WolframAlpha Put To Use

A while ago, a little over than a year to be precise, I wrote a post called Time Sensitive Data. It outlines some basic ideas on how each time anyone publishes something online its highly probable that it will eventually get slightly inaccurate due to the economy and technological advances.

One example is when somebody tells a new computer costs 3000$ (around 1970-1980) or that a new computer is capable of doing 3 times as much work as the previous models. The problem here, as you might notice, is that if someone is doing homework assignment or research of some sort, not only those values need to be adjusted to current ones but also the initial impression might be misleading.

Today I remembered this old article and I found that one can use WolframAlpha to solve part of this problem. For example, if an article told you a new Spectrum cost 200$ in 1984 you might think that was way cheaper than current game consoles, but if you do a WolframAlpha simple search you’ll find its not that far off from current values.

I believe we’re close to the time where my vision will become true, all we need is a web service specialized to this sort of things and, more importantly, the tools to easily manage it when writing stuff. WolframAlpha is also far from perfect at this moment, one example is that I couldn’t reproduce the same thing in British Pounds, but I believe one day this things could because the standard instead of a freaky need to organize and sort data (guilty!).

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