Computer questions: what is a serial port and how does it work
Serial ports connect devices such as modems, scanners and printers to your computer. Find out how serial ports improve communications between your PC and its peripherals.
Serial ports are the connectors on the back of your PC that enable your computer to control devices such as modems, scanners, and printers. Although some serial ports use a 25-pin interface, most only have nine pins. One pin serves as the ground while the others handle the flow of data between a computer and its peripherals. Serial ports are also known as communication (COM) ports, and most PCs have at least one.
Unlike parallel ports which send a full byte (8 bits) of data at once, serial ports can transfer information only one bit at a time. They use a bidirectional form of communications that allows information to travel back and forth across a cable. RS-232 is the standard serial port design determined by the Electronics Industry Association (EIA). Among its other specifications, a RS-232 serial port can connect a computer to a device located more than 50 meters away.
Serial devices use an asynchronous process to control the transfer of information, relying on special start and stop bits to signal when serial data should or shouldn't be transmitted. The asynchronous method divides information into packets of one byte each, sometimes including a special parity bit to verify the integrity of the data in each packet.
In your computer, the UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter) converts the parallel data moving throughout your PC into a serial format that can be used by other serial devices. The procedure is reversed, however, when your computer receives serial data it must work with. The UART is also directly responsible for regulating the flow of serial bits.
In most serial communications, a device such as a modem is called the data communications equipment (DCE), while the computer itself is referred to as the data terminal equipment (DTE). The DCE and DTE (or two DTEs) establish a connection described as a "handshake" prior to exchanging data.
Your computer assigns an input/output (I/O) address and an interrupt request line (IRQ) to each serial port in your PC. This designation gives devices priority over each other as they attempt to communicate with your computer. Unfortunately, trouble occurs when a device is given the same I/O address or IRQ. This conflict can lead to your system shutting down or other PC problems. Therefore, make sure new serial devices are installed on only available I/O addresses and interrupts.
If you think your computer is experiencing a conflict, you can usually change your port configurations through software installed on your system. Consult your PC owner's manual or activate your operating system's help feature for instructions on how to fix port conflicts. Also, there are several shareware programs available that may help you detect possible conflicts as well.
Because many devices now use universal serial bus (USB) ports, computer users deal with fewer conflicts. USB ports use a different technology that offers much greater data transfer speeds than both parallel and serial ports. Also, USB ports support the connection of over 100 devices to your PC. But as long as computers continue to use modems, serial ports will probably be needed. Serial ports, despite their conflict issues, use a reliable form of data communications, and have performed quite well over the years.
What is cellulite? what causes it to form and how can it be treated?
Cellulite, edematous-fibro sclerotic panniculopathy, can occur in both genders. However, this condition known as cottage cheese skin is more dominate in the female population. It roughly affects about ninety percent of women. While cellulite is a common condition in women, it is not a result of being obese or overweight. Research proves that cellulite can occur in any body type. Cellulite can be found almost any where on the body. However, it is most common in the areas of the buttocks, thighs, and abdomen. There are several factors that can cause cellulite to develop such as hormones, lifestyle habits, and age.
In women, cellulite tends to develop during times of hormonal changes. These time periods include during puberty, pregnancy, menopause, premenstrual syndrome, and during the first couple of months of birth control use. Cellulite is a result of a slow down in blood flow, lymphatic drainage, fat, and a breakdown of connective tissues. Hormones help to regulate the changes that occur within these processes. When there is a change in these processes, the appearance of bumpy, cottage cheese like, skin known as cellulite occurs.
Certain lifestyle habits can cause cellulite to form. Despite regular exercise and a well-balanced diet, it is possible for cellulite to form. However, an unhealthy lifestyle in which there is little to no exercise along side a poor diet can worsen the appearance of cellulite. Also, poor exercise and diet can result in poor circulation and water retention which can further the effects of cellulite.
Over time, as aging occurs the loss of skin thickness happens as well. The loss of tone in the connective tissues within the upper dermis and superficial fat layers can cause visible dimpling of the skin. Developing research has linked estrogen to cellulite suggests that estrogen breaks down collagen. This break down of collagen by estrogen is said to lead to the formation of cellulite.
There are several non-surgical treatment options on the market for cellulite. Treatments include creams, pills, and teas. A restricted diet in which salty, chemically additive, and spicy foods are eliminated may also help. Also, a proper exercise regime to help improve circulation will also aid in the elimination of cellulite. How well a product will help to minimize the appearance depends on the age of the cellulite. A combined regime of products, exercise, and healthy diet may reduce the visibility of cellulite.
A surgical treatment option for removing cellulite is liposuction. Liposuction is a surgical procedure in which excess fat is removed by suction. There are several types of liposuction that can be performed. A licensed surgeon can help recommend which is the best option pending on the person. Liposuction can be beneficial, however as with any surgery there are risks. These risks include but are not limited hypertension, diabetes, and cardiac problems. It is best to seek the advice of a medical professional with experience before making a final decision on liposuction. While cellulite can be embarrassing to have, it is also something that can be easily removed over time through patience. It is best to maintain a healthy lifestyle to avoid creating further problems with cellulite.
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