Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Linux and Unix

We just learned about the Mac OS.

Another two Operating Systems are called Unix and Linux.

Unix was created in 1970, and Linux was created in 1991 to be a lot like Unix but free.

Unix and Linux are very powerful systems, and unlike Windows and Mac OS you can use a whole bunch of different programs that act like windows for the things you want to do.
Things like Gnome, KDE or X11 are all programs that are separate from Unix and Linux, and you can pick which one you like best based on how they look.

(from: wikipedia - linux)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Valvetrain

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Mac OS

We just learned about the Microsoft Windows.

Another type of operating system is called Mac OS, which stands for Macintosh Operating System.

This is a program made by a company called Apple, that has their headquarters in Cupertino, California.

If you have an Apple computer like a Macbook, when you turn it on it will start up Mac OS, and let you do things like go to the internet on your web browser, watch videos, work with pictures or listen to music.
Mac OS and Microsoft Windows are very similar, and both let you do a bunch of different things at the same time, with different spaces for each program that you can open, close, move or resize.

Apple first came out with Mac OS in 1984, called "Macintosh System Software" or just "System 1". Years later they would come out with a newer Mac OS and give it a higher number like System 2 or System 3. Later on they just started calling it Mac OS 7, 8 or 9.
When they were making Mac OS 10, they used "X" for the Roman numeral 10, and then had a bunch of different names for Mac OS X named after wild cats, like Mac OS Tiger or Mac OS Lion.
Now they have changed to using the name of a place, like macOS Yosemite, or macOS Monterey.

Every time they come up with a new name or number for MacOS they add new things the operating system can do.

(from: wikipedia - macintosh operating systems)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Tappet

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Microsoft Windows

We just learned about the Operating System.

One type of Operating System is called Microsoft Windows.

This is a program made by a company called Microsoft, that has their headquarters building in Redmond Seattle.
If you have a windows computer, when you turn it on it will start up Windows and let you do things like go to the internet on your web browser, work on spreadsheets, watch videos or listen to music.
The idea of "Windows" is that each of those different programs is in it's own little window space, and you can open or close as many windows as you want.

Windows first came out in 1985 with Windows 1.0.
Every year or two they make changes to Windows to try and make it faster or better, and come out with another Windows with a new name.
Sometimes they call it Windows and then a number that keeps going up, like Windows 1, Windows 2, Windows 3.11.
Other times they name it after the year it comes out, like Windows 95 because it came out in the year 1995.
And then some other times they give it a special name like Windows NT, Windows XP, or Windows Vista.

Whatever the name is, every time they came out with a new Windows they would give it a new name and add some new things it could do.

(from: wikipedia - microsoft windows)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Tappet

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Operating System

We just learned about the Image Scanner.

Another part of a computer is the Operating System.

A while ago we talked about the difference between computer Hardware and Software.
Hardware is the parts of the computer you can see and touch, and software is what makes the computer work and shows pictures on the monitor.

An Operating System is the main part of a computer software that makes the computer work.
For a laptop this might be Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Unix or Chrome OS.
Phones and tablets also have an operating system, like an iPhone runs on iOS, a Samsung or Google phone might runs on Android.

Whatever the operating system is called, it's the one that puts the pictures on the screen, takes in anything you click, tap or swipe, plays any sounds, and listens to any recordings you make.

The Operating System is what makes the computer Operate.

(from: wikipedia - operating system)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Exhaust Valve

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Image Scanner

We just learned about the Computer Printer.

Another part of a computer is an Image Scanner.

If you have a book, you might want to have a copy of some pages from the book on your computer.
A scanner is a machine where you can put a piece of paper or book on it, and then it will take a picture of the paper and put it onto your computer.

Some types of scanners are called flat bed scanners, because you put your paper or book flat on top of it.
Other types of scanners take a piece of paper, suck it in and then spit it back out after scanning.

Some fancy scanners have programs called "Optical Character Recognition" or OCR, which is a way to look at the book and actually read the words and letters instead of just making it a picture.

(from: wikipedia - image scanner)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Intake Valve

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Computer Printer

We just learned about the Computer Audio.

Another part of a computer is the Computer Printer.

The first types of printers were very loud, and had big rolls of paper that had to be separated after printing.
These days printers can be wireless, you can print from your phone or computer, and they can print anything from a normal piece of paper to a picture.

The ink for a printer is called toner, and comes in small cases called cartridges that have to be replaced when they get empty.

(from: wikipedia - printer (computing))

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Camshaft

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Computer Audio

We just learned about the Webcam.

