Darth Vader's Guide to Computers

April 24, 2017 by Lindsay Racen

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…There was a dream to automate and expand communication to allow people to share information at light speed. Lord Darth Vader shares the force with you by sharing his essential guide to computers in the digital age.

“When I left you I was but the learner. Now I am the master.”

I once said these words to my previous mentor Obi-Wan. You see even I, the greatest of master’s began as a novice. Become my apprentice and I will show you the way of computing power.

First lessons must always begin with exploring the history of a saga. Modern day clones may believe that the original fathers of personal computers and devices were Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, when in fact the true emperor was a man named Edmund Berkley. This man envisioned the first personal computer named “Simon,” describing his vision in his 1949 book, “Great Brains, or Machines That Think.” Simon Kenobi was built by Jedis William A. Porter, Robert A. Jensen and Andrew Vall. The Empire thanks these visionaries for innovating the technologies we see today.

“Alert all commands. Calculate every possible destination along their last known trajectory.”

Those are the basics but now it is time to review the historical battle of technological power. The two most powerful lords of recent decades were the late Steve Jobs, leader of Apple, and the current Bill Gates, leader of Microsoft. These men, from very different galaxies have armies the size of our clones. Their systems look and operate very differently and their respective followers are truly loyal. For many decades they battled for market supremacy and raced against one another to achieve the power of innovation.

Their galaxies were formed about the same time in the 1970’s on Earth’s timeline. Apple launched the Macintosh and went on to develop computers without towers called iMacs, where all the hardware was built into a single structure. Then its technologies advanced to create everything from slender to midsize single tablets and even small hand held devices that not only allowed earthlings to communicate from miles apart but also operate elaborate strategy simulations with their thumbs. These phones are now the main means of communication for citizens across all empires.

The galaxy of Microsoft traveled a similar path with a different focus at times throughout the journey. Leaders in this realm were focused on building business operations and advancing commerce within societies. Their operating systems dominate many of today’s offices and advanced exploratory ships. Consumer driven products were also launched in the 21st century with tablets and phones targeting a different kind of thinker, one that appears to be more logical and utilitarian in nature.

“You have only begun to discover your power.”

Young apprentice, I feel that you have learned well in your teachings thus far, but your teachings are not complete. It is time to learn the code of the ancient force that is carried across galaxies and systems. You must learn every one of the following terms in order to navigate among the stars and use the force to complete my guide to computers.

Traditional Computer Code – Long Form

  • Central Processing Unit (CPU) and Speed – though the term relates to a specific chip, a CPU’s performance is determined by the rest of the computer’s circuitry and chips. Currently the Pentium chip or processor, made by Intel, is the most common CPU, although there are many other companies that produce such items for personal computers. Forget light speed for a moment, with faster processors the clock speed becomes more important. It depends on the circuit board that the chip is housed in, or the motherboard, as to whether you are able to upgrade to a faster chip. The motherboard contains the circuitry and connections that allow the various component to communicate with each other.

  • Keyboards – This one is near and dear to my dark heart as you may have noticed from the switchboards on my chest. Keyboards are essential for entering information and commands into the computer system.

  • Storage – Disks and commonly used flash drives are used to store information and files. The size of each file is measured in bytes which are made up of 8 bits. A bit is simply an on or off signal that passes through the computer’s circuitry. Every piece of software can be broken down into a series of on or off signals, officially called Binary Code. Measurement and capacity breakdown is listed below:
    • About 1,000 bytes in a kilobyte (KB)
    • About 1,000,000 bytes in a megabyte (MB)
    • About 1,000,000,000 bytes in a gigabyte (GB)
    • About 1,000,000,000,000 bytes in a terabyte (TB)
  • Memory – Yes I once told young Skywalker to forget the past, but memory is very important to personal computers. It can be a confusing concept to many who often confuse it with storage but it is actually one of the easiest pieces of hardware to add to your computer. The simplest way to think about the difference is to consider a table where actual work is done as memory, and a filing cabinet where the finished product is stowed as the storage. Random Access Memory, or RAM, also exists which is the memory that a computer uses to temporarily store the information as it is being processed.

  • Cards – These are components added to computers to increase their capabilities. A sound card allows computers to produce sound like music and voice. Graphic and video cards allow computers to display color, video and animation. This is increasingly important as online learning tools have empowered the use of webinars, live streaming and video learning. Network cards are another type of tool that allows computers to connect together and communicate with each other like I commanded in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back to move our ship out of the asteroid field so that we could send a clear transmission.

Advanced Computer Code – Short Form

  • WWW – World Wide Web is a synonym for the internet where we are able to share information across empires. Many of my apprentices have used this powerful network to study and simulate their Jedi practices prior to becoming one with the force.

  • Wi-Fi – This is the acronym for Wireless Fidelity, which is a wireless networking technology that allows computers and other devices to communicate over wireless signal. Think of it as the son of Skywalker, when I mentioned that if he could be turned to the dark side, he would be a powerful ally. Wi-Fi indeed is a powerful ally made up of network components that are based on one of the 802.11 standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and adopted by the Wi-Fi Alliance.

  • CPS – Stands for “Classroom Performance System,” and refers to a technology system that is used for educational purposes within a classroom. CPS has shown to improve students’ learning capabilities and retention of subject matter concepts due to the interactions they experience with every aspect of the lesson.

  • VLE – This takes CPS to a new level. It is called Virtual Learning Environment and is used by many innovative universities that offer degrees and courses fully online. Brandman University is an example of a higher education institution that utilizes a VLE called Blackboard to allow instruction and learning to be completed digitally. This means that you can achieve your professional apprentice certificate in galactic information technology securities directly from my ship.

  • ICF – Remember when I commanded Captain Piett to “land our troops beyond our enemy’s energy field, and deploy the fleet, so that nothing gets off the system”? Think of that strategy as a ICF or Internet Connection Firewall. This innovation came from the galaxy of Microsoft in their Windows XP technology that protects computers connected to the internet from unauthorized access. It serves as our systems line of defense against rebel troops.

There are many other terms you must learn before you become a Jedi young apprentice. But memorize these thoroughly and continue to learn the ancient ways of the force and you will one day stand by my side.

“The force is with you, but you are not a Jedi yet.”

You should know that my story and legacy extends far beyond our world and many others are recreating it to inspire and entertain young children. Star Wars Rebels is an television series produced by Lucusfilm on Earth that uses the power of computers to recreate our world in animation. Watch and learn as our two worlds collide then prove to me that you can construct your own light saber before advancing to Jedi mastery.

“I see you have constructed a new light saber. Your skills are complete.”

You are wise to have completed by guide to computers and constructed your first light saber. Keep it close to you at all times as it represents your fellowship into the Jedi community. You must always use the force and leverage the power of the dark side when traveling beyond this world. Continue to master new skills because after all ultimate domination can only be attained through innovation.

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