I'm writing this article on my new computer. It's about the size, shape and weight of a large(ish) paperback book a slimline stand-alone novel by somebody like Joe Haldeman, you understand; not an immense door stopping wodge of a book which is itself only one volume of a twelve part forest-destroying trilogy by Robert Jordan.
When I've finished using my new computer, I can close it down and slip it into a pocket or a bag and carry it to my next destination. In terms of system resources and general computing grunt it is approximately 10 million times as powerful as the mainframe computer I worked on in 1971. Indeed, this one small computer sitting on my lap probably has more computing oomph than the sum total possessed by the entire world in 1971.
And it fits in my pocket.
The machine is an Asus Eee. The three ee(e)s stand for Easy to learn, Easy to work, Easy to play. I'll stop writing for a moment so you can go away and vomit.
Ready to carry on?
The basic machine costs only $599. I got a memory upgrade and some extra storage so in fact I ended up spending $748. But it's still a bargain, however you do the arithmetic. It is the neatest gadget I've ever owned and I'm passionately fond of it. Who would have believed, in 1971, that computers would ever be as small and as powerful and as cheap as that? Only science fiction writers and their devoted readers. We're very, very special, you and I.