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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Central Processing Unit. Period.

This is one of my pet peeves. As long as I've been around, has always stood for "Central processing unit", meaning a little chip inside the computer. Thankfully, according to Google, this meaning is mostly still intact. But increasingly, CPU has been used to refer to the tower as a whole. When I first heard this (in one of the Novacom Adventures in Odyssey episodes, I believe), I simply scoffed. "Gee, I hate that when they pretend to be all technical and stuff and end up sounding like a bad line from some techie horror movie." The line was "Give me the CPU and all the components!" Still a bad line ("and all the components?" Come on!) but the CPU part made me laugh. "So you only want the processor? That's gonna get you a long ways," I chuckled. But since then, I have often heard CPU used in a similar way. And it makes me want to carry around an AMD chip and whenever I hear someone refer to the tower as the CPU, whip it out and say, "(Pointing frantically) THAT is not a cpu. (revealing the chip) THIS is a CPU. Any QUESTIONS??" As I tore at my hair, I would then put the chip back in my pocket and let it lie dormant until the next misuse of this formerly geek-exclusive term. Because as far as I am concerned CPU is NOT shorthand for computer.
Ever so calmly yours,
Randy

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