[rescue] Perverse Question

David A de Gruyl david at bhaermandegruyl.org
Mon Jun 9 20:13:52 CDT 2003

* on [03-06-09 18:01] Jonathan C. Patschke wrote:
>Like Dave, George, and I have said repeatedly, 64MB of 1996 RAM is 64MB
>of 2003 RAM.  Email is still, by-and-large, 7-bit ASCII.  The web is
>still, by and large, HTML and JPEGs.  Wordprocessing hasn't changed
>much.  Spreadsheets aren't much bigger.  Aside from video editing and
>audio editing (which most people -don't- do, full-time), the things we
>expect out of our computers haven't fundamentally changed in the last
>seven years.  So, why was 64MB of 1996 RAM "living large", but 256MB of
>2003 RAM "just getting by"?  It's sure not because the software is 3 or
>4 times -better- than it was seven years ago.

I use computers (by and large) to design petroleum plants.  This involves 
enormous ammounts of calculations.  I really do appreciate when the 
simulations take 10% of the time that they took on my previous computer.  
I can currently do the work of 3-5 engineers, with the aid of decent 
computing power.  Less waiting and all that.

Of course, most of the simulations I work with have been deveolped over 
the past 15-20 years, and started life as fortran programs on Vaxen.  
Later they moved to a comercial package with our fortran subroutines 
embedded.  So, we had some experience with slow.  (start now, check on 
it tomorrow or something).

But for the most part I agree with you.  If I am using a program 
designed for slower processors and optimized for memory, it will fly 
with a new machine.  Sometimes it is nice to get a cup of coffee though.

The biggest problem of today is the operating systems _REQUIRING_ 
massive amounts of memory.  It is obscene that Windows 2K will die a 
horrible death if you try to do anything with under 128M and needs 256M 
to open Word in a reasonable time. 


David de Gruyl <david at bhaermandegruyl.org>
Princeton(ish), NJ

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