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Computer Vocabulary: Microsoft’s HomeOS

Here is a text with computer vocabulary about the new Microsoft HomeOS. Useful language is highlighted and explained below. There is also a quiz and some discussion questions at the bottom.  

Microsoft’s research department is developing a home operating system called the HomeOS. In the future it will control every electrical device in your house. The HomeOS can use single devices or several devices together. It can control the locks, TVs, Hi-Fi, cameras, air conditioning and anything else that is electrical. It turns a house into a ‘smart home’ so you can have more time to relax. It is a simple system and easy to use. There will a number of main tasks like for lights or heating. Devices can connect to these tasks or you can download more from the internet. It will be like using Apps on your phone. The system is intelligent so it can guess what you need and do it. But the best thing about the HomeOS is you can use it with your mobile phone. You will be able to manage all your home from inside or even outside. When you are on the train home you could turn on the cooker to make your dinner. Most people like the idea because it will make our lives easier and maybe safer. However, a few people say it is a bad idea. They think it is dangerous because the system will control everything. If there is a computer problem or no electricity you may get trapped in your house or won’t be able to enter. At the moment, Microsoft is planning how to make drivers for every device. A driver is needed so the device can be used with the HomeOS. They are also developing a Home Store website where people can buy and download these apps. It is the Microsoft version of iTunes. Many university students are helping Microsoft develop this technology. There are also 12 houses testing HomeOS prototypes.  

Useful language

Operating system/OS
The main software on a computer like Windows
Electrical device
Something that uses electricity like a TV
Task
Something that needs to be done
To connect
To join together
Apps
Applications or small programs for a mobile phone
To manage sthg
To control sthg
Turn on sthg
To make it work like when you turn on a laptop
To be trapped
When you cannot leave somewhere like in prison
Driver
A small computer program you need to make a device work with your computer like a printer driver
Prototype
The first model that is being tested

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Discussion questions

  1)    How would you use the HomeOS? 2)    Do you want to live in a ‘smart home’?

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