Another part of a computer is the Computer Audio.

When computers first were invented, pretty much the only sounds they could make were loud beeps.
Now computers are able to play music, and you can even record sounds on your computer.
To listen to sound, you need either headphones or speakers, and to talk to your computer you need a microphone.

Some people even wear headsets that are combined microphone and headphones, and they can have audio chats with other people almost like a phone call.
Microphones, speakers and headsets come in all shapes and sizes, from huge speakers that can play really loud music, to expensive microphones for recording songs for music artists, to small headsets that people wear while they are working to talk to people on the other side of the world.

(from: wikipedia - headset (audio))

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Oil Galleries

Thursday, February 10, 2022


We just learned about the Bluetooth.

Another part of a computer is a Webcam.

Not that long ago, if you wanted to send a picture to your friend you had to put it in an envelope and mail it through the post office.

These days if you want to send a picture you can take one with your phone camera, or the camera hooked up to your computer.
Remmember that smart phones are actually tiny computers!

You can even have a live video with a friend and you can see them using the cameras on your computers.
When these cameras on computers first came out they were called Webcams, and they usually were a separate camera that you set up and plugged into your computer.
These days pretty much every laptop already has a camera in it, but sometimes people still want a fancy expensive camera to use for talking to their friends over the computer.

(from: wikipedia - webcam)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Coolant Passages

Thursday, February 3, 2022


We just learned about the Power Supply.

Another part of a computer is Bluetooth.

We know that you can hook things up to your computer like your monitor, or plugs things into USB ports.
But sometimes you might have a keyboard, mouse or headphones that are wireless and don't plug into anything.

For things like that you can use something called Bluetooth, which is a way for your computer to talk to other things using radio waves on a certain channel.
If you want to hook up a bluetooth mouse, it's kind of like both your computer and your mouse have to turn on the radio and listen to the same station.
Once they are on the same station they know how to talk to each other, and the mouse can send message to the computer to move the cursor around.

The Bluetooth name comes from an old Scandinavian king named Harald Bluetooth, who helped bring Danish tribe together into one kingdom.
This was supposed to mean that the Bluetooth way of wireless radio could be the way to help bring other technologies together.
The symbol that kind of looks like an xB is the symbol of the King.

(from: wikipedia - bluetooth)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Head Gasket

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Power Supply

We just learned about the Disk Drive.

Another part of a computer is the Power Supply.

Everything in the computer uses electricity, like the motherboard, the disk drives, and even some high powered graphics cards.

The power supply takes the electricity coming in from the plug, turns it into the just the right amount and type of power that the computer needs, and it has a bunch of other wires with plugs that go into the motherboard, drives and other places.

The power supply also has a fan on it, that helps keep the computer cool so it doesn't overheat.

(from: wikipedia - power supply unit (computer))

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Cylinder Head

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Disk Drive

We just learned about the Network Card.

Another part of a computer is the Disk Drive.

Some computers have a place where you can put in a CD or DVD to play music or movies, called a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM.
Other computers might have a place where you can put in something called a disk that you can save pictures or other things on.

Long ago computers used something called a floppy disk.
The first floppy disks were big and floppy, which is how they got the name.
Floppy disks were square thin plastic things that you put into your computer that you could save information to.

On a lot of computer programs, the "Save" button still looks like a picture of an old floppy disk even though nobody uses them anymore.

(from: wikipedia - floppy disk)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Cylinder

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Network Card

We just learned about the Sound Card.

Another part of a computer is the Network Card, also called a network interface controller (NIC), network adapter or LAN adapter, where LAN means local area network.

When you are on your computer and you want to connect to the internet to send a message, chat or play games, you use the computer's network card.
These days the network card is just part of the computer's motherboard, but a long time ago you had to buy a special card for your computer.

With wifi and cell phones it is very easy now to get on a network and share messages, but it used to be a lot of work!

(from: wikipedia - network interface controller)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Engine Block

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Sound Card

We just learned about the Hard Drive.

Another part of a computer is a Sound Card also called an audio card or audio interface.

When computers were first made, about the only sound they could make was a BEEP sound.
Then later they were able to make different beeps that could make music.

Eventually people wanted to actually play songs or watch shows on their computers and hear actual sounds.
Most old computer motherboards couldn't do that, so people had to buy a thing called a sound card that plugged into a motherboard.

These days most computers can play music and sounds for movies without having an extra card that has to be plugged in, but sometimes professional people that are making music or movies want to have even better sound might still need an extra piece of hardware to make it better.

