Friday, July 6, 2007

Computer Philosophy 101.

Indeed. To the extent that I may have helped, you all are welcome.

It's frequently the little things that cause a computer to fail. After all, a computer is run by a bunch of programs that make thousands of independent decisions, as, when, and how they are instructed to do so by the person who wrote the program.

A computer is digitally based. It uses the Binary numbering system. Ones and zeros. On and off. A program is a huge set of tiny decisions that are coordinated based on a comparison of those two states (1=on, 0=off). It's impossible for a human to predict all of the necessary conditions to test for when writing a program. The better programs test for more conditions. And some of those tests actually look for the potential problematic interactions with other programs. When those interactions are anticipated properly, fewer problems occur. When they're not anticipated so well, more problems occur.

That's why Microsoft recommends only using certified software to run under Windows. If it's certified, most of the typical conflicts are anticipated and planned for. The more aggressive a program gets, the more chances there are for conflict, and failure. And Examsoft, by rebooting into a "secure" mode, is pretty aggressive. So we try to head off any unplanned-for conflicts by reducing the potential issues and turning off the other programs that may cause those conflicts.

There's more, but the siren call of my Civ Pro outline is luring me, like an attractive nuisance, into it's cold heartless, deadly embrace, and I cannot resist.


Richard said...

hehe - everyone seems to be doing Civ Pro today - I'm gonna do some tommorrow!

The Grand Poobah said...

Yeah, well, I feel irrationally confident about the other subjects right now. So I might as well take this moment to remind myself how much I really don't know.

I'll remind myself how much I really don't know about the other subjects tomorrow.

And don't even bring up the PTs.

Don't! I said, "Don't do it!" Get away from there!

God said...

Practice your performance tests, or you're hosed!!!

The Grand Poobah said...

Hey. What did I tell you about going there!?

I've set aside six half-day study sessions, and the one whole day at John Holtz's program, to prepare for the PT. My half days are scheduled at regular intervals between now and the 20th. Long ago, I anticipated that a big reason some people failed the Bar Exam was that they gave the PT short shrift.

So I'm giving it "long shrift".

Anonymous said...

Would you mind posting some very simple instructions for those of us who are not tech savvy, for what we should do to our laptops prior to the exam? I mean really basic.

Specific Qs I have:

1) Should I just disable my virus software before the test (McAffee)?

2) If I don't go on the internet (I usually don't use my laptop for that) between now and then, will that eliminate any "update" issues?


The Grand Poobah said...

For those two questions, I would say this:

1) I don't believe McAfee poses a problem, but if you're not going to be on the internet prior to the exam than you don't need to have it running. You probably don't need to change anything there.

2) Microsoft checks for updates when you access the internet. If you don't hit the 'net, it won't try to update, and you won't have any problems. Be aware though, if you upload your exam files after each day of the exam you'll be on the 'net, and the auto update feature will be active. Auto update is very easy to turn off so it's probably just easier to do that for the next couple of weeks.