Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A funny thing about computers...

This has occured to me often over the years but an email I got this morning from Tigerdirect.com brought it back to mind. It seems that computers (as well as a few other consumer driven technologies) are not affected by the rate of inflation. In fact they seem to get cheaper as the tech gets better. This phenomenon is less obvious than it was say in the 80's and early 90's but it still holds true to a degree. For the last I would say 15 years the basic cost of a home computer has not changed in relation to the level of available technology. In other words at any given point you could buy what would be considered a good general use system for between $500-$1000, a 'nice' system for under two grand and a cutting edge system for a few hundred more. The price range in relativity to the current technology seems fairly static and has remained so for a VERY long time. In some cases though, for instance with peripherals, it seem like prices are actually falling in spite of increasing technology. I recall my father buying a dot-matrix printer in the mid-80's for close to $1200!!! Today you can get a photo quality ink jet printer for $30!

Computer monitors are another example... they keep getting bigger and better as the prices get lower and lower. Eight years ago the standard was a 14" or 15" CRT (the old style of monitors that were typically deeper than they were wide). A 17" would cost you $250+. Today I got an email listing a 25" flatscreen LCD monitor for $220! It just blows me away.

Also on an anecdotal note... this reminded me of a fad that I recall taking place in the early to mid-90s (I personally knew at least 4 guys who had done this) where people with finished basements would set up a computer desk next to an inside wall (usually the inside wall connected to a utility room of some sort) and cut a hole in the drywall through which the vast bulk of their CRT monitor would go. This created the illusion of a flat screen monitor. which at that time in history only existed in Star Trek and other Sci-fi movies or TV shows. Only a few short years later, voila, we have 25" flat screen LCDs for $220!! What a world we live in.

11 comments:

The Unabashed Blogger said...

I don't think people should use acronyms unless they know what they stand for...CRT. Sheesh.

Percussivity said...

Hey I defined it as a type of monitor... you are saying you would prefer me to use the term cathode ray tube??

The Unabashed Blogger said...

I just remember someone who is computer literate stating that acronym thing to me and acting all high and mighty about it. Then of course they didn't know what something meant later in the conversation when they used their own acronym. Irony.

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

We say "CRT" to avoid the embarrassment of someone asking us what the hell a "cathode" is, particularly if we are away from a computer with internet access.

Word Verification: catelogi.

The Unabashed Blogger said...

Mix Perc with brew and acronyms. In for a treat.

Percussivity said...

The last person to see me in a state of true inebriation (being slap happy due to the late hour and having nothing whatever to do with the consumption of a mere two lite beers, excepting that it may have added to the level of mental tiredness, does not in any conceivable manner count) was Scott Melton, bass player for Velocity, and Bill Hemenway, friend and roadie, at some point in mid-April, 1989. This was a few short weeks before accepting Christ as my savior and giving up all such drunkeness.

I can assure you there will be no more difficulty with explaining acronyms this Saturday evening than I would have at the present moment. Anyway... I'm not the one who comes up with all these acronyms, but as my industry uses them profusely it is in my interest to know them and merely a habit to use them in normal conversation.

Did that come across as defensive? BACK OFF YA GINGER HEADED PUNK!!! I love you man.

The Unabashed Blogger said...

Yashee?? Heesh in deniashble abouts hisshelf...

The Angry Coder said...

Without using Google or Wiki, I'll take a shot at this. A 'cathode' is an end node on an electrical circuit which is positively charged. In the process of electrolysis (conducting electricity through water or some other fluid) you hook up a wire to the positive terminal of a battery and the other end is at the bottom of the tube full of fluid. You then run a wire from the negative terminal to a post which sticks out of the cap of the tube into a fluid. This is the anode. Electricity flows from the battery and is discharge from the cathode into the fluid where it finds it's way to the anode and back to the battery.

A cathode ray is a stream of particles. It seems like I've heard these monitors can potentially cause cancer because of the particles they emit. This would imply that it's actually beaming particles from the tubes. How this translates to color I'm not exactly sure. Is the electricity discharged into a glass tube filled with some chemical that when charged emits light, like a flourescent bulb? Is spectral light filtered from the stream of electrons to only allow a certain frequency to escape the tube and project to the glass? Now I'll have to look it up and see how close I am!

I say all this to show that IT people not only know what the acronyms mean, but are able to discuss the concepts behind them.

A Pilgrim's Porridge said...

I still don't understand what the hell a cathode is except that they are dangerous and I don't want to be anywhere near them.

Did Percuss hint at a party? Perhaps one that I am not invited to.

I understand, I am that guy in the group aren't I?

Percussivity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Percussivity said...

Fear not for you are on the short list for Russian Culture Night whenever we get around to it.

Word Verification 'butonesc'... There is indeed but one StarCraft and thus far none can contend with this the world's greatest ever Real Time Strategy game.