Falling Cost of Memory: 1957 to Present

On a recent episode of 99% Invisible (highly recommended), they briefly mentioned that people fixate on different design elements and take more notice of them than the average person. For example, anthropomorphized teeth in dentist offices. I think my design fixation is college professor websites from the 1990s.

You can tell that the university created some obscure directory structure when they first got the internet because the sites are usually at an address like mycollege.edu/~staff/prof/cs/esmith/home.html. The pages are always a white background with minimal HTML formatting. Lists, links, and if you’re lucky, header tags. The pages are often in this weird limbo where everything looks outdated and yet you see “Winter 2014 Teaching Schedule”. You’ll find the typical pages such as “CV”, “Classes”, and “Publications”, but the best pages are the “personal” ones. Scanned family photos taken in the 1980s, lists of hobbies, clubs started years ago, and of course, cats. I love these webpages and spend way too much time browsing when I find one.

One such site is John C. McCallum’s homepage which has a slew of content only weird people like me appreciate (although he does have his own domain). On his site he has a list and graph of computer memory prices in history. In honor of weird professor sites, I recreated my own graph of his data (although I adjusted for inflation). Web designs may change, but good data is always in style.Computer memory price over time scatterplot

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