Originally from the Fediverse

Lynne Teaches Tech: What do all the components of a computer mean?

This is a revised version of this post.

If you’re buying a computer or laptop or even a phone, there’s a lot of jargon that might confuse you to look out for. It ranges from straightforward statistics to obscure facts to annoying “gotcha”s. This post aims to break them down.

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Lynne Teaches Tech: Why does Windows install to drive C by default? Why not A?

CP/M, a very old operating system for very old computers, used drive letters to distinguish between each drive on a computer. the first drive would be drive A, then drive B, and so on. CP/M computers typically had two floppy disk drives (drive A and B). when a CP/M machine… Read More »Lynne Teaches Tech: Why does Windows install to drive C by default? Why not A?

Lynne Teaches Tech: Why does text on a webpage stay sharp when you zoom in, even though images get blurry?

images like PNG and JPEG files get blurry when zoomed in beyond 100% of their size. this is true of video files, too, and many other methods of representing graphics. this is because these files contain an exact description of what to show. they tell the computer what colour each… Read More »Lynne Teaches Tech: Why does text on a webpage stay sharp when you zoom in, even though images get blurry?

Lynne Teaches Tech: What do all the parts of a URL or hyperlink mean?

when you access a website in your browser, its URL (Universal Resource Location) will almost always start with either https:// or http://. this is known as the schema, and tells the browser what type of connection it’s going to be using, and how it needs to talk to the server.… Read More »Lynne Teaches Tech: What do all the parts of a URL or hyperlink mean?

Lynne Teaches Tech: Why does compressing a JPEG make it look worse, even though putting in a ZIP file makes it look the same?

there are many different methods of file compression. one of the simplest methods is run length encoding (RLE). the idea is simple: say you have a file like this:aaabbbbaaaaayou could store it as:a3b4a5to represent that there are 3 a’s, 4 b’s, etc. you would then simply need a program to… Read More »Lynne Teaches Tech: Why does compressing a JPEG make it look worse, even though putting in a ZIP file makes it look the same?

Lynne Teaches Tech: why don’t windows programs work on a mac, and vice versa?

an operating system (OS), such as windows or macOS, handles a lot of low-level stuff. this means that developers don’t have to worry about details like “how to scroll a page” or “how to read text from a file”, because the OS handles it for you. a computer can’t do… Read More »Lynne Teaches Tech: why don’t windows programs work on a mac, and vice versa?