Travel cost by stagecoach in 1870s – part one

What did it cost to travel by stagecoach from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1871?  How does that compare to today?

The Seeley Stable Museum and Wells Fargo Museum in Old Town, San Diego offer fun examples of 1800s transportation. Carretas, cargo wagons, Mud Wagon stagecoaches, and Concord stagecoaches.

I picked up a lot of fun information while touring those museums a while back.

Continue reading “Travel cost by stagecoach in 1870s – part one”

Travel time and cost in the Roman Empire

Stanford has an awesome site that shows time and cost to travel in the Roman Empire. You can find it at

ORBIS – The Stanford Geosptial Network Model of the Roman World

If you’ve read my blogs for a while, you know I am a member of the Protestant tradition of the Christian faith community.  As a result, the Roman Empire is of interest, since that was the occupying power in Israel during the New Testament period.

You also know I am interested the impact of technology on the cost of everything, including travel.

You can only imagine what a delight it is to find a web site that overlaps travel costs and the Roman Empire.

Here is a description of ORBIS from its website:

Spanning one-ninth of the earth’s circumference across three continents, the Roman Empire ruled a quarter of humanity through complex networks of political power, military domination and economic exchange. These extensive connections were sustained by premodern transportation and communication technologies that relied on energy generated by human and animal bodies, winds, and currents.

Conventional maps that represent this world as it appears from space signally fail to capture the severe environmental constraints that governed the flows of people, goods and information. Cost, rather than distance, is the principal determinant of connectivity.

For the first time, ORBIS allows us to express Roman communication costs in terms of both time and expense. By simulating movement along the principal routes of the Roman road network, the main navigable rivers, and hundreds of sea routes in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and coastal Atlantic, this interactive model reconstructs the duration and financial cost of travel in antiquity.

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In terms of comparable salary, how much tech you could get today for what it took to buy a Commodore 64 in 1982?

Short answer:

Then: Commodore C-64 plus 10K hard drive

Now: Mid-range desktop computer plus color laser printer with enough left over to buy a 16GB iPad and iPhone 4S.

Previously discussed the first two computers I owned here.  I realize that dates me, but it gives me perspective to deeply appreciate how far tech has developed.

Long answer:

Continue reading “In terms of comparable salary, how much tech you could get today for what it took to buy a Commodore 64 in 1982?”

Look how far PCs have developed

David Albrecht provides some background on what the first generation of computers looked like in his expression of gratitude to the innovations of Commodore International’s founder.  See his post, Jack Tramiel 1928-2012.

The VIC-20 had 5K of RAM. Yes, 5K, not 6 megs, Not 1 meg. Not even 512K.  Try .005 meg of ram. (That Dell machine I linked to has 1,229 times more RAM than a VIC-20.)

You could buy a cartridge to add 3K or even 8K.  But there was only one slot.

The Commodore 64 was so named because the breakthrough was it had that much memory. Yes, a whopping 64K RAM. Yes, that’s .06 megs.

Continue reading “Look how far PCs have developed”

This is what progress look like – 1 electronic gadget in 2010 does the work of 14 electronic gadgets in 1980

(cross-post from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

Check out these two pictures showing 1980 and 2010 electronics tools:  Worth a thousand words.

One tool in 2010 does the work of 14 (by my count) in 1980.  Can you begin to guess the cost reduction, even without discounting for inflation?  How about the weight reduction or portability increase?

From Café Hayek, of course. This is the type of thing I talk about at my other blog, Outrun Change.

Autonomous drones

Farhad Manjoo describes what a team at the University of Pennsylvania is doing with autonomous drones – the team calls them quadrotors – I Love You, Killer Robots

The drones are very small, autonomous and extremely nimble. They can determine location of nearby drones.

Check out the drones as they fly through windows at various angles:


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