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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.

Legacy Hardware 

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. 

Microsoft MSDOS 

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 Config.sys.

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 machine.

Microsoft Windows

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.

Configuration Wizards

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 is triggered.

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

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 becoming obsolete.

Programming Wizards

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 Freemason!

Causality

Cause - Keep the human race under control through dependence.
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 your marble test.

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 right direction.

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."