Friday, August 11, 2006

The Personal Computer Turns 25 Today

Perhaps the greatest invention of the last 25 years has been the personal computer. The first IBM models that originally sold for between $1600 to $2500 are turning 25 today. Since that time, Bill Gates, Paul Allen and others with the invention of greatly advanced operating systems, greatly improved harddrives and memory have transformed the personal computer into not only a great home office or educational device, but an all around home entertainment device.

Today some newer computers feature TV tuners that can write high resolution 720 by 480 pixel resolution line DVDs of recorded TV shows. The growth of the PC into an all around home entertainment device is growing. This is far from the days of mere ability to play or record audio CDs of music.

This is not to say that the home personal computer is not without it's frustrations. Spam Emails, unwanted adult content Emails sent to children or others, viruses, intrusion attempts in the absense of adequate firewalls, internet worms, etc., along with the technical shortcomings of some Mircosoft software that is still in it's relative technical infancy. The latest computers that combine TV tuner technology in MCE editions are a real source of frustration to many users because of technical shortcomings due to the newness of these type of computers. Microsoft attempts to offer new patches for programs that sometimes work and sometimes do not.

But 25 years from the first German and later American designed automobiles of the late 1800's. 1924 or 1925 automobiles were still very primitive compared today's computer assisted automobiles that carefully manage every drop of fuel. The home PC is yet to undergo a huge growth in the future of technology.

When the home PC is 50, 75 or 100 years old, it will be an amazing device compared to today's units. For today, these devices seem adequate for many tasks, but huge quality and performance improvements are absolutely certain to take place. Unlike any other area of technology, the home PC and the current Windows XP operating systems will undergo change with growing new technology.

Who could have guessed that some work by Bill Gates and Paul Allen could have helped to advance the first primitive PCs so far so fast. And with the technology and information explosion, you can certainly expect major changes each and every year, only building on themselves to create products that will look little like today's PCs in a few years. Happy Birthday PC. You changed the world.


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