Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Tech History

This was going to be an post about gaming tech, but I'm trying to figure out where I'm going with that. 

I've always been a tech junkie.  I was the first person that I knew who had a mechanical pencil.  This was back in the 1970's when you had to actually go to a stationary store to find them amongst the gamings supplies.  It was a Staedtler Micrograph.  I remember buying 7H lead for thin construction lines, and 2H lead for heavier lines.

I remember how much of an improvement it made in my drafting, as all of my lines now had uniform thickness.

I taught myself to use a slide rule, because they were cool.  (Wow, was I a geek, or what?)

Back when I was in 5th or 6th grade, the first pocket calculators started coming down in price enough that they were affordable for students to buy.  I had a basic calculator for a long time, and then in 1979 or so, the TI-35 came out.  It was a scientific calculator that could be bought for the low low price of $17.  I can still hear the high-pitched whine of it's electronics.  (I have no idea why this thing made so much sound, but it would change pitch depending on what you were doing with it.)

I've always thought portable tech was way more fun that desktop tech.  In the early 1980's I had a small Sharp pocket computer that had like 16k memory for a BASIC interpreter.  I wrote a gas mileage calculator program for it, and used velcro to mount it to the visor of my 1973 Plymouth Satellite. 

I had a really crappy palm pilot for a while, that was bottom of the line and would never keep it's stylus tracking correct.  I think I threw that away eventually.

I still have a HP PocketPC floating around the house that I ended up giving to my wife with a Depth-of-Field calculator for her photography.  (Later she got a Droid 2, and found a DOF calculator for it, so the PocketPC is sitting idle). 

Later, I had a PocketPC phone, and was never crazy about it's battery life.  I'm much happier with my own Droid 2.  And I like the openness of the Android operating system. 

And my iPad, that I wrote about is awesome cool tech.  I couldn't even conceive of the speed and power and complete flexibility of such a piece of computing hardware back when I was playing with my TI-35.

I don't think I'm ever going to stop thinking handheld tech is awesome.  I'm just trying to visualize what it's going to be like in 20 years.  If Moore's law holds, then every 18 months or so, computing power doubles.  This means that in 20 years, we can expect devices to have doubled in power 13 times (2^13 = 4096).  So we're looking at (compared to my iPad), 64TB drives, 2-4TB ram, massively parallel cpus, 64000 dpi screens (or lower resolution, with actual holographic 3d?).  Bandwidth of 4 Gigabytes/second over the air.  

I'm just trying to imagine how great it will be to play Angry Birds on that kind of device. 

Just wondering how well the computing power has increased since 1990.  As I remember:

Computer Speed
16Mhz 386 -> 4Ghz Quad core : That's 1000x improvement in power.


RAM : 2MB -> 4GB : 2000x improvement
Screen Quality
640x480x8bit color -> 1280x1024x32bit color : 20x improvement in screen quality, but we've also gone from Flight Simulator at 5frames/second to expecting >60 frames per second in any game we play.  So call that another 12x factor.  20x12=240x improvement overall.

Hard Drive - 80MB -> 1TB : 12,500x improvement

28.8Kbps modem -> 15Mbps : 520x improvement

Wow.  The numbers are really kind of impressive (all taken from memory, but still...)

No comments:

Post a Comment