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How Computers Work: The Evolution of Technology, Tenth Edition by Timothy Edward Downs, Ron White

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Chapter 2. How Computers Remember

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There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those who understand binary, and those who don’t.

—Programmer’s joke

It doesn’t make any difference if your electronic device of choice is a desktop computer, laptop, camera, smartphone, tablet, or glasses. Even if their functions wildly differ, all devices work using the same fundamental foundation of computing, the transistor.

The transistor—the basic building block from which all microchips are built—has an unsubtle way of handling information: binary. It has two choices; nothing in between. If current passes through a transistor, the transistor stands for a 1, or ...

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