More than one computer

Question of the Day April 28, 2011 ~ more than one computer?

Do you have more than one computer? How do you feel about that?

How does one define a computer?

I have my laptop – a 6 year old Toshiba Portege.
Ailsa and Jewelia also have their own laptops.
We have a main file server, with 4 hard disks, two of them 2TB.
We also have an smtp server, running on an old HP box.
We have an even older P1 running IPCop on linux filtering all traffic to the outside world.
Then we each have cell phones, and all of them have computers in them.
We have about 4 old machines lying around that simply got too slow for the new software and got replaced, but still work.
I have a couple of old Palm phones that still work sitting around also.
My wrist watch is a casio protrek, with digital compass, altimeter, themometer etc – which also has it’s own cpu (and is therefore technically a computer).
The there are all the other devices with CPUs, DVD recorder, portable phones, microwave, dish washer, clothes washer, clothes drier, several GPS units, depth sounder in the boat, marine radio, CB radios, etc.

So – what does one classify as a computer?

How do I feel about it?

The more reliable labour saving gadgets the better.
I look forward to the day that they are all self maintaining, and I don’t have to replace them periodically.

[followed by]

Hi Jeetika and others,
Your comments got me thinking on two more levels.
One is all the embedded controllers – CPUs in things like hard-drives, keyboards, etc – of which we probably have the best part of a hundred on the premises.

The other is biological.
If you start considering biological processors, then every cell in our body is at least as powerful as the computer aboard the Apollo space craft, and we have some 10^14 cells. A substantial fraction of those cells are nerve cells (neurons) which organise into groups to make processors. There are dozen of successive levels of organisation within our nervous systems, with different levels of ganglia providing processing power to different levels of action, culminating in the brain, with its many levels of structure and organisation, and dozens of parallel processing systems.
Our biological systems are so very different from electronic computers that it is very difficult to make any sort of direct comparison.
In terms of numeric calculation the electronic machines win hands down.
In terms of information processing and associative capacity, we are still in the lead – just.

Last month the Chinese announced a new super computer, one that operates at about 6 petaflops – which means that it can do enough math to fill a 2TB hard disk with answers in less than a thousandth of a second (not that any physical hard disk could receive that much information in such a short time – but you get the idea – it is very fast).

@ John
I still have the first computer I built, based on an RCA COSMAC CDP1802 chipset, and an ETI660 plan.
I still also have my first TRS80, a Model3. But have gotten rid of most of the 20 or so other machines I have owned over the last 30+ years.

Yes – those hundreds of facial muscles allow us to convey a lot of information though tone and facial expression.

[followed by]

Hi Gil

In so far as we accept the concept of money without question, and the systems of governance that support it, then yes, we are all little economic batteries, playing our part in the money game (mostly without question or serious awareness).

Some of my thoughts on the subject on my blogsite

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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1 Response to More than one computer

  1. holessence says:

    “I look forward to the day that they are all self maintaining, and I don’t have to replace them periodically.”

    Ted, I ad a resounding AMEN! to that 🙂


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