Chas' Life, PC SOFTWARE
This is about software in use over the ages while I was playing with computers.
Back in 1981 I got my first computer, a ZX 81 made by Clive Sinclair.
When it was switched on it was instantly running a program called Beginners
All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code or BASIC. It came with a book describing
how to write using that 'high level' language invented in 1964. This was
how I learnt how to communicate with my new toy. It was fascinating to
discover what the various commands could do. The command line '10 PRINT
"Hello" ' would put the word Hello on the screen. The 10 is
the first line number. Programs were available on cassette tape. Mostly
games. "That's correct Chris!" or "Chris got 8 out of 10
right" was the simple response. Several other computers came on the
market like ORIC and AMSTRAD, all still running BASIC.
IBM invented the Personal Computer. Many software companies created Operating Systems and programs like Word Processors, Spread Sheets and games. IBM created its own OS2. Machine Aided Cognition and Multiple Access Computing (MAC) was developed by the United States of America's Department of Defence.
B I O S
The processor first runs a program called Basic Input Output System. The BIOS is stored in a special chip called Read Only Memory (R.O.M.). This program is not lost when the computer is switched off. After checking its memory chips and the keyboard it looks for a disk in the A: drive. The computer is looking for a BOOT disk or Operating System. If there is no external disk in the drive it will BOOT from the C: drive which is the hard drive inside. (Some machines had two floppy drives and the second is referred to as the B: drive). Now that you know this, it is VITAL that you have a BOOT disk in case the hard drive ever fails. The computer will not know how to work without it! Keep it safe. I know what trauma it caused me when, one day my computer failed to BOOT from the hard drive.
MS DOS & WINDOWS
Microsoft created a Disk Operating System (DOS). WINDOWS is a Graphical
User Interface (GUI) which enables the user to run programs by pointing
at pictures, called ICONS, with a mouse. This action converts your requirements
into commands for MS.DOS to carry out.
This Operating System is installed on dedicated Apple Computers which are popular.
This is an Operating System. It is 'open source', free and is considered
to be powerful, flexible and reliable. Companies like Google and Amazon
depend on it. Get hold of a LINUX boot disk and you can run it on any
computer using a different set of software entirely. A LIVE CD is one
that is booted from. If you are happy with it you can make the computer
boot up in Linux. If you are unsure you can arrange to choose which Operating
System the computer will boot up with by installing it in a separate partition
on the hard drive. It is like having two separate hard drives.
I have not yet tried to install LINUX on my computer. Just waiting for
some confidence! My first concern is getting on the internet with my USB
modem, a Huawei e 220 from TMobile. Then there is my Lexmark printer /
scanner which did not like Vista for a start!