12 DAYS OF COMPUTER WISHES

9. August 2011, 19:39 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

I was recently going through same old papers and found an article titled “Twelve Wishes for a Computer Christmas” by Peter Talbot. It was a fairly old article as such things go, having been published in The Computer Paper, Metro Toronto Edition in December 1992.

While it is a bit early to be looking at Christmas wishes, the article is amusing, prophetic, and current in some of its entries. I'll not try and reproduce the entire thing, but just abbreviate the individual items provide insight into how far the industry has come in many respects - and how little it has advanced in others.

12 Days of Computer Wishes for Christmas circa 1992

  1. Free technical support (including toll charges) for the life of your products.
  2. A laptop with 8-9 hours of life, a two hour recharge and weighs the same as a standard 3 hour NiMH.
  3. Integrated warranty / registration / customer survey cards.
  4. Integrated circuit “hard drives” for the price of conventional drives.
  5. Quieter hard drives, removables and computer cooling fans.
  6. A full page scanner with reliable OCR for under $500.
  7. A BBS that lists all the other BBSes.
  8. Full colour PostScript laser printers for under $1000.
  9. A memorable lock/unlock diagram on floppy disks.
  10. Laser printer labels/paper/toner that cost less than the printer.
  11. Real, knowledgeable, communicative people answering customer service numbers instead of computer voices, touch-tone menus and script readers.
  12. User documentation that isn’t user hostile.

Ten years later some of those wishes have been granted. Laptop batteries are nearing the 6 hour mark and netbooks are hitting 8. (Though the old Tandy 100 series got 12 hours off a handful of AA alkaline batteries.) Included warranty/survey cards have been replaced with web sites and are now opt-in due to privacy regulations. Solid state drives (SSD) are now a reality, and while not the same price as mechanical hard drives they are no longer astronomical in price. And so it goes - a mix of achievements and shortfalls.

To add a little extra perspective, an advertisement on the same page offers a "Professional system" (486DX-50, 4MB RAM, 1.44 & 1.2MB floppy drives, 120MB Hard disk drive, 14" SVGA, 24-bit video card, MS-DOS 5.0/MS Windows 3.1, keyboard & mouse) for the modest sum of $2668. The same advertisement offers a 210 MB hard drive for $525 and a CD-rom drive for $300.

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Keywords: Christmas,12days,computer wishes

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