It was the size that caught my attention. Do you notice these things?
I was installing a new app for my phone, to better manage one of the loyalty programs I belong to. I gave the usual permissions and the download started. I noted it was 31.5 megabytes. That jogged my memory.
Back in 1990 I bought my first home computer. I remember it well, and all the agony that went into choosing it. Back then a computer cost as much as or more than a good used car. I wanted to make sure I got a good deal.
That meant spending a lot of time talking with computer salesmen. Learning about floppy discs and hard drives. It was the pre-Windows era, computers weren’t easy to use like they are today.
The biggest issue was how big a hard drive to get. Hard drives were still relatively new; computer programs were pretty simple. The World Wide Web was a science fiction dream. Most people had never heard of the Internet.
I let the salesman talk me into a huge hard drive, one he promised me I would never fill. It was more expensive, but would be worth it. That “unfillable” hard drive was 30 megabytes. Smaller than one free telephone application today.
As computers became more sophisticated hard rives increased in size. Maybe code writers got sloppier knowing they had the space. I think it took about four years for me to completely fill that 30 megabytes, a space I filled in 30 seconds yesterday.
That computer I carry in my pocket, my mobile phone, has more than a thousand times the data storage capacity as my first computer did, at a fraction of the size. Just another reminder of how much technology has changed in a very short time period.
We take these things for granted now. My phone has more than a thousand times the computing power of the machine NASA used to put a man on the moon in 1969. That’s only 50 years ago.
Which has me wondering what technological changes we will see in the next 50 years. And wondering also how easily I will adapt to them.