A: a computer.
As you are well aware by now, I get a kick out of Mark J. Perry’s blog, Carpe Diem. He links to a photo comparing an IBM supercomputer with 5MB storage being lifted into the side of an aircraft with a forklift in 1956 to a 128GB flash drive today: 1st Super-Computer (1956) v. Today’s Flash Drives
That prompted me to make another comparison of then versus now.
I picked for comparison the first laptop that showed on an Amazon search.
- 1956 supercomputer vs. Dell Inspiron 14RM
- Weight – over 2,000 pounds, versus 6.57 pounds – improvement of at least 304 fold
- Hard drive storage – 5 MB versus 640 GB, increase by factor of 131,072
- Cost – unknown but I’m guessing $100K or more in 1956 dollars versus $580 including shipping
- Transport method – forklift versus bag that goes over your shoulder
- Wow factor – astounding then versus boring today
The more astounding idea is that the comparison is actually between a top-of-the-line-only-a-research-scientists-gets-to-use-it computer then and an average, normal commodity today.