Re: now what's a "small" computer, again?

Dan Clemmensen (
Sun, 27 Jul 1997 11:39:36 -0400

Anton Sherwood wrote:
> He made a phone call:
> "...How much for, say, a hundred meg?"
> "They don't make 'em under a gigabyte anymore."
> I remember that once upon a time I could remember
> when it was possible to buy a 5MB disk.
I wrote a COBOL program for an IBM 4090 that was still in
use in 1970, and I've been buying home computers since
1977. Somehow, My home computers always cost $2500-$3500.

Thinkng back causes real brain-warp: I splurged and fully
populated the memory board in my IMSAI8080: I filled it
all the way up to 4Kbytes (that's four kilobytes): people
with less money could elect to populate it in increments
of 256 bytes by purchasing the 256-by-4 bit memory chips
in pairs. The processor was an Intel 8080 with a 2Mhz clock.
My first disk drive was a 5.25" floppy which
could store an astounding 144Kbytes on a diskette. The drive
and electronics cost $1000.

This is very relevant to extropy: That was 20 years ago.
My latest computer has A 266Mhz Pentium, 6Gbyte disk,
64Mbyte mem, and lots of peripherals. It is somewhere
between a thousand and a million times as capable as
my first computer. There is no evidence that this trend
will slow in the next 20 years, but we keep making projections
that underestimate or ignore the consequences. If we add in the
closely-related advances in data cumunications, this is
IMO the single most important trend affecting the future
of humanity.