Computer Humor

Computers Made Stupid

Dr. Computer Science answers computer questions:

Q: What are bits and bytes?

A: Bits and Bytes are what a binary (base two) computer uses to think. Binary computers only think about food, so the units of thought are expressed in terms of eating processes. A bit is the smallest amount of cauliflower your child can eat and still get away with saying that he has had a bit of cauliflower. A byte is an entire piece of cauliflower. A byte usually contains eight bits, unless you are eating on a DEC, some of which allow a byte to vary in size from a single bit, to 36 bits. This is possible only on a DEC since only there can your child manage to drop small pieces of cauliflower through the spaces between the floorboards, leaving fewer bits on the plate. With fewer bits on the plate, each bit is a larger percentage of the whole, so a byte gets smaller.

Q: Can I put a double sided floppy disk in the envelope from a single sided floppy?

A: No. You see, single sided disks were invented because there all have a single song on the other side. That's why they are the same size as a 45 rpm record. Unfortunately, the sleeves are hard to remove so playing the songs are harder than planned. Anyway, who has a turntable with a 45 RPM adapter that works? Well, you know how dirty all your records get? All that dirt is inside the record and the sleeve, so if you put a double sided floppy in the sleeve, all the dirt from the record side will jump on the data and crash your system.

Q: My computer has 2 Meg of RAM. My friend's has 2048K of ROM. Who was more memory?

A: Your Friend. RAM memory usually forgets everything when you turn off the power. That means that when the power is off, you have NO RAM memory. ROM memory remembers everything, even when the power is off. How much more memory does your friend have? That depends on how much you turn off your computer. You'd have to keep your computer turned on all the time for you to have the same amount of memory as your friend.

Q: Why does my disk have free space?

A: It's a bonus from the manufacturer, to make you think you got a bargain. Notice how that free space decreases as time goes on. That's because your disk is becoming less of a bargain. When the free space becomes zero, you'll have only the disk you paid for. This usually causes great depression and concern because then you realize how little the dollar buys.

Q: Motherboard, daughterboard, backplane, front panel, what does it all mean?

A: That's all sales talk. First came office computers. They were big and impersonal. Then came personal computers. They were "user friendly". Now, a computer is no longer a single machine. We have computer families. The daddy computer talks to his daughters via the motherboard. Nobody drives, they all take the bus. Or the pulse train. Computers are sometimes like committees, they have several parts wasting time by doing the same thing at the same time. They argue a lot about who gets the front seat and who gets to drive. That's why they need bus arbitration.

Q: What is cash memory, and why does it make computers faster?

A: Cash memory is the part of the computer that remembers how much money you spent on your computer. The more you spend on your computer, the faster it will work. That's why the million dollar computers work so fast - they have more cash memory than you do.

Q: But what if I paid by check or a credit card?

The computer will find out. Every time you turn on the computer, the cash memory checks to see if the check was cashed. This is the memory check. The memory won't work until it's paid for.