A Bargain


An online inflation calculator says:

"What cost $999 in 1982 would cost $2226.84 in 2010. "

I just looked at 8 gigabyte thumb drives on Amazon for $14.00.

Original ad here.
     Posted By: Paul - Tue Sep 13, 2011
     Category: Business | Advertising | Products | Computers | 1980s

Back in the day, that was a *huge* amount of storage. I remember the first time I got my hands on 64k of RAM - I couldn't think how I was going to use it all.
Posted by TheCannyScot in Atlanta, GA on 09/13/11 at 10:28 AM
I've got over 3.5TB of storage now & thinking about more!

I shudder to think what my C64, color monitor, tape drive and two 160kb drives would cost in today's money.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 09/13/11 at 11:58 AM
The craziest part of this is how usable so little space is on something that old. I have a Macintosh SE from 1987 that I use for writing, and it has a big 40mb drive. This is a computer with a modern (graphics based) operating system and tons of programs installed (lots of games and graphics intensive applications). Take those elements away (they weren't around in 1982), and an 8mb drive suddenly looks pretty roomy. Even in the late 1980s, the operating system could be condensed to well under 100 kilobytes (most today are at least a couple gigabytes), and text files even today are tiny (I just checked, and a research paper I did last semester on a brand new word processing program clocked in at 97 kilobytes). We always think of technology progressing along a fixed path, getting better and faster every year, but really it just progresses in certain ways and stays the same in others. The size of hard drives may keep increasing exponentially, but they will never be big enough for all of our files.
Posted by Salamander Sam in Chicago on 09/13/11 at 02:10 PM
In the early days when Apple still dominated the market I put a one meg memory card in my Apple IIE. I thought I had died and gone to computer heaven. What more could you want, twin 140K floppy drives and a meg of memory WHOOPIE.
Posted by yogi in Kennesaw GA on 09/13/11 at 02:40 PM
If you notice, that price was for the storage only, the cables, host adapter and power module were extra. You had to spend $1299 for the complete package.

I also noticed an article for the Timex Sinclair for $99.95. I remember that you had to tape the memory module in place so it wouldn't fall out of the socket while you were working.

Now lets see, where did I put that computer, I know I put it in a box in the shed somewhere.
Posted by Poker50 on 09/13/11 at 02:48 PM
@salamander Sam

You are right about how much got crammed into so little space. Visicalc, one of the first programs to make Apple computers really useful, was contained on just one of those early 140K discs. For those who don't recognize it, Visicalc was a spread sheet program like Excel. I kept my business records on a double entry cash journal I created in Visicalc. I made it self checking as well so if I made a wrong entry in one of the columns for a particular item it would do a checksum like operation and let me know I had made a typo and how much it was so it was easier to track it down.

In those days you had to write "tight" code to do anything useful in so little space. And then if you pre compiled it you could get even more out of your program. Now memory and storage are so huge and cheap that programmers and the languages they work in have gotten sloppy.
Posted by yogi in Kennesaw GA on 09/13/11 at 02:55 PM

It looks like we were typing our responses to Salamander Sam at the same time since we said pretty much the same thing about writing code that wasn't, as you called it, bloatware.
Posted by yogi in Kennesaw GA on 09/13/11 at 02:58 PM
Y'all are right about bloatware.
Posted by TheCannyScot in Atlanta, GA on 09/13/11 at 08:32 PM
My God, I am lucky I can navigate the publish page! You guys are very knowledgeable. I am duly impressed gentlemen.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 09/13/11 at 10:40 PM
PowerBASIC, which is the language I used to write code in, packed it's Window's code so tight that customers started complaining that the program wasn't near "big enough" to possibly do the job it was supposed to do. So the creator put a function in the compiler to tack on n number of bytes on the end of the code to bulk up the EXE file. The command is #BLOAT n.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 09/13/11 at 11:46 PM
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