Mothers and understanding Computers

Mother and Understanding Computers

  For years I badgered my mother with questions about whether Santa Claus
  is a real person or not. Her answer was always "Well, you asked for the
  presents and they came, didn't they?" I finally understood the full
  meaning  of her reply when I heard the definition of a virtual device:
  "A software or  hardware entity which responds to commands in a manner
  indistinguishable from the real device." Mother was telling me that
  Santa Claus is a virtual  person (simulated by loving parents) who
  responds to requests from children  in a manner indistinguishable from
  the real saint.

  Mother also taught the IF ... THEN ... ELSE structure: "If it's snowing,
  then put your boots on before you go to school; otherwise just wear your
  shoes."

  Mother explained the difference between batch and transaction
  processing:

  "We'll wash the white clothes when we get enough of them to make a load,
  but  we'll wash these socks out right now by hand because you'll need
  them this afternoon."

  Mother taught me about linked lists. Once, for a birthday party, she
  laid  out a treasure hunt of ten hidden clues, with each clue telling
  where to  find the next one, and the last one leading to the treasure.
  She then gave  us  the first clue.

  Mother understood about parity errors. When she counted socks after
  doing  the laundry, she expected to find an even number and groaned when
  only one  sock of a pair emerged from the washing machine. Later she
  applied the principles of redundancy engineering to this problem by
  buying our socks three identical pairs at a time. This greatly increased
  the odds of being  able to come up with at least one matching pair.

  Mother had all of us children write, then mailed in a single envelope
  with a single stamp. This was obviously an instance of blocking records in
  order to save money by reducing the number of physical I/O operations.

  Mother used flags to help her manage the housework. Whenever she turned
  on the stove, she put a potholder on top of her purse to reminder
  herself to  turn it off again before leaving the house.

  Mother knew about devices which raise an interrupt signal to be
  serviced when they have completed any operation. She had a whistling
  teakettle.

  Mother understood about LIFO ordering. In my lunch bag she put the
  dessert on the bottom, the sandwich in the middle, and the napkin on top
  so that  things would come out in the right order at lunchtime.

  There is an old story that God knew He couldn't be physically present
  everywhere at once, to show His love for His people, and so He created
  mothers. That is the difference between centralized and distributed
  processing. As any kid who's ever misbehaved at a neighbor's house finds
  out, all the mothers in the neighborhood talk to each other. That's a
  local area network of distributed processors that can't be beat.

        Mom, you were the best computer teacher I ever had.


		Thanks to:  Mavis105 for that contribution

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This message was sent on 25 Nov 1996