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Discussion in 'Pete's Computer Corner' started by pete, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I had noticed that I had created a number of computer and related threads and I just wanted a convenient place to put 'em. There are also a few other folks on this forum who have computer-related jobs and I wanted to let them have a place to play.

    About Me
    I'm an on-site computer technician with about 25 years of experience. I have a couple dozen computer-related certifications and an IT college degree. I'm also the guy that set up several iterations of the SOTW forum (note that I was not responsible for their move to vBulletin 4) and this forum. I also created the original Vintage Saxophone Gallery website (i.e. saxpics.com) originally as a place to practice my HTML skills. I've since dabbled in Mediawiki (the software that runs Wikipedia) and a few different blog software packages.

    You may or may not find an answer to a computer-related question in this area. If you want to hire me for computer work, I charge $7500/hr, 1 hour minimum. :D
  2. pete thomas

    pete thomas Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    That's very impressive, you are a millionaire after two working days!
  3. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I am in awe of anyone who understands the workings of a computer. Is there any way to explain in terms a layman like myself can understand how a person can "interact" with images on a screen using a mouse or keyboard and do "stuff" like draw, solve mathematical equations, and gossip on internet forums? This question would be off the clock, of course. :)
  4. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Someone mentioned that I wouldn't get much work if I charged that much. I responded, "And your point is?"
  5. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    The answer is, "Maybe."

    I've mentioned to users before that if I give you longer than a one sentence (sometimes "one word") answer to, "Why is my computer not working?" I am either lying to you or you don't have enough background in computers to understand the answer.

    Now, if you're asking, "How does a computer work?" I can probably answer you as non-techie as possible regarding how all the hardware in your computer interacts. I could then explain to you how your operating system interacts with that hardware. It'd be a lengthy answer.

    If you'e asking, "Why does a computer work," a basic answer is, "Because that's what the computer's chips (microprocessors, etc.) tell it to do." Kinda like saying that a car moves forward because that's what all the various parts in a car come together and make it do. In other words, if someone gives you a spark plug, there is no way to deduce how a car works from that -- or even looks like. Or even deduce that something called a "car" uses spark plugs.
  6. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    What Pete said...What we are seeing on a screen is a "metaphor", we see frames and buttons which in fact are just...dots on a canvas. Which means, there's an abstraction layer between you (the user) and the electrical currents zapping around (the computer). This abstraction layer is in very rough terms the "operating system", or what you're seeing of it on a modern computer. The naughty bits are hidden beneath the eye candy surface because you don't really need to know about them.
    But since day one there is still the same fundamental principle behind it - you press a key, click on something on the screen, and the computer interrupts its usual duty (twiddling fingers and waiting for you) and follows instructions that tell it what to do if an "event" (pressing a key, clicking something) has happened. Not unlike what a vending machine experiences when you insert a bill and press the "regular coke" button, just on a more sophisticated level.
    It's the age-old action/reaction game, transported on a more, well, metaphorical level.

    (In my day job I am a programmer. I write stuff that enables users to interact with a computer, which is just the tool to get things done, so in a way I provide the handles of a pair of scissors, but it's still up to the user's imagination what shape to cut with said scissors).

    When things go pear-shaped, you experience that the computer fails to respond to external events - it won't redraw the screen once you moved your mouse or a window, it fails to respond to your increasingly nervous key tapping, ... to find out the root cause of this requires no fundamentally different skills than required to find a leak in wind instrument - only on a more abstract level.
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