Remember when? (Computers)

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It’s funny, looking back at things, how much has changed since I was a kid. The changes seem to happen slowly, until you look back, and realize how much has happened.

When I was younger, computers were just beginning to enter into private houses. We got a Vic20 when I was in high school, and used it to play games and do word-processing and such. The hard drive hadn’t been invented yet, so the programs were on cassette tape, and you had to run one every time you turned it on. The screens were monochromatic, green or orange. Orange tended to be easier on the eyes. And the graphics were hardly worth the mention of the name.

When I went to college, the school required me to buy a portable computer (it was a technical/engineering school). It was technically portable, but was about the size of a suitcase, and heavy. The keyboard fastened onto the front of it, for storage and portability. We had moved on from tape to 5″ floppies, quite a step up in the world. But still no hard drives, so you had to make sure the right disk was in the drive when you turned it on. And you also had to wait for the message telling you that you could take out the disk, or you’d ruin it.

I don’t remember when hard drives came in, but they made life much easier. And then we switched from 5″ floppy disks to 3″ disks, which weren’t really floppy at all. I remember predicting that eventually we’d have computer disks, storage systems the size of credit cards. They would try to go smaller, but then move back up, because too many people would lose the dumb things. Well, you see how well that’s turned out. We get a lot of programs on CD/DVD disks, which are stiff, not bendable at all, and probably close to 5″ floppies in size, though they hold considerably more. We also have small flash drives, thumb drives, etc., that are much smaller than my thumb, but hold a couple gigs in memory. The amount they hold keep going up, while the prices keep coming down.

And for a lot of things, you don’t even need drives. You can pull the information you need right out of the air. That’s bizarre, when you really think about it. The air is filled with information, computer wireless, TV, radio, GPS, probably a whole host of other things, that you just need the right equipment to pull out of the air and use.

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