What Is Computer Software, Application Software And Systems Software?

A computer’s software refers to a program (or a group of programs) which give a computer instructions on what to do and how to operate. Software programs can provide one main task, or multiple main tasks.

As an example, a program designed to edit digital photographs has one key task (i.e. to allow for editing of photos) – naturally it would have numerous sub-tasks though (i.e. red eye removal, color correction features, resizing and cropping/cutting of an image).

On the other hand, a computer’s operating system (a complex piece of software which basically handles and runs the entire computer) would carry out many main tasks – for example handling input and output (i.e. the user typing in with a keyword, or audio coming out of speakers), memory allocation, managing the computer’s hardware components (these are the electrical components which power a computer) and much more.

Software can be grouped into roughly two groups: application software and systems software. Essentially, software which facilitates just one main task (for example, photo editing software as in the above example) would be counted as application software. This is contrasted to systems software which refers to complex, multi-task programs which help to run the entire system – such as an operating system.

These two main groups of software are discussed in more detail below:

Application Software

This is software which is installed on an operating system (See “Systems Software” below for more information). As mentioned above, this type of software tends to perform just one main task. Another example of application software would be a website browser: this is the program which you are probably using right now to view this article. Examples of a browser include Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. In short, their main task/function is to facilitate you in surfing the internet.

Other types of application software are as follows:

  • Word Processing – this type of software allows you to type up documents and letters. Examples include Microsoft Office Word and Open Office.
  • Antivirus Software – this type of software helps protect your computer system against malicious threats such as viruses and malware. Examples include Norton Antivirus, Kaspersky Antivirus and AVG Anti-virus.
  • Photo Editing – this type of software can be used to edit and manipulate photos and other digital images in various ways. Examples include Paint.net, Corel PaintShop Pro and Adobe Photoshop.

Systems Software

This type of software is quite accurately described as being at the very core of any computer system. Without systems software, a computer could not really function. In short, it manages every aspect of a computer system – from how the hardware interacts with the software (‘drivers’) to giving the user an interface and platform to interact with the system (‘operating system’). The operating system – or ‘OS’ – is the software that loads up after your computer is switched on. It’s where all application software is installed on. Examples of an OS include Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, 7 etc), Linux (Ubuntu, CentOS) and Apple Mac OS X.

Other types of systems software include device drives (these make the hardware components function correctly with the software and computer system) and utilities (these are also called ‘utility tools’ and they help monitor, maintain, check and analyze different parts of a computer; such as ‘Task Manager’ and ‘Disk Defragment on Windows OSes).

Edit Pictures Online For Free

If you are keen amateur photographer you probably like to edit your photographs using one of the many photo editing software offerings that are on the market. The top end photo editing software choices such as Photoshop demand a not insubstantial financial investment. Whilst Adobe Photoshop is expensive, it is aimed at image professionals – either photographers or graphic designers. There is no knocking Photoshop, it is a powerful and comprehensive editing tool that in my opinion trounces the competition and is probably therefore worth the money.

However, many of the top end features in Photoshop are just not necessary unless you are working in the professional arena. The next raft of software options include the cut down version of Photoshop – Photoshop Elements, Serif’s Photoplus and Corel’s Paintshop Pro to name a few. These offer many of the features found in Photoshop at a fraction of the price and are ideal for those on a budget who just don’t need the professional high end tools that Photoshop offers. These tools are however squeezed by the ever growing number of photo editing tools that are plain and simply free. There are two types of software, both available on-line, which quite simply will not cost you a penny. The first type is a downloadable program such as GIMP. GIMP is an open source program and is continually under development – it offers almost all of the core features that you are likely to find in the cheaper paid for products.

The second type of free software, is one that you don’t even need to download. A very good example of the this is Pixlr. You use this tool though your browser and don’t need to download a thing. Again, many of the useful core tools that you are likely to want to use such as colour adjustments, contrast adjustments, levels and curves are there. Pixlr also supports layers and layer masks which is a must for landscape photographers – allowing them to blend different exposures of the same image. Pixlr is by no means the only free on-line editing software available – others include Picnik which is the integrated software editing tool in Flickr, Lunapic and Fotoflexer.

These tools really do beg the question whether you need to spend money on photo editing software at all. With cloud technology increasingly coming to the fore in the business world with online business tools from the likes of Google, it is no surprise the amateur/hobby market is mirroring this pattern.

Better Fall Photos in a Few Easy Steps

Fall is upon us and that means it’s time to take some memorable foliage photos. The turning leaves create vibrant multicolor scenes that almost photograph themselves. The vivid gold, orange, green and red colors provide many photographic possibilities, but it’s up to the photographer to capture and frame these elements into a pleasing pieces of art.

Professional photographers, using high-end equipment have produced breathtaking views of fall, but if you do your homework and follow a few simple steps you can do the same even with a modest camera.

Location, Location, Location

The first and most important step is to carefully choose your locations. Ideally this should be done before the leaves start to turn to give you more prep time, but as with most things, it’s better late than never.

It’s best to find 3 to 5 locations close to, or on the way to where you live or work. This approach gives you options and also allows you to quickly take advantage of ever-changing light and weather conditions.

Choose locations that have a variety of tree species. The contrasting colors combined with the proper light can provide a gorgeous setting. The times just after sunrise and early evening generally work best.

Look for Big and Small

While you are scouting for, or shooting at you locations don’t forget to look for small objects. A collection of leaves on the ground can sometimes be more artistic than an array of multicolor trees in the distance.

Try to look at your location from every possible angle in order to take advantage of less than obvious shots. Also look for opportunities to capture reflections. Many times a scene’s beauty can double if it is also seen from a reflective lake, pond or river.

Steady Does It

Another easy way to improve your Fall photos is to use a tripod. If your shots are taken at a distance or in low light the tripod will help to keep you camera steady and your pictures sharp. The tripod will also help if you want to take the same shot several times using different camera settings. I have found that when you find the perfect composition, but the light is not quite right or something unwanted is in the frame, the tripod is indispensable.

Color is Key

Color is what needs to stand out in your fall photos, so you should consider using the vibrant mode setting on your camera if it’s available. If your camera is not equipped with this setting you can increase saturation to achieve the same effect.

You can also tweak your photos after the fact with a photo editing program. Programs such as Adobe Photoshop Elements and Corel PaintShop Photo Pro allow you to adjust exposure, saturation, and contrast to improve the overall look of your photos. If your photos were captured using the RAW setting on your camera you will have the maximum flexibility during the editing process.

These steps should help your turn beautiful Fall scenes and objects into photos that can be enjoyed forever.