The First Bit

In the beginning, God created the bit. And the bit was a zero.

On the first day, he toggled the 0 to 1, and the Universe was. (In those days, bootstrap loaders were simple, and "active low" signals didn't yet exist.)

On the second day, God's boss wanted a demo, and tried to read the bit. This being volatile memory, the bit reverted to a 0. And the universe wasn't. God learned the importance of backups and memory refresh, and spent the rest of the day (and his first all-nighter) reinstalling the universe.

On the third day, the bit cried "Oh, Lord! If you exist, give me a sign!" And God created rev. 2.0 of the bit, even better than the original prototype. Those in Universe Marketing immediately realized that "new and improved" wouldn't do justice to such a grand and glorious creation. And so it was dubbed the Most Significant Bit. Many bits followed, but only one was so honored.

On the fourth day, God created a simple ALU with 'add' and 'logical shift' instructions. And the original bit discovered that by performing a single shift instruction, it could become the Most Significant Bit. And God realized the importance of computer security.

On the fifth day, God created the first mid-life kicker, rev. 2.0 of the ALU, with wonderful features, and said "Forget that add and shift stuff. Go forth and multiply." And God saw that it was good.

On the sixth day, God got a bit overconfident, and invented pipelines, register hazards, optimizing compilers, crosstalk, restartable instructions, microinterrupts, race conditions, and propagation delays. Historians have used this to convincingly argue that the sixth day must have been a Monday.

On the seventh day, an engineering change introduced Windows into the Universe, and it hasn't worked right since.

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Glossary of Computer Terms

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'Twas The Night Before Release Date...

'Twas the night before release date and all through the house,
Not a program was working, not even a browse.

The Programmers hung by their cubes in despair,
With hopes that a miracle soon would be there.

The users were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of working code danced in their heads.

When out in the lobby there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a super programmer with a six-pack of beer.

His resume glowed with experience so rare,
He turned out great code with a bit-pushers flair.

More rapid than eagles, his programs they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name.

On Menu, On Report, On Procedures And Delete,
On Monitor, On Batch-jobs, On Functions Complete.

His eyes were glazed over, fingers nimble and lean,
From weekends and nights spent in front of a screen.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon made it clear we had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Turning specs into code; then he turned with a jerk;

And laying his finger upon the key,
The software came up and worked perfectly.

The menus, they menued, the deletes they deleted,
The reports they reported, and the batch-jobs completed.

He tested each whistle, and tested each bell,
With nary a stack dump, and all had gone well.

The software was finished, the tests were concluded.
Our users' last minute requests were included.

Then the users exclaimed with a snarl and a taunt,

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