Computer technology has come a long way in the past two decades. Communication is faster, equipment is smaller, and the internet can load web pages in seconds. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and get a glimpse of the vast advancements in computer technology since 1998.
Did you ever imagine a monitor smaller than the size of a fish tank? Or what about a laptop that weighs just three pounds? It sounds amazing when you actually think about it. Living in the technological era makes it easy to forget how far we’ve come in the past 20 years.
Your Internet Connection
The sound of dial-up internet: you heard it every day and likely still remember those somewhat annoying beeps. Today though, that’s something to laugh about. There’s no need to use dial-up and your internet connection has grown exponentially faster. Websites now load in less than a second. Search engines like Netscape are far forgotten and Google has taken over. The use of broadband internet - whether it be a wired or satellite connection - has eliminated the frustratingly long time it took to connect.
Today, once your internet connection is set-up, the World Wide Web is at the tip of your fingers. With over forty-five billion webpages available, internet users now have over four million times the internet browsing options compared to what they had 20 years ago. Four billion people are now connected to the internet. That’s over half the world, and global communication is booming.
Twenty years ago, the means of communication were shifting. Some people still wrote letters by hand, cordless phones were common, email use was slowly trending, and for businesses, the fax machine was the most popular means of communication. And while the popularity of faxes was short lived at the turn of the millennium, businesses had concluded that snail mail was too slow and the purchase of email accounts were an unnecessary expense.
Did we ever expect email, wireless calling, and the invention of video calls to take over? Probably not. In 1998 there were only ten million free email accounts in circulation; call connections were sometimes poor, and the only video taken was on a video camera. Things have obviously changed since then.
Currently the average person has more than one email account and there are an estimated 5.2 billion accounts set up worldwide. Furthermore, most employees have a desk phone or personal work phone and the market for video conferencing continues to grow. So, while fax machines may have become a thing of the past, communication methods have greatly improved in convenience and accessibility.
Remember the floppy disk? Those coaster-sized storage devices made information easily transferable from one computer to another. The other storage option was to simply save documents to your computer’s hard drive.
Today, data storage methods are worlds apart from what floppy disks had to offer. From the most basic thumb drives to cloud storage and even off-site data backup, there are so many more ways to store and protect your information. Just think, the idea of a virtual cloud or even a physical database that holds billions of pieces of information is incredible. And beyond that, data can now be saved anywhere at any time. Smart technology has allowed us to connect multiple devices to edit and back-up data even when we are far from our computers. Advancements in data storage have definitely made our lives easier; but with new technology also comes new dangers.
In 1998, people were busy browsing Yahoo and spending time on Ask Jeeves, not at all worrying about computer security. And there was no need to. Back then, risky websites were uncommon and internet connections were unencrypted. But with time, cyber criminals appeared and protecting your information became a necessity. Now it’s a common practice to employ virus and malware protection, firewalls, and to watch out for insecure internet connections. Bad actors know you rely on the internet, and while advancements in computer technology provide us with a faster and more convenient experience, it’s important to remain secure. A little extra protection has never hurt anyone.
Comparing Computer Technology
Advancements in computer technology have impacted people all over the globe. And the impacts reach further than ever imagined. Take a look at the difference in quality and prices (adjusted for inflation) of high demand computer technology between 1998 and 2018.
Today you can buy a brand-new desktop or laptop computer for half the price of one 20 years ago. Plus, today’s computers generate about 6x faster processing speeds and over 1,000x the storage capacities that were available in 1998. It’s truly amazing how far computer technology has come.
The storage available on your computer can greatly affect the price. However, the average cost of hard drives per GB (gigabyte) has dropped 2,500x in the past 20 years. In 1998 a hard drive on average cost about $75 per GB. Now, the average cost of a hard drive per GB is just $0.03; a truly remarkable price drop.
Over the past two decades, we’ve experienced changes in technology that we wouldn’t have ever dreamed of. And, the advancements in computer technology have proven to be exceptionally innovating and time saving. Will such drastic developments in technology continue? Only time will tell.
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