16
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Born in the 70s, I'm everywhere today.
I start as real but get in people's way.
After generations, I still remember my roots.
Look closely, you'll find biology in my boots.
When I'm protected I perform at my best.
You'll see me with flags after a test.
For purists I offer no charm.
I have an eye but no arm.

What am I?

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12
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Is it

An Intel x86 processor

Born in the 70s, I'm everywhere today.

The first x86 chip, the 8086, was introduced in 1978.

I start as real but get in people's way.

The 286 architecture introduced protected mode, but they still booted in real mode for compatibility reasons.

After generations, I still remember my roots.

Each new processor design was referred to as a generation, but they remain backward compatible with the earlier generations

Look closely, you'll find biology in my boots.

The computer boots from a BIOS, which contains the word Bio

When I'm protected I perform at my best.

Protected mode enables features like virtual memory and paging, which are pretty important in a modern computer

You'll see me with flags after a test.

The FLAGS register is the status register in Intel chips, and the TEST assembly instruction results in 3 flags being modified.

For purists I offer no charm.

A purist might prefer a RISC architecture

I have an eye but no arm.

Intel begins with an I, and ARM are a competitor.

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  • $\begingroup$ @qwr / jsm - they kinda do, feel free to clean 'em up now that you've both seen them $\endgroup$ – Rubio May 3 '18 at 1:08
4
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Is it

a Macintosh

Born in the 70s, I'm everywhere today.

Apple was created in 1976 and now it's products are everywhere

I start as real but get in people's way.

the older Mac are useless now

After generations, I still remember my roots.

Apple products keep the same names generations after generations

Look closely, you'll find biology in my boots.

older versions of MacOS X used animals as codenames

When I'm protected I perform at my best.

viruses are not fun and apple products are no exception

You'll see me with flags after a test.

in programming flags are used to indicate that a certain event has taken place and are useful when you want to test something

For purists I offer no charm.

some might say that linux is better

I have an eye but no arm.

there is an "I" at the begining of "iMac" but they don't use ARM processors (for now)

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  • $\begingroup$ Close but the "real" "biology" "flag test" "protected" clues are a stretch. $\endgroup$ – qwr May 2 '18 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ Also these were introduced in 1984. $\endgroup$ – qwr May 3 '18 at 1:23

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