A long, long time ago, when computers talked to each other, they always talked using real paths. When there were more computers who wanted to talk, we’d have to join all the computers together through a special box with a brain remembering which computer was talking to which, but you could still see the paths that joined them.
As the years went by, the path box with a brain had to have more and more brain power added to it, so computer people would write computer words to tell the brain better ways of remembering which computer needed to talk to which other computer.
After all that work, the special box was looking more and more like a computer. But even then, it would still only tell which computer needed to talk to what other computer.
More years passed and the computer people found out they could make their special path box thing use pretend paths instead of real paths. This was a big step for them. Now they needed fewer paths and could use the brain in the special path box to let lots and lots of computers talk to each other.
In the end, some computer people with big brains figured out they didn’t need to use the special path box at all.
They found out they could simply add the path box brain power to another computer to let all the other computers talk, so they didn’t need special computers at all. Now it was easy to let the computers talk to each other and not get confused.
Even better, the computer people who did computer things didn't need lots of the special path boxes, so everyone was happy – except for the computer people who made the special paths boxes.
Note: Today’s post is in the form of xkcd’s Thing Explainer, using only the 1K most common English words. Feel free to comment in the same style using the xkcd Simple Writer online tool.