Sunday, June 03, 2007

Are we making progress?

Twenty years ago, I had a Mac Plus that ran Microsoft Word. Loaded from a single 800kb floppy disc. (There were some utilities on a second floppy, but I don't think I ever used them.)

When I wanted to work on a document, I switched on the computer and there it was. I could start work from cold in under a minute.

Several computers later, I now have to wait several minutes while the computer loads all sorts of rubbish. Microsoft Word now occupies several CDs, uses up tons of disc space, and runs more slowly on a high-specification laptop today than it did in the 1980s.

This has now been confirmed by some detailed benchmarks reported on HubPages by Hal Licino (via Fake Steve Jobs). Update: Fake Steve Jobs (Thinking More About Microsoft) also reminds us that "Microsoft's ... rise to power came as a result of Bill Gates positioning Windows as smaller, cheaper, easier and faster than OS/2 Presentation Manager".

So much for productivity. So much for progress.

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