Hardware vs Software

A lot has been said about the evolution of hardware and software. I am not qualified to discuss any of it.

Let’s suppose I was around in 1953 and got myself an IBM 701, the first mass-produced computer. It takes up nearly half my NYC apartment and performs basic operations like addition and subtraction.

After reading the manual I want to test drive my gadget. I learn the syntax for executing arithmetic. I might file some taxes. I may even begin to ponder, What else is this capable of?

But before I start another programming lesson, I find a better place to put my IBM 701. It’s now 11p on Friday and I’m meeting friends at P.J. Clarke’s. So I move the computer — “Dorothy” is her name — out of the way and think, Where else can I put this?

Fast forward to June 2007.

Let’s suppose I got myself an iPhone, the first fully touch screen smart phone. It takes up nearly half my pocket and performs basic operations like phone calls and video games.

After 30 seconds of intuitive understanding I want to test my gadget. I learn how to download music. I might file some taxes. I may even begin to ponder, What else is this capable of?

And that would be the ceiling of my thoughts; there is no ceiling.

All I’m saying:

Hardware wants to get smaller.

Software wants to get bigger.

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