Then and now

Page 3 of 8  


LOL!.....
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On Sun, 26 Dec 2010 20:17:15 -0600, Dean Hoffman

of gallons at a mean price of about 46.9 cents a gallon - with short price wars being fairly common and prices occaisionally dropping below a dime. A 10 oz coke was a dime A good candy bar was a dime The average car was totally scrap in 6 to 8 years.(sure, it only cost $2000) You could buy a pretty nice house for $20,000 If I remember correctly a good bicycle tire was about $4.50, and tires for my Mini were $17 at Canadian Tire. A decent used (10 or 15 year old) bike could be had for $15, and as a teanager I could only dream of a new one. The grocery bill for our family of 8 kids was $20 to $25 per week, not counting a side of beef and a few chickens bought off the farm, and the veggies we grew in the garden.
And $5000 a year was a decent wage.
Today $30,000 is just scraping by, and $60,000 is not considered to be a lot.
A decent house is $200,000 A decent car is $20,000. A good used 6 year old car is about $6000, and 12 year old cars are very common on the roads, even in the rust belt. A decent bike tire is about $10.00 and a brand new dual suspension mountain bike can be bought for under $200. When it's 2 years old it's worth about $20.00 unless you pick it out of someone's trash because it needs $50 worth of parts to make it into a $20.00 bike. Tires for My Mystique are $100 each. A case of 12 pops (10 oz cans) can be bought for $4 if you shop around, or a 2 liter bottle for $.99 (unless you just run into the convenience store and pay $3.00). A candy bar is $.69 to $1.50 $20 won't fill a grocery bag today, and you pay a nickel for the bag.
So you earn, on average, something like 10 times as much today. The house costs about 10 times as much. The car costs about 10 times as much and lasts 2 or 3 times as long. At 6 years of age, the car is worth about 50 to 100 times what it was back then (my first 8 year old car cost me $60 - my last one $5000) Gas is roughly 10 times the price, and the average car goes almost twice as far on that gallon.
So I guess you win some and you loose some.
The big difference comes in technology goods. There we are winning hands down, even though the product replacement cycle has sped up something awfull
Things that were a luxury in the late sixties can be bought for less today than then - and they are so much "better" feature-wise, but their average lifespan is significantly lower.
Radios, TVs, Stereo equipment etc can often be bought for less today than in the late sixties. Instead of being made by your buddy's dad or uncle in the plant across town or in the next city, it's made half way around the world, and if and when it breaks 2, or 5, or 12 years down the road there is no repair-shop locally to repair it,and repair parts are generally not available even when they are a year old - and if there is, it is cheaper to replace it. Generally it is discarded before it is 5 years old.
My first electronic calculator in the early seventies was over $35 and all it could do was add, multiply, subtract and devide - if you could keep batteries in it.
Today a $2 calculator will run for a couple years on a battery, do square roots, metric conversions, etc and has 2 or 3 memories. A $30 calculator is a full programmable scientific calculator with a solar cell and a battery you never need to replace.
And computers, and televisions, and mobile telephones, and power tools, and cameras - you name it.
Where we are losing - and will loose even more in the near future is the cost of things like water, and many essential services, as well as health care (when not covered by government insurance) Pharmaceuticals, etc.
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IIRC, I paid about $2 for a plastic slide rule in high school, from 62 to 66. A Pickett, which I still have, with the leather case was about $12. How much would a $12 slide rule cost today adjusted for all the things it needs to be adjusted for?
Far more than graphing calculator that would do calculus, if my guess is right.
Steve
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On 12/27/2010 11:07 PM, Steve B wrote:

In 73, I met a guy at the university who owned one of the newfangled HP calculators. I think it was the HP-45 and it cost him upwards of $400.00 at the time. It's amazing that you can buy something for ten bucks today that will blow it away. :-)
TDD
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On Mon, 27 Dec 2010 23:21:48 -0600, The Daring Dufas

I bought an HP-45 in October of '73 for $395. I was a married college senior, making $2.25/hr. It replaced a $25 Post VersaLog I bought three years earlier. I still have both.

