Power-On Self Test is a BIOS function.
It is a series of tests that the BIOS performs before booting the operating system.

POST can result in errors, of two qualities: Disturbing Beeps and Funny Numbers.

Disturbing Beeps

Coded beeps that tell you that something is so incredibly hosed (not wedged) that the system didn't even make it to initializing the video hardware.
The meaning of particular sequences of beeps are specific to the BIOS that your machine is equipped with.

As an example, I will cut and paste the beeps of doom for two common BIOSs:


Beep(s)                 Errant device
No beep                 Power supply, system board
1 short beep            System OK
2 short beeps           POST Error displayed on monitor
Repeating short beeps   Power supply, system board
3 long beeps            3270 keyboard card
1 long, 1 short beeps   System board
1 long, 2 short beeps   Display adapter (MDA, CGA)
1 long, 3 short beeps   EGA
Continuous beep         Power supply, system board

Beep(s) Failure 1 short DRAM refresh 2 short Parity circuit 3 short Base 64K RAM 4 short System timer 5 short Processor 6 short Keyboard controller Gate A20 error 7 short Virtual mode exception error 8 short Display memory R/W test 9 short ROM BIOS checksum 1 long, 3 short Non-fatal--Conventional/extended memory 1 long, 8 short Non-fatal--Display/retrace test

Funny Numbers

The POST tests on some BIOSs will be very quiet, and only spit out numbers when something bad happens.
In other systems, you will see constantly changing numbers, that give you an idea of where in POST the system currently happens to be. In fact, these numbers mean as much (or less) than bingo numbers to most users; but they do look cool, and they give the illusion of progress.

It does not make much sense to paste here a lengthy POST code list: you will have to look it up in the manual of your motherboard, or in the FAQ of comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.*.

poser = P = postcardware

post v.

To send a message to a mailing list or newsgroup. Distinguished in context from `mail'; one might ask, for example: "Are you going to post the patch or mail it to known users?"

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

I try to imagine myself when I was younger. Daytime was spent in the musty classrooms of Queen E, where the teachers were nice, and the friends were ok, but asbestos hid behind every corner. After school was a bit of time on the Super Nintendo, a little less watching TV, and even less spent studying. I had no obsessions. I imagine that most people have found something to occupy them by high school, whether it's sports, or computers, or video games. I hadn't really enjoyed sports since an injury playing football knocked me out of school for a whole month, and computers were fun, but I wasn't really sitting on the bleeding edge with my Apple IIgs or my 486SX/25. And video games... were fun, but I couldn't obsess over them like some of my friends, though I did like to play Doom over the modem. I don't think I even realized at the time that something was missing. But then I guess it's at times like these when something comes along.

For me it was Isobel. We'd just gotten the slightly extended cable package so I could watch Muchmusic. One day, flipping through the channels, on came a flickering black and white picture. Then the tribal drums. And then, Bjork. I had never heard a voice like that before, and all I wanted to do was sit there and let it resonate around me and throughout the room. The orchestra swelled and then ebbed, and with Bjork's "Na na na"s the song and image faded out. I felt the shiver and the shine like the moment when you let your hand hold someone else's and all of a sudden you just know. But at that moment, I hadn't just been taken by Bjork, but by music. The next day I rode my bike to A&B Sound, and bought Post, the first of many albums by many artists that I would make my own.

For the next two years, Post became the soundtrack of my life. It was the first album that I had bought for myself. There were other cassettes and CDs that I owned, but they were gotten more out of a need to know what the other kids knew, rather than to actually listen to the songs. Post was the first album I really listened to. I took it everywhere. During the day, it lived in my school bag, inside a newly bought Discman. In the evenings, it played in the CD-ROM while I typed short essays for school in Wordperfect. Taking it to school was a tough decision. I was at an age where even wearing funky socks could get your sexual orientation questioned by classmates, and at first I was a little wary of carrying a bright orange and pink CD case emblazoned with the image of Bjork wearing funky clothes, and computer generated flowers. I got over that quickly enough though. It became almost a point of pride for me. While other people at school raved about Boyz II Men or Mariah Carey, I was perfectly happy listening to my Icelandic songstress.

