August 11 2010

Technological Incremental Geek Wonderings (also PS geek help needed)

There’s something I’ve been wondering about ever since I got my first computer.

A friggin Gateway P133 with what 8MB of RAM and a 500MB hard drive? 14.4 modem? Or something? It looked like this:


From that starting point Pentium processors starting picking up speed year to year. RAM went up at a similar clip. As did storage size. Dial-up modem speed. As did monitor resolution. Etc…

With other technology, cameras started off at a certain level (sucky) and then slowly crept up notches of advancement year to year. Prices came down as resolution went up. And if you look at the little USB flash drives– they started off at what? 8MB and have slowly moved up the ladder until recently when you can get gigs for cheap and stuff…

And whether it was computers or laptops or cameras or storage– for the most part, all the companies seemed to move at the same speed. At least in the same range of speed/price ratio. Processors, resolution, storage all seem to progress hand in hand. Company to company.

So my question is– Are actual technological advancements dictating our level of technology year to year— or is it simply businesses holding the reins back on advancing technology so they can have plenty of running room for upgrades for years and years?

Is this a master plan that they’re all in cahoots on?

I mean eventually we will be satisfied with the cameras in our phones. Eventually a few terabytes is going to be more than enough forever. So do they just move slowly to get the most out of our technological wallets– because sales will slow down when our need for upgrade decreases? I’m sure the slow down of sales is happening already obviously…

And if that is the case, why isn’t there a spoiler company out there who says screw it– and produces a super hi-res 1000 megapixel camera for discount cheap? Or a giant 1TB storage flash drive for $19.99? Wouldn’t they make their money just based on the volume they sell? If the technology is there why not be the jerk in the business who pulls back the curtain?

Doesn’t it really all cost the same to produce anyway? I mean how much more actual hardware goes into a 100GB harddrive compared to a 100TB harddrive? Are they that different on a physical level? Is it that difficult to make that jump?

I realize this maybe is some chicken and the egg crap but it’s something that I’ve always wondered about– so I done typed it up here and that’s that!

ok bye!

PS. So apparently when you google my website look at the way my site is listed. Any ideas out there? I dunno wtf. Doesn’t seem to be anything in the code that is doing that. I searched for the word Proprecia and nothing came up…


bitch wheeze says:

tech evolves- no one is so far ahead of the game that they can leapfrog the competition and dominate the market, albeit for a short period of time.

Look up Moore’s law for a slightly outdated explanation as to how computing power grows exponentially relative to time.

R N says:

All and all there is a master company that has created the technologies we use today (i.e. hard drive, USB flash drives) and that is the standard we follow. To answer your question technological advancements ARE dictating our level of technology year to year.

Companies that do provide an upgrade to certain pieces of technology will conduct tests to make sure that their product is 100%.

Another thing you have to consider is that everyone – Commercial and Everyday Consumers, use technology at different levels and upgrade when they feel it is necessary.

Allow me to provide you an example tOdd. Two years ago, I was working at DELL. The majority of the database software that was used only worked with Windows XP. Some of the software was backwards compatible with old-school Windows 9X Technology.

If DELL and its vendors decided to upgrade to Vista, it would have spelled disaster for the company due to many of the software not being compatible. Businesses such as DELL cannot afford downtime because of that.

johnny5 says:

moore’s law.

it is manufacturing costs as well as R&D and then supply/demand.

But the tech involved, the R&D is ahead ..but by the time it gets to be good and cheap…

there is a question of where we plauteau though. However with things like nanomachines and quantum computing around the corner…we are ready for the next tier of advancement. I think batterys will ultimately be a hurdle for the really small devices.

the REAL weeze says:


CaptainBob says:

All the technology is there and discovered. All big jumps in technology start with the Military, then slowly work their way to consumers 5-20 years later.

Jbone says:

I believe it is a combination of both. I don’t think they purposely keep tech down because they would want to be able to beat the competition. I do however think once they make a big improvement, they then add tiny little fixes to force the super geeks to upgrade over and over and over.

Anonymous says:

It’s all a conspiracy set up by the Crab people to keep us sated until they eventually take over the world and force us to work in the sugar mines. And I for one welcome our new Crab overlords.

Anonymous says:

You have fallen for the Crab people’s ruse. Thier diverting your attention to sugar which is refined from crops. All the while putting thier slaves to work in thier salt mines they need for the purpose of extended stays on land that they will use to take over the planet.

Anonymous says:

Ha Anonymous! I see the RAND corporation has gotten to you too! Or perhaps the reverse vapmires! Either way the Crab people will soon be here and one thing is for certain, nothing can stop them…

Yellowdog says:

Propecia is a drug used to treat male pattern baldness.

Someone is having a bit of a laugh with you, Todd.

Z says:

I think that is pretty funny how Google displays your web site. It is like how you could Google “Miserable Failure” a few years back and get a George Bush website.


S says:

We’re already witnessing the end of Moore’s law. Core CPU speed is stagnating, but we’re compensating with multiplying the number of cores. A few apps benefit from parallelization (video encoding for instance), but overall I wouldn’t say that performance has doubled of the past 18 months while prices got cut by half. The future is not in laptops and desktops anyway, it lies in other mobile devices, which right now run CPUs much slower than their traditional PC counterparts.

Another stagnating area is hard drive speed. Hybrid drives can be fast used in the right way, but they come with caveats such as limited lifespan. Traditional mechanical drives are getting larger every 3 months it seems, but actual IO performance hasn’t changed for quite a while. I’d even say that unless we find a dramatically better way to store data, CPU & RAM speed advancements are pointless in most cases. Hard drive IO is what’s making today’s machines slow.

And finally, as someone else mentioned, battery quality hasn’t seen any breakthroughs for years. Another big bottleneck.

Anonymous says:

Hey Todd,

Your site was probably hacked and occasionally shows the propecia store to the google bot.

If you click on View Cache on the google result and then view source you can see that the last time that google cached the site they got a propecia store instead.

It’s probably sending out spam right now if your hosting allows the site to mail. You gotta find the hacked code and take it out!

Crumbles says:

Like me, my computer went WHAM

Anonymous says:

Won’t somebody think of the crab people!!

SonicOrbStudios says:

From what I know about HDDs, you can get up to 2.5TB with 3 platters in the standard sized enclosure. After that it’s either add more drives and RAID array them to get more space/speed or change the design of the drives completely.

I think in a few years, spinning HDDs will be wiped out and everyone will be using the new Solid State drives. I just installed a small one for my boot sector and main programs and LOVE it….very fast and quiet/cool.

MsM says:

Technology may be improving, (whatever happened to semi living “Jello- chips?) but pricing is a business decision. There are tiers of pricing from the time that an item is first introduced for sale. When it first comes out, everyone wants one. (Demand) Since it is new, the manufacturer hasn’t get any back stock, so the price is as high as they can imagine it selling for. (Supply) Sometimes, their guess is too low, and the items sell fast. Then they raise the price, and when sales slow down, they have temporary price reductions, “sales”. Once the suppliers have warehouses full, the sale price pretty much becomes the regular price. Then some better item is produced, and they have to convince the public that their first purchase is obsolete. Sometimes they make the new item so it cannot use the accessories from the first item. This goes on with several generations of the item, but once at a certain level, the new items are not that much better than the last edition, so people don’t buy as readily, therefore, the supplier reduces his profit margin and make the items cheaper. When the public has purchased several of these items, and passed some to their children, the market is declared flooded, and whatever is left of the old stock is sