103

The term "Disk Operating System", or commonly "DOS", was used in the early days of personal computing to distinguish operating systems that also contained software for supporting disk devices, since not all of them did. The DOS software could access blocks stored on disk, that were organized into files, and there was "filesystem" software included for ...


101

'User' and 'customer' aren't the same. The user is the person (always a person) who uses a computer system to do something. The customer is the person or organization who pays for the hardware and software used by the user. The customer can be identical to the user (private or freelance personal computer user). The customer can be the user's boss (...


97

Hard drives have read/write heads which fly above the spinning disks when the drive is powered. When power is removed, the heads no longer fly... For a long time now, the arms which hold the heads have been designed to “auto-park” the heads away from the disks’ surface, or over a safe “landing zone”, when they lose power¹, but early (up to the mid 80s) hard ...


97

Look at the development: ROM = read-only memory = can only be read when on the board, programmed in the chip factory. PROM = programmable read-only memory = can be programmed with a special programmer, but read-only when on the board. EPROM = erasable programmable read-only memory = can be repeatedly programmed with a special programmer, after erasing it ...


77

They're called paddles because they let you play (electronic) table tennis. :) This article from CREATIVE COMPUTING VIDEO & ARCADE GAMES VOL. 1, NO. 1, 1983 explains. The reason this control is called a "paddle" in the personal computer industry is that it originally got its name from the control which moved the paddies[sic] on the screen in ...


75

It doesn't imply that it's the disk operating system so much as it implies that it's the disk-operating system. You could boot an Apple II from ROM, enter and run BASIC programs, load programs from cassette, and basically do whatever an Apple II can do, but without DOS there was no way to access files on disk. Apple DOS didn't really do any of the features ...


48

The term x86 is shorthand for 80x86, which was used to refer to any member of the family 8086 (and also, incidently, 8088), 80186, 80286, etc. Things have since gotten a bit muddled by the fact that while an 80386 had a mode that was compatible with the old architecture, it also introduced some fundamentally new ways of doing things which were shared by the ...


44

The term DOS pre-dates the personal computer by a looong way: the term DOS/360 was first coined by IBM in 1964 as a new operating system for their System/360 mainframe computers, to replace TOS (tape operating system). IBM commissioned Microsoft (at that time a garage outfit) to write PC-DOS to run on their Personal Computer, which was launched in 1981. ...


42

We use caret because the 1968 version of ASCII replaced the perfectly fine up-arrow (previously used for indicating control characters) with a lousy caret, at the same code value. I think the up-arrow, letter convention originated with DEC operating systems. The primary need was not documentation, but for echoing something printable (and preferably easily ...


40

In practice, "scientific computing" meant floating-point number-crunching like physics simulations, and "business" computing meant I/O-oriented record processing, such as doing the weekly payroll. On machines targeted at the scientific market, binary arithmetic was more common, floating-point hardware was usually standard, error ...


39

x is meant as wildcard, so this represents all CPUs able to run 8086 compatible code.


38

Besides the matter of semantics and personal taste, there’s a much more practical reason: some instructions sets claim to be copyrighted, as the Wikipedia Z80 article states: Because Intel claimed a copyright on their assembly mnemonics, a new assembly syntax had to be developed for the Z80. This time a more systematic approach was used. So, I think the ...


35

While I don't know the first software to be referred to as an engine, it seemed useful to check Google's Ngram Viewer: As can be seen, database engine slowly began being to be used around 1979, while game engine took another decade to begin catching on. Checking a few books using software engine, they were using the phrase generally, in titles like Best ...


34

The definition of "instruction" and "OP code" (aka operation code) is a bit fuzzy because it depends on how humans view the CPU. So the designers and their marketing department mostly get to pick the numbers. Operation code is the easier of the two: it is the number of different valid instruction byte sequences, excluding those parts of the instruction that ...


34

TL;DR; Dropfiles are somewhat related to virtualization as they allow to remove a process complete from execution and restart it later. Agent_L describes it quite head on as 'per-process hibernation'. A whole process will be taken off a machine with the option to restart it later on the same or another machine under the same or another user. Dropfiles are ...


