Posted by: David | April 4, 2015

Operating System

Since I’ve been around for well over half a century, I’ve had time to learn a little. A vanishingly tiny quantity. In spite of this woeful ignorance, my friends sometimes (rarely) say they think I’m smart. Yikes! Working with computers makes people think you must be a genius, but no. Alas. Like I said, a vanishingly tiny quantity. Below is a mathematical expression to help perpetuate the illusion of my intelligence and simultaneously illustrate my keen sense of irony.


QED. So anyway, I do work with computers and their so-called end-users. Not sure why they’re called end-users but I spend just as much time working with the computers as with the end users. On the job I like to call myself Desktop Dave since the “desktop” is my realm. The Windows desktop mostly (but also Mac OS). So what’s a “desktop” anyway, besides really really BORING?

The Desktop is an analogy. It was constructed to familiarize computer operation to common office tasks. Everyone please yawn now. All at once. Get it out of your system.

A nice retired fellow once emailed me with some questions about his computer’s “table top”. Isn’t that cute? His consistent use of this term told me that he understood the desktop analogy. Sure, I know he meant “desktop”, but a table top is also a work surface. It’s a place where you open your folders and spread files out to work with them (physically or electronically). That’s what an operating system provides- a work space. It should be just as trivial as tables and chair. The good news is that today’s major operating systems have practically achieved this transparency! Users barely even know they’re there. Like air.

Humans have operating systems too. Our OS (Operating System) is more complex than any computer OS, but shares some basic features. For example, when you wake up from sleep, as when you turn on a computer, your operating system loads up. You don’t really notice it, but as you surface from slumber, your OS loads the time, date, your location and identity. Next comes the task list pursuant to waking up this fine day, and the magnificent machine which is your body registers its needs for the morning. Have a pee, cuppa tea, etc.

Do we really need to know what an operating system is? Maybe not. Maybe no more than we need to know what air is. Which we don’t. But we’d be dead without air, right? So I’ve felt compelled to blather on about operating systems for a while now. Years. So if you didn’t get in your yawn before …



  1. “End users.” Don’t you know George Carlin would have had a blast with that. And a whole routine based on computer terms.

    Yes, he sure would have Pied. Carlin’s appreciation of profanity for its own sake might not have had any impact at all if the internet had been around when he was.

  2. but you still write for relatively sophisticated people, those that write, but do not read.

    Yes cantueso, and I’m glad you’re still here reading. Honestly I write mostly for myself. This post is a rare example of my trying to elucidate a shadowy computer term.

  3. I like computers.

    LOL! Me too!

    • I like them but got lost in your post with all its techno babble. I wanted to compliment you on your new header. I also like ice cream.

      SRSLY?! I tried SO hard to keep it non-techno babble! I hope you at least got a good yawn or two out of the deal.

      Glad you like the header. A cycling friend and me spotted this antique truck in Lebanon, NH. We’re both old enough to remember these trucks jingling through our neighborhoods when we were children.

      • Actually, just recently, an ice cream truck, complete with annoying music, and trundled it’s way into our cul-du-sac. We have lived here 11 years and this is a first.

        Sorry it took me a year to respond to your comment. Ice cream trucks are ominous aren’t they?

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