December 9, 2012
Besides walking uphill 10 miles in 6 feet of snow every day...
...there were also these outrageous prices we had to pay for computer hardware! The following are found in the "Radio Shack Catalog RSC-09 Computer Catalog (1983)" at archive.org.
16 K RAM upgrade for $130 - labor is extra, but they throw in a keypad as gravy. Oh, you want lower case letters! What's wrong with shouting? Too sensitive for that? That'll be $59 more - which is about $2.27 per letter. Don't even dream of getting anything but Courier.
Just your basic paper shredder that sits on top of a wastebasket, $250! If you're crazy enough to buy your wastebaskets at Radio Shack it'll set you back another $30 in your choice of vinyl laminated walnut finish.
Disk drive $600. That's a FLOPPY disk drive, maximum capacity 153K. But after the first drive each additional one is only $400, so the savings really pile up!
But the real computer man wants a big hard drive, and those start at only $2,495 for 5 (count 'em, five!) megabytes. Comes with a BACKUP command which allows the user to backup the contents of the hard drive to floppy disks. You're going to need one of those floppy disk drives! Note how this hard drive comes with a key. That goes to the starter motor - it required a gasoline engine to spin a drive this big.
The median household income in the U.S. in 1983 was $20,885. In 2011 it was $50,502. Using that as a guideline, today's equivalent price for that hard drive would be $6,033.