Can you believe the car you drive in pot-hole filled narrow streets of paradise is more intelligent than the rocket that carried people to the moon and back? Today’s Toyota cars (as well as the others) boast of so much sophistication and technology, the Apollo 11 fades in comparison. From the more familiar VVT-i, SRS and ABS to Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) – to satellite navigation and auto parking – cars today carry more computer chips than Armstong’s lunar vehicle. Can you ever even think of comparing a trip to the moon with your grocery-run?
The first ever Apple Mac that I used in Sri Lanka was the Classic II in 1991, probably the first ever to arrive in the island. It had a 512k hard disk. To put things in perspective, that’s half a floppy disk, 0.05% of 1GB USB stick, and smaller than most of my emails.
It had a black & white screen with less resolution than a PDA or an iPhone.
In the early ’80s, I sat in front of a Home Computer for the first time in my life. It was a Sinclair ZX81, that was plugged in to the TV screen that acted as the monitor. And I wrote my first programme, beginning with: Let “milk” = X...
Today, there are no “Home Computers” and I walk around with a laptop that’s capable of editing Toy-Story, in my back-pack.
My work as an Art Director in an advertising agency for the whole year of 1996 is archived in a 88MB Syquest Disk. Now I consume more data in chatting with my family on Skype in just 3 hours.
Our domestic telephone line in Nugegoda had just four digits. Diyatalawa house had just three digits and we had to call the “exchange” and “book a trunk call” and wait by the phone for anything between 5 to 30 minutes for them to connect the calls. Now I walk around with a little gadget in my pocket that not only connects me to anywhere in the world, but also takes pictures, records audio and video, and checks email as well as offers a multitude of other tasks.
My mother waited for six years to get a telephone connection in the early 1980’s. It takes less than an hour today, kind of an OTC (Over-the-counter) affair, just like buying medicine from a pharmacy really.
My father paid a sum of Rs 62.50 to STC Prep as Grade 1 admission fees when I was a kid. The fee included books as well as the term fees. I paid around Rs 140,000 to have my son admitted to one of the Colombo schools, and the books weren’t even included. That’s over 2,200 times more, in just 30 years!
All this, I have witnessed in my lifetime. And I’m not even 40 yet!