How much dumber do you want to be today?
What is an IRQ?
An IRQ or Interrupt ReQuest is a
line dedicated to a specific device within a computer.
In an Intel based PC there are 16
IRQs numbered 0-15. Some IRQs are reserved for the system. Some are used
for devices that are later installed.
A good analogy of how IRQs work is a
person sitting in an office environment with 16 other workers in the
building. That one person represents the CPU (Central Processing Unit) and
the other 16 represent devices or hardware external to the CPU like a modem,
keyboard or a mouse.
In order for the CPU to distinguish
between the 16, each has a separate line. When a person (device) needs
attention they call the CPU on the phone.
[Phone rings] CPU : "Hello?"
Device: "Hey buddy, can you do something for me? My number is 14."
Before the CPU can give attention to
the device it must save its current task to the Stack. The Stack is a
portion of memory used by the CPU for temporary storage. Once the current
task is PUSHED or saved to the Stack the CPU branches to a subroutine called
an Interrupt Handler.
The Interrupt Handler is found using
the IRQ number supplied by the calling device. It is a subroutine that
instructs the CPU on how to handle the corresponding device.
The term "Legacy Hardware" refers to
an older style of computer hardware that requires manual configuration.
Legacy devices have what are called "Jumpers" on their circuit boards.
Jumpers are small pins usually
paired by two that stick up from the circuit boards. A Jumper is a small
piece of metal lined plastic. The Jumper is designed to close an electric
circuit by connecting the two pins.
When a circuit was left open it
meant there was no jumper on it so the circuit was not complete. If a
jumper was present between two pins it meant that circuit was complete.
Depending on the configuration
needed for the device, certain pins would be left open or closed.
Without a means to interact with the
computers hardware and control it more effectively it is nothing more than
an expensive paper weight. So an operating system is needed.
Microsoft DOS was the most popular
operating system for the PC. MSDOS is an acronym which means, "MicroSoft
Disk Operating System".
MSDOS is a command driven,
text-based operating system in that the user must key in commands from the
keyboard. There are quite a few MSDOS commands and most if not all must be
memorized along with their parameter usage by the user, otherwise the user
isn't going to get any work done.
There were software configurations
as well both for applications installed and for the operating system
itself. These settings were stored in a file named, "Config.sys". Often
when a device is configured, the settings for it would be found in
One must be knowledgeable of IRQs
and Legacy computer hardware and know how everything interacts together
within the computer system in order to successfully operate a MSDOS-based
Instead of being command driven,
Windows is a "GUI" or Graphical User Interface. Gone are the archaic
commands of MSDOS whose parameter usage must be understood and memorized in
order to operate a computer successfully. All users have to do now is,
"Click and Drag" using an onscreen pointer associated with a Mouse.
Plug n Play
With Windows 95 came, "Plug and
Play". Plug and Play is the way Microsoft simplified computer
configuration. It made it easier for users to configure their computers
hardware because they no longer had to manage IRQs themselves, they were now
managed by Windows.
These days it is extremely rare to
have to bother with Manual IRQ management because of Windows Plug n Play,
but it is still there in the system BIOS.
BIOS is an acronym which stands for
Basic Input Output System. It is where device management
subroutines/programs are stored for execution by the CPU when called upon.
Often times with MSDOS, a user had
to go into the config.sys or autoexec.bat file and make an adjustment to the
load sequence of device or software drivers to accommodate new hardware
devices or software programs installed on the system to fix a conflict.
In Windows, the install Wizards
automate that process and eliminate the need for edition of the autoexec.bat
and config.sys files.
Programming under MSDOS
In programming under MSDOS the
programmer had complete control over the computers hardware. This
maximized the speed at which the computer executed program code because it
bypassed MSDOS and in most cases the system BIOS. Some BIOS subroutines
are not that efficient and in most cases programmers choose to write their
own code in substitution to make up for those deficiencies.
To do that, one had to be more
knowledgeable of how subsystems within a computer worked, like sound cards,
graphics cards, and modems.
Programs under MSDOS execute from
the top down and paused only if the programmer included the proper code to
cause a pause.
Program code is executed in Windows
in much the same way as under MSDOS using a top down method. But since it
is event driven, program code is not executed unless the corresponding event
Microsoft once again, has made it
easier. Windows API or Application Programming Interface is comprised of
pre-coded subroutines that can be called from other programs. Just to name
a few, these API subroutines handle graphics, file, and dialog box
management. Windows API does it all for you, there is no need to write the
subroutines yourself or to even learn how.
DirectX is a term which describes a
hardware controlling suite for programmers who need speedy access to the
computers hardware. DirectX like Windows API subroutines can be called from
user written programs. No more does a programmer have to learn how the
computers hardware works. Or to write his own program code interfacing with
it, DirectX does it all for him.
But even programming is rapidly
Programming Tools are full of
Wizards that automate the programming experience. Just answer a succession
of questions, click “Next” for each one then click “Finish” and Walla!,
there’s your thousands of lines of program code already written and ready to
run. No need for you to learn structured programming techniques or
programming languages any more, it’s all done for you by Mr. Wizard.
Having grown up with computers I can
easily see how Microsoft has used the Windows operating system to dumb down
computer users, programmers and computer repair technicians.
Bill Gates is a
Cause - Keep the human race under control through
Effect - Knowledge depravation and dumbing down.
Microsoft is clearly part of
grand corporate scheme to dumb down the human race.
Taking users from having to be more knowledgeable of a computer with DOS to
Windows where the user doesn't have to know much about a computer to be an
'expert'. This process can be seen in the history of all
technologies. The proof is in the results of
I recognized the dumbing down process and how
knowledge is kept from the masses through Consumerism along time ago.
I decided to
get a TI after 15 years of being away from it. My TI
system is geared toward programming only, no game playing, unless it's a
game program I am writing. :) So, I know I'm going in the
The automobile for example, in the 1950's automobiles
were simple and easily maintained and repaired by the owner. Today
automobiles for the most part are designed for dependence. You
are either dependent on the manufacturer for parts or the dealer for labor.
There's that word again, "Dependent".
"I've come to
the conclusion there is a conspiracy about to make the American people
immoral, fat, lazy and stupid – and, in some cases, where these conditions
among the populace are already acute, to promote these undesirable
characteristics even further."