I used to lie in the light of the sun coming through the glass door of my house listening to Post. Depending on my mood, I would skip Army of Me. If the day up until that point had been an ordeal of some sort, if someone or something was annoying me, I would let it play. But if it had been a good day, I would push the skip button, but only after I had heard the line "And if you complain once more, you'll meet an army of me." Then Hyperballad would begin with the sound of a synthetic furry bass. It annoyed me to no end that my cheap earphones would sometimes buzz because of the bass, but most of the time it was ok. The song would slowly build up, until the strings and drums and spacey synth sounds all kicked in, and Bjork's voice, singing "Safe up here with you" echoed and bounced between both sides of my head. I liked The Modern Things for the way Bjork's voice gurgled and bubbled and huffed in a language that I suspected was Icelandic, and I liked It's Oh So Quiet for the moments that it bursts. After listening to the album enough, the next three songs became sort of a medley to me. Enjoy's menancingly unrestrainable momentum leads into the sweet, quiet discovery of You've Been Flirting Again. Isobel concludes things with a musical chase through shadowy woods. Possibly Maybe was a song that made me feel light, even when I was climbing out of the deepest depths of high school life. Listening to the lyrics and the way that Bjork sings them, curling her tongue around syllables and rolling them around her mouth, I could see her before the mic in the studio, her eyes closed, with a smile on the verge of giddy laughter. The staccato I Miss You was more openly giddy, and lying in the sun, my fingernails would tap along to the beat on the linoleum floor. After I Miss You, there were still two songs left, but I would leave them until I went to bed.

Genius to
Fall asleep to your
Tape last night

I don't know how many times I fell asleep listening to the last two songs on Post. Different from the track listing above, my CD ended after Headphones, which was perfect for me. Cover Me is a creepy song. The sound of a harp would strike out from the darkness, strange rattling would come near, and then scurry away. The way it segues into Headphones is like when a campfire dies down, when the flames fade away and leave only orange embers. Bjork's voice whispers, and then awakes into a flourish, only to quiet again. But by then I'd be asleep.

My headphones
They saved my life
Your tape
It lulled me to sleep

After Post, things were never quite the same. I started really listening to music, trying to pick out sounds hidden beneath other sounds. I began to hear texture and color in music. I analyzed lyrics. I got into different kinds of books. Reading about Bjork, I learned her favorite story was called "The Story Of The Eye". I got an excerpt from someone on the BEP mailing list, and although I didn't go on a binge of erotic fiction, it turned me on to books more dangerous and far more interesting than Tom Clancy. In a way, I got started on the internet because of Post. One of my first bookmarks was to Websense, I learned what newsgroups were from alt.music.bjork, and I began to think of the internet more as a community through all the fansites that I saw. I learned what was because of Bjork (or rather from someone on the BEP mailing list.) Most significant though, was the way music entered my life after that. Now I can't stand a silent moment. On the train, in the car, or walking through the street, and at home, I always have something playing. Post was the CD that got me listening to music.

I've had a few "landmark" albums in my life since then. Some are more memorable than others, but Post was the one that started it all for me.

Please forgive the omission of umlauts.
Inspired by This place needs more actual content. Let's begin.

The steps of POST (Power On Self Test) can be described in a very complicated way and in a longer version, but a simple order of the operations that your computer undergoes as it boots is:

1. Signal is sent to the CPU, which erases the chip’s internal memory registers.
2. Begins the BIOS, checks CPU by comparing itself with permanent records.
3. A signal is sent all over the computer’s bus system to check whether everything is functioning.
4. Checks the timer, to ensure the system is synchronized.
5. Tests the visual output (monitor).
6. Tests the RAM, and calculates the amount of RAM there is.
7. Checks the keyboard, and if keys have been pressed.
8. Tests all the drives to see what is available.
9. Checks with the CMOS battery and obtains the time.
10. Loads the operating system from a disk.

To mount the cap of a pen on the back end of the barrel. This
allows for good balance when writing. It also means the cap is less
likely to get lost.

