We as a species have reached a point in our technological evolution
where hardware exceeds that of the programming, unlike days of the past
where one would have to concern themselves whether their computer
could conceivably operate an application efficiently when programs pushed
that limit regularly.
The cost of memory was once a concern – these days
you can get a stick of RAM cheaper than a nice steak dinner. The cost of
storage media? Considering that we have drives reaching the terabyte level,
where cost is measured by GB per cent rather then MB per dollar,
who even gives a second thought about if they have enough free space
to save that cool video clip or space to install the latest, greatest game.
For a time I pushed my hardware to the limits, using the most
extreme of extreme cooling solutions that required more power than
most would like to think about, just for those 2-3 extra MHz so that
I could run X program just a wee bit faster or get an extra FPS in my
favorite video game. Alas, these times have ended – technology
has surpassed even the most extreme software needs effortlessly
and, more importantly, cheaply.
The priorities of computers, in my mind, are no longer how hard can I push my system, but rather
how efficient is my computer. First and foremost, the major issue is
reliability – how safe is my data. With disk media in the 5C range, it’s
quite easy to backup sensitive information.
Furthermore, WHY should
an end user have to concern themselves with hardware failure? Yes,
this issue will never be extinct, but shouldn’t the hardware people make
every effort to combat this so it’s minimal? How many pointless watts
can be eliminated. How many of those pesky decibels do we really need?
Computing as I see it for the next few years will have to take this focus.
The average joe currently couldn’t feasibly push the limits of even mediocre technology.
On the side of the programmers, I’m absolutely certain that in the near future
many a company will come up with inefficient ways to make use of
all the extra processing power of these CPUs, by way of prettier graphics or
more useless features requiring more RAM that would have been
considered reasonable a few year ago.
But is this really the solution?
I think not. Also I know that there will be some who find legitimate needs
for the latest and greatest power-house computers. However, these people
and organizations are few and far between.
As with all things in nature, a balance must be met and in the long term –
eventually all things become equal; but sometimes that curve is an
unacceptably long and painful one. We are demanding
more of the end user’s money and giving not much, if anything,
more in return.
I say demand these companies work for US – why must
we bend to their will? We are the ones that feed them, not the other way
TODAY the issue at hand is how can everyone afford a computer
that will not bust their budget, will not destroy the ozone, keep
them up at night listening to the whine of ten fans, or make the most secure
people on earth worry about their data security and
As I see it, until the balance of software and hardware meet the
harmony that the rest of nature so blissfully enjoys, the question you
must ask is WHY.