Moore’s Law: How the Future Came To Be Stuffed in a Stocking

Apple II computer, 2 disc drives.By David Fay Smith  COMING UP ON 30 YEARS AGO, I WROTE A BOOK called A Computer Dictionary for Kids and Other Beginners (Ballantine, 1984), to explain bits and bytes to children and their parents. This Christmas, my wise wife gave me a copy of iPads for Seniors. And so it goes.

At Costco recently, I bought flash drives for Christmas stocking stuffers: $10 each for SanDisk 16 GB flash drives – solid state gizmos with retractable USB connections that will bayonet into practically any fairly modern PC or Mac and provide a convenient means of backing up or transporting files from one computer to another. These are about 1 ½ inches long and weigh a third of an ounce.

Just to be clear, 16 GB is 16 billion bytes (actually 16, 384,000,000, but who’s counting?) A byte is equivalent to a single character or letter, so 16 GB amounts to some 2 billion 8-letter words or about 40 typical 50,000 word novels.  [Read more…]

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