My current computer is already a couple years old but has 768MB RAM (immediately upgraded by 512MB upon purchase), runs at 2.2GHz, and has a 200GB hard drive.
My first computer took two minutes to boot up.
My current computer takes about three and a half minutes to boot up. It isn't any faster at opening documents or programs. Maybe this is because the original version of Word Perfect I had (v 5.1) back in '93 fit on a couple of 3.5" floppies, so it was <3MB. Today's MS Office suite is approximately a gigabyte, nearly three hundred times the size of this early ancestor. I have no idea what Word can do that WP 5.1 couldn't, so I doubt I would miss it if the past decade of programming in this area was wiped clean.
All I can figure is that every time Moore's Law doubles my computing power, programmers add twice as many lines of code without scrapping any of the redundant ones. The result is that my "more powerful" computer is less like a hot-rodded car that can speed down the information super-highway and more like a U-Haul loaded with crap hoarded by pack-rat computer geeks.
That original computer of mine could be shut down with a switch. Whenever. I. Wanted. Starting with Win95, I had to wait for my computer to tell me when it was okay to shut down. Fuck you, computer. I'll fucking drop you down a stairwell if I fucking like. Who the fuck are you to give me orders?
Soon after my introduction to computers, a lot of analogies were bandied about in the media about the increasing capabilities of technology, usually in terms of how many copies of the Encyclopedia Brittanica couple be stored on a cd-rom vs. how many floppy discs would be required or how many seconds would be required to transmit the entire works of Shakespeare via fiber optic lines vs. via a conventional dial-up modem.
Well, I don't have any copies of Brittanica or any other encyclopedia stored on my hard drive even though my current one has >1000x the capacity of the first computer I bought. And in that time the internet has shifted from text-only newsgroups full of sex stories, to thumbnail galleries of nude photos, to streaming porn videos, with each medium requiring more space on a hard drive somewhere, but successively less imagination on the part of the users.
Maybe it isn't just computers that have
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