Thursday, November 18, 2004

Tech Toy Gossip

Bought a new toy today. Actually it’s very practical for work and home use. But I can’t pretend that’s why I bought it. I just think it's cool.

It’s a tiny little device designed to fit on a key-chain called a "flash drive." It has a USB 2.0 connection on it. I can plug it into the USB port on any computer and feed it 256 megabytes of stuff. I can erase and rewrite new stuff as much as I like, so it's not like burning a CD (yes I'm aware of rewritable CD's - I have two different RW capable CD drives. But this is faster, and it's a new toy, so humor me). There were also versions the same size that held double and triple that amount, but their prices were a little higher than I wanted to pay on a binge purchase. Wait a few months, and they’ll be down to the $30 I paid for this one.

And this got me thinking about the speed of technological change within my lifetime. Heck… just in the past ten years.

I’m not going to bore you with another overdone litany or laundry list of major changes in that time. You lived through it too.

But it does get me thinking about how quickly things can pop up we didn’t anticipate – not because of a new invention – but because of how much better-faster-cheaper the old inventions are becoming. My new toy is just a refinement of inventions which have been around since the 70's. The blogosphere is another great example. So is the Web itself. Yes, yes, there was some more inventing that brought all of that about. But really only very modest steps building upon the giant leaps that were put in place for other reasons.

I just bought my wife a new notebook computer for Christmas (I can post it here – it’s not a surprise). This makes us a three computer household now. And I have yet another old one boxed up in the storage room.

We have a broadband connection to the Internet – the largest network in the history of the world – and a wireless network which allows us to connect from anywhere in the house (including the back deck).

I now have the ability to pop a tiny device into any of our computers, and transfer many times the information contained into the Encyclopedia Britannica between them. Cost me thirty bucks. (If I spent a little more time setting up the home network with our wi-fi, I wouldn’t even need the little device thing, but that’s pretty cool too – multiple solutions to a problem, all of which are cheap and easily available).

You can keep your visions of the future with monorails and hover cars. We’re in the age where universal information is becoming darn near omnipresent and darn near free, and the kind of cool stuff we haven’t even imagined which will be popping up from that is going to make the next 10 years even more interesting than the last. Fun times.

1 Comments:

Blogger Flash said...

I have a flash drive around my neck at work all day. I don't miss lugging around a bunch of floppies, and a CD burnable drive isn;t alway on the machine you want to get data off.

The Doctor bought on of the original 128K Mac (for about $2300 I think) he was in pig heaven. About a year later I spurged and picked up a used 512e Mac. He was all excited that we could 'modem' each other, although it was painfully slow. He was still using his 300 baud original while I bought a brand new screamer . . . at 1200 *laughing*

The first game I ever downloaded, Risk. It was 80k, and took about 40 minutes.

How far we have come!

Flash

1:20 PM  

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