Yet Another Reminder of How Far Computer Tech Has Come

Discussion in 'Techforge' started by Tuckerfan, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

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    If anything, our understanding of the human intellect involved is enhanced by the knowledge that they did large parts of it by hand, with their only computer assistance coming from machines with a tiny fraction of the power that's commonplace today.
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  2. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    I totally agree with that. There is so much about space alone that we didn't know in 1969, let alone about technology. And, yes, a smartphone has more "computing power" than supercomputers did in 1969, but there was a lot more to those computers than just computing power.
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  3. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    No there really wasn't any more to them besides computing power.

    If you want to discuss engineering, rocketry, physics, chemistry, physiology, those are different topics.

    The computers weren't magical. The people who designed and programmed them had the right stuff though.
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  4. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    The quote is "shittier hardware." If by "shittier," it is meant "of far lesser capability" (how most in this thread seemed to interpret it), it's absolutely true. :shrug:

    You might remember that during the Apollo 11 landing, the crew kept getting program alarms; it was because the computer was becoming overloaded by all that was happening. Even a TRS-80 or Commodore 64 would've easily handled that load.

    And smartphones do not have hard drives.
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  5. Bailey

    Bailey It's always Christmas Eve Super Moderator

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    No one has said that.

    It is better than the computing equipment they had.

    That isn't a slight on the team, if anything it's a compliment of what they achieved with so little.

    We're purely talking about how even disposable modern hardware is much more capable and that's a fact. Take a bunch of these boards to 1960s NASA along with the ability to program them and they would have switch to using them overnight.
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  6. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    I'd argue that the only people who worked harder than the folks at NASA in the 60s, were the folks in the Soviet space program because they didn't even have the access to computer technology that NASA was able to utilize. They were using water-based computers that gave results based on water flowing through pipes and valves. No shit. The Soviets also basically had one guy in their space program who had the necessary skills to enable them to send a person to the Moon, and when he died, the whole thing fell apart. NASA could have lost Von Braun, and kept going, but the Soviets were reliant on Korolev for managing their lunar problem.

    The reason we're now able to carry around more computing power than was on the Earth in 1969, is directly due to the hard work that the folks at NASA in the 60s. Thanks to them, not only can we do that, but someone, like, say, a geeky teenager with ample free time, can sit down today with fairly inexpensive off-the-shelf computer components and design (though not build, of course) a comparable rocket to the Saturn V.

    And no, I'm not talking about Kerbal Space Program (which Buzz Aldrin supposedly loves). Most of the engineering documents for the Apollo program are freely available online, and there's a shit-ton of engineering software out there that one can access (some for free, some you've got to pay for) that you can use to design your rocket. This is the software program that Burt Rutan and his team used to design SpaceShipOne and win the X-Prize in 2004. I'm not familiar with the capabilities of the current iteration of the software, but even back in '01, the kind of shit it could do was incredible. And you could run it on an ordinary PC.

    I'll give you one example of what it could do: Let's say you're working on a big project, be it a rocket, or a building. You have a "master file" which is basically the design for the completed project. Then you have a shit-load of sub-files, which are things like floor plans, or plumbing for a room or floor. Now, suppose while you're designing the project (or even after you complete it) you find out that you have to make a change. Because it turns out that the building (or rocket) is going to be subjected to different stresses than you originally thought so you have to use larger bolts. You find one bolt, in one of the sub-files, change it to the new size, and hit "Global." The software will then not only automatically change the bolt size in all the other files, it'll also tell you, "Hey, there's going to be a problem with this component because it wasn't designed for a bolt that size and to make the change, you're going to have to modify it."

    There were, probably, millions of hand-drawn blueprints involved with building the Saturn V rocket. To make an equivalent change during the Apollo project would have almost certainly have taken years, and even then, any number of instances would have been missed until someone tried to install a part that wouldn't fit.
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  7. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    Holy shit, the Soviet space program worked that well with that setup?
    Ima knock back a shot of vodka for that achievement! :salute:
    Fuck the Soviet Party though.
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  8. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

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    My first computer was a Packard Bell Legend 286. it had a 286 8mhz or 12mhz in turbo mode, you pressed a button on the case to run it at 12mhz, a 30mb hard drive, 8 megs of RAM, 5-1/4 and 3-1/2 floppy drives, VGA monitor. We thought it was the best thing ever, we learned about BBS's, FTP's, how to program in basic. I'd say that my knowledge level on that machine would have been expert, where now on his laptop I'd say my level is just enough to fix some things without making them worse. We bought that at Circuit City. By we, it was a family computer that we also used dial up on.

    upload_2021-2-2_19-34-29.png

    My first that I bought myself was a Packard Bell PB660CD, it had 486 processor that ran at 75mhz, 500mb hard drive, 3-1/2 floppy drive a CD-ROM, a MOUSE!, XGA display, and Packard Bell 3D sound. That pretty amazing, you could actually hear the sound in 3D on it, similar to what you hear on surround. I still have this computer, crazy right? This isn't it, but a picture of what it looks like.

    upload_2021-2-2_19-45-19.png
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  9. Bailey

    Bailey It's always Christmas Eve Super Moderator

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    https://incoherency.co.uk/blog/stories/world-computing-power.html

    Couple of years old, but this is interesting.

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  10. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    In Soviet Russia, water conserve you!
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