Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Example of Computer Evolution

I'm writing this on a laptop with a 17" screen, an attached 19" monitor, 4 GB of RAM, about 300 GB of disk space (mostly used, unfortunately), a couple of terabyte drives attached, and a 2 GHz AMD processor. Fairly normal, you might think, except that this PC was bought in 2006, making it five year old! Not surprisingly, it runs Windows XP.

The other day I downloaded a small piece of software in order to do some work, and was cautioned that the software required that my PC should have the following minimum assets:

The following minimum computer hardware and software requirements must be
met in order to access or retrieve the materials herein: IBM
compatible or Macintosh personal computer system with internet connectivity;
available hard disk drive space of at least 50 kb; a computer pointing device,
such as a mouse; 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) compatible browser, such as
Netscape 4.0 or Internet Explorer 4.0, or higher; Adobe Acrobat® Reader ® 5.0,
computer monitor capable of displaying internet web pages and graphics;
graphical user interface operating system, such as Windows 95, OS8 or later.

Seeing as I was actually viewing the requirements on an internet site, the requirements for internet connectivity and monitor capabilities seemed a little redundant. However, I find that I have forgotten how long ago it is that a PC would function with less free disk space than 50 kilobytes! Certainly well before 1996 and the advent of the Web for most people!

Still, it all worked flawlessly, which just goes to show you how well Sir Tim and his colleagues at CERN designed the Web in the first place.


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