Curious Kid Podcast

Curious About Computers

December 20, 2020 Olivia Season 5 Episode 116
Curious Kid Podcast
Curious About Computers
Chapters
Curious Kid Podcast
Curious About Computers
Dec 20, 2020 Season 5 Episode 116
Olivia

In episode 116, we get curious about computers for Xander of Forth Worth, Texas.  How do computers work?  What are the different computer parts?  What was the first computer like?  Join us to learn more about this recent world-changing invention.

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Show Notes Transcript

In episode 116, we get curious about computers for Xander of Forth Worth, Texas.  How do computers work?  What are the different computer parts?  What was the first computer like?  Join us to learn more about this recent world-changing invention.

Send Us An E-mail - [email protected]
Leave Us A Voicemail - 856-425-2324
Support Us On Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/Curiouskidpodcast
Shop Curious Kid Podcast Merchandise - http://tee.pub/lic/fqXchg3wUVU
Follow Us On Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/curiouskidpod/
Follow Us On Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/curiouskidpodcast/
Follow Us On Twitter - https://twitter.com/CuriousKidPod

PODCAST 116: CURIOUS ABOUT COMPUTERS
RELEASE DATE:  DECEMBER 20TH, 2020

CURIOUS KID PODCAST THEME MUSIC

D:  HELLO, AND WELCOME BACK TO THE CURIOUS KID PODCAST.  TWO YEARS AGO, IN DECEMBER OF 2018, WE DID OUR FIRST EVER LISTENER SUGGESTION EPISODE, CURIOUS ABOUT THE INTERNET.  THIS WEEK, WE ARE LEARNING ABOUT A TOPIC THAT GOES REALLY WELL WITH THAT EPISODE FROM 106 WEEKS AGO.

O:  MAILBAG!

D:  MAILBAG!

“DEAR JACOB AND OLIVIA,

MY NAME IS XANDER AND I AM 6 YEARS OLD.  I LIVE IN FORT WORTH TEXAS WITH MY MOM AND DAD.  I LOVE YOUR SHOW!  I LOVE LEARNING ABOUT ALL SORTS OF FUN TOPICS, BUT MY FAVORITES HAVE BEEN LEARNING ABOUT TEETH, THE PLANETS, AND BLOOD!

IN THE FUTURE, I WOULD BE SO EXCITED IF YOU COULD GET CURIOUS ABOUT COMPUTERS!

THANKS SO MUCH!

FROM XANDER AND HIS MOM KELLIE”

O:  THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE E-MAIL XANDER.  WE ARE GETTING CURIOUS ABOUT COMPUTERS THIS WEEK FOR YOU.

D:  AND THERE IS SO MUCH TO LEARN ABOUT COMPUTERS, SO LET’S GET STARTED.  WHAT’S THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK?

O:  THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK IS, WHAT WAS THE FIRST COMPUTER MOUSE MADE OF WHEN IT WAS INVENTED?
D:  FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT MIGHT BE UNFAMILIAR WITH WHAT A COMPUTER MOUSE IS (IT’S NOTHING LIKE THE RODENT MOUSE), A COMPUTER MOUSE IS A SMALL DEVICE THAT YOU CAN MOVE ON YOUR DESK THAT WILL MOVE A POINTER ON YOUR COMPUTER MONITOR.  JUST ABOUT EVERY MOUSE SOLD TODAY IS MADE OF PLASTIC, BUT WHEN THE MOUSE WAS INVENTED IN 1964, IT WAS MADE OF SOMETHING DIFFERENT.  CAN YOU GUESS WHAT IT WAS MADE OF?

O:  SIMPLY PUT, A COMPUTER IS AN ELECTRONIC MACHINE THAT PROCESSES INFORMATION.

D:  SO, WHAT HAPPENS IS THAT YOU PUT INFORMATION INTO THE COMPUTER, THE COMPUTER WORKS ON THE INFORMATION YOU GAVE IT, AND THEN THE COMPUTER GIVES YOU SOMETHING BACK AFTER IT COMPLETES THE COMMAND YOU GAVE IT.  I’LL TELL YOU HOW I LIKE TO THINK OF IT.  IT’S KIND OF SIMILAR TO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU NEED TO R.S.V.P. TO AN EVENT.

O:  WHAT DOES R.S.V.P. MEAN? 

