Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Looking back these Eight Years in US - What A Change!

In another week it will be eight
years since I landed in the US for higher studies. When I look back one of the things that strike me most is the changes in the technology that has occurred in the last eight years. If we compare present day technology to the technologies we used then, in 2001, definitely will belong to the stone age.

In 2001 a laptop was a luxury. I haven't seen a laptop with any of the professors in my school in 2001. The laptop was damn expensive that students like us cannot even dream of owning one. The storage devices we had were the floppy disk and a zip drive. The maximum storage space available in our school email was 1 MB and if I remember correctly it was 2 MB storage space in yahoo mail and 1 MB in hotmail. Professors and students used the floppy drive and zip drive. I was asking my wife the other day who joined the same school 4 years after me if she is familiar with zip drive and she has never heard of it. Such is the change in technology - a device that was used by every one in 2001 become extinct in 2005!

In our school we have the computing center where the students can use the computers for lab work and assignments. There were hundreds of computers but in those days we always had to stand in the queue to get a system. Even if you go past midnight you would have a wait time. Last semester I went to the same place with my wife during the peak of the semester. Hardly there was anyone in the computer center. The reason - Now every one has a laptop and throughout the length and breadth of the school we have now wireless internet connection. Students sitting below a palm tree with their laptop and browsing is a common sight now - a sight that we could never imagine in 2001.

The prices of electronics has fallen so much in the last eight years. I remember the time when a 128 MB flash drive was the hottest product on sale for thanksgiving for over $30. Now a 128 MB flash drive is not even in the market.The other day my wife was telling me that a 1 Tera Byte (TB) hard drive is $90 in CompUSA! Five of us who shared an apartment in 2001 bought a desktop together. It cost us over $500 and it had 128 MB RAM and 512 MB hard disk space. Now if you are ready to pay $500 you could get the best desktop available.

Now online classes - There was no such concept like that in 2001. Some of the classes were recorded and if students wanted to see it, they could have to rent the VHS tape of it for few days from the library. They have to watch it using a VCR/VCP and give it back to the library. VCR and VHS tapes have become a thing of the past. Now almost all the classes are available online and you can login from any part of the world and watch it. Even the exams for most of the classes have become online. My wife during her entire MS studies never took an exam with a paper and pen but took only online exams.

In 2001, even in US a cell phone was a luxury. Not only could the graduate students ever afford to buy a cell phone but also the same was the case with most of the better off people. Now on the campus, I don't think I can find a student who does not have a cell phone.

Looking eight years back if I feel it was stone age as far as the use of technology is concerned, will I have to say the same thing about the year 2009 in 2017? Most Probably, Yes...

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Blogger scorpiogenius said...

Very true dude..

8 years is like a century in the Technology field. Everything changes right in front of your eyes. Its changes a great bit since I started getting accustomed to this tech thingys. Even I find 2006 to 2009 highly dynamic.

July 15, 2009 5:00 PM  
Blogger indavao said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

July 15, 2009 7:55 PM  
Anonymous shyam said...

Dear Brijesh,
Why did you write "8 years in US".
Do you think these changes happened only in the US, or that it happened because you landed in the US?

Anyway your article reminds me of a comedy scene in the Malayalam movie "Sandesham".

Good Luck.

July 15, 2009 8:27 PM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

I was talking to my friends other day about completing 8 years in US and the changes that has happened around us. That was the inspiration for this post. I never mentioned that it was a phenomenon in US alone nor that happened because I landed here. If I have taken my house in India also I should have written a piece very similar to this. I just took the changes around me as an example.

July 16, 2009 1:26 AM  
Blogger menonpkv said...


July 16, 2009 3:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A more appropriate title would have helped with some of the comments that you received. But I have to agree with you on the how things have changed in the technology front..

Interestingly its not just that the solid state technology has shrunk from 180-130 nm to 32nm over the last 8 years that drove many of those cited examples but also how we applied them. Latter will drive the changes in the next 8 years more than the former, I think.. Only that we need someone like Steve Jobs to be a catalyst for that change..

- G

July 16, 2009 6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could write a similar blog on the same topic - What Has Technology Done For Us? Think about this - I can now do an engineering analysis using my PC and electronic references in about an hour that would have easily taken 8 hours 20 years ago. (I'm not going to argue the proof - It's solid. Unbelievers, argue with yourselves until you figure it out) So, why is it I still have to sit there and do this work for 8 hours? Isn't this machine invented to reduce my effort and save time? Well, it didn't. I still put in a minimum of 8 hours of effort every day. I may as well go back 20 years and do it with pen and paper. 8 hours effort is 8 hours effort - typing or writing. No actual reduction in effort or improvement in work life. Productivity you may argue? Well, the only result of that is now I am surrounded by more mostly useless crap that I have to deal with. Let us ask ourselves this - What do we think we are trying to do? (rebuttal for your next argument: The only notable exceptions are the advances in medicine.)

July 17, 2009 6:22 AM  
Anonymous AJ said...

Price of technology hasn't gone down one bit. What you can buy for the same price has gone up! Think about it.
Congrats on 8 yrs in the US. I'm stuck at 7+ :D

July 17, 2009 1:02 PM  

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