Technology Marches On

In 1993, I was but a young lad of 11. At the time, my parents purchased a PowerBook 165c, the first color Mac laptop. It had a whopping 33MHz processor, 4MB of RAM, an 80MB hard disk, and a 8.9″ 8-bit 640 x 400 color passive matrix display that could display 256 colors. It weighed about 7 pounds. According to LowEndMac, it cost about $3,400. Ouch.
Today, I was looking at a new netbook made by System76, a small, independent company that sells hardware with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed. This computer has a HyperThreaded 1.66GHz processor (50x faster than the PowerBook if you only count one thread, 100x if you count both threads), 2GB of RAM (500x as much), a 250GB hard disk (3125x as large), and a 1024 x 600 LED-backlit screen that can display millions of colors. It weighs 2 pounds, and costs $389. It’s also physically smaller, has a battery that lasts about 4x as long, and has a stupidly fast wireless card.
All that in 17 years.
Firearms, however, have been around for quite a bit longer than 17 years, yet modern firearms are essentially the same as they were fifty years ago.
Where’s my Star Wars-esque blaster gun? Get crackin’, guys…

4 thoughts on “Technology Marches On”

  1. I can still remember my father coming home with his brand new Apple ][c that ran some $2800 back in 1984.
    My how times have changed.

  2. Hyperthreading doesn’t exactly double the performance of the CPU. Remember that hyperthreading only allows the CPU to perform operations on unused sections of the MPU when other types of operations are being performed. For example: if you’re running a program that mostly does floating-point operations you could run another program that primarily does integer math with both threads running close to the same speed as only a single thread.
    But I will still give it to you that the new netbook is stupidly fast compared to the mac despite hyperthreading not really being a second CPU.

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