Stripping the computer naked


All computers, be it the desktop, laptop, tablet or pocket-size smartphone are created equal; they are one and the same.

The motherboard, the momma of all connection is its nervous system. It is the city of gold, Johannesburg, with its rich and vast network of roads interweaving and crisscrossing.

The motherboard hosts a city within a city; the central processing unit (CPU) and its bus. Computer engineers don’t call that; they say processor. Newspaper reporters christen it the computer chip. Think of the CPU as Jacob Zuma’s exotic ‘white house’ with gardens of heaven and streets of gold (the processor bus). Hummers and Chrysler PT Cruisers that travel of the streets of gold do so at terrific speeds.


Inside the white house resides the seat of government, presidential brains. There are several types. The single core is a president who is single. Bingu was when he lost the wife of his youth.

President Robert Mugabe and Peter Mutharika are dual-core CPUs. Their influential first ladies multiply their brains. It virtually like having two presidents; one by title and the other by influence. Jacob Zuma is a quad-core. Three wives in the house plus one divorced. Mswati is a story for another day.

The single-core focus on one job at a time. Dual-core multitasks. While APM may be busy scratching his head with Chaponda’s two reports on his table, the first lady could be putting up a list of eligible names to replace the minister at Agriculture should pressure continue to build.


And there is the random access memory (RAM). This is loosely called memory, which is actually wrong because the hard disk, the data granary is also memory; just different. RAM is the press office at the state house. Knows the mood, disposition and schedule of the big kahuna and keeps files on the queue. This memory is only available when the computer is on.

The presidential wing and the press office building are connected via a dedicated tunnel called the front side bus. It is like a bus that carries data and instructions. Smaller road networks like the PCI (peripheral connect interface) routes files located in filling cabinets in the secretary’s office (hard disk) that may be required by the president from time to time.

The motherboard has outlet highways to the outside world of keyboards, mice, printers and flash disks through USB, PS/2 or parallel gates.

Enough about the hardware, let’s talk about the constitution of this great republic. This is called the operating system software. Bill Gates is a great constitutional lawyer of all greats. Hate or love him, the man is the William Shakespeare of this kind of literature. Windows 10, 8, 7 and XP all bare witness of this man’s prowess in this field.

But if you are still mourning Steve Jobs, this is an alternative. Or why not Google’s Chrome? Like, the president, the OS requires all the pomp and whistles. Before being ushered in to speak, the Nankhumwas and Henry Mussas of this world go first, you know, to create anticipation.

The Bios goes first and makes sure no component has a cold. Once the OS is loaded, an enabling environment is ushered in for apps like Word (government press), Excel (the accountant general), PowerPoint (Ministry of Civic Education), antivirus (Ministry of defense) or Chrome browser (Ministry of foreign Affairs and International Affairs)

The computer is no more donning its usual Italian exquisite suite, or is it? If that is the case, my job is done.

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