The march of technology

endure

GCM
In the late 80s my first personal experience with mass storage was one of these. It cost the equivalent of £500 in today's money, was nearly as big as a shoebox and held 32MB.






My latest experience is one of these. The postman stuck it through my letterbox this morning. It cost £32.95 and holds 8000 times as much data as the above.



256gb.jpg
 
I paid £500 for my first internal PC CD player - no one else I knew had one so I guess it was worth it at the time. Downside was that I became the go to guy for all things 'computer' - learned a bit on the way, but it took up a lot of my 'free' time.

Probably the best resulting story is the request for assistance by the Head Nurse of a large hospital operating theatre who asked me if I could help him install a scanner into his personal computer. On arrival at his flat I quickly realized that he was one of those people who liked everything to be kept in 'its place'. I inadvertently moved a magazine on a coffee table and he casually, but immediately, moved it back again - nice and square.

He pointed me to his PC which had a fairly large, though common size for the time, scanner sitting next to it. My first inclination was to see if both machines booted - and the power buttons did indeed light up.

Because of his obvious obsession with 'precision' I asked if it would be ok for me to turn the equipment round to that I could examine the connections. Permission granted I couldn't help but be drawn to the heavy-ish serial cable from the scanner disappearing into an open expansion slot on the back of the PC.

I inquired, 'where is the expansion card with the serial connector?'
"What's that" he replied in his deep Welsh accent. "I just stuck the thing in that hole....that's where it goes doesn't it?"

I really hoped I didn't end up in his operating theater.
 
When I first joined the Army as a STAB in 1986, we were using 50baud teleprinters. That’d be 5-bit Murray code, so 10 characters per second.

By 2001 when I left the Regular Army and started in civvy telecom, E1 multiplexes were ubiquitous. 32 channels (30/31 usable) of 64kbit/s, giving a line rate of 2.048Mbit/s. By 2005, 1 gbit/s was becoming ubiquitous; it was now Ethernet framed, and circuit-based switching was heading for the exit. 10Gbps rapidly on its heels.

Today I’m just coming back to work after Christmas/New Year. I know I’ve got 6x circuits to design between Australia, London, Frankfurt and Chicago. These are 10G circuits, which are now run of the mill. Then I’ve got a couple of 100Gs in the US to do. 100G. 50,000 times the E1 rate, two million times the data rate of the teleprinters I worked on. Our labs are close to certifying 400G for deployment, and 1 terabit systems are on the horizon. These are wave-division multiplexes too, so there’s many of these 100Gs on a single pair of fibers.

I saw a fairly old (5 yrs or so?) video by Sophie Wilson; the power density of some chips was even then so great that it exceeds that of a nuclear reactor. In my old company, we had a similar problem. The heat generated by the bespoke chip would melt the solder that attached it to the PCB. Effectively a chip so powerful that you can’t use it. There’s ways to fix it and they were looking at that when I left, but it boggles my mind.
 
AI robot bodyguards will be a thing in the next few years (In my lifetime), I had a remote controlled car when I was a sprog - and it wasn't wireless as it had a cable going to it. Tech stands still for nobody.

Probably in the future time travel will be a thing - you won't need to travel faster than light speed to travel around the universe - you can just travel slowly inside a 'time bubble' and get somewhere instantaneously to any point in the universe and at any time. It wouldn't surprise me if some aliens already have this capability.
 

Cockroach

War Hero
Probably in the future time travel will be a thing - you won't need to travel faster than light speed to travel around the universe - you can just travel slowly inside a 'time bubble' and get somewhere instantaneously to any point in the universe and at any time. It wouldn't surprise me if some aliens already have this capability.
You've obviously done your research and know what you're talking about.
 
AI robot bodyguards will be a thing in the next few years (In my lifetime), I had a remote controlled car when I was a sprog - and it wasn't wireless as it had a cable going to it. Tech stands still for nobody.

Probably in the future time travel will be a thing - you won't need to travel faster than light speed to travel around the universe - you can just travel slowly inside a 'time bubble' and get somewhere instantaneously to any point in the universe and at any time. It wouldn't surprise me if some aliens already have this capability.

stream of consciousness.jpg
 
First hard drive was a 20mb thing (that sounded rather like a high pitched and air raid siren) in an Amstrad PC1512.

I thought my PC1512 was the dogs danglies with its:
  • colour monitor
  • 20Mb HDD
  • 3.5” single FDD
  • increased memory (to 640Kb - 16 additional sticks of memory and changed jumper switches iirc just to add 128kb)
  • SM2400 modem (dial up only of course.
These days, an iPad serves my needs more than adequately.
 
In the late 80s my first personal experience with mass storage was one of these. It cost the equivalent of £500 in today's money, was nearly as big as a shoebox and held 32MB.






My latest experience is one of these. The postman stuck it through my letterbox this morning. It cost £32.95 and holds 8000 times as much data as the above.



View attachment 536154


This link has some pictures of less memory for more cash, but unfortunately aren't dated.


Although this one is dated 1980


Its strange to think my Spectrum 48k with rubber keys was state of the art home gaming in the early 1980s in the UK.
 
AI robot bodyguards will be a thing in the next few years (In my lifetime), I had a remote controlled car when I was a sprog - and it wasn't wireless as it had a cable going to it. Tech stands still for nobody.

Probably in the future time travel will be a thing - you won't need to travel faster than light speed to travel around the universe - you can just travel slowly inside a 'time bubble' and get somewhere instantaneously to any point in the universe and at any time. It wouldn't surprise me if some aliens already have this capability.
You've seen these vids then?

At which point in the future is that robot going to grab the stick and twat the bloke?
 

Mattb

LE

Based on chips but seems to work for memory too.
At the risk of pedantry, Moore’s Law does apply directly to memory; storage space is a little more complex (although in many cases nowadays is also directly proportional to the number of transistors).
 

endure

GCM
I saw a fairly old (5 yrs or so?) video by Sophie Wilson; the power density of some chips was even then so great that it exceeds that of a nuclear reactor. In my old company, we had a similar problem. The heat generated by the bespoke chip would melt the solder that attached it to the PCB. Effectively a chip so powerful that you can’t use it. There’s ways to fix it and they were looking at that when I left, but it boggles my mind.
Compressor blades in aircraft turbines have the same problem. There are parts of the engine that run so hot that they would melt the blades unless they were drilled through with little passageways that cool air is blown down.
 
The HDD in a Ptarmigan switch took some beating. It was EMC shielded to death, vibration resistant, and weighed a couple hundred pounds. It looked something like an armoured milk churn with legs. More rounded body than that, but a bulky, ridiculously heavy thing for what it did. I can't recall the capacity of it, but it wouldn't have been much (@greenbaggyskin ?). A few tens of MB at best. 8" floppy drives in the ERV, massive tapes for reloading the OS in the switch. State of the art in the 80s :)

ETA: I've just remembered it was also classified, which made it even more of a pain the rear!
 

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