scouting:
a) Computer Aided Design software 
You could design a layout for the camp for the next time the troop goes camping. Location of the food tent, camp-fire, sniper tower to fend off wolves, those kind of things.

b) Spreadsheet
Spreadsheets are normally used to keep track of figures, like say the number of wolf attacks over the past year. You can compare this to the figures from other years to see if the snipers are performing well.


c) Database
Databases can record more than a spreadsheet so I'd use it to keep track of information on the troop members like their date of birth, contact information and if they're allergic to anything. Like wolf maulings.

Task 6: Give your examiner details of a computer package that you have used recently (consoles are acceptable).
I very recently used Blogger to create a blog post about my intention to get every SAI scout badge. I uploaded images and formatted text and created hyperlinks. I then posted that blog to the internet.

Based on successful completion of these tasks and under absolutely no authority but my own I award myself the Computer Skills badge.

Next time: Ropes!