Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A look back in time.

Slide Rule, Slider, Scale  I got to thinking about how much our ability to do calculations have changed.  I think my friends grandfather used slide rules to find answers to the higher level problems.  I don't think I've even seen a slide rule but my friends grandfather speaks of them fondly. 

I also remember others who speak fondly about tables they used for logs and natural lns so they could do calculations.  I had some one explain how to do that and I thought it was cool.

A friends father showed me his first calculator.  I think he said it cost something like $400 back then and was a TI something or other.  I couldn't believe he paid so much for a calculator.  The new ones you get at the dollar store do almost the same things for $1.00.  Of course, the calculators I used were TI's like the TI-74's which did so much and cost maybe $100 but now you can get an app for your phone that does as much and is free!  Wow.

On the other hand,  my mother talks about working at a place that had a computer that took up the whole floor and had maybe 8 kb of memory and used punch cards.  She was so impressed with that.  Someone once told me, they used to wet down the punch cards, iron them and then stick them back in someone's stack.  Apparently the cards would shrink just enough to clog up the readers. 

Now I'm working on a computer that is so much smaller,  faster, and more powerful than what my mom worked with.  As a matter of fact, I think my cell phone will do as much as this computer.  I can actually do all my math on the calculators I put on my mobile devices. 

Think of how much life has changed over the past few decades. In fact, so much more can be done in the math class with just the mobile devices than our grandparents did.