Thanks for the memories!

Today, in our rather untidy house, the camera case got knocked upside down. I know this because I found an 8GB memory card on the floor. Later I picked up a 4GB card. I know I put them down somewhere but can’t find them right now.

But it did get me thinking, and reminiscing. Less than twenty years ago, I bought a new computer. I remember it well because we were a bit short of money and were scouring the newspaper adverts for just what we wanted. In the end we found a 486 (the thing to have) with 16MB of memory and a huge, 500MB of hard disk! Now, I’ve just lost 12GB of memory, that is 12,000MB or, 24 times what I saved up for.

It doesn’t stop there – our car stereos take memory sticks with mp3s on them. We have two 4GB sticks, plus a couple of spares, and various assorted iPods and other mp3 players. Two of these memory sticks are actually so small I can’t see where the memory would be – they are little more than a USB plug. And we have a micro SD card that was bought for the SatNav and ended up in a phone!

I think, and it’s only an estimate, that there’s about 50GB of memory storage floating around in our home. That’s 50 thousand million bytes of data, or around 400 thousand million questions that are answered 1 or 0. Or 100 500MB hard disks.

The really freaky thing is that this is down the back of the sofa memory. This is what I’ve bought because it was on a special offer or was given with a camera. Attached to my computer is a 1.5TB disc and in my Tivo box is another 1TB. That is a mind-boggling amount of memory, that even dwarfs all the cards and sticks that are scattered around the house.

I also had another moment – it felt like I fell asleep in the late twentieth century and woke up now. I went out a bought a printer for under £100. I was expecting something quite basic, but this thing is a combined scanner, printer, fax and copier. It connects wirelessly so I don’t even need a USB connection. And it has a colour touch screen through which I can download apps onto my printer to print stuff out from the internet without using a computer. All for under £100. I do feel like I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole of technological proportions.

What’s freaked you out today? How much memory is lurking in your house and down the back of the sofa?


  1. Ten years ago my grandmother died. She was born in 1923. I often think what she would make of today’s world if she had lived just ten more years. This is the most luxurious and cosseted time ever to have lived since the Big Bang. We are more fortunate than many of us realise. Advances in technology have moved more quickly in the last thirty years than in centuries before, even millennia. It’s no wonder our heads are spinning!

    1. Hi Sam! I think that is another part of it. My children probably don’t realise that their surviving grandparents grew up without TV at all, that us as parents grew up with 3 channels, often in black and white. I tell my children that I had one hour a week on a computer at school, and that was because I went to a posh grammar school! Yet, weirdly, their two grandmothers are the only ones in the family with e-readers so they haven’t been left behind 🙂 It certainly is an incredible time to be alive in the Western World. And to remember there are still vast swathes of the world that are on subsistence farming, a huge percentage of the world’s population!

  2. Graham,

    I bought a 512Kb ram upgrade for my Amiga (yes, Kb) for £115! It was bigger than your average internal hard-drive!


  3. I love technology. We seem to be leaps and bounds ahead of where we were ten years ago. It is scary, but for this iPhone loving, gadget buying, dude, IT IS GREAT!

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