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The Story of Micro and Mini



Micro was a real-time operator and dedicated multi-user. His broad-band
protocol made it easy for him to interface with numerous input/output devices,
even if it meant time-sharing.

One evening he arrived home, just as the Sun was crashing and had parked his
Motorola 6800 in the main drive (he missed the 5100 bus that morning ), when
he noticed an elegant piece of hardware escorting her daisy wheels in his
garden. He thought to himself, "She looks user-friendly," "I'll see if she'd
like an update tonight."

Mini was her name, and she was delightfull, engineered with eyes like COBOL and
a Prime mainframe architecture that set Micro's peripherals networking all over
the place.

He browsed over to her casually, admiring the power of her twin 32 bit floating
point processors and inquired "How are you Honey Well?." "Yes I am well," she
responded, batting her optical fibres engagingly and smoothing her console over
her curvilinear functions.

Micro settled for a straight line approximation. "I'm stand-alone tonight," he
said, "How about computing a vector to my base address?" "I will cut out a byte
to eat, and maybe we could get an offset later on."

Mini ran a priority process for 2.6 milliseconds then transmitted OK. "I've
been dumped myself recently, and a new page is just what I need to refresh my
disks. I'll park my machine cycle in your background and meet you inside. She
walked off, leaving Micro admiring her solenoids and thinking, "Wow, what a
global variable, I wonder if she'd like my firmware?."

They sat down at the process table to a top of form feed of fiche and chips and
a bucket of bawdots. Mini was in conversational mode and expanded on ambiguous
arguments while Micro gave occasional acknowlegments, although, in reality, he
was  analyzing the shortest and least critical path to her entry point. He
finally settled on the old "would you like to see my benchmark subroutine?" but
Mini was again one step ahead.

Suddenly she was up and stripping off her parity bits to reveal the full
functionality of her operating software. "Let's get Basic, you RAM," she said.
Micro was loaded by this stage, but his hardware polling module had a processor
of it's own and was in danger of overflowing its output buffer (a hang-up that
Micro had consulted his analyst about). "Core," was all he could say, as she
prepared to log him off.

Micro soon recovered, however, when he went down on the DEC and opened her
device files to reveal her data set ready. He accessed his fully packed root
device and was about to start pushing her CPU stack, when she attempted an
escape sequence ....

"No, No" she cried, "You are not shielded."

"Reset, Baby," he replied, "I've been debugged."

"But I haven't got my current loop enabled, and I can't support child
processes," she protested.

"Don't run away," he said, "I will generate an interrupt."

"No that's too error prone, and I can't abort because of my design philosophy."

Micro was locked in by this stage though, and could not be turned off. But Mini
soon stopped his thrashing by introducing a voltage spike into his main supply,
whereupon he fell over with a head crash and went to sleep.

"Computers," She thought as she compiled herself, "All they ever think of is
HEX."






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