David - re: "switch on to DOS prompt in about 6 seconds"
I've taken a step back there. I recently bought an Acer C720 Chromebook. It's on and ready to go in roughly six seconds. Not only that, but the battery life actually seems to meet the ~ eight hour claim. This one certainly isn't going to replace my workstation, but it will likely take over much of my witing work (I'm using it now).
I was originally looking for a tablet to give me a bit more mobility when writing, but this thing is head and shoulders above any tablet I looked at. This is a real computer.
Next, I need to try it out with the mbed online IDE. I've heard rumor on a cloud-based IDE for Microchip PIC processors, but I haven't found it yet.
@daleste - in no way am I saying we should not progress. But Windows these days is full of features I and 90% of users will never use. I'd rather have a stripped-down version that does what I want and does not take 4 or 5 minutes to finish loading. As an example, I stuck to Windows 3.11 until the standard machine was a Pentium 300MHz or so, and W311 screamed along on that. Your comments about a Cray on your desk prove my point. I always wish now that I had something bigger, better and faster too. Much more than I did in the old Dos days.
All this reminiscing about the old machines that were so much faster is interesting. How much could you do on that old DOS PC or Sinclair. For engineering work today, you need the graphics and advanced software applications that take a much more powerful machine. The processors, memory and disc have increased in performance exponentially, but then so have our demands on them. I always used to say, "I wish I had a Cray on my desk."
I had a Sinclair Spectrum around 1983 and same thing - almost instant boot. And I could get pretty much everything I wanted done on that primitive thing. I wonder how much we have really progressed.....
My first personal computer in 1979 - a Commodore CBM 8032 (80 column screen version of the Commodore PET) was the fastest personal computer I've ever seen. It really made me believe that electrons were faster than neurons. The bright green letters on a black screen were easy to read but graphics were very primitive.
It has been years since I had a computer whose speed impressed me. I'd love to have a computer that was quick and snappy at and ordinary computing and basic operations (open a local folder or open a web page on a very high speed connection). Everytime I buy a new laptop and pay a little extra for the extra memory and fast disk drive, the operating system has become even more bloated and the net result is a system that is not substantially faster than my old one. I suppoose if I bought a Linux server for my personal computing I wouldn't be complaining about speed - but I'd be suffering from compatibility issues with my colleagues.