Read the extract from a letter and try to explain the idioms in bold.
a few months ago we decided to by some new computers for the office as wed had the old ones for a while and they were 1) on their last legs. Because of the cost, however, it was something wed been keeping 2) on the back burner for a while. Then last month we lost a lot of valuable data because many of them were 3) on the blink, so we agreed we couldnt postpone things any longer.
I really hadnt realized what a big job it was going to be! The old computers 4) weighed a ton it took two of s to carry each one downstairs and we had to rip out all the old wiring. However, we had been thinking of rearranging the office layout for some time, so in fact, we managed to 5) kill two birds with one stone.
We had quite a few 6) teething troubles with the new computers, but this was mainly my fault. The company that sold them to us sent a man round to explain the 7) nuts and bolts of the new system to me so that we could go 8) on line. His instructions on how to operate the new computers seemed 9) as clear as a bell when he explained everything to me, but of course, I got totally confused when trying to pass on the information to the rest of the staff! As a result, had to ask him to come back to go through it all again rather embarrassing i must say!
Anyway, everythings working properly now and lm amazed ad how much better they are than or old ones. Ive ad great fun 10) surfing the Net and sending E-mail to everyone
Match the items with the idioms from Ex.1.
to be very heavy
about to fail due to age/exhaustion/poor health, etc
basic practical details
to fulfil two purposes with one single action
to look up information on the Internet to see what is available
into a central computer network
not working properly
very easy to hear/understand
difficulties that occur in the early stages of sth
Postponed till a later time
3 Fill in the gaps with phrases from the list:
nuts and bolts, on the blink, weighed a ton, the back burner, last legs
It took four people to carry to desk because it ..
Mr Keen explained the ..of his political campaign to supported.
This typewriter is so old it hardly works. Its on its
My washing-machines .again Ill have to call the repair man.
Well have to pt this issue on .for the moment as weve got more pressing matters to deal with.
I had to browse for information on the Internet for hours before I finally found what I was looking for
surf . ..
Te library computers are connected to a central computer, so you have access to lot of information.
Te construction of Wickway sopping centre had a few problems in the early stages, but they were eventually sorted out.
The instructions on the side of the fax machine were very easily understood.
I wanted to brighten up the flat and reduce the draught from the windows, so I did both at once by hanging up curtains.
Rewrite the following sentences using the words in bold. Do not change these words in any way.
A Brave New World
Imagine a computer more powerful than the human brain, that can programme itself and even think for itself. Exciting? Terrifying? Whatever your reaction to this prospect, you may have little choice about the outcome. The new generation of computers is on its way and most experts believe that by the tear 2020 the current will have been replaced by living computers.
Scientists have had considerable success with this latest technological breakthrough. Believe it or not, the work stated with leeches, small worm-like creatures, whose nerve cells were used in experiments. These nerve cells, or neurons as they are known, perform the same function as human neurons. They are the basic thinking blocks that out brains use to sole problems. In the living computer, researchers connect the neurons to a computer and then the cells together. The result is a computer that will be able to think for itself.
The future uses of this technology are endless. For example, scientists will have the ability to help blind people to see and deaf people to hear again, by connecting bionic ears and eyes to their brains. It cold also mean the end of problems with government departments, no more mix-up with your documents because of human error. With computers that think for themselves, your live will be ready at the puss of a button.
However, many people are afraid of such technology. They wonder it they will lose their jobs to the new generation of computers. They feat a situation like the film Matrix could develop, in which computers control our minds and our world.
It seems that we are rapidly heading for a brave new world. By the time the next generation of children have grown up, our lives and our world will have changed in ways beyond our imagination. Nonetheless, the future is still in human hands. It is up to us how we use this new technology. We must make sure that living computers work for the benefit of humankind and do not result in a threat to our very existence.
What does the writer think will have happened by the year 2020?
How did scientists make the first form of the living computer?
A There will be no more computers.
B There will be a new kind of computer.
C People will have powerful brains.
AThey used neurons from leeches.
B They used neurons from worms.
CThey used the human brain.
What does they in line 6 refer to?
How does the writer think that this technology will help deaf and blind people?
A peoples brains
C never cells
Alinking their cells together
Bby giving them bionic ears and eyes
C by turning them into bionic people
What are neurons?
What does the writer think about the future?
A nerve cells
A computers already control it
B scientists control it
C its in our hands