When I got to West Point we used terminals connected to mainframes. The manufacturer was Terak, and they were so old even by the time we got there that we referred to them as Terak-dactyls. Our required computer science course was in the FORTRAN language.
My first computer that anyone would recognize as looking like today's desktop computers--I bought it from a catalog in the early 1990's for about $1400. Its hard drive was 40MB, and I swore I would never be able to fill 40MB! That was about 20 years ago, and we all know how much space 40MB is today. Heck, on this blog I've stored over 170MB just of pictures! That's a very long lead-in to this article about IP addresses on the internet, which will be all used up unless we switch from Internet Protocol version 4 to IPv6. Version 6 has many more usable addresses:
The original version of the Web's addressing system, IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4), had a shorter range of numbers — think a phone number with only, say, ten digits — that yielded roughly 4.3 billion available addresses or combinations. With IPv6, more digits are being added to that phone number, thus "increasing the number range," Lee says. "The whole address is now 2^128, which is a huge, nearly infinite number." According to one report, IPv6 will enable 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses.I predict I'll see the limitations of this "nearly infinite number" within my lifetime :-)
Update, 6/8/11: I always marvel when I remember that the computer that runs the electronics in my car has more computing power than the Apollo lunar modules did, and the desktop computer on which I'm typing this probably has more computing power than did all of NASA's computers in the Apollo era (a fact I'd love to be able to confirm).
Update #2, 6/10/11: Check out the picture here, and marvel that that monstrosity on a forklift held 5 Mb.