What is the role of codes in communication?

What are codes?

Well behind one simple action that you want the computer to perform are pages and pages of codes that instruct the computer to perform the necessary action and give the desired output. These codes are sets of instructions given to the computer to perform an action, and the process of writing codes in programming language - the language the computer understands - is known as coding.

When you browse the web or use any software, what you see on the screen is in the language you understand, but what is written for the computer is different. For example, visit any page in the web and right click and select view page source. What you see are codes written in a programming language which instructs the computer to display what you see on screen. There are even codes that tell the computer to accept a particular action from a user, like opening a new link.

Individuals who write these codes in a programming language they are comfortable with are called coders, developers or programmers.

How to code?

Coding is done using programming languages such as Java, CSS and HTML The computer does not understand anything beyond the binary digits 1 and 0. If you had to communicate directly with the computer, you would have to talk in 1s and Os. However, since this is a massive task for humans to process, programming languages were introduced to bridge the gap.

A programming language lets you write the code in a language you can understand and translates it for the computer. There are two types of programming languages high-level and low-level.

A low-level programming language is closer to the binary code that a computer understands, while a high-level language is closer to what humans understand. High-level languages are designed to be easy-to-write codes. Most programming languages available in the market today are high-level languages.

If you are interested in coding, next week, we elaborate on the skills required for coding and tips to get started.


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What is the process of Printing?

Printing is the process of making many copies of a document or a picture. Printing is normally done on paper, but it can also be done on fabrics, and sheets of plastic or metal. Books are printed on a machine called a printing press. The text and pictures start as patterns on a plate. In the press, the plate is inked so that these areas become ink-covered, and are pressed on to the paper via a rubber-covered drum. A fast printing press can make several prints a second because each print is made by one simple operation.

One of the first methods of printing was wood-block printing; where the images to be printed were carved in reverse into wooden blocks. The blocks were then inked and pressed onto paper to make a print. Ink from the raised areas was transferred on to the paper. Simple block printing is still used for hand-printed textiles.

In an early printing press a screw was turned to press the paper firmly down on to inked type.

Two of the most important inventions in printing were moveable metal type (which allowed words and paragraphs to be built up from individual metal blocks with letters on them) and the printing press. In Europe, these were both developed in the fifteenth century by the German printing pioneer Johannes Gutenberg. They allowed books to be printed in large quantities, whereas before each book had to be hand-copied.

On a printed colour page, the text is normally solid black ink, while the pictures are made up of tiny dots of coloured - and black - ink.

Most colour printing is done with just four colours of ink: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. By printing dots in varying sizes, the first three colours combine to create almost any other colour. In practice, all three mixes to create brown, so black is used to darken some areas.

In a modern printing press, printing is carried out using a sheet of metal called a printing plate, rather than with individual blocks of type. The shape of the letters that make up the text, together with the dots that make up the pictures, appear as patterns on the surface of the plate. The plates are prepared using photographic and chemical processes.

Type and pictures for a book, magazine or leaflet are nowadays usually designed and laid out on a computer using desktop publishing software. The files from the computer may then be sent to the printer, which uses them to make four printing plates, one for each colour of ink on the printing press.

For most publications, the paper needs to be printed on both sides. Some presses can do this but on others the paper has to be sent through the press twice. Several pages of the final book or magazine are normally printed on each sheet of paper. The sheets then go for print finishing, where machines fold, collate (sort), staple or sew, and trim the sheets to create the finished product.

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What is the process of broadcasting?


There are thousands of different television channels around the world, broadcasting entertainment, news, information and sport. Television programmes are created at television stations. Each station normally broadcasts several separate channels. Some programmes, such as news and sports, are broadcast live, which means the viewers see action as it happens. Most programmes are recorded on videotape and broadcast at a later date. Some programmes are a combination of live and recorded action.

A television camera electronically divides an image of the scene it is pointing at into hundreds of narrow horizontal lines, each made up of hundreds of small dots of colour. It creates an electrical signal that represents the colours of all the dots. It repeats this process 25 or 30 times a second to create a continuous picture signal.

Pictures from the cameras in a television studio, and from cameras at outside broadcasts, such as sporting events, are fed to a control room, where they appear on screens. Here, live pictures from cameras, pictures from videotape (such as short news reports) and computer graphics are mixed to create the signal for the pictures that will be broadcast. Sound from studio microphones or audio tape is also added.

There are several ways of broadcasting signals. In each case, the signal is modulated before it is sent, with different channels using different carrier signals. The receiver tunes in to the signal from the channel the viewer wants to watch. Many signals now travel in digital rather than analogue form. This allows many more channels to be broadcast, and eliminates the interference that often makes pictures sent using analogue signals fuzzy.

