The PC turns 32 today
Many of you will be using a PC based computer or one of its many inspired clones or competitors to read this right now.
So how did the PC enter our world?
Here the birth weight stats:
Name: 5150 IBM PC
CPU: 8088 4.77MHz
RAM: 16 Kb -256Kb
Graphics: Mono chrome monitor
Removable media: 5 1/2 ” floppy Mylar discs
Hard drive: optional extra
And all it would cost you in todays money is about $4000 AUD (unless you bought it in a pub from a guy you don’t remember the name of, come to think of it, what he looked like).
A computer today has about 1 million times the processing power for less than a tenth of the cost.
And what is a computer? A question we don’t but probably should ask our selves…
It a tool which is good at mimicking the functions of another tool, provided it has the correct added hardware and the task can be thoroughly described.
It can be a tool of oppression or a tool of liberation, the choice is yours.
So what we do now, we take for granted; ‘someone’ types something into a computer or smart phone and suddenly many other ‘someones’ can know that thought stream, and even respond to it over vast distances in more or less real time.
It hasn’t always been ‘beer and skittles’ however.
The IBM corporation has a murky past with the first major contracts being gained by selling and supporting tabulating machines to Nazi Germany to catalog the population, particularly dissidents.
One of todays Tech giants Apple, uses what could easily be described as slave labor to produce many of its products in Asia (particularly China).
The conditions of people who make these wonderful( but taken for granted) electronic devices often work in arduous conditions, with some factories installing anti suicide nets on their multistory buildings.
Many PC’s still run 32 bit operating systems as a hangover from Windows XP and Intel’s successful attempts to stifle AMD’s innovation into 64 bit processing in the mid 2000’s.