(from: wikipedia - sound card)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Coupling

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Hard Drive

We just learned about the Video Card.

Another part of a computer is the Hard Drive, also called a hard disk drive or HDD.

When you are working on the computer and you draw a picture, or write some words that you want to save in a document or spreadsheet, that information has to get saved somewhere on the computer so that it will be there again the next time you turn on the computer.

The hard drive is where the computer saves whatever you give it, whether it's a video, a song, a picture or a document.

Hard drives are usually made up of little magnetic metal discs that spin around almost like music records or CDs.
The computer gets the information from the discs, and puts new information on the discs.

Other types of ways to store files are called Solid State Drives, or SSDs.
These don't have spinning magnets in them, they are more like a big USB memory stick.

(from: wikipedia - hard disk drive)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Leading Wheel

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Video Card

We just learned about the Memory.

Another part of a computer is the Video Card, also called a graphics card, or display adapter.

The video card is plugged into the motherboard, and takes instructions from the computer and turns them into pictures on the computer monitor.

(from: wikipedia - graphics card)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Driving Wheel

Thursday, December 16, 2021


We just learned about the Processor.

Another part of a computer is Memory.

When a processor is doing the work for a computer, sometimes it needs to a place to keep information while it is doing some work.
Kind of like if you are working on a big math problem, you might need to write down some of the parts of the problem before you are finished with the whole problem.

If you had the problem 10 + 20 + 30 + 40, you might right down the answer for 10 + 20 = 30, and then the answer for 30 + 40 = 60, and then 30 + 60 = 90.
Those middle steps where you have to write down the 30 and the 60 are not part of the math problem and not part of the answer, so they are sort of like middle steps where you need to write down or remember something.

Computer memory kind of works like that, where the processor will have the memory remember some things while it is working on doing something for you.
Memory is sometimes called RAM, and usually looks like rectangular shaped boards with black things stuck on them, that are then plugged into the motherboard.
The computer talks to the memory through the motherboard and gives it the information to save.

(from: wikipedia - computer memory)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Leaf Spring

Thursday, December 9, 2021


We just learned about the Motherboard.

Another part of a computer is the Processor, also called a Central Processing Unit or CPU for short.

This is the brain of the computer, that is hooked up to the motherboard.
When you type on the computer or move your mouse, those messages get sent to the motherboard and then the processor.
The processor takes in all of that input and then controls the other parts of the computer like the monitor, speakers, or anything else hooked up to the computer.

When you are doing things on the computer like watching videos or opening websites, the processor is working hard to make all of those programs work on the computer as fast as it can.

(from: wikipedia - central processing unit)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Blastpipe

Thursday, December 2, 2021


We just learned about the Touchpad.

Another part of a computer is the Motherboard.

This is the part inside the computer that all of the other parts are hooked into.
The monitor, keyboard and mouse that we talked about all have cables that go to the computer.
They are plugged into connectors that are all plugged into the motherboard so they can work with each other.

The motherboard is usually made of something hard called resin that has metal like silver, tin, nickel or gold that the motherboard uses to connect all of the parts together with electricity.

(from: wikipedia - motherboard)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Brake Hose

Thursday, November 25, 2021


We just learned about the Computer Mouse.

Another part of a computer is the Touchpad or trackpad.

Just like the mouse is used to move around the cursor on the screen, the trackpad on a laptop also moves the mouse around.
This is usually a rectangle shaped box you touch with your finger to move around the mouse, and if you tap it will click the mouse.

There are also other things like mice called trackballs, which are like a little ball you roll around to move the cursor, or a pointing stick, sometimes called trackpoint or nub which is like a joystick poking out from the keyboard.


(from: wikipedia - touchpad)


(from: wikipedia - trackball)

Pointing Stick:

(from: wikipedia - pointing stick)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Headlight

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Computer Mouse

We just learned about the Computer Keyboard Special Keys.

Another part of a computer is the Computer Mouse.

Just like the keyboard, this is part of what you use to tell the computer what you want to do.
It was called a mouse, because it looked like a little mouse with a tail, but lots of computer mice these days don't even have wires.

When you move the computer mouse around, there is a picture on the monitor usually shaped like an arrow called a cursor.
Computer mice usually have 2 buttons, and when you press the button it's called clicking.
If your mouse cursor is pointing at something like a button and you click the left button it will press the button on the screen.
The right button is usually to give you choices for things, like if you want to copy or paste some text just like you would from the keyboard.

Some mice have another spinning button called the scroll wheel that helps scroll things up or down on the monitor.

(from: wikipedia - computer mouse)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Chimney