Sunday, 29 May 2016

Looking Back over 50 years computing

Fastrand II
I entered the computer industry just over 50 years ago, and a purchase I have just made really brings home the scale of change over the years.

In 1966 my employer, Shell Mex and BP, was planning to move from a batch processing Leo 3 system involving the files of some 250,000 customers to a new computer which had direct access storage. In 1967 placed an order for a Univac Computer with FastRand drum drives. Each drive could store 100 megabytes of data  and cost about £100,000. It came in a large cabinet and weighed about 2,200 kilo.

This weekend I decided to reorganise all my computer files as part of a move from Windows XP on a rather tired desktop to a laptop under Windows 10. These files include historical archives going back some 25 years, and urgently need restructuring. I purchased a drive big enough to hold all my personal files from several generations of personal computers and separate hard drives. The drive cost about 30,000 times less than a Fastrand (adjusted for rise in cost of living), weights about 100,000 times less, and can contain about 20,000 times more data!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, everything of that kind of thing has gotten much cheaper and much better. I bought my first digital camera about 10 years ago - 3 MB and 3 power zoom for about $700.00 CDN. Memory cards then cost about $1.00 per MB. Now they cost about 50 cents per GB, 1/2000 as much.