By Aditi Gupta:
My cousin got the first computer in the family when she was 3. It was a very “fast” 286 MB RAM and this thing had a hard drive with 10 MB only, enough to have about 1000 games inside it. MS DOS was the only thing it was able to run, there was no Windows. That was in 1991.
Today, she owns a Tablet PC, operates it with one hand either lying down on the bed or at work. It is ultra-portable and is about the size of any standard file folder. With a RAM of 4 GB (about 400 times than the one in the older PC) and an integrated modem and network connection, it also has the smallest possible keyboard which retains functionality. Its touch screen feature makes it irresistible.
Computers have been around for many generations. The computer is not an overnight invention but one that has been developed over the centuries. It took many years, and many other inventions for the computer to be what it is now. In 1833, Charles Babbage began work on the Analytical Engine. This machine was the forerunner of the modern day computer. It was only in the 20th century that electronic computers began to take shape.
Computer was once a job title assigned to a human who was employed to perform computation. It was later that it began to have its current meaning (and now lives up to its name!).
In the 90s computers were these mainly machines with a stocky built and consumed almost an entire corner of the room with numerous cables and connections. They consumed high power and were not pocket friendly. But they were a big step towards a brighter future. We enjoy them today only because of the inventors of those times who envisaged such a lovely and brilliant machine to aid us lazy humans! The solid, cubical desktop PCs paved the way for sleek and stylish modern-day laptops and notebooks. Even modern-age desktop PCs boast of chic designs with feather light keyboards and wide HD screens and without the numerous cables and heavy power consumption disadvantages!
Comparing the first computers with the computers of today would probably give you a good chuckle at the very minimum. When computers were first invented, the average person didn’t use them. In fact, the average person would have had a very difficult time understanding how to use one!
The integration of technology has changed our perception of computers as well as how we consider them. Today, the interactions are no longer limited to one person and a machine since we can enter into dialogues and create simulated worlds and virtual realities. Computers are connected to networks that give people opportunities to interact, to co-operate, to talk, to exchange ideas as well as feelings and to create transnational relationships. Motion sensing technologies point to the fact that we are now entering a new, highly futuristic dimension. Now games don’t require controllers, it’s all about experiencing and feeling yourself in the virtual world with your movement being translated on to the screen.
It seems as though we can do everything with our computers. It makes me wonder where the computers of tomorrow will be. A world where you’ll be able to digitise documents as soon as you hold them up and where you’ll be able to initiate a video conference by just dragging that person on the screen. Can there be any new additions?