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Friday, July 23, 2004
Modern technical conversations often leave one buried in a pile of strange acronyms and other cryptic phrases. To help ease the confusion, I present “The Layman’s Lexicon to Technobabble”:
CPU (Central Processing Unit) – Analogous to the heart of a computer. Everything you do on a computer passes through the CPU. The speed of a computer’s CPU, measured in Megahertz, has the greatest effect on how fast things get done.
MHz (Megahertz) – From “Mega” meaning “One Million” and “Herzt”, a measurement of electrical frequency that is equal to one cycle per second, 1 megahertz is equal to one million cycles per second. Modern Computers run at 3000+ MHz, which means they are operating at over 3 billion cycles per second.
GHz (Gigahertz) – From “Giga” meaning “One Billion”, GHz is used as an abbreviation for modern computer processors that function at over 1000 MHz.
RAM (Random Access Memory) – Much like a notepad, this is where information is temporarily stored and retrieved as the CPU processes it. The information in your computer’s RAM is constantly in flux and disappears completely when your computer is powered down. Certain problems between programs on a computer can cause temporary problems with RAM and are the most common cause of “Illegal Operations”. A computer’s overall RAM can effect how quickly things are accomplished. The amount of RAM on a computer is measured in MB and GB.
Hard Disk Drive (HDD) – Long term storage for applications, programs and all other information on your computer. Space on a HDD is also measured in Mb and Gb, which often leads to confusion between the temporary space provided by RAM and the long-term storage space provided on your HDD.
Kb (Kilobyte) – One Kilobyte is equal to 1000 bytes of data. A byte of data is equal to a single character.
Mb (Megabyte) – One Megabyte is equal to 1000 Kilobytes and is the approximate amount of data stored on a 3.5” floppy disk.
Gb (Gigabyte) – One Gigabyte is equal to 1000 Megabytes of data. Modern HDDs can hold over 160 Gigabytes, which is therefore equal to 160,000 floppy disks!
Illegal Operation – No, nothing to do with questionable medical procedures performed by Dr. Nick and not even something that will land you a stretch in the big house, an Illegal Operation is just your computer’s way of saying that something is going wrong, so it’s not going to it anymore.
posted by Kusari 9:29 PM