Technology Advances Creep Up on Us

Bill Gates has been quoted as saying: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”

To put that in perspective, lets compare some specs. The space shuttles will soon be retired – they were first launched in 1981 – almost 30 years ago.

In 1981 an example of a computer available then was a PDP11. It cost US$110,000, had 192 KB of memory, 5MB disk packs, and the footprint of a large desk.

Today, we buy cellphones for around $200 or so that weigh a few ounces and fit into our pockets that have 500MB (that’s about 2000 times more if my math is correct) of internal memory. You can add perhaps another 16GB (that’s about 20000 times more than the disk pack if my math is correct) of memory by sliding in a microSD card the size of a fingernail. And they include cameras, GPS, touch screens, Intenet access, several radios (voice, data, GPS, Wifi, Bluetooth).

Its hard to imagine what we will have within the next decade or 2.

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