Hardly. No one makes anything even close to an HP-45 anymore. The only thing even HP made that came close was the 11C. I do have the "new" HP-35s, but it's just a cheap imitation of the original. <sob>
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On 12/27/2010 11:45 PM, snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

I've actually come across the darn things in thrift stores for a few dollars. I'll have to drop by the Salvation Army Thrift Store every now and then to see If I can find one. :-)
TDD
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On Tue, 28 Dec 2010 00:03:44 -0600, The Daring Dufas

If you can find an HP-45 with a working power switch, I'll take it! I have a supply of batteries. I few years ago I found a battery replacement kit that adapts standard AA batteries. ;-)
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On 12/28/2010 12:21 AM, The Daring Dufas wrote:

Hey, I had that!
There was some key combination that would turn it into a timer. Not sure why, but we thought that was a big deal.
Jeff
It's amazing that you can buy something for ten

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On Mon, 27 Dec 2010 23:21:48 -0600, The Daring Dufas

memory than an early IBM Mainframe like the system 36? the University of waterloo computing center was built to house
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On Tue, 28 Dec 2010 23:01:18 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I'm sure you mean S/360. System-36 was a minicomputer out of Rochester MN, from the '80s, predecessor of the AS/400.
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On 12/28/2010 11:25 PM, snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

In 1965-66 I learned about digital computers at the university where they had a Univac 1100 series being replaced by the IBM 360/50 RAX system during that time period. It was heaven for me playing with those monsters. :-)
TDD
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On Wed, 29 Dec 2010 02:17:57 -0600, The Daring Dufas

It was '67-'68 for me (junior/senior years in high school). Our school board refused the university's offer of PLATO terminals ("if the students have computers in the math classes they won't learn math") so the university offered free classes, books, and computer time for any high school student who wanted to learn programming. At the time, Computer Science was in the graduate college. They want to find out if high school students could learn how to program (seems silly now). Anyway, we used the university's 360/75 and programmed in ForTran using the WatFor (University of WATerloo, FORtran IV) compiler.
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On Dec 29, 10:29am, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

I remember sophomore or junior year in college (I graduated in '96) watching a (engineering) professor being dumbfounded when he gave a homework assigment for the students to write a FORTRAN program to accomplish a certain task (don't remember what it was, now) and discovering to his horror that not a single person in the class (YT included) had any clue where to even begin. Time marches on...
And then there was the programming class that all engineering students were required to take that involved C programming but instead of using C++ like everyone else in the entire universe did, used some weird complier that ran on Macs that I could never get to work. I didn't do well in that class because none of the students that I attempted to work with or even the TAs could figure out why the seemingly correct programs that I (and my friends) wrote would crash the compiler without any clue as to why. I blame that POS compiler for my lack of desire to take any subsequent programming classes, which I now regret.
nate
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Do you mean that they had no idea how to write a ForTran program, or had no idea how to program in any language?
I used to teach (assembler) programming at a small college. I was amazed at how little these *senior* CS students knew about programming. Only about two-in-five could convert a decimal to binary (or verse visa) and *maybe* one of those could write an algorithm for a computer to do it. It was no wonder they were constantly complaining about the lack of CS jobs.

That said, teaching anything without working tools is malpractice.
If there were online terminals instead of punch cards when I was in college, there would have been a decent chance that I'd have gone into CS, something I certainly would have regretted.
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On Wed, 29 Dec 2010 11:18:09 -0600, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

programming language that forces you to write clean code.
C++ is one reason there is so much "bloatware" out there.
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On Wed, 29 Dec 2010 23:57:07 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Like ForTran? <giggle> In college we also learned PL/I, which I like a lot. Unfortunately, no one else does.

For once we agree 100% <ducks lightning>. ...except that it's worse even than that. That's one of the reasons I would have regretted going into CS. I despise all forms of C.
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On Thu, 30 Dec 2010 00:02:52 -0600, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

generate all their own code, and every line SUCKS.
And careful, Lightning DOES sometimes strike twice in the same spot!!!
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snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

Yep. Business colleges teach Fortan. Not that anybody USES Fortran for business programming (since the days of the IBM 1130), but Fortran is the easiest language to use to teach the important stuff.
In other words, Fortran is the means to the end, not the end in itself.
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BASIC is often used, poorly, in that way. Pascal was designed specifically to teach programming. OTOH, depending on how you define your limits, no programming is the end in itself. ;-)
ForTran is really a scientific language, not because of the language's design rather because it's always been done that way so all the math libraries and things like vector processing support are done in ForTran.
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