April 30, 2008

Broadband Put to Test With 410 MB of Apple Software Updates

It doesn't seem all that long ago when it could take upwards of an hour to download a 4 megabyte update to Netscape Navigator. And in 1996, I once maxed out my best friend's 1 megabyte e-mail cap by sending him an IRC client as an 800k attachment, forcing him to beg and steal space from the UCLA IT administrators, just to get his e-mail functioning again.

Times change. Tonight, having heard Apple released an update to its Java support in Mac OS X 10.5, I opened up my Software Update, and was astounded to see the number of requested system enhancements, and their size. All told, there were 14 different updates available, totaling 410.069 megabytes - an eyebrow-raising amount, considering that in junior high school, I was comfortable tooling with HyperCard on a Macintosh IIsi with a 20 Megabyte hard drive, with an 80 Megabyte LaCie external drive.

Tonight's Available Updates (Click for Full Size)

In a great example of how far we've come in terms of hard disk space and consumer broadband, Apple's casually requested me to download the equivalent of twenty times the capacity of that same Mac IIsi. And I'll do it. As some of the items require restart, I won't hit the button just this second, but I know my MacBook Pro, with 200 Gigabytes of hard disk space, ten thousand times larger than the old Mac IIsi, is capable of handling this workload.

In the era of terabyte hard drives, 160 gigabyte iPods, and downloadable movies, maybe I should stop being impressed, but every once in a while, it's worth looking backwards to see how far we've come. Now if you don't mind, I've got some Mac updates to install.