D:  IT IS AN ACRONYM THAT STANDS FOR “répondez s'il vous plaît”.  TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH TO ENGLISH, IT MEANS “PLEASE RESPOND”.  USUALLY, WHEN SOMEONE HAS A BIG PARTY LIKE A WEDDING, THEY SEND OUT INVITATIONS AND ASK THEIR GUESTS TO R.S.V.P., OR RESPOND, AND LET THEM KNOW WHETHER THEY PLAN ON ATTENDING THE WEDDING OR NOT.

O:  DADDY, HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO COMPUTERS?

D:  I’M GETTING THERE RIGHT NOW.  IF YOU GET AN INVITATION TO A WEDDING, YOU ARE RECEIVING INFORMATION.  AFTER YOU PUT SOME THOUGHT INTO WHETHER YOU WILL ATTEND THE WEDDING OR NOT, YOU HAVE TO MARK ON THE R.S.V.P. CARD WHETHER YOU ARE GOING OR WHETHER YOU CAN’T MAKE IT.  THEN YOU PUT THE R.S.V.P. CARD BACK IN THE MAILBOX TO LET THE HOSTS KNOW WHETHER YOU WILL BE AT THE WEDDING OR NOT.  THIS IS SIMILAR TO HOW COMPUTERS WORK.
O:  YOU GIVE THE COMPUTER INFORMATION.  THIS IS CALLED INPUT.  

D:  THAT’S BECAUSE YOU ARE PUTTING INFORMATION IN TO THE COMPUTER… INPUT.  IN THE R.S.V.P. EXAMPLE, THE INPUT IS THE INVITATION YOU GET FOR THE WEDDING.  IT’S INFORMATION, BUT YOU CAN’T JUST DO NOTHING WITH THE R.S.V.P.  YOU NEED TO THINK ABOUT IT AND REPLY.  

O:  NOW IT’S TIME FOR THE COMPUTER TO PROCESS THE INFORMATION.  THIS IS CALLED PROCESSING.

D:  IN THE R.S.V.P. EXAMPLE, YOU ARE THE COMPUTER.  YOU GOT THE INVITATION AND NOW YOU HAVE TO DECIDE WHETHER YOU ARE GOING TO THE WEDDING OR NOT.  MAYBE YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT YOUR CALENDAR, OR YOU HAVE TO SEE IF YOU CAN MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS SO YOU CAN ATTEND THE WEDDING.  IT REQUIRES A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF THOUGHT TO DECIDE IF YOU ARE GOING TO THE WEDDING.  YOUR BRAIN IS PROCESSING THE INVITATION.  

O:  NOW IT’S TIME FOR THE COMPUTER TO GIVE YOU THE RESULTS OF YOUR INPUT.  THIS IS CALLED OUTPUT.

D:  IT IS SPITTING THE INFORMATION BACK OUT TO YOU… OUTPUT.  IN THE R.S.V.P. EXAMPLE, THE OUTPUT IS SENDING THE R.S.V.P. BACK TO THE HOSTS OF THE WEDDING SO THEY KNOW IF YOU WILL BE THERE.  THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COMPUTER AND R.S.V.P. EXAMPLES THOUGH.  

O:  WITH THE R.S.V.P., IT COULD TAKE A FEW DAYS FROM INPUT TO OUTPUT.  WITH A COMPUTER, IT HAPPENS ALMOST INSTANTANEOUSLY.

D:  THAT’S RIGHT.  IT TAKES A FEW DAYS FOR THE INVITATION TO GET TO ME.  THEN I FILL OUT THE R.S.V.P. CARD AND SEND IT BACK… THAT’S ANOTHER FEW DAYS.  IT TAKES A WHILE FOR THE PROCESS TO PLAY OUT.  ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE THAT DON’T SEND BACK THE R.S.V.P. CARDS RIGHT AWAY… YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!  LET’S STICK WITH THE THEME AND CALL THOSE PEOPLE SLOW PROCESSORS.  WELL, I ASSURE YOU THE PROCESS IS MUCH QUICKER WITH COMPUTERS.  IF YOU GIVE A COMPUTER A COMMAND, YOU WILL GET THE RESULTS BACK RIGHT AWAY.  IT’S TRULY AMAZING.  LET’S LEARN A BIT MORE ABOUT THE STEPS A COMPUTER GOES THROUGH WHEN YOU USE IT.  

O:  YOU USE THINGS LIKE A KEYBOARD OR MOUSE TO GIVE THE COMPUTER INPUT. 

D:  AND WE’RE PODCASTING, SO WE ARE USING THE KEYBOARD AND MOUSE, BUT WE ARE ALSO USING A MICROPHONE WHICH IS ANOTHER WAY TO GIVE THE COMPUTER INPUT.  

