Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Things I've Learned" By Eileen


We were taught the parts of a computer and where they connect to on the motherboard(the control room of the computer); things like the cpu and the RAM connect to the north bridge and the graphics card, the PCI and the IDE connect to the south bridge. The north bridge has the highest priority and everything has to go through there in order to reach the CPU and be registered.

We also learned about definitions of parts; the RAM is the temporary memory of the computer, it can be replaced if faulty and it is measured in bytes. The CPU is like the translator of the computer, it takes your commands (like what you type on a keyboard), changes it into binary (the code that computers use), and the tells that to the parts like the graphics card so that you can see what you typed on your screen.

Then we learned about how the parts are related; the RAM is similar to, but different from the hard drive in the sense that they are both memory storing devices, but the hard drive holds all of the information forever until you purposely delete it. Even if you shut down your computer and move the hard drive to another computer, all of the files will still be stored on it. The RAM loses all of it's information when you unplug the computer or remove the RAM itself.

There were a bunch of metaphors for the different computer parts, some that were helpful and some that were pretty lame. One of the better ones was that the RAM is like clothing in the sense that it's readily available and you are always wearing it, but if you want to change it you have to go back home (or to the motherboard).

I think that what we've learned about Linux will be helpful because although you can't use familiar programs like Microsoft office and Adobe, it's a heck of a lot neater looking. In addition it's easier to install than windows and free to boot (haha, pun). Also, if you're someone who has a knack for coding, you can edit Linux because it's open source and that way problems that may be commonly faced, but not always solved, can be fixed. Linux is always being updated so problems are constantly being weeded out. Besides, I think that there is a nice warm feeling that comes with working on something that is controlled by the community as opposed to a corporation.

What's most confusing are the technicalities. I can grasp what you do with these programs and hardware knowledge and I understand the basics (components, what they do), but I have trouble with understanding code and what not. Not to mention that everything goes so fast. It always has. I suppose that it is just something that I am going to need to get used to, but it's difficult. So much info is being fed to us in such a short amount of time (and we have no idea who half of the people who feed us this info are).

I have to say that personally, I am more creatively inclined and its hard for me to sit through all of these technical lessons. I prefer to just mess around and design neat stuff, not follow a bunch of mathematical steps to achieve the expected result.

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