Computing power analogies

Nigel Rantor wiggly at
Tue Dec 11 15:24:07 GMT 2007

Edmund von der Burg wrote:
> So these computer things are getting quite smart, and it would be nice
> to be able to analogize their smarts to something a bit more tangible.
> Wristwatches these days tend to be compared to the space shuttle.
> Desktops tend to be compared to the super computers of yesteryear.
> Not having had a space shuttle or an oldish supercomputer on hand to
> play with yet I have no real feel for the oompf of the processing
> power they represent.
> Could someone please suggest something more everydayish that I can use
> in my analogies. Basically fill in the blank in the following
> sentence:
>   "Well Grand-Ma, this new iPhone thing is as powerful as ..................."

Erm, surely this assumes that grandma has some idea of how powerful ... is.

Anyway, horsepower in terms of MIPS or some other measure is a pretty 
blunt instrument in terms of comparing things.

Someone's watch may be more "powerful" than an Apple II but you still 
can't usefully use it to perform word-processing so what's the point of 
the comparison?


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