Computers: You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet; in Front of Me Is Something with Significantly More Computing Power Than Was Used to Take Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the Moon the PC and Internet Revolution Has Changed the World in a Way That No One Even a Generation Ago Could Have Dreamed of. but Andy Michael, Managing Director of IT Outsourcing Company Quiss Technology, Based in Tamworth, Believes We've Seen Nothing Yet
Byline: Andy Michael
Anyone born on that warm summer evening back in 1969 when Neil Armstrong made that "giant leap for mankind" is now making giant leaps towards middle age.
We can debate long and hard about the most epic events of the past century but the first manned landing on the moon must surely sit near the top of any list.
At the time it seemed a miracle of technology to take men to the moon and bring them back to earth in one piece. Perhaps Apollo 11 was when science-fiction became science fact.
I am writing this on a PC - not a special PC, but the kind of machine that sits hardly noticed in millions of offices, homes and schools all over the country.
What is remarkable is that in front of me is something with significantly more computing power than was used to take Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon.
That's a mind-boggling illustration of just how rapidly this industry has grown. Before moving into IT and setting up Quiss as part of a two man outfit - we now have 90 people in offices in Tamworth and London and engineers all over the country - I worked for Marconi designing defence systems.
At that time I could see that IT was going to change the world and wanted to be involved, but I had no idea just how far things would move in so short a time.
The first personal computer sold by IBM in the 1970's cost pounds 4,500. Comparing those first machines with a standard computer that you can buy off the shelf today for about pounds 500 is like comparing a pushbike with a Formula One racing car.
Computers first began appearing in offices in the 1980s, usually in accounts departments and performing word processing functions.
We sent our first emails - or at least the pioneers did - in about 1990 and things have just accelerated since.
Now computers are taken for granted as part of everyday life and not having one is almost seen as an indicator of deprivation, like not having enough to eat.
The computer has done more than anything else to drive globalisation. At the press of a button we now have access to the biggest shopping mall in the world with no need to step outside our home.
The world of business is transformed and it is the computer, not Government or the World Trade Organisation, that has created the global marketplace.
When we try to list the people that have most changed the world in the past 50 years I challenge anyone who does not have Bill Gates at the top of the list to explain themselves.
An unimaginable kaleidoscope of new experiences and opportunities has opened up and I am convinced that it is just the start.
The next big thing, and it is already happening, is computing on the move and this will grow rapidly, as technology gets ever smaller.
People who would not be considered old remember the first mobile telephones - they were pushed on a trolley - the next generation were like house bricks.
Now a mobile phone fits in the palm of your hand, sends messages, takes photographs, plays games, receives internet - and makes telephone calls. …