Or getting a WiFi connection.
When I was still at junior school at less than 10 years old, we got our first home computer. It was a ZX81. With 1Kb of RAM, adverts at the time of initial launch in 1981 said it could run a nuclear power station. Since installing a WiFi card in our Freebox – an ADSL box which brings TV, Internet, and a cheap phone line on which I can call fixed lines for free – I can sit anywhere in my flat and be connected to the Internet sending email to friends around the world.
Following the ZX81 we had a BBC Model B, a ZX Spectrum, a Commodore 64, and then an Atari ST. Our first PC was an 8086 with just 128Kb of RAM and a single 5.25″ disk drive with 320Kb storage. Each new stage was a leap forward for home computing, but most of it (until I started programming on the PC and the Atari ST) was for games.
As I look at Nathan at just 5 months old, I imagine how old he’ll think I am. His first memories of computing will be several gigabytes of storage in your pocket on which you can watch video and that you plug headphones into. Those little gadgets have more power than that which Sinclair marketing touted in 1981 as being enough to run a nuclear power station.
Everything will be on DVD (blu-ray, probably) and cassettes and vinyl will be museum material. Computing is gradually making its way into our daily lives, whether we like it or not. Maybe we don’t have wearable computers (yet the iPod is a fashion accessory) but many of our cats and dogs have an RFID tag implant to identify them.
Once I used to dream of having a powerful computer. Now I have more computing power in my pocket than my dream computer of some 15 years ago. I used to send 3.5″ disks by post to other people in England. Now I can transfer the equivalent of 100 of those disks in about an hour, to anywhere in the world, from outside on my balcony.