Thursday, July 10, 2014

‘Technology is awesome’

This video is sort of a sanity break, after a few serious posts. It’s “Kids React To Old Computers”, and watching how they relate to obsolete computers is—interesting.

Among the first computers I ever used was one similar to what they show (an Apple IIe, to be precise). It was primitive by modern standards. Which is the point, really.

Near the end of the video, a girl says, “Technology is awesome”, and it is. It’s also always evolving. The tech stuff we think is so cool and wonderful today will, in 30 or 40 years, look every bit as oddly antique as the computer in this video. And kids then won’t understand how we could have used our iPads, iPhones or Android tablets. It’s inevitable.

We have two choices, really: To try and stop, or slow down, and hope the world doesn’t zoom too far ahead of us, or, we can keep up with changes as they happen. Whether we evolve or not us our choice, and mine is obvious: I’ll always be adopting new technology as it comes out.

Because, technology really IS awesome.


coreplane said...

Even by the early '70s I was using terminals on a fast serial line to a departmental mainframe. Early "home" computers were actually a huge step *down* from that. Now, though, I'm awestruck by the speed & amount of memory available on a mere low-cost desktop. The hardest thing to give up again would, I think, be RAM size. When I'm playing, I use fancy media stuff, but when I work, what I do now I could have done, theoretically, on a vintage ADM3A hooked up to a 19.2K serial line.

I actually kind-of miss the "make-walk" that slower computers provided: when you rebuilt your project, it took long enough for you to get a coffee & chat with colleagues. Now it can recompile & link 70 source files in 2 seconds. Hit return & keep working. *sigh*

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I never even saw a computer up close until the late 1970s, at university, which is also where I used on for the first time: A dumb terminal connected to the "Plato" mainframe at the University of Illinois. I have no idea if it had any real uses, because to us it was just a curiosity. A professor also used an early desktop machine for a class, attempting (unsuccessfully) to load a program from a cassette tape (!). He swore rather a lot.

A few years later, and I used a computer for the first time (an Apple IIe). But for the next several years, all the computers I used were CP/M machines, right up until the late 1980s when my boss switched to Macs.

It amazes me to think sometimes that my iPad has more power than the very first desktop machines I ever saw. But sometimes I kinda miss having at least a very basic understanding of HOW the computer did what it did; not so much anymore.

coreplane said...

Actually, your iPad has more computing power than a Cray 1 ($10million supercomputer, late '70s) In fact the ARM processor in your iPad is something like an order-of-magnitude faster than the Cray 1.

The Vax 780 that was the workhorse in so many math/CS departments in the late '70s through the '80s was something like 3 orders-of-magnitude slower than an iPad.

Harley Watts said...

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Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Very true. I gave my iPad a little cuddle to show my appreciation. ;-)

rogerogreen said...

I came to this very late, probably in the late 1980s. Before that, I had this strange Sears typewriter which would store maybe a paragraph at a time