Things sure have come a long way…

I spent a lot of time over Thanksgiving shooting family videos and taking photos with a fifth-generation iPod Touch, and it was a remarkable experience. Smartphones, tablets, media players–they’re all becoming cheaper and more capable every year. I’m a little light-headed trying to imagine where they’ll be 10 or 20 years from now.

In 1996, my computer was an IBM Aptiva 2159-S90. It cost me $2800, and it had a 200MHz processor, 32MB of EDO RAM, a 3.2GB hard drive, and a 56k modem. It had a CRT monitor and shipped with a recommended display resolution of 800×600. It ran Windows 95.

My digital camera at that time was an Epson PhotoPC 500 that cost me around $500 and had a whopping 640x480px resolution. It had 2MB of internal storage for photos, and it weighed almost three-quarters of a pound.

My camcorder at that time was a huge and heavy shoulder beast that used full size VHS tapes, could shoot up to 3 hours of video on one battery, and had a foam-filled rigid carrying case for transport. I don’t remember exactly how much it cost, but it was several hundred dollars at least.

16 years later, I have a $300 media player that fits in my pocket and weighs less than 4 ounces. It has a 1GHz dual core processor, 512MB of DDR2 RAM, a 1.2MP/720p front camera, a 5MP/1080p rear camera, 32GB of flash memory, a 1136×640 display with 326 pixels per inch, wireless and Bluetooth, and several hours of battery power. It does everything that all of the older devices mentioned above do, does every single thing better, and does more to boot.

It’s just incredible. I’m never going to complain about the lack of personal jetpacks and nuclear-powered flying cars again.

One thought on “Things sure have come a long way…

  1. Dan Summers

    To be quite honest, given the advances in computing, communications and medicine we’ve had in the last couple of decades, I’m quite happy to go without my jetpack, too 🙂 (I suspect I lack the coordination to fly one anyway.)

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