Monday 28 February 2011

Time Travelling in Computing

Going back 20 years....

Going back 30 years...

A blind alley from 30 years ago - good idea, but soon overtaken by the home computer

Going back 40 years...

And what the future looked like, 40 years ago

And from 55 years ago, around the time I was born. A Computer with 12k of RAM! Less than 25 years later, I owned a machine with 16k of memory, and 100 times as fast. It still used tapes, not disks though.

We are all time travellers on a one-way trip into the future. Perhaps we can teach to new generations the flexibility of mind we've had to have - because in 50 years time, the world will be at least as different from 2011 as 2011 is from 1961.

As for us? We have to remind ourselves that no high school student knows what a telephone dial is, or has ever seen a slide rule or a black-and-white TV. And neither have their parents.


Julie Curtis said...

I had a CoCo !

Didnt look like that one (mine was grey and had keys like calculator buttons), it ran MSBasic from rom and had a massive (as the adverts of the time proclaimed) 16k Ram ... (of which only about 11k was free, unless you knew a couple of 'Pokes' to release some unused video memory and then you had a 'Truly MASSIVE' 14k or so to play with)

Jeeze, the hours I spent writing code in Basic ... saving it on my (State of the Art) Cassette Tape Recorder


1982 ... happy times ...

Mercedes said...




BTW, I still miss microfiche.

Anonymous said...

When I was a high school student (some forty years ago), I knew what an abacus was, and what a crank telephone was...and even what a Victrola was. I work with high school students, and they've seen enough old television programs (and listened to enough oldsters) to know *about* a lot of things, even though actually using them would not be that simple.....Time Traveler

wreckage said...

I have never seen a slide rule, only briefly seen a B&W TV, but I learned to use a crank-and-wait party-line telephone that was only operational during the hours the exchange was manned.

Because, back in the good old days when a benevolent government monopoly owned all telephony in Australia, much of rural Australia was in that situation. Way way back in the early.... 80's.