Andrew Mobbs (mobbsy) wrote,
Andrew Mobbs

10 years ago, a reasonable desktop PC might have had; a 300MHz CPU, 128MB RAM, 4GB hard disk, rudimentary 3D acceleration, an internet connection operating at a few hundred kpbs (if it was lucky, more likely dial-up).

Today, I can carry around an device in my pocket with equal or better capability, complete with keyboard, 800 pixel wide screen, built in cameras, mobile networking and global positioning. It also makes phone calls.

Partly this is me going "Yay! I've got a new toy" (in the form of a Nokia E90), but partly it's a reflection on one of those "living in the future" moments. It really strikes me as incredible that a device of just over 200g that fits neatly in my hand and can tell me where I am in the world, send email, access all the information and indexing capabilities of the modern world wide web, build spreadsheets and reasonably capable word processing documents, take pictures and, yes, phone people. It could perform useful scientific computation at a rate that 20 years ago would have been impressive on any system.

Possibly it's a part of getting older that I don't just accept technological change as natural, and have the perspective to see how impressive the changes are within the context of my own experience. It still leaves me wondering what further change I might see in my own lifetime. It's also worth noting what hasn't changed, the new toy that so impresses me still uses much the same human interface technologies that have been in use my whole lifetime, essentially since the Xerox Alto in 1973.

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