The iPad has a lot going for it, especially that you can get one for about 1/3 the price of that thing (if you convert the 1998 dollars, see eldavojon's post) and that you have wireless networking (a major plus).
The thing is, you can't do the math that way. Tech gets cheaper as it gets older, and new tech gets more powerful but remains roughly the same price, whereas inflation just goes up. If you look on Amazon, someone is selling it for $375, used.
It's not that crazy. I was on a bus heading to Heathrow airport back around 1999 or so. The speakers on the bus were vibrating in time with the sweeps of the radar.
My head was also throbbing in time with the sweeps of the radar.
Of course, that's a MUCH more powerful signal.
Or, like another scientist did recently, you can just take all of the component bits and pieces, freeze it in ice, and leave it for 15 years.
At the end of it, you will have RNA and a bunch of amino acids.
This is why I read New Scientist magazine religiously.
"Just think of a computer as hardware you can program." -- Nigel de la Tierre