"All machines consume input, perform some sort of work, and
yield output. A telephone, for example, converts sound energy to an
electrical signal and back again to audio to enable conversation.
An engine imbibes fuel (steam, fission, petrol, or elbow grease)
and transforms it into work. And a blender devours rum, ice, lime,
and curacao, and stirs vigorously to produce a Mai Tai. (Or, if you
prefer something more metropolitan, try some champagne and pear
nectar to enjoy a Bellini. The blender is truly a flexible and
"Because software transforms data, each application is also a
machine--albeit a 'virtual' one, given the absence of physical
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