You know that computers have taken over your life when they invade the Happy Meal. The evolution of the Happy Meal toy has been a fun one to watch. The Happy Meal chatchki has slowly evolved from a simple piece of injection molded crap, to a piece of injection molded crap that lights up, to a piece of injection molded crap with a microprocessor. The first microprocessors I noticed in the Happy Meal were used to make some Disney character talk. It didn't demonstrate much silicon horsepower, but there was a chip in there. But the latest Happy Meal toy is a different story. It is a full fledged video game. It's not a very complicated one, but it's a video game nonetheless. It has an LCD screen. It has animation. It beeps in multiple tones. And there's real game play. Frankly, it's not that much less sophisticated than the handheld football game I used to play for hours on end as a kid.
The microprocessor has come an incredibly long way when it is inexpensive enough to make its way into millions of throwaway toys that come free with a $2.98 meal. It bodes well for the evolution of technologies like RFID that will require the manufacture of microprocessors on massive scale at a cost of a fraction of a penny. The power of Moore's law never ceases to amaze me. But I suspect it will be second nature to my Happy Meal eating kids.