Computing from 1976

Fred Cisin cisin at
Sat Dec 30 16:55:10 CST 2017

On Sat, 30 Dec 2017, Murray McCullough via cctalk wrote:
> I was perusing my old computer magazine collection the other day and
> came across an article entitled: “Fast-Growing new hobby, Real
> Computers you assemble yourself”, Dec. 1976. It was about MITS,
> Sphere, IMSAI and SWT. 4K memory was $500. Yikes! Even more here in
> Canada. Now this is true Classic Computing. Have a Happy New Year
> everyone. May the computing gods shine down on us all in 2018.
> Happy computing.  Murray  :)

OK, a little arithmetic exercise for you.
(a 16C is nice for this, but hardly necessary)

"Moore's Law", which was a prediction, not a "LAW", has often been 
mis-stated as predicting a doubling of speed/capacity every 18 months.

1) Figure out how many 18 month invtervals since then, and what 4k 
"should' have morphed into by now.

2) What did Gordon Moore actually say in 1965?

3) How much is $500 of 1976 money worth now?

4) Consider how long it took to use a text editor to make a grocery 
shopping list in 1976.  How long does it take today?
Does having the grocery list consist of pictures instead of words, with 
audio commentary, and maybe Smell-O-Vision (coming soon), improve the 
quality of life?   How much does it help to be able to contact your 
refrigeratior and query its knowledge of its contents?
(Keep in mind, that although hardware expanded exponentially, according to 
Moore's Law, Software follows a corollary of Boyle's Law, and expands to 
fill the available space and use all of the available resources - how much 
can "modern" software do in 4K?, and how much is needed to boot the 
computer and run a "modern" text editor?)

5) What percentage of computer users still build from kits, or from 

6) What has replaced magazines for keeping in touch with the current 
state of computers?

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