31

EEPROM can't be "written to." It can be programmed. Programming is different. When there's EEPROM in a CPU's physical address space, ordinary write cycles will not affect it. Something out of the ordinary has to happen in order to change the EEPROM's contents. The oldest PROMs and EEPROMs had to be physically removed from the system and programmed ...


30

Because "move" is the typical necessary function It isn't always this way, of course, but especially with earlier CPUs, there were limited destinations for data from a particular operation - e.g., arithmetic results could only be in certain registers. Or in the other direction, certain functions could only operate on a few locations, typically registers or ...


27

TL;DR: User simply coins what is it about, the generic usage of something - differentiating it from any other role. And let's be honest, a computer is such a generic device, that it's use can be manyfold - from typist to gamer and accountant to engineer. So any more specific name would miss out other practices. In Detail: Notably, the term does make ...


26

... the Motorola 68000, was a 32-bit processor. As already written in Raffzahn's answer, Motorola itself said that it is a 16-bit processor. And as far as I know, the reason is not the external 16-bit bus but the inner architecture of the 68000: The 68000 only had a 16-bit ALU, which means that it could only perform 16-bit operations. The CPU executed 32-...


25

According to the Jargon File: chrome: n. [from automotive slang via wargaming] Showy features added to attract users but contributing little or nothing to the power of a system. “The 3D icons in Motif are just chrome, but they certainly are pretty chrome!” Distinguished from bells and whistles by the fact that the latter are usually added to gratify ...


22

Simply, a UART is a serial port, but a serial port is not neccessary a UART. Serial port is a general term for anything serial, without further specification, while a UART defines a tranceiver for a specific asynchronus format. That Ports using asynchronus protocols like RS232 ot TTY are colloquially simplified as serial port shouldn't promote technical ...


19

Does "Disk Operating System" imply that there was a "non-disk" Operating System? Yes. A little bit of history The earliest computers did not even have Operating Systems. The earliest computers were mainframes that lacked any form of operating system. Each user had sole use of the machine for a scheduled period of time and would arrive at the computer ...


18

In the personal/home computer space, the usual model was that the machine shipped with built in BASIC and the ability to save and load data from an attached cassette tape. This includes the original IBM PC, which had BASIC in ROM, as well as a specific cassette port that included a relay for controlling the cassette motor. BASIC itself included a MOTOR ...


18

TL;DR It's all about getting systematic, easy to memorise mnemonics, which may reflect some underlaying structure, but most important ease practical use. Exact language is not always a handy one - except you're asking a lawyer :) So why call the instruction "move"? Oh, the age old copy-vs-move question. A beloved friend :) There are many different, ...


17

What is the difference here between "Instructions" and "OP Codes"? Instruction: A directive for a certain action, like ADD, SUB or MOV as a whole. OP-Code: The Encoding of an instruction as seen by the CPU. For example, the Z80 has 1 ADD instruction and 20 ADD op-codes. In my experience, the two terms are either used interchangeably to refer to a ...


16

The word "engine", applied to game development software platforms, came into common usage in the mid-1990's and is mostly applied to that category of software today. While there is history of using "engine" to describe database and AI platforms too, it is the "Game Engine" that is commonly recognized by the non-technical public as a special class of ...


16

The phrase In some cases a sufficiently smart compiler could figure out some of these precedence relationships. was used in the 1979 book: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780120441204500088 Chapter 3 - SIMSCRIPT: PAST, PRESENT, AND SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT THE FUTURE HARRY M.MARKOWITZ Indicating that it predated Steele, and also that it ...


16

It can't be 'written to' in the sense of storing useful information written by a running program in the computer. It can be erased and re-programmed, which generally requires a special ROM programmer (rather than erasing and rewriting in place). So, the readonly-ness is from the viewpoint of the computer in which it's used. These days the line between that ...


15

The OED has (behind a paywall) the following definitions and earliest citations for program/programme: programme | program, n. 9. a. A sequence of operations that a machine can be set to perform automatically. 1942 J. W. Mauchly Use High Speed Vacuum Tube Devices for Calculating (Moore School of Electr. Engin., Univ. Pennsylvania) in B. Randell Origins ...


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