I am just one person who wants to help as many people as I can to understand that it is not just Millennial’s who can use the latest technology with ease.
Over the past 40 years, I have worked on and around technology. Sometimes I got it right – often I did not. I was self taught in most programming languages. At one time I attended a Computer Learning Center in Springfield, VA to learn computer programming. Unfortunately we learned on an old IBM 370 punch card machine. The technology then was just in its infancy. I did however learn some valuable lessons at that time. I want to share those with you in these pages.
I make no apologies for my grammar. I know it is not the standard way of writing. I don’t care.
My main objective is to share with you my knowledge of technology as I understand it. I am not an expert! I just have a sh*t load of experience. So, if I haven’t lost you yet – sit back and I will begin explain why I do what I do. I might even be able to use some humor here and there. Who know’s ? I might even make you laugh (or at least chuckle a little).
The computer today is nothing more than a box that answers a zillion questions in a second. OK, I exagerate – shoot me. The point is that basically the it is an electronic device that has only two states – Off and ON. The computer does this at a fraction of a nano-second.
I am going to give you a super simple example of how it works.
Let’s say you want to know what time it is. There are several questions that must be answered in order to get to the result. You and I don’t even think about it, Right? If some one says to you what time is it? You simply tell them the time if you know it. That is the first clue. The scenario would be something like this:
Q: Do you know what time is?
Q: What time is it?
A: What time is what?
Q: What time is it now?
Q: What time is it here?
A: 24 hr time or 12 hr time?
Q: What is the time now using a 12 hour clock?
A: 12:00 p.m.
What would take you or I one simple question to ask , the computer needs more information than you initially provided. I know it seems stupid, but the reality is the computer is just an electronic box that that spits out answers to questions. It does this however at a phenomenal speed.
The computer uses what is known as logical testing. In other words, yes or no. That is what is so incredible about computers they all work the same way. If you tell a computer something it has only two responses to render. Our brains work exactly the same way.
If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to answer this question; What are you thinking? What your brain did was asked itself a series of questions in a nano-second. Maybe it said, ” This guy is a nut, why are reading this crap?” On the other hand it may have said, ” I wonder whats for lunch?” The point is, your brain answered the question in the way it was trained to by you.
I know I am no psychologist or professional in the way the brain works. I am however, very proficient in how a computer works.
With logic, the computer follows a path to get to the answer. In the (Old days) as my children would say we used flow charting to perform logical tasks. The first question in the about example – Do you know what time it is? the flow would be something like this.
Q: Do you know what time it is? the computer asks itself does it know what time is. If the answer is yes then it moves on to the next question it does this with a series of questions that in programming we call – (If, Then).
If I know what time is, then what time are you looking for? If the answer is the time now, then how do I render the information? 12 hr. or 24 hr. clock? If 12 hr. then the time is 9:00. If it is before noon, then we call it 9:00 a.m.
The path that the computer took was a logical one based on the knowledge it had received from it’s programmer.
That brings me to the next point. What exactly does a programmer do? Well, the short answer is: gives the instructions to a computer on how to accomplish a task or tasks. Of course, there is a lot more that goes into to that. So again I am going to give you a ridiculous example of what a programmer does.
The first step is to tell the computer the type of question to expect. I am going to use a web page as an example.
we are going to tell the computer that the information to provide to the user is a web page. We start our instruction with <html>. Now the computer knows it is going to display a web page. the next thing we have to tell it is the name of the page. <head> after we name it we tell it we are done with this section </head> then we tell it what is inside the page. <body> then when we have detailed all the information we have to tell it we are finished with the information </body> then we have to tell it there are no more instructions </html>
That is a basic way to construct a web page using the language that the computer understands. This type of language is called Hyper Text Markup Language. hence the name HTML. in order to have the computer understand we use key elements to differentiate from normal talking. These elements in HTML are < > \ The first one is a call to the computer to do something. The < indicates that anything with in this confine is an instruction. The > is an indication that the first part of the instruction is over now be ready for some data. Then after it receives the data We use another < \ followed by a repeat of the main instruction. This will tell the computer there is no other instruction to do at this time. to demonstrate: <h3> hello world </h3> this is tells the computer to type out “hello world” in a size 3 heading. To recap: the <h3> told the computer that what I type next is going to be in a header type 3. When I put <\h3> I told the computer to resume normal typing.
Even though this seems complicated it is not. There is one drawback though, you must have a computer set up to send this kind of information to the public on the internet. Otherwise you would have a mess every time you typed a letter or something on your personal computer. like I said in the beginning, this is a very rudimentary way to explain how a computer works on a very very basic level. There is a lot more stuff that goes on behind the scenes. That is for another person to explain.
As I stated at the outset, I think that people make the computer out to be more of a beast than it really is.