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Alumni Dispatches

Recollections

Tony Golda, MPH ‘73

Tony Golda Some recollections: In 1968, while attending an 8-week regional training course in National Health Planning at the WHO's Western Pacific Regional Office the Manila, we used non-electic "Hand Crank" calculators to "crunch the numbers."

While at the JHSPH in 1971, we used electro-mechanical calculators to complete the assignments that Helen Abbey handed out in her biostatistics classes. During my time there, the Biostats department was getting rid of surplus "student versions" of such hand-crank, non-electric calculators. I purchased one as a souvenir for about $10.

In 1973, a hand-held, battery-operated electronic calculator, the Casio ELSI-Mini, came to market. It cost me a bit more than $100, at least $600 in today’s dollars!

We've come a long way since then with the powerful multi-function scientific- and business-oriented handhelds from Texas Instruments and Hewlett Packard. Pre-programmed functions have eliminated much of the drudgery.

By the early 1980s, we had the advent of the personal computer weighing close to 50 pounds, costing $5,000 and plugging into the wall. Today it weighs 5 pounds, costs $500 and runs at least 5 hours on batteries.

What took hours to do in the past can be done now in micro seconds. A lot has changed in 40 years, beginning in the early 70s.

Charles Babbage (considered father of the computer) would not be able to believe his eyes!

Tony Golda retired in 1997 from Encore Senior Living and lives in Gresham, Oregon. Previously, he worked for Brim Inc., the New York State Health Department and USAID in both Liberia and Vietnam.

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