Posts tagged ‘Technology’

old school

So why don’t you meet me, down behind the old school
We’ll waste away the weekend, with perfect regard for how
Cavalier we used to be, that beautiful insanity
The apathy’s surrounding me
Don’t close your eyes or we’ll fade away

A funny thing about the digital age — the more information we have access to, the more misinformation we embrace into our zeitgeist. In the not-so-long ago days when the Internet was mainly for e-mail, and facebooks were made of paper, items were mostly advertised in newspaper ads or classifieds.

It turns out that there was a well-known shorthand language in the newspapers. While we didn’t read OMG or ROFL, we did understand that TLC meant you needed to be handyman and that “efficient layout” meant you’d better like living in small spaces.

I once read an article about how we’ll inevitably catalog our lives with documents, audio, chat logs, blogs and video. Then along came MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.  The thesis was, that, taken to the extreme, there would be more hours of content created per person than we lived. Add in video surveillance from several angles etc. Clearly, we need to summarize, else the person reviewing our lives in gruesome detail would require too much time and possibly waste their own lives trawling through the mass of digital data that we elect to store on cloud storage farms. But what do you leave out, and what do you keep for posterity?

Does this mean that we all need to develop some editing skills, and apply them to our new way of living, else we’ll forever be hoarding irrelevant digital fodder?

Coincidentally, this theme recently emerged in President Obama’s commencement speech at Hampton University where he relayed,

“You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter. And with iPods and iPads, and Xboxes and PlayStations — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it’s putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.”

When is too much of something irrelevant? And, by what measure?

I agree with the President.

My digital colleagues smile at my usage of an old school gold fountain pen complete with blue Sheaffer Script ink and my Moleskine notebook. Want to really interact with your thoughts in the most intimate way possible? You don’t need an iPad and a finger. Here’s a thought, focus on what takes real effort to craft before committing it in writing. It provides clarity of thought. The distractions of digital immediacy and it’s associated ADHD vanish into deep thoughtful consideration.

Yes my friends smile and joke about my retro-technology quirks, but when I lend them my pen, and give them a precious piece of acid free paper, they just love the smooth feel of the nib and watch the ink flow…

I just sit back, watch and think that some of the old school stuff makes sense, at least to me.

Tell me it isn’t so… I’m listening.

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May 13, 2010 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

flash momentum

I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
And I howled at my ma in the driving rain,
But it’s all right now, in fact, it’s a gas!
But it’s all right.  I’m Jumpin’ Jack Flash,
It’s a Gas!  Gas!  Gas!

Those familiar with Moore’s Law have seen the disparity between disk and CPU performance increase. Today’s CPUs can easily out-process the data provided to them by even the fastest disk. Why is that?

There is a physical limitation on the rate at which we can spin platters. Our ability to engineer mechanical devices to spin highly unstable platters close to moving heads which are microns away from the surface are limited. Material science, stresses, quality of the bearings – all require tolerances that are approaching our physical limitations. Yet, we seem to be always finding new approaches to managing silicon fabrication.

The end of the mechanical age is near.

Enter flash. Freeing us from our mechanical limitations, flash enables the development of ‘silicon drives’ with speeds approaching those of their silicon CPU partners. With prices declining, these drives are fast becoming more affordable. Yet with still a significant price disparity to their slower, yet higher capacity mechanical cousins, what is the alternative?

Hybrid storage. Take the performance advantage of silicon flash, with the mechanical capacity of drives. Balance these devices for the workload, and you get unmatched price-performance. There is a whole class of devices emerging that support this philosophy. The question is, do systems engineers have the tools to understand their applications sufficiently to tune configurations to optimize this opportunity.

It’s nascent. More education than marketing is required.

Tell me it isn’t so… I’m listening.

April 22, 2010 at 8:00 am Leave a comment


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