Do You Remember When?

Do you remember this Compaq Portable Computer? The term 'portable' may not have been the best description for the thing. It weighted near 30 pounds. It was a computer in a suit-case.  The one in the picture used 5.25" floppy disk, an had a built in 9" monitor ('green' monochrome, not color).  The one I frequently lugged around also had a built in hard drive, a powerhouse @ 20M bytes. And the memory - you could expand the memory from 128K to 640K bytes. Oh, and most importantly, a MODEM. Yes, I could 'connect' (at about 1200 baud, if I was lucky).  Where did I connect to? Maybe a Bulletin Board System (BBS), or to transfer files to a supplier (a novel idea at the time, but we did it frequently in some parts business). I remember connecting to a few large systems to run circuit analysis programs, later connecting to things like CompuServe. This was the early days of personal computing. Operating these early IBM PC computers was not easy. Most computers of this generation used either MS-DOS (PC clones) or CP/M (Examples: Osborne or KayPro).  The Compaq used MD-DOS, a rather difficult operating system to use unless you were a computer geek. It was the poor, difficult to use interface on PC's that made the early Macintosh such a beautiful machine. Of course, I am not going to get into the history of Apple computers here, although I am a MAC fan and now user:).

Applications? We used Word Perfect and Lotus 1-2-3 - two very popular apps. These two application change the way we did business. The promise of mobility was just an embryo of a thought - or was it? Even prior to the personal computer we were anxious to shrink technology and carry it around with us. I remember my early calculators and how excited I was when I could carry it around in my pocket.  And while we are talking about it, how about those early cell phones? My first cell phone was a 'bag phone'.

Today I carry my calculator (heck, an entire computer), and the phone in one device - my iPhone.  I also carry my Kindle, and frequently carry my Flip Video Recorder (amazing device). If you are going to carry all of this hardware, you also have to take along the various chargers, cables and other accessories. It is a bit excessive:).

I frequently joke about all the hardware, but the fact is that innovation and technology continue to advance. Looking to the future, devices will will continue to shrink as platforms and technology converge. The devices we use to consume 'content', to communicate and make more out of life will all 'merge' and shrink. And since we are mobile, we want mobile devices. A very exciting promise.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Rick (Still hanging out in CA for one more day .. hope I can make it home thought the snow tomorrow).

Photo: wikipedia