Monday, June 18, 2012

The Times, They Are A Changin'

My buddy Zercool put up a thought-provoking post yesterday. He mentions seeing a digital camera advertised in the paper for short money and relates it to the sea change in air travel over his great-grandmother's lifetime. I started to leave a comment, and then it turned into a post of its own...

In 1999 the Mrs. and I dropped some $900 on our first digital camera. In 2011 we bought our daughter a more powerful camera as a stocking stuffer for ~ $20.

In 1997 I bought one of those palmtop computers for $700. In 2010 we bought our son an iPod with more features and the ability to go on the internet for $250.

In 1995 I got my first cell phone. It was the size and weight of a brick, the battery lasted about an hour, and it came with 10 free minutes peak and 10 free minutes off peak talk time. Today, well, heck, my phone has internet and a camera and can play games - and comes with 700 minutes of air time (and free nights/weekends).

In 1994 I bought my first home computer. It had 8 megabytes of RAM, 550 megabyte hard drive, a 4X CD-ROM, 14" color monitor, and a sound card. I paid $2,500 for it. Last Christmas we got a 22" all-in-one unit with 4 gigbytes of RAM, 1 terabyte hard drive, DVD burner, and a built-in webcame. It cost $400.

In the late 1980s my dad bought a video camera that used VHS tapes. I have no idea what he paid for it - used - but I know it was a good chunk of change. The battery alone was the size of a brick and the unit had a padded part on the bottom for resting on your shoulder. In 1997 I bought a VHS-C (compact) camera that was significantly smaller, for somewhere just south of $1K. Earlier this year I dropped under $250 on a Sony HandyCam with an order of magnitude better resolution that records to a removable disk the size of a quarter.

I can't wait to see how my children compare the technology they have now to what their kids will have!

That is all.


libertyman said...

Let's see, my first fax machine was the low end Sony for $1000. My first digital camera used floppy disks, and had less resolution than any phone today. How about a bag phone? Yes, progress has been made.

UGA Wino said...

Back in the 70s my dad had a 8mm/Super 8 home movie camera! I remember someone having to follow him around with a battery pack and two light bulbs. No telling how much that thing cost back then. Probably a hell of a lot more than my iPhone. (And that doesn't count getting your film processed or buying a projector/screen to watch it on.)

I'm nit sure how much memory my first PC had back in '96, but I remember it costing over $2000. And that was at a Dell Outlet store. Bought a laptop for work last week for $400 that no doubt has more memory.

And what about TVs? I have a 37" HDTV that's probably pushing 10 years old now. I paid $2000 for that thing back in the day. Now I see 50-something inch TVs for well under a grand.

Dave H said...

My first PC had one floppy drive, 256K of RAM, and cost $800. My last PC had a 320 GB hard drive, 2 GB or RAM, and also cost $800. But it didn't have a floppy drive. So much for progress.