5.5 billion transistors? (4 Sep, 2017)

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5.5 billion transistors? (4 Sep, 2017)

Postby aardvark_admin » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:13 am

This column is archived at: http://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2017/0904.shtml

I find it interesting that, at least from my perspective of the effect it had on my life, a single old-school germanium transistor was more powerful than the 5.5 billion transistors that Huawei are packing into their latest smartphone CPU.

Have you had any of those defining moments in your life related to technology and if so, what were they?

Do kids today have the same chance to experience such moments?
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Re: 5.5 billion transistors? (4 Sep, 2017)

Postby BruceNZ » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:49 am

"Hello World" on a Vic-20 aged 9 or so, and looking at a globular cluster through a telescope aged 11.
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Re: 5.5 billion transistors? (4 Sep, 2017)

Postby JonL » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:33 am

Hearing the wail of a works Honda 250 at 14 and realising motorbikes weren't all thudding boring British pos or weird little European two strokes
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Re: 5.5 billion transistors? (4 Sep, 2017)

Postby GSVNoFixedAbode » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:18 am

These days, I'd say watching 3D printers do their stuff and produce, in excruciating slow motion, something akin to the Star Trek (TOS) replicator of my childhood.

Personally, I had one of those moments with the intersection of topo maps, graphic computing, and 3D printing. I still have an unfinished project to port Terrafab (Norway) onto the 5m resolution digital info for New Zealand
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Re: 5.5 billion transistors? (4 Sep, 2017)

Postby granada29 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:31 am

As a part-time musician, one of the most useful pieces of tech ever, has been the hand-held, fully chromatic electronic tuner. My first encounter with one was around 1980 and I discovered this amazing little box from Korg that not only allowed you to get a stringed instrument quickly into concert pitch (for various definitions of concert pitch) but was far more convenient in a noisy environment than the little pan pipes that we commonly had in our instrument cases. The 'A" tuning fork was also also consigned to the no longer useful box of bits and pieces.

Prior to that there were stroboscopic tuners, but they required a mains supply, contained lights and moving parts and were kind of bulky. The Korg box fitted in the pocket of the instrument case and very rarely needed a battery change (2 x AA from memory). All of sudden, musicians were in tune with each other and no more arguments about who had the correct pitch.
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Re: 5.5 billion transistors? (4 Sep, 2017)

Postby roygbiv » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:06 pm

Two moments, the first being out in the garden when I was 8 on a frosty night in UK with my dad and a telescope. He showed me the rings of Saturn. I shared that excitement again more recently on a clear night from a beach in the Bay of Islands. I showed my daughter the moons of Jupiter through a similar telescope, she had the same look of wonder that I must have shown all those years ago.
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Re: 5.5 billion transistors? (4 Sep, 2017)

Postby Muscular Jam » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:39 am

Seeing Saturn through the 9inch refractor at Carter Observatory as a child. Mind-blowingly beautiful.
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Re: 5.5 billion transistors? (4 Sep, 2017)

Postby Hiro Protagonist » Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:44 am

Two things for me. The first was hearing at a young age, that a spacecraft has crashed into the moon, and wondering if one day people might make that journey, and the second was a few years later when I read an article in [of all places] Meccano magazine describing how you could make a radio. After that, the meccano set gathered dust as I became engrossed in electronics.
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