Thursday, January 17, 2008

Moore's Law* in action

Opening boxes and drawers to get supplies for a knitting project, I came across a brittle, rolled up, yellowed piece of newsprint that had wrapped some sort of goody. When I opened it, there was no goody except for this ad from another world that is now long gone and far away. Just imagine -- for $650 you could buy part of a computer -- just add a couple of 8 inch disc drives, power supply, an enclosure, CRT and you have a total Business System for about 1/3 the cost you might expect to pay. All of 64 K memory (that's kilo -- not mega or giga, guys). Runs at 2.5 MHz (compared to a speed of 400 MHz on yesterday's candy-colored iMac that is the loaner I'm currently using.) And not one word about such niceties as a keyboard to do a little input!

Just for comparison's sake, here is a Dell advert that came with the Courier the other day.What a difference 26 years can make; the ad at the top appeared in the May 1981 Computer Shopper. Of course by that date, the LH had long since built our own home brew computer and logged on to any number of bulletin boards -- precursors to today's slick Internet. In fact, in that same year, Adam Osborne introduced his computer prepackaged with word processor, spreadsheet and (later) database. As I recall, we bought me my first Osborne in 1982. The romance with computers has continued all these years!

*Original statement by Gordon Moore's (of Intel): The complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year ... Certainly over the short term this rate can be expected to continue, if not to increase. Over the longer term, the rate of increase is a bit more uncertain, although there is no reason to believe it will not remain nearly constant for at least 10 years. The statement was made, believe it or not, in 1965 and commentators continue to speculate how much longer the exponential growth in computing power and capacity will continue.

10 comments:

Russell L. Carter said...

In 1990 I spent 10% of my yearly pretax income on a PC while working daily on the world's most powerful supercomputer that required about $10,000,000/year to maintain. Today I spend about .5% of my yearly pretax income to maintain four PCs that are each, today, over twice as powerful as that "supercomputer". And I don't need anything more... a lot of cycles are just heating the house. Yet the computational power grows and grows...

worldphotos4 said...

The industry has come a long way. Where would we be today without the computer. sometimes I think, much happier. But, I don't want to go back.

Granny J said...

russell -- Moore's Law in action, your life is! Without it, I wouldn't still be "writing" and certainly couldn't afford the photography that I am doing.

steve -- I would be doing a lot of reading and, possibly, needlework. In Chicago. Our move to Arizona was dependent upon the computers that we had at the time to do our small mail order business. Today, the computer is good company, thanks to the blog. Let's face it, the PC beats the TV all hollow!

TomboCheck said...

Great find, and a great post! Can you imagine what that Dell widescreen LCD monitor would have cost 10 years ago? Looks like a bargain now!

Prescottstyle said...

That's the Dell I just bought! Cheap!

Granny J said...

tombo -- Ah, well, I recall that teensy 5" screen on the old Osborne!

pstyle -- looks like a very good buy. I sure like getting rid of the old CRTs, tho I've been surprised at how heavy my iMac/screen is!

Chickenbells said...

Technology has been so amazing...I remember, my mother bought my dad the very first VCR (during the VCR VS. the Beta debate) and she put it on layayway and paid $1500.00 for it...isn't that amazing? I mean, last couple of years ago she bought me a VCR/DVD combo for $50...

Granny J said...

cb -- at this point, I would guess that the DVD player is sorta like the razor -- a device to sell CDs, where the profit is!

smilnsigh said...

I have to point my computer geek friend to this entry. He'll be sure to enjoy that newspaper add.

Mari-Nanci

Granny J said...

SnS -- if he's been around as long as I have, I know he'll appreciate it.

 
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