Hattip to Ann Althouse. A trip down tech memory lane. The IBM 5100 came out in 1975, the year I went off to the U of I as a freshman. I was fascinated by computers, so I would hang around the Foreign Language Research Building until 11:00 PM and play Space War on one of the main frames until the administration put a stop to that the next semester.
Note in the commercial that IBM says the computer cost is “reasonable”. In 1975 dollars you would pay 11,000 for the 16kb version. For the 64kb version the cost was twenty grand, which was the entire annual income for my parents at that time. When I started practicing law I earned 16,000 my first year out. The IBM 5100 was definitely only for businesses, the rich or the truly crazed tech heads. I didn’t obtain my first computer, a Commodore 64, until 1987, and that cost my wife and I $1,000.00 for 64kb ( Fortunately my wife loves computers as much as I do). The next year we picked up an IBM with the same memory for a grand. We then did an upgrade almost immediately so we would have two, count them!, two floppy drives. An IBM with a harddrive had to wait until 1991. That first harddrive had 20MB and I recall wondering how we would ever fill up that space. Continue Reading
Good post from Carl Olson on Steve Jobs that casts a different light on the man than some of the hagiography that we’ve seen. What caught my attention and what I wanted to post about, however, was another article that he linked to which was written by Vaclav Smil. It hits upon a subject I’ve been meaning to blog about since Jobs’s death. The long and short of it: Steve Jobs was no Thomas Edison.
I have no desire to disparage or dismiss anything Jobs has done for his company, for its stockholders, or for millions of people who are incurably addicted to incessantly checking their tiny Apple phones or washing their brains with endless streams of music—I just want to explain why Jobs is no Edison. Continue Reading
Technological history is a unique point of view that always caught my eye. David Deming of the American Thinker gives us a brief synopsis of his latest contribution in this genre. Keep in mind how integral Christianity was to the recovery of Europe after the barbarian invasions and the safekeeping of knowledge by the monastic system that allowed Europe to recover and blossom into what we now call Western Civilization:
Both Greece and Rome made significant contributions to Western Civilization. Greek knowledge was ascendant in philosophy, physics, chemistry, medicine, and mathematics for nearly two thousand years. The Romans did not have the Greek temperament for philosophy and science, but they had a genius for law and civil administration. The Romans were also great engineers and builders. They invented concrete, perfected the arch, and constructed roads and bridges that remain in use today. But neither the Greeks nor the Romans had much appreciation for technology. As documented in my book, Science and Technology in World History, Vol. 2, the technological society that transformed the world was conceived by Europeans during the Middle Ages.
Greeks and Romans were notorious in their disdain for technology. Aristotle noted that to be engaged in the mechanical arts was “illiberal and irksome.” Seneca infamously characterized invention as something fit only for “the meanest slaves.” The Roman Emperor Vespasian rejected technological innovation for fear it would lead to unemployment.
Greek and Roman economies were built on slavery. Strabo described the slave market at Delos as capable of handling the sale of 10,000 slaves a day. With an abundant supply of manual labor, the Romans had little incentive to develop artificial or mechanical power sources. Technical occupations such as blacksmithing came to be associated with the lower classes.
Salvete AC readers!
Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:
1. Seems like priests and their habits have been ruminating around the blogosphere as of late. Now Fr. Z has followed up this with insight concerning those for and against this trend.
For the link click here.
2. Speaking of religious, after enduring the many innovations following the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, vocations have rebounded:
“Nearly 70 percent of Catholic religious communities have seen a jump in vocation inquiries in the past year”
The vast majority of those entering the religious life are tradition-minded adults under the age of 40.
For the link click here.
In direct defiance of the advice I gave last month, I gave my wife a vacuum cleaner for our 26th wedding anniversary, and I am not eating from a doggie dish. Of course, being a veteran husband, I took the elementary precaution of asking her first if she would like such a gift, and only proceeded after being given the spousal green light.