1. You and Your Computer


Think of your computer as your house


How would you describe your house to a computer?

  • It's broken down into smaller rooms maybe?
    • what is a room?
      • a component of your house? βœ”οΈ
  • Each room connects via one or more doorways.
  • You can add rooms to your house.
  • You can upgrade and / or merge existing rooms.
  • You can "optimize" the layout so it warms and cools more efficiently or creates feng shui.
  • If it burns down, you can rebuild it based on blueprints, and you can replace most of the items in it. Unfortunately, some things may not be replaceable.

Your Computer is a Machine

How do you think your computer is organized?

  • you might think of words like "hard drive", and "motherboard"
  • your setup might involve 1-2 external monitors, a bluetooth mouse, and wireless keyboard
  • you might mention whether your computer is a Mac or Windows or Linux

Now think about how you use everything you mentioned.

  • your description of using your mouse is probably different than that of using your keyboard
  • you may mention why you chose to buy a Mac as opposed to a Windows computer

Interfaces of your computer

When we talk about how each part of a computer is organized, we are talking about its various interfaces

  • let's return to the analogy of your house
    • your kitchen is made up of a collection of interfaces
      • your stove has an interface
      • your fridge has an interface
      • even your faucet has an interface
      • you can interface with your kitchen's circuitry through your breaker panel


Another way to think about interfacing is human-to-human communication

  • we have interfaces of our own to communicate with each other without the need of any technology. They include:
    • our faces
    • our 5 senses
    • our expressions
diagram of interfaces

Your computer is organized through two types of interfaces

peripheral interfaces πŸ–₯️

  • hard drive
  • keyboard
  • mouse
  • screen

software interfaces πŸ“˜

  • interface drivers
    • programs or sets of programs
      • set of instructions that tell a piece of hardware how to function
  • operating system
    • software that enables other software to communicate with hardware
  • applications
    • programs designed for an end user
  • scripts
    • set of instructions for another program to use

All of these interfaces "play" together to extend how your computer is used.

  • hardware parts can be put together and taken apart again
  • you can add new software and delete other software
  • you can easily add multiple monitors, switch out keyboards, add a camera, etc.
  • you can even run a virtual machine(vm), which is essentially a computer running inside your computer. In fact your computer has numerous VMs running at any given time.

this ability to break components down, and mix and match them is called modularity πŸ—οΈ

  • the rooms in your house can be considered modules; same with your TV (a module), and your entertainment system as a whole (also a module).

Data and your Computer

Data from Star Trek

What comes to mind when you hear "data"?

  • information? βœ”οΈ
  • stuff that is stored on hard drives? βœ”οΈ
  • electrical signals? βœ”οΈ

How does information pass through your computer, and how is it stored for later use?

It may seem trivial, but when we talk about technology, we soon start to look at what data is doing when it's in motion and at rest

  • when we press a key on our keyboard, a signal travels to our computer's brain and registers the key we pressed. It's always listening for something to interface with it.

  • when we save a file, our computer's operating system gets instructions to store the contents of the file along with information about the file on our hard drive.

diagram of states of data

data in motion πŸƒ

  • from keyboard to machine
  • from mouse to machine
  • from monitor to your eyes
  • from speakers to your ears

data at rest 😴

  • database
    • structure of how data is stored
  • hard drive
    • physical addresses where data is stored as 1s and 0s.

your home's data

  • back to the house analogy. What is the "data" of your house?
    • electricity and water systems?
      • water moving through your pipes when faucet is on vs water stored in your pipes when faucet is off
    • pictures on the wall?
    • food in the fridge?
    • what about how your house is used - wear and tear?
      • in a way you are your house's data since it's whole purpose is to handle you in motion and you at rest when you're using it

Time and your Computer

dancing clocks
  • it may feel strange to talk about time. Isn't it self-evident?

    • not as evident as you might think
    • our computers don't have to rely on time the same way we do
    • time is extremely important in web3, and we will soon learn that our idea of time is essentially thrown out the window when it comes to blockchain.
  • You can set time to whatever you want on your machine, but when two machines with different times talk to each other, we need to agree on what time to use.

    • this is just like when you make travel plans
      • you need to double check timezones of flight and train times, for instance.
  • What if your computer is set 6 hours ahead of my computer?

    • How do our computers do things at the "same" time?
cpu clock

Your Relationship with Your Computer

vintage pcpchackerannoyed girl meme


scooby doo unmasking
  • Your User Profile is your identity on your computer
    • Guest Profile can't change your password.
    • but if I have your password, I have your identity as far as your computer is concerned.
pc login pagespidermen


angry pc user

What does it mean to "own" your computer?

  • just like your house. You can remodel it, tear it down - anything you want, because it's yours, right?
  • you can add / remove the programs you want
  • you can add / delete files, media and other digital assets
  • you can replace your mouse, your hard drive, and your monitor
  • you can even toss your computer in a pond (make sure to remove it though. We don’t want to pollute any ponds).

Structure of your Computer πŸ›οΈ

What happens if you do throw your computer in a pond?

  • Is the data on it gone forever, because it was all centralized on your computer and your computer alone?
vintage pc
  • Or is all or much of the data distributed accross one or more other machines, and you only lost a portion of your data?
vintage pc distribution room
  • Or, even better, is the data not only distributed accross multiple machines, but decentralized so that each machine has a copy of all your data? 🀞
multiple vintage pc


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Last Updated: 5/9/2022, 3:20:19 PM