In terrestrial television, the signal goes to a transmitter where it is turned into a radio signal that is spread out in all directions. The signal can be detected by an aerial of any receiver within range of the transmitter. In cable television, the signal travels from a cable television station through a network of underground cables that link directly to receivers connected to the network. In satellite television, the signal is beamed by microwaves to a satellite high above the Earth. The satellite detects the signal with its own aerial and re-transmits it so that it can be picked up by receivers on the Earth’s surface. In webcasting, television and video pictures are transmitted over the Internet. The pictures are first converted into a digital video format and then made available on a website.

In closed-circuit television (CCTV), signals are not broadcast at all. Instead, they go directly from the camera to a receiver. CCTV is used for security systems, with the pictures being recorded as well as viewed.

Terrestrial television signals are broadcast from transmitters at the top of tall masts, often on hill tops, and detected by aerials placed high up on roofs. This gives the signals a clear route from transmitter to aerial. But in mountainous areas the signals are often blocked by hills. This is not a problem with satellite television, where the signals come down from a satellite high in the sky to small aerial dishes aimed accurately at the satellite.

Interactive television is television in which the viewer can send information back to the television station, normally via a telephone line. The combination of digital television and a telephone line also allows viewers to access the Internet.

Television broadcasting satellites sit directly above the Earth’s equator, about 36,000 kilometres up, in an orbit called a geostationary orbit. They orbit at the same rate as the Earth turn, which means they always stay above the same point on the Earth’s surface. Television signals are beamed to them by microwaves from dish aerials at a ground station. The satellite transmits a broad signal beam which covers a wide area when it hits the surface. Any receiver in the area can detect the signal.

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How does a TV Set work?


The word “television” means transmitting images of a moving scene (and the sound to go with them) from the scene to a different place. A simple television system needs a television camera at the scene, a way of transmitting the images, and a television receiver where the images appear. A television camera takes 25 or 30 electronic photographs (called frames) of a scene every second and creates an electric signal that represents the colours in the frames. The receiver uses this signal to display the frames in quick succession on a screen, which creates the illusion of smooth movement because our brains merge the frames together.

The first working television system was demonstrated in 1926 by the British pioneer John Logie Baird. It created a small, wobbly image of a dummy’s face. Baird’s system used a mechanical camera and receiver. These contained large spinning discs with a spiral pattern of holes in them which divided the light from the scene into narrow lines and rebuilt it into an image. Although Baird’s system was used for experimental broadcasts, it was made redundant in the 1930s by systems that used fully electronic cameras. These were based on a device called iconoscope, developed in the USA by Vladimir Zworykin. The first broadcasting service started in Britain in 1936, with one or two hours of programmers are being shown each day.


A television receiver (or set) builds each frame of the moving television picture line by line, using the electrical signal originally created by the camera to control the colour of the dots along the lines. In most television receivers, the picture is created by a cathode-ray tube.

The cathode-ray tube in a television receiver has a narrow neck and a flat base that forms the screen. The air is pumped out to create a vacuum. At the back of the tube are three guns that fire beams of electrons (for red, green and blue light) at the screen. Electromagnets make the beams scan quickly across the screen line by line, while the picture signal controls their strength. Where the beams hit a special coating on the inside of the screen, it gives off light. Just behind the TV screen is a plate with holes in it called a shadow mask. It ensures that the beams hit the screen only behind filters of their own colour. Filters make the light produced by the three beams appear red, blue or green. These add together to form the picture colours.

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How does Radio work?


The word “radio” means communicating with radio waves, which are part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Radio has a huge range of applications. It is used in the telephone network for mobile telephones and links in the network, for broadcasting, for two-way radio communications as used by the emergency services, and for remote control of machines. “Radio” also means the media of radio, in which music and speech from radio stations are transmitted by radio waves, and are picked up by radio receivers.

The existence of radio waves was confirmed in 1888 by the German physicist Heinrich Hertz, but it was the Italian Guglielmo Marconi who, in 1896, was the first to make long-distance radio transmissions. In 1901 he transmitted Morse code across the Atlantic. Two-way radio communications using Morse code began in the early twentieth century, and radio broadcasting began in the 1920s.

On their own, radio waves do not carry any information. To make an electrical signal, such as one representing sound, into a radio signal, the electrical signal is used to shape another signal, called the carrier wave. The shaped carrier signal is sent to a transmitter, where it creates radio waves.

The shaping process is called modulation. So that radio signals from different transmitters do not interfere with each other, they are sent using carrier waves with different frequencies. The whole family of radio waves is divided into sections called wavebands. Each waveband is reserved for a different form of communication. A radio receiver detects radio waves of the right frequency and demodulates them to get back the original electrical signal.

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