November 5th, 2005

self portrait (escher)

self freaks out over trivia again

If you're on PC, and need to do something low-level like troubleshoot a hard drive problem overclock your processor, one of your first questions is going to be "How do I get into the CMOS?" CMOS being the set of configuration screens the computer uses to keep track of hardware settings which are difficult or time-consuming to detect on boot-up. (well, sort of. those are actually your BIOS screens, but they're physically stored in the CMOS) See, there's really no standard. Sometimes, you have to press F1 a bunch of times. Sometimes it's the DEL key, or escape, or some combination of characters. Sometimes this needs be done when the computer powers up, sometimes after the memory's been counted, or in Compaq's case, "while you can see a white underscore in the top-right corner".

Why so many methods? Well, surely it's because each manufacturer has their own ideas how to make the process more intuitive! It's a heated debate, and even after 20+ years, they just can't reach a consensus.


Or... they just don't want you mucking around in there. You can do a lot of damage, and it's the first place you'll hit when you're panicked over a problem.

Anyway... I've always wondered what these acronyms stood for, and now I know:
    Basic Input/Output System

    Makes sense...

    Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor

How can that still apply? Are they still using the same materials? 'cause, that terminology's been around forever! Either the technolgy's archaic, or our language is.

I mean, sure, the paper we manufacture has no papyrus in it, and that pigskin your NFL team of choice throws around contains no actual pig skin, but those aren't meant to be technical descriptions.

I'm just... I don't get it.
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    confused confused