Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Time Changes

Today, while driving with my son to the market, I asked him that what was latest in technology these days. He said, “40 Core Processor”. While it did surprise me since it was a quantum jump from the Quad Core technology I knew, it also made me smile for I am witness to a complete change over of the technology since my childhood. And when I see the developments taking place so fast, I am reminded of those days when the present day technology was just in its infancy, readying itself to take off. Let me elaborate for those who were born after the 80s when with their birth, computers had started seeing their way into our country.

While I was a child, we had a radio that would take 2-3 minutes to warm up and then start talking. I still recall a green light contracting and expanding till finally expanded indicating the talking time of the radio is to start. An uncle of mine who had then recently returned from England had brought a tape recorder that could record voices and music. A magic machine for us, with two spools running side by side, one releasing tape and the other winding it.  As for listening to records, my father had a “HMV (His Master’s Voice” gramophone, that played 78 RPM records. So this was my first exposure to the technology of my childhood.

Time changed and we heard transistors are on their way that would reduce sizes of electronic devices. And surely the sizes reduced. We had transistors replacing the big diode tubes inside the electronic gadgets and now every body could a radio of much smaller size that was battery operated and did not require wired power. The gramophones were replaced by record players and now we had LPs (Long Playing ) records, made of plastic, light weight which could have 12 songs on each side. Likewise the huge tape recorders were replaced by cassette recorders and players. And later we had VCRs as well.

I also watched as a 9 year old boy in Lahore when TV age came to Pakistan. TVs were placed in all markets and people would flock to watch TV. Soon th B&W TV was replaced with coloured one.

Then came the digital technology with the advent of  ICs (Integrated Circuits), Chip and Micro Chip technology. Though computers had been invented, but I came across my first XT computer in late 80s which did not have a hard disk and we had boot the system with a 5.5” floppy diskette. Then hard disks came in starting from 1 MB. Soon XT computers with monochrome monitors were replaced by AT computers and we had a first glimpse of 286 machine with a coloured monitor. In 1993, I bought my fisrt PC (386-DX) with a 20 MB (don’t be shocked to know – since today even a 300 GB HDD is considered to be insufficient by many ) hard drive with Windows 3.1. In those days 20 MB looked like an elephant. And then there was no stopping. The 386 to 486 jump was very soon and then we had P1s…… till we reached the Quad Core processors. 

In the meantime, CDs (Compact Diskettes) came in (2x speed) and by and by they replaced the LPs and now everyone can play hundreds of songs from one single CD. Oh I missed the USBs – these tiny things that can swallow 16 GBs of data in a jiffy.

Another affiliated development is in the connecting speed on internet. We started off with a dial up connection moving at snail pace to the high speed DSLs and WiFi / WiMax. The 3G technology in USBs for internet connection may get older in a few days more. From the data transfer of 1G to voice data of 2G, the 3G technology makes it possible the video conferencing as if sitting in a big hall talking face to face.  

So for now we have a 40 Core Processor. What follows next can anybody’s wild imagination.


Asghar Javed said...

Ya, those who has started with DOS, 40 Core Processor is not bad at all. Those starting with 40 Core Processor may not even know how it was to work with DOS. No?

Jalal HB said...

Yes you are right - those learning computer now could never know how the things started.