My friend Peter Mokover sent me an email today about his thirtieth anniversary. I thought I’d share it with you.
Today marks a milestone for me. 30 years ago today – March 3, 1979 – I got my first computer. It was a life changing event – more than I imagined at the time.
It was an Apple II Plus. It was the first Apple computer ever sold in Rhode Island (where I lived at the time).
It came with 32KB of memory. I remember the sales person at the store said I could get an additional 16KB for around $400. I didn´t think I would need that much memory so I didn´t get it. Today that amount of memory is so small it would cost a fraction of one cent.
My Apple was considered advanced because it had two floppy disc drives and a modem. Most computers then had either one floppy drive or none and no modem. Many used audio cassette tapes to store programs and data.
I´m currently building a new PC for myself. To show how much technology has changed…
The Apple had 32,000 bytes of memory. My new PC has 6 billion bytes.
The Apple had 280,000 bytes of storage. The new PC has 2.3 trillion bytes.
The processor chip in the Apple (Motorola 6502) had a single core and a speed of around 1,000,000 instructions per second. The processor in the new PC (Intel Core i7) has four cores and a speed of around 3 billion instructions per second.
The Apple displayed up to 16 colors on a low resolution screen. The new PC displays more than 16 million colors with a resolution greater than a new HD television. (Who knew there were than many colors!)
The Apple had a modem that downloaded data at up to 30 characters per second. The new PC´s modem averages around 1.5 million characters per second. I recall paying around $8.95 per HOUR (off peak) back then to connect to the Internet. I now pay a little over $50 per month.
Over the past 30 years the power of computers has increased many thousands of times yet their price has dropped significantly. There aren´t many things other than technology for which that can be said.
Thirty years ago I already had my TRS-80 Model 1 with 16 Kb of RAM!