O:  THE COMPUTER PROCESSES YOUR INFORMATION USING A MICROCHIP INSIDE THE COMPUTER.

D:  THE MICROCHIP IS LIKE THE BRAINS OF THE COMPUTER.  IT WORKS SO HARD THAT IT ACTUALLY GETS HOT WHILE YOU ARE USING THE COMPUTER THE SAME WAY YOU MIGHT GET HOT AND SWEAT IF YOU’RE WORKING REALLY HARD.  COMPUTERS OFTEN HAVE A TINY FAN INSIDE THAT KEEP THE MICROCHIP FROM OVERHEATING.

O:  THE OUTPUT IS USUALLY DISPLAYED ON YOUR MONITOR.

D:  THAT’S RIGHT.  IF YOU TYPE THE WORD COMPUTER INTO A SEARCH ENGINE LIKE GOOGLE AND CLICK SEARCH, YOU WILL END UP WITH INFORMATION ABOUT COMPUTERS, PICTURES OF COMPUTERS, AND MORE, RIGHT THERE ON YOUR MONITOR.  BUT YOU CAN GET OUTPUT FROM OTHER THINGS LIKE SPEAKERS, SO IF YOU CLICK ON YOUR FAVORITE SONG, THE MUSIC COMING OUT OF YOUR SPEAKERS IS ANOTHER FORM OF OUTPUT.  DO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE?

O:  WELL, HARDWARE IS THE ACTUAL PARTS OF THE COMPUTER LIKE THE KEYBOARD OR PRINTER.

D:  YOU GOT IT, AND SOFTWARE REFERS TO THE PROGRAMS ON YOUR COMPUTER.  OKAY, IT’S TIME FOR THE MOST SHOCKING FACT IN THIS EPISODE.  COMPUTERS STORE LOTS OF INFORMATION.  THAT INFORMATION IS STORED ON SOMETHING CALLED A HARD DRIVE, WHICH IS COMPARABLE TO THE WAY THAT HUMANS STORE INFORMATION IN THEIR MEMORIES.  COMPUTER INFORMATION IS STORED IN A VERY UNIQUE WAY THOUGH.  COMPUTER INFORMATION IS STORED IN BINARY CODE.  THAT MEANS THAT THE LANGUAGE THAT COMPUTERS USE TO STORE INFORMATION IN HAS JUST 2 NUMBERS AND THOSE NUMBERS ARE ZERO AND ONE.

O:  HANG ON A SECOND.  NO LETTERS?

D:  NOPE, NO LETTERS AT ALL.  JUST ZEROS AND ONES.  LET’S TAKE THE FIRST LETTER OF YOUR NAME, THE LETTER “O”.  IN BINARY CODE, THE LETTER O IS 01101111.  THE FIRST LETTER OF MY NAME IS J, WHICH IN BINARY CODE IS 01101010.   

O:  THAT SEEMS SO COMPLICATED.  WHY DO COMPUTERS STORE INFORMATION IN ZEROS AND ONES ONLY?

D:  THE MOST BASIC ANSWER IS THAT BINARY CODE COMPUTERS ARE EASY TO BUILD AND THEY ARE SIMPLE.  LET ME EXPLAIN WHY.  WE HAVE LOTS OF LIGHT SWITCHES IN OUR HOUSE.  SOME OF THEM ARE ON/OFF SWITCHES AND OTHERS ARE DIMMERS.  ON A DIMMER LIGHT SWITCH, THERE ARE MORE OPTIONS THAN JUST ON AND OFF.  YOU CAN DIM THE LIGHT A LITTLE OR A LOT, DEPENDING ON HOW MUCH LIGHT YOU WANT.  DO YOU THINK AN ON/OFF LIGHT SWITCH IS EASIER TO BUILD OR A LIGHT DIMMER?

O:  AN ON/OFF LIGHT SWITCH IS DEFINITELY EASIER.

D:  IT SURE IS.  HAVING JUST TWO OPTIONS MAKES ON/OFF LIGHT SWITCHES EASIER TO BUILD AND INSTALL.  FOR THAT REASON, THEY ARE LESS EXPENSIVE TOO.  WELL, THE CONCEPT IS SIMILAR WITH COMPUTERS.  IT’S EASIER AND LESS EXPENSIVE TO MAKE A COMPUTER THAT CAN DISTINGUISH BETWEEN TWO DIFFERENT CHOICES, ZERO OR ONE, THAN IT IS TO MAKE A COMPUTER THAT CAN DISTINGUISH BETWEEN LOTS OF DIFFERENT CHOICES.  BINARY CODE ALSO HELPS COMPUTERS BE MORE EFFICIENT, RESPONDING TO YOUR INPUT EVEN QUICKER.            

