Trust me, just say it runs using elves

My computer is dying.  It takes forever to load certain programs and I’ll sit and watch my browser window open for like a minute sometimes before it comes to life, and even then it’s all slow and clunky.

Basically after four or five years these things just start to wither and need to be replaced. Which, in absolutely no way, makes the slightest bit of sense to me. It’s a microchip, what the hell is going on in there? Is sludge accumulating? Would that even matter? Isn’t it just a logic circuit at the heart of this thing? What’s slowing down? The logic?

Please don’t answer that. Computers exist as one of many things in this world that I take great delight in knowing absolutely nothing about. In my mind you have a hard drive:


And then you have some bugs or something:


And sometimes, when a computer and a bug love each other very much, they decide to lie down together and give each other special adult hugs and this is where computer errors come from.

Seriously. I don’t want to know more.

Oh, yeah, sure, I know what you’re thinking.  “Well, sheesh, I know a lot more than that. There’s the CPU which tells the monitor what to do and RAM, that’s like working memory, and then the hard drive stores blah blah blah.”

Trust me. You have no idea what you’re talking about. See this thing?

Photo of difference engine at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California by Allan J. Cronin

Photo of difference engine at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California by Allan J. Cronin

That thing adds and subtracts numbers. That’s it. All that crap is required to make a non-thinking piece of machinery work out the logic required to add and subtract.

Want to know what’s going on at the heart of your computer? For things like multiplication and playing music and drawing lines and stuff? Go here.  This is a logic gate and is the bottom line use of all those ones and zeros.

If you’re the compulsive type I’d stay away.  I once tried to think through some of the simpler logic gates and it made my brain hot.  And if you’re one of those people who just “gets” this stuff then my hat is off to you.

But my main point here is that I need a new computer and I’m scared to buy one because I’ll have to use either Vista or Windows 7.