Equating Angels with Transistors: Shatner at His Best

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In this 1976* AT&T promotional video, William Shatner explains the miracle of microprocessors. As an AT&T historian writes: "Back in 1976, microprocessors had a maximum of 8.5K transistors for 64bits of memory. The Queen of England sent her first email, and Steve Wozniak designed the Apple I." The video is very Seventies with its retro-futuristic music and narration. This is basically a LOST Dharma Station training video, but real.

Sample quote: "There was a time when philosophers argued the question of how many angels might fit on the head of a pin -- defying the laws of physics and reason. Well, today, if we take the liberty of equating angels with transistors, we can make the case for the existence of a modern kind of miracle: like fitting 7,000 transistors on one insignificant chip. In fact, by the time you hear me say this, that number will seem too modest." Indeed, today it's typical for CPUs to include hundreds of millions (or even billions) of transistors -- but very few angels.

Recommended for: nerds, Shatnerphiles, technology buffs, history buffs, and fans of sweet/smooth Seventies style (this video is so peaceful, it would make great bedtime viewing).

* = apparently this video was first created in 1976, then updated in 1980, hence the appearance of Apple ][ computers in some later shots.

(Via Kottke.org.)

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March 29, 2011 - 8:23am
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