The Day I Was Born
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Online Project - Discovering YOUR Place in History Since 1999
Week 31- Power Point - Backgrounds & Transitions - RAM & RomRAM (Random Access Memory)
We began explaining ROM (Read Only Memory) by comparing the computer to the
human brain. We said that ROM is PERMANENT memory and compared it to what we
call “long-term” human memory.
RAM, on the other hand, can readily be compared to our short term memory. The kids
could relate to studying a list of boring names and dates, taking the test, doing well, and
then forgetting most of the facts shortly thereafter. RAM is similar in that the computer
uses RAM memory only when necessary and then “forgets” the data
A good example of RAM in action is while using a word processing program. If the
electricity goes out, if you turn off your computer, or if you exit the program without first
SAVING the data (to your hard disk drive--the “C Drive”-- or to a floppy) then all your
work is lost. RAM does not work when the computer is turned off--similar to our minds
“resting” while we sleep.
In summary, ROM is PERMANENT computer memory STORED on a computer chip
which can be compared to LONG-TERM human memory which is STORED
in our brain.
RAM is TEMPORARY memory which is ACCESSED only when the computer “needs”
to use it, similar to how SHORT-TERM human memory is ACCESSED for only as long
as we “need” it. The term RANDOM describes the fact that because RAM is available to
any program which might need it, the computer accesses RAM randomly as needed.
When in the market to purchase a new computer you would want to make sure to get one
with a lot of RAM if you will be using very large programs which use a lot of graphics
and/or if you plan to do a good deal of multi-tasking (a previous “Word for the Week”).
ROM (Read Only Memory)
Computers, of course, are not people but similar to people they do have “memory”.
And similar to people, once ROM memory is imprinted it is there forever.
But unlike people the computer ROM NEVER CHANGES, as our memories may change over the years.
We’re very familiar with the term “CD-Rom”. That’s short for “Compact Disk with Read Only Memory”. Without special equipment you can not alter a CD just as you can not normally alter your internal computer ROM.
CD-Roms revolutionized computer use because they packed very large amounts of data on relatively small disks. In fact a CD can hold as much data as the entire hard disk of many early computers. An entire encyclopedia can be stored on one CD. So having a collection of CDs is similar to having a collection of hard drives - without the expense.
ROM memory inside your computer is permanent memory which handles routine but important tasks such as how the computer copies information to floppy disks and how your keyboard responds to each tap.
The term “Read Only” simply indicates that ROM memory can be “read” but it can’t be “written” by the user. It is permanent memory that can be “read” or “heard” or “viewed”, but it can’t be changed. You don’t need to know much about how Rom works, but since you've heard the term -- and probably used it -- you really should know a little bit about what you're talking about.