This is one of those things that sort of snuck up on me over the last decade — computer speed just isn’t really much of an issue anymore.
In the early days of computing, things were crazy slow. I remember playing Jumpman on my Commodore 64, which loaded from a cassette tape. Loading the game took about 45 minutes every time I wanted to play! We later got a disk drive for the computer, which could load games in 3-5 minutes instead, which was much better.
While things improved a ton since then, up until just a few years ago computer speed was something people fussed about quite a bit. For years the solution was “add more RAM” (which worked very well), and in later years it was “switch your hard drive to an SSD”, which also worked well. I still remember when my late friend Brad showed us his Macbook after he added an SSD, and the speed difference was crazy!
Outside of gaming, though, you just don’t see those kinds of concerns anymore. For normal day-to-day work, everything you need to do happens instantly on even a halfway decent computer. I think this has helped lead to the rise of the Chromebooks (which outsell Macs) — cheap hardware is all you really need for most tasks, because today’s cheap hardware is hundreds of times faster than top-end hardware from the recent past.
Internet speed is the new problem
If anything, as the need for “computer speed” is disappearing, the need for consistent “internet speed” will be here for a while. That’s certainly improved tons in recent years, but there are still some major gaps. For rural parts of the country, we’re still years away from any good solution. Elon Musk’s Starlink is fascinating, but at best it will be able to serve around 2% of the country (and even that is years away). 5G won’t help much in rural areas either, because 5G signals just don’t travel very far.
I don’t have the answer for internet speeds. I think some improved legislation to open up competition will help in many places, but it’s not the final answer. While that’s being sorted out, though, it’s nice that all of our computers are amazingly fast now — and we didn’t even realize it.