BEFORE WE ANSWER THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK, CHECK OUT SOME OF THESE AMAZING COMPUTER FACTS.

O:  THE FIRST ELECTRONIC COMPUTER WEIGHED MORE THAN 27 TONS.  

D:  A TON IS 2,000 POUNDS, SO THE FIRST COMPUTER WAS OVER 54,000 POUNDS AND IT TOOK UP 1,800 SQUARE FEET, WHICH IS THE SIZE OF A HOUSE.  

O:  TYPEWRITER IS THE LONGEST WORD YOU CAN TYPE USING THE LETTERS ON ONE ROW OF A KEYBOARD.  WHAT’S A TYPEWRITER?

D:  OH BOY, NOW I FEEL OLD.  A TYPEWRITER IS A MACHINE THAT HAS A KEYBOARD BUT ALSO TYPES THE LETTERS YOU ARE PUSHING DOWN ON THE TYPEWRITER AS YOU TYPE.  IT WASN’T VERY FORGIVING IF YOU MADE A MISTAKE.  ANYWAYS, IF YOU LOOK AT A KEYBOARD, THE LETTERS ARE ARRANGED IN AN INTERESTING WAY.  THEY AREN’T ARRANGED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER. 

O:  I ALWAYS WONDERED WHY THEY DIDN’T JUST ARRANGE THE LETTERS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER.

D:  WELL, 146 YEARS AGO, WHEN THE FIRST TYPEWRITER CAME OUT, A MAN BY THE NAME OF CHRISTOPHER SHOLES DESIGNED WHAT WE NOW CALL THE QWERTY KEYBOARD.  THAT’S A FUNNY NAME, BUT IT GOT THAT NAME BECAUSE Q-W-E-R-T-Y ARE THE FIRST LETTERS ON THE KEYBOARD, TOP ROW, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT.  ON A TYPEWRITER, WHEN YOU PUSH DOWN A LETTER KEY, THE KEY CONNECTED TO A BAR THAT PUNCHED THE LETTER ONTO A PIECE OF PAPER.  IF YOU TYPED TOO QUICKLY, THE BARS COULD JAM UP.  PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT CHRISTOPHER SHOLES DESIGNED THE STRANGE LAYOUT OF THE LETTERS ON THE KEYBOARD TO KEEP THE MOST COMMONLY USED LETTERS AWAY FROM EACH OTHER TO PREVENT THE TYPEWRITER FROM JAMMING… AND WE HAVEN’T BOTHERED TO MAKE ANY CHANGES TO THE LAYOUT SINCE IT FIRST APPEARED IN 1874.   

O:  HERE IS AN INTERESTING FACT.  PEOPLE BLINK LESS OFTEN WHEN THEY ARE USING COMPUTERS.

D:  PEOPLE USUALLY BLINK UP TO 20 TIMES PER MINUTE… THAT’S A LOT.  THAT NUMBER GOES ALL THE WAY DOWN TO ABOUT 7 BLINKS PER MINUTE WHEN USING A COMPUTER.  ALRIGHT OLIVIA, LET’S ANSWER THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK.  WHEN THE MOUSE WAS FIRST CREATED, WHAT WAS IT MADE OUT OF?

O:  THE FIRST COMPUTER MOUSE WAS MADE OUT OF WOOD.    

D:  THAT’S AMAZING.  ALSO, THE FIRST APPLE COMPUTER MADE BY STEVE JOBS AND STEVE WOZNIAK WAS ALSO MADE FROM WOOD.  WELL, THAT’S A WRAP FOR THIS WEEK’S EPISODE.  

O:  116 - COMPUTERS.

D:  GREAT JOB OLIVIA, AND GREAT JOB XANDER FOR THE FANTASTIC SUGGESTION.  WE HAVE AN EXCITING EPISODE LINED UP FOR YOU NEXT WEEK.  WE ARE GOING TO GET CURIOUS ABOUT COCKROACHES FOR A LISTENER IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA AND WE ARE ALSO GOING TO PLAY A VOICEMAIL WE RECEIVED FROM A LISTENER IN HOUSTON, TEXAS AND ANSWER HER QUESTION ABOUT EYESIGHT.  YOU’RE NOT GOING TO WANT TO MISS IT.  WE WISH ALL OUR LISTENERS A VERY HAPPY HOLIDAYS.  AS ALWAYS, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR LISTENING AND GETTING CURIOUS WITH US.