Living With Computers

Ergonomics is the study of the physical relationships between humans and their tools, such as computers. Office chairs should be adjustable in height and should have lower-back support and arm rests. Desks that allow proper keyboard height and special ergonomic keyboards have been developed to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, a type of repetitive stress injury. To avoid damaging your eyes, avoid starring at the screen for long periods, position yourself from the monitor between two and five feet from your eyes, make sure no bright lights reflect off your screen, and use a monitor that has a relatively large screen without noticeable flicker. The computer industry has become known the fast pace rate of obsolescence, with both hardware and software being replaced every couple of years. Some of the leading toxic wastes coming form homes and offices are heavy metals used extensively in batteries, such as cadmium. Although some experts recommend leaving computers on all the time, this practice was shown to consume unnecessary amounts of electricity. One response has been the development of energy star equipment, which conserves electricity even when left on. Our legal system is gradually developing a code of laws to provide a legal framework for working with computers and on the Internet. The most prevalent breach of law in cyberspace is software piracy, the illegal copying or use of a program. Copyright laws relevant to computers and software are covered by the Copyright Act of 1976 and the Software Piracy and counterfeiting Amendment of 1983. Instead of building copy protection into their programs, most software developers discourage privacy among organizations by offering site licenses and network versions. Software viruses are parasitic programs that can replicate themselves, infect computers, and destroy data. Users can protect their data and software by using an anti-virus program. Hardware is sometimes stolen for the value of the data stored on it rather that for the value of the machine itself. Government, legal professionals, and computing professionals continue to debate computer-related ethical questions and attempt to develop laws that protect the freedoms of computer users while limiting immoral or illegal use of computers. Few actual laws, however, have been created or enforced to requiring computer users to let their own sense of ethics guide them. Practices such as excessive e-mailing, sharing objectionable or illegal material, and theft of intellectual property all create ethical questions for everyday computer users. It is my opinion that if we are to live comfortably with computers, we must first use common sense to realize that everything we do has a cause and effect. We must take on the responsibility as humans to utilize technology to change the World for the better, because if we don’t, the misuse of technology will eventually be the downfall of humankind

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