I remember the hottest laptop on the market when I first came to work for BJ Associates
was a Toshiba 400CDT. It had a Pentium 75 processor which delivered unheard of speed in
the 486 world that we lived in at the time. It came with 8MB of ram and was upgradeable
to an unheard of 40MB total. A massive 770MB hard drive and a modular Quad-Speed CD-ROM
were standard. It also came with a serial infrared port that could be used to transfer
files between two machines or an organizer. A huge 10.4 inch color active matrix screen
was the best looking screen that we had ever seen and you had 16.7 million colors at a
resolution of 640 X 480. We thought this was the laptop computer to end all when it came
out, especially since it came with the option to install the latest and greatest operating
system that Microsoft had ever produced, Windows 95. It has been about 8 years and you can
buy this laptop on EBAY for about $50.
The laptops of today have gotten smaller and faster than we could have ever imagined. The
Mobile Intel Pentium 4 processor is available in a 3.06 GHz. That would be 3006 MHz for
those of us who need help comparing the speed to the old 75 MHz. These processors can handle
up to 2GB of ram. The hard drives have gotten to the 80GB size. Again this would be 8000 MB
for those comparing to the old 770MB drives. You have Wireless technology that is slipping
into the 54MB range as well as Blue Tooth and Ethernet cards built into most of the laptops
on the market. You can even get some of the systems with a Gigabit adapter, 1000mbit compared
to the add-on 10mbit Ethernet PC cards that we installed back in the old days. And all of
this power in a 6 pound package.
Technology has snuck up on us and it is scary to think about what could be around the corner
for us. We were all excited when the 28,800 modems came out and then 56k put most of us over
the edge. Now I cannot stand to use anything short of cable or DSL. You can also connect
without the wires by using your cell phone with your laptop. You will have to live without
the broadband speed, but it is getting to a respectable speed. The real estate people love the
cell phone connection because they seem to live out of their cars. Or at least the good ones do.
This is the ultimate in independence.
Wireless technology, which was only a dream a few years ago, has moved forward at a remarkable
pace. The hardware and software really seem to mesh well together and the prices have come down
to the point that most of the customers that have us install a home network will add on wireless.
You can buy a 4 port router with wireless today for what the same router without wireless was
costing a year ago. And the prices will only go down further as the technology continues to
Everything we computer guys need is on the Internet. We used to horde files and drivers that we
had found on our server because we didn't know if we would be able to find them again. Now with
broadband, Google and companies with much improved online support, there is no need to store the
files unless you want the most common items burned on CDs. Why waste my time storing and keeping
the files in order when the manufacturers are doing it for us for the most part?
Now the question is going to be, where we are going to be 5 years from now. If things continue
the way they have the last five years we are in for some amazing advances. There is no way that
things can increase at the rate they have in the past. We would have processors running at speeds
approaching 100GHz. Memory would run on a bus, probably something new, approaching 20,000 MHz.
And the prices for these 3GHz dinosaur of a computer that are out now would be about $50 if we
I think that there is a lot of technology that is yet to be discovered. There are devices in wide
use now that have the phone as well as the organizer and e-mail capabilities built-in. This type
of device, along with some sort of heads up display and in the air keyboard are not so far in the
future. With voice technology that actually works, you could see people with their laptop in
there pocket where the Palm Pilot used to be. Whatever the mind can conceive, man can achieve. It
is only a matter of time.