Computing from 1976
COURYHOUSE at aol.com
COURYHOUSE at aol.com
Sat Dec 30 21:13:15 CST 2017
so if you bought the altair and put it away you could sort of sell it
for the same amount of money-worth today.
In a message dated 12/30/2017 5:10:22 P.M. US Mountain Standard Time,
cctalk at classiccmp.org writes:
It was thus said that the Great Fred Cisin via cctalk once stated:
> 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)
Sounds like fun.
> "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.
1) 28 doublings since 1975.
(2017-1975) * 12
4K should (had we truly doubed everything every 18 months) now be 1T
2^12 = 4K
2^40 ~ 1T
> 2) What did Gordon Moore actually say in 1965?
That the number of transistors in an integrated circuit double every 18
> 3) How much is $500 of 1976 money worth now?
It depends upon how you calculate it. I'm using this page  for the
calculation, and I get:
Current data is only available till 2016. In 2016, the relative
price worth of $500.00 from 1976 is:
$2,110.00 using the Consumer Price Index
$1,680.00 using the GDP deflator
$2,400.00 using the value of consumer bundle
$2,000.00 using the unskilled wage
$2,450.00 using the Production Worker Compensation
$3,340.00 using the nominal GDP per capita
$4,960.00 using the relative share of GDP
> 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?
I would think the same amount of time. Typing is typing.
> 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?
For me, not really.
> How much does it help to be able to contact your
> refrigeratior and query its knowledge of its contents?
It could be helpful, but with the current state of IoT, I would not want
to have that ability.
> (Keep in mind, that although hardware expanded exponentially, according
> 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
> can "modern" software do in 4K?, and how much is needed to boot the
> computer and run a "modern" text editor?)
EMACS is lean and mean compared to some of the "text editors" coming out
> 5) What percentage of computer users still build from kits, or from
I would say significantly less than 1%. Say, 5% of 1%? That's probably
in the right ballpark.
> 6) What has replaced magazines for keeping in touch with the current
> state of computers?
The world wide web, although I do miss the Byte magazine of the 70s and
80s. Not so much the 90s.
-spc (Yeah, I realize these were probably rhetorical in nature ... )
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