Those who created the computer technology that now helps us in virtually every aspect of our lives are heroes of production. The Computer History Museum is dedicated to preserving and telling the history of that development. Thanks to a reader of GeekPress.com, I found a video that introduces the museum.
My first computer was a Commodore 128, with twice the capacity of the popular Commodore 64. The “128” refers to the 128 kilobytes of RAM packed into the then-amazing machine. The computer on which I am now typing contains two gigabytes of memory. If I’m doing the math right, that means that my current machine has around 15,000 times the memory capacity of my first machine.
My first experience with digital storage was a tape drive — as in a regular ol’ cassette tape recorder. Then we went to 5.25 inch floppies, then 3.5 inch floppies, then “zip” floppies. Now new computers don’t even come with floppy drives. Some 5.25 disks held 1.2 megabytes of material. The DVD drive that I now own uses disks that hold 4.7 gigabytes of material. Again, if I’m doing the math right, the new laser disks hold about 4,000 times as much material as the old magnetic disks held.
My first experiment with computer communications involved stringing a phone line from the kitchen phone to my bedroom so that I could call a local server with my 300 baud modem. A couple of times I even called a computer in California, but that meant long-distance telephone charges. Now I’m blogging at connection speeds so fast that only video seems slow.
To the men and women who have made my life so much better by improving computer technology, I offer my thanks.