Chapter 1. Getting to Know the PC

The great science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once said that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” That maxim no doubt rings true whenever you ponder your PC. Consider: You press the PC’s power switch, and the machine spends a minute or two whirring and clicking impenetrably until at last the Windows screen makes its appearance. You then tap away on your keyboard or jiggle and click your mouse, and somehow the PC translates these obscure movements into apparently purposeful onscreen action. Along the way, you might even get some useful things done. “If that’s not magic,” you might mumble to yourself, “then I don’t know what is.”

In your heart of hearts, of course, you know ...

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