Proctele apps in the App Store

Proctele apps in the App Store
Click the picture to see Proctele apps in Apple's App Store

Friday, April 29, 2011

What happened in 30 years?

A lot has happened in 30 years since princess Diana married, I don't know where to start.
I lived in Gothenburg in Sweden and studied at the Chalmers University of Technology. I had a summer job driving a truck with a big cupboard in the back full of bread. On that particular day in July 1981 the weather was excellent and on more than one location on my bread route people were watching the big event on TV. So what has happened in information technology since?
The computer I used then was a PDP-11, called a mini-computer. It was expensive and big, but small compared to earlier 1960's computers, and its precious CPU-cycles and hard disk were shared with a few others. Back then, there were so-called data centers where you could buy a tiny bit of processing power and storage. Now my mother has an elegant laptop PC with infinitely more power than the PDP and the CPU-cycles are so abundant that neither she nor anyone else cares. Same thing with the internal memory and hard disk space. There's such abundance of it that no one cares.
Color screens were not common. The first one I saw was connected to an IBM PC. I got my first color screen sometime in the 2nd half of the 1980's.
Although a PC on every desktop has changed the way we live, tying all those PCs together on the Internet has done much more to change our lives. Finding information is so much easier now. I can no longer remember exactly how I found out about things before the Internet.   It must have been through books and magazines.
But it's not just the PCs that communicate a lot more these days. The mobile phone didn't exist 30 years ago, although there were car-phones in very few cars. Now there are billions of these devices, which of course means most people have one. Or two or three.
Another big change is the merger between the mobile phone, the PC, the camera, the walkman, the notebook, the ... The smartphone. Your camera is always with you and your photos, and your music. BTW the camera can take moving pictures too, and you can see the result immediately, and share it, without first sending a film to a lab for developing. Postcards are still in use, but many of us prefer to send MMS instead. Definitely more personal.
Email was born too and with it a quick and easy way of hearing from your relatives far away. Before that you would pick up your phone (not your mobile) and dial an expensive long distance call, or ha ha, dare I say it: send a letter. My father (70+) is the only person I know of, who sends letters to stay in touch.
The iTunes store and other music services, YouTube, Picasa, Skype. These were utterly unfeasible, indeed unthinkable 30 years ago. Instead we had LPs and cassettes, cinema, printed photos and expensive phone bills. Video telephony was much talked of, but unfeasible. With the Bambuser everyone has his own real-time TV broadcast channel. Facebook provides everyone with a networked diary and is the best stay-in-touch service invented so far. Twitter allows us to get a feeling for how celebrities spend their days. Blogging is everyone's own newspaper (what a misnomer, but sometimes an old word tells more).
DVD replaced the VHS, which was becoming really popular in 1981. In 2011 Blue-Ray is replacing the DVD. And of course content-streaming is replacing storage media (like Blue-Ray). Digital TV, cable-TV and satellite-TV has replaced analog TV. Better picture and sound quality are an important result. Teletext/Text-TV became available about 30 years ago. It's still a very good news channel, but lacks pictures. It could have developed.
The fax-machine came along about 30 years ago and almost made it into every home, before email came and stopped its advance. It was a key apparatus in every office and so was the word processor, another outdated concept. A PC with a printer replaces both.
GPS navigation. How could we live without it? Nowadays whenever I go to a place I've never been before, I take the GPS. And BTW it's in many smartphones now. 
Most people have a creditcard or paycard nowadays. They were rare in 1981. They did not feature a magnetic strip in those days.
I must have forgotten to mention some important IT-thing or service that changed people´s lives in the last 30 years, but I'll probably want to add that later.
In the near future I'm going to attempt to make some predictions about the next 30 years on this blog.

The next 30 years.

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