To post on a trotting horse is to move rhythmically up and down in the saddle in synch with the movements of the horse. To describe it is to make it sound a lot harder than it is. (Try to tell someone how to skip down the street! Describe riding a bicycle! It sounds difficult, but it isn't!)

The trot is a two-beat gait which involves the horse's hooves hitting in diagonals: right front with left rear, left front with right rear, over and over. In other words, the horse goes bounce/bounce/bounce/bounce as the two diagonals hit the ground alternately. To post, one lifts oneself up in the saddle just a little on one bounce, then settles back on the next, then up again, then down again. It sounds harder than it is: if you match the rhythm of the bouncing horse, in fact the horse is doing all the work, and you are just compensating a little, smoothing out the motion for your and the horse's convenience and comfort, using the motion of the horse to move gently up and down. It feels like the most natural thing in the world.

Horses can only canter or gallop for short distances, but a horse in good shape can trot for hours. Hence the trot is the gait which was used for the carrying of the mails. It is probable that this riding technique takes its name from the post riders, who carried mail for long distances on horseback. Webster's next to last definition for "post" is "to travel (by horseback of course) in haste," that is, trotting.

Sitting with your butt flat on a trotting horse for hours makes most people feel as though the teeth are going to come out of their mouths, whereas after you catch the hang of it you can post nearly indefinitely in comfort. It's better for the horse too. If you just sit there, you're going to bump up and down and the repeated blows will tend to make his back sore. Who cares? You care. I was taught that the comfort of the horse is your safety. It's true. Make the horse's back sore enough, and he's going to find a way to get you off of there. Since he weighs about 1,000 pounds, guess who wins that contest!

For some reason I'm not sure I understand, cowboys, and the real old-timers, countrymen my age (that is, in their 60's, and older) all absolutely refuse to post. This probably has something to do with the old-timers' idea that English style riding (with which they identify posting) is effeminate. I have yet to meet a real old time Western rider horseman over the age of 40 who had anything but contempt for posting. But watch them closely on the trail and you'll see that they're cheating a little. To spare themselves and their mounts they tend to stand up just a tiny bit in the stirrups (called in English "riding two-point"), steadily, not moving up and down, but not bumping along either, and using their knees and ankles to cushion the repeated blows on the bouncing horse.

If you're really good at it this probably works just as well, but most beginners find that posting is easier.

Post, a. [F. aposter to place in a post or position, generally for a bad purpose.]

Hired to do what is wrong; suborned.


Sir E. Sandys.


© Webster 1913.

Post, n. [AS., fr. L. postis, akin to ponere, positum, to place. See Position, and cf. 4th Post.]


A piece of timber, metal, or other solid substance, fixed, or to be fixed, firmly in an upright position, especially when intended as a stay or support to something else; a pillar; as, a hitching post; a fence post; the posts of a house.

They shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper doorpost of the houses. Ex. xii. 7.

Then by main force pulled up, and on his shoulders bore, The gates of Azza, post and massy bar. Milton.

Unto his order he was a noble post. Chaucer.

Post, in the sense of an upright timber or strut, is used in composition, in such words as king-post, queen-post, crown-post, gatepost, etc.


The doorpost of a victualer's shop or inn, on which were chalked the scores of customers; hence, a score; a debt.


When God sends coin I will discharge your post. S. Rowlands.

From pillar to post. See under Pillar. -- Knight of the post. See under Knight. -- Post hanger Mach., a bearing for a revolving shaft, adapted to be fastened to a post. -- Post hole, a hole in the ground to set the foot of a post in. -- Post mill, a form of windmill so constructed that the whole fabric rests on a vertical axis firmly fastened to the ground, and capable of being turned as the direction of the wind varies. -- Post and stall Coal Mining, a mode of working in which pillars of coal are left to support the roof of the mine.


© Webster 1913.

Post, n. [F. poste, LL. posta station, post (where horses were kept), properly, a fixed or set place, fem. fr. L. positus placed, p. p. of ponere. See Position, and cf. Post a pillar.]


The place at which anything is stopped, placed, or fixed; a station.

Specifically: (a)

A station, or one of a series of stations, established for the refreshment and accommodation of travelers on some recognized route; as, a stage or railway post

. (b)

A military station; the place at which a soldier or a body of troops is stationed; also, the troops at such a station

. (c)

The piece of ground to which a sentinel's walk is limited.


A messenger who goes from station; an express; especially, one who is employed by the government to carry letters and parcels regularly from one place to another; a letter carrier; a postman.

In certain places there be always fresh posts, to carry that further which is brought unto them by the other. Abp. Abbot.

I fear my Julia would not deign my lines, Receiving them from such a worthless post. Shak.


An established conveyance for letters from one place or station to another; especially, the governmental system in any country for carrying and distributing letters and parcels; the post office; the mail; hence, the carriage by which the mail is transported.

I send you the fair copy of the poem on dullness, which I should not care to hazard by the common post. Pope.


Haste or speed, like that of a messenger or mail carrier.

[Obs.] "In post he came."



One who has charge of a station, especially of a postal station.


He held office of postmaster, or, as it was then called, post, for several years. Palfrey.


A station, office, or position of service, trust, or emolument; as, the post of duty; the post of danger.

The post of honor is a private station. Addison.


A size of printing and writing paper. See the Table under Paper.

Post and pair, an old game at cards, in which each player a hand of three cards. B. Jonson. -- Post bag, a mail bag. -- Post bill, a bill of letters mailed by a postmaster. -- Post chaise, or Post coach, a carriage usually with four wheels, for the conveyance of travelers who travel post. Post day, a day on which the mall arrives or departs. -- Post hackney, a hired post horse. Sir H. Wotton. -- Post horn, a horn, or trumpet, carried and blown by a carrier of the public mail, or by a coachman. -- Post horse, a horse stationed, intended, or used for the post. -- Post hour, hour for posting letters. Dickens. -- Post office. (a) An office under governmental superintendence, where letters, papers, and other mailable matter, are received and distributed; a place appointed for attending to all business connected with the mail. (b) The governmental system for forwarding mail matter. -- Postoffice order. See Money order, under Money. -- Post road, ∨ Post route, a road or way over which the mail is carried. -- Post town. (a) A town in which post horses are kept. (b) A town in which a post office is established by law. -- To ride post, to ride, as a carrier of dispatches, from place to place; hence, to ride rapidly, with as little delay as possible. -- To travel post, to travel, as a post does, by relays of horses, or by keeping one carriage to which fresh horses are attached at each stopping place.


© Webster 1913.

Post (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Posted; p. pr. & vb. n. Posting.]


To attach to a post, a wall, or other usual place of affixing public notices; to placard; as, to post a notice; to post playbills.

⇒ Formerly, a large post was erected before the sheriff's office, or in some public place, upon which legal notices were displayed. This way of advertisement has not entirely gone of use.


To hold up to public blame or reproach; to advertise opprobriously; to denounce by public proclamation; as, to post one for cowardice.

On pain of being posted to your sorrow Fail not, at four, to meet me. Granville.


To enter (a name) on a list, as for service, promotion, or the like.


To assign to a station; to set; to place; as, to post a sentinel.

"It might be to obtain a ship for a lieutenant, . . . or to get him posted."

De Quincey.

5. Bookkeeping

To carry, as an account, from the journal to the ledger; as, to post an account; to transfer, as accounts, to the ledger.

You have not posted your books these ten years. Arbuthnot.


To place in the care of the post; to mail; as, to post a letter.


To inform; to give the news to; to make (one) acquainted with the details of a subject; -- often with up.

Thoroughly posted up in the politics and literature of the day. Lond. Sat. Rev.

To post off, to put off; to delay. [Obs.] "Why did I, venturously, post off so great a business?" Baxter. -- To post over, to hurry over. [Obs.] Fuller.


© Webster 1913.

Post, v. i. [Cf. OF. poster. See 4th Post.]


To travel with post horses; figuratively, to travel in haste.

"Post seedily to my lord your husband."


And post o'er land and ocean without rest. Milton.

2. Man.

To rise and sink in the saddle, in accordance with the motion of the horse, esp. in trotting.



© Webster 1913.

Post, adv.

With post horses; hence, in haste; as, to travel post.


© Webster 1913.

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