If you've ever been called on to diagnose, fix, upgrade or shop for a new computer, you know that hardware and software features can be hard to convey in plain English. We're searching for the best non-geek explanations you've heard.
Reader Allan sent in this explanation of computer basics he'd heard a sales person use while helping a couple pick out a computer for their grandchild:
He used the library analogy: The hard drive size was compared to the amount of shelving for books. The CPU speed was the librarian's quickness on his/her feet (this was a full service library), and the RAM was the size of the table at which one sat. Larger table meant more books could be opened simultaneously. When the table had been covered with books, each time a new book was to be opened, one from the table would have to be closed (pagefile). The last part seemed superfluous in this scenario, but the overall description, with a few stated benchmarks and questions about the grandchild's habits, seemed a much better than average sales transaction.
That's pretty clean and simple, and a good variation on the "desk covered with folders and files" metaphor I can recall from my early school days.
Now it's your turn: How would you explain why Firefox or Google Chrome are so much better than Internet Explorer, if you'd already covered the security angle? Why do 64-bit processors and operating systems matter to the average user? Let's hear the best explanations you've used, or received from others, in the comments.