The future is now

A home computer

Scientists from the RAND Corporation have created this model to illustrate how a "home computer" could look like in the year 2004. However, the needed technology will not be economically feasible for the average home. Also the scientists readily admit that the computer will require not yet invented technology to actually work, but 50 years from now scientific progress is expected to solve these problems. With teletype interface & the Fortran language, the computer will be easy to use.

My Uncle Al sent me this picture and I thought I’d share, as it is really fascinating. This is how an article in the 1954 edition of Popular Mechanics magazine envisioned home computers in the year 2004.

17 thoughts on “The future is now”

  1. I know! I’m very happy with Windows! Long gone the days when we had to decipher BASIC, DOS and the rest. They were too complicated for me;-)

  2. FORTRAN…what a huge joke. Although in it’s time it was the best programming language. Just don’t forget about those pesky “columns” and going to pick up the results one week after submitting the program, only to find out you had a small error and had to wait another week to get the output for the next run.
    Although the picture shows a primitive computer, it is much, much smaller than the ones that covered one city block, weighing around 30 tons and would require technicians to change more than 18,000 vaccum tubes, 6000+ switches and plugs manually. And talk about price, today the computer is one million times cheaper than an old mainframe.

  3. “Lucky” I mean. See what I mean? If I was using that monster of a thing, I probably would not be able to fix my error until two weeks later.

  4. Fortran? What about Cobol?
    Anyways, Star Trek. Star Trek. Star Trek. In 1968, Roddenberry and crew had communicators which flipped open. Cell phones anyone?
    Also, scientists have already experimented with “beaming” light from one end of a lab to another…
    Now, if they only had self-programming video quadrifiers!

  5. Natasha, somebody’s leg is being pulled.
    That’s not a picture of an “early computer”. It’s actually a display of a portion of a US nuclear submarine’s control room. Note the large wheel toward the left-center of the picture? No computer needs a wheel like that, and no, it’s not a primitive “pointing device”! But it’s a great picture nonetheless. Futuristic in the “Flash Gordon” sense, leavened with a touch of reality.

  6. Well I decided to get some backstory on this because, well, that’s my thing 😉 and I went to my favorite source of myth debunking: Snopes and found the truth was pretty much just what John suggested.
    But going still further, the image isn’t actually an ancient sub photo. This image was actually doctored from the image shown here, a photo from 2000 of a full-scale mock-up of a typical nuclear-powered submarine’s maneuvering room. It was doctored in Photoshop to look just as it does. Well we bit hook, line and sinker (for the fishermen out there) on this one. It came from a pretty reliable source, our uncle. But it just goes to show once again how urban legends propogate.

  7. I think we swallowed the fishing pole as well and were half-way up the fisherman’s arm.
    On a side note, anyone know how to program the clock on a Sony VCR, I can’t seem to get rid of the blinking 12:00 that has been annoying me for the past 10 years? 🙂

  8. Well this really does not matter because computers back then were always bigger than what we have now. It is Thanksgiving day here in America, so why dont we all just give thanks for the computers we have now. (On as side note, part of me really hates this holiday due to the massacre of almost an entire race, the Native Americans. And till this day, how do we repay those Natives who are left? We try taxing them on their casinos. Come on, the least we cand do for the Natives is to not tax them.)

  9. Curses, foiled again!…in the spirit of Snively Whiplasn or some such ancient evildoer I stand exposed. Actually I received the picture in an email from the assistant chief engineer at our evil empire radio combine here in Memphis, Clear Channel…and he received it from another minion of the self-same empire from another evil spawn site in America!
    It just shows to go you that the insidious Clear Channel is working every day to obfuscate the proletariat and keep us all from the real truth…that popcorn is going to be the Native Americans’ ultimate revenge!

  10. I agree that the Natives were treated inhumanly and much was stolen from them. But so have many people through the ages both here in the US and across the world. This holiday means much more that just giving thanks to what we have. It is an opportunity to look to the future and help make the world a better place. There is not better feeling then spending turkey-day serving food to the homeless or visiting a nursing home to have turkey with those without family.
    Native Indians currently receive many benefits from the US government and rightfully so; free/reduced college education for one. There is certainly no way we can repay them from what has been taken away. But I feel the casino’s should be taxed as income. Some are making more that 1 million per day profit tax free. Maybe that will help with better services on the reservations (I feel these are more like “refugee camps” with the high unemployment, drug abuse, crime rates, etc.). How about making cigarettes and liquor taxable, to cut down on the abuse of these drugs both from Natives and others who use that “law” to purchase these goods tax free? Additionally, slave reparation has been a hot topic for the past several years and the government would certainly take a big hit by making them. And what about Japanese internment? But something has to be done to right those wrongs as well.

  11. Try eating Indian Corn on the Cob. That is the ultimate revenge. Had a $2000 dentist bill after trying it! 🙂 J/K

  12. Luai,
    I agree with you on many points. My only problem with this holiday (and Columbus Day) is how most Americans celebrate it, and are ill informed of the history of the creation of America. While I see thanksgiving as a day to be thankful for what I have, I also make it important to not only recognize the the great things Americans did to create this country, but as well the ills this country was founded on: “Manafest Destiny”
    The problem is, the average American does not realize and does not want to recognize some of the worst things this country has committed. Only when we do that, and actually LEARN from our mistakes, progres can be made.
    I suggest students in high school taking American History should read Howard Zinn’s “The People’s History”
    –Sorry Natasha that this has moved on from the picture to thougts about Thanksgiving

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