Saturday, September 01, 2007

Helium Article: On the Evolution of Technology

Here is another of my articles. Currently Rated 1st of 4.

I grew up with computers. At the age of twenty I can think of 10 that I have owned. They get smaller, they get faster, but I think that the most significant change is how much more they are accepted.

When I was 4 years old my uncle bought himself a new computer. His old computer was a behemoth, its CRT monitor ran in Orange and black. When you turned it on you had to specify were the operating system was for the system to load. Really there was only one upside to this behemoth: It ended up sitting on my bedroom floor.

Since then I have watched computers move into the world of gray-scale, hundreds of colors, thousands of colors, millions of colors. I owned a desktop that seemed roaring fast at 66Mzh, watched as home built computers became commonplace while I was in high school students, watched the price of a desktop drop from over $2000 to under $400 as the speed, ram, and storage increased by orders of magnitude. In 2001 I saw my first palm pilot, now I carry a phone with more ram, processor speed, and storage than all the computers everybody I have ever met owned before the year 1990. Now computers are beginning to start a new path into multiple processors and the evolution of power will continue.

When all is said and done though, what has really changed. Computers still do the same functions, maybe thousands of times faster, but all we really use them for is still word processing, music, games, the internet. Maybe the occasional person has found some amazing new task to pit there number crunching digital companion against but the average user hasn't. Now, however, there is an average user.

One aspect of computers that has grown right along side all that power is social acceptance. When I owned that first leviathin of a tower even my little four year old friends, who would gladly play with a hard boiled egg for fun, were afraid of it. Now were not at all shocked to see a person walking down the street with there MP3 player wired to there head, cell phone in hand text messaging to somebody half way across the world. When walking into Starbucks we don't think twice to see little laptops whirring on every other table as college students and business men streamline there work into spreadsheets and Email correspondence.

It happened a little bit at a time, from the spread of the internet to the advent of DVD players. From Walkmen to Ipods and laptops to smart phones. But the social perception of electronics has evolved alongside them. Wearable displays, looking much like the Xmen Cyclop's Visor will be out later this year. I hazard that two years from now, I will walk through the mall, and somewhere in the corner of my eye I will see a man or woman sitting there using one, and nobody will care.

Learn more about this author, Patrick Shechet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


This was very interesting...I like your writing style. Dad wants to know what the number rating means ...You are famous. Mom