When I was born, my father (an IBM programmer) used some cutting-edge computer technology to make my birth announcements. See images below.
How did he use these? He made birth announcements on 96-column punch cards in which the punches spelled out the word “BOY.”
In 1972, here’s what the cutting-edge of MEDLINE looked like to most users:
According the NLM’s Janet Zipser, MEDLINE was the first remote access, real-time database in existence. By the end of 1972 about 150 libraries had access to MEDLINE® all at medical schools and research facilities. The rate was $6/hour, a 4-fold reduction over direct dial. The highest speed available was 30 characters/second. Most people had 10 characters/second Texas Instrument Silent 700s.
Please understand how amazingly fast people thought 30 characters/second was. Please also understand how that compares to today’s speeds:
And now PubMed is available to everyone with an internet connection…for free. Anna Kushnir-type gripes aside, this is amazing.
I looked at what storage memory cost circa 1979:
Compare that to the flash drive I keep in my pocket at most times:
The IBM 3340 Direct Access Storage Facility was introduced in March 1973 …Two, three or four 3340 drives could be attached to the IBM System/370 Model 115 processor — which had been announced concurrently with the 3340 — providing a storage capacity of up to 280 million bytes.
In order to match the storage capacity of my flash drive, this is how many IBM 3340s you’d need:
In order to match the storage capacity of the laptop I was using at the time, this is how many IBM 3340s you’d need:
iTunes, as far as I can tell, has over 11 Million tracks.
But what brought this all to mind was something I stumbled across via PopURLs the other day:
We live in the future.