Sign of the times - Jay Maynard

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Monday, 22 September 2003


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1948 - Sign of the times

I checked the free space on my Linux laptop a little bit ago, and caught myself thinking, "Damn, I've only got a gigabyte free." Then I stopped myself.

Those of you reading this who have only been using computers in the recent past will think "That's not so much space." Nowadays, in this era of Microsoft bloatware, that's a fair thing to say. To this old computing geezer, though, it's a bit jarring.

The very first computer I worked on for a living was an IBM 370/158AP mainframe at Dow Chemical Company's Engineering and Construction Services division in west Houston. That computer took up a fair sized room, and had a whopping 6 megabytes of main memory (a sizeable amount in 1981), two CPUs each good for 1 MIPS (the AP means "attached processor"), and 40 3350 disk drives, each with a capacity of 310 MB. It served the needs of the entire division, about 250 users.

Needless to say, in that environment, thinking in terms of gigabytes of disk space was unheard of. Data centers were measured in gigabytes, not disk drives.

I'm not sure that qualifies as "the good old days", but it's continually surprising to me how much more computing resources are used to deliver how little more work...

current mood: [mood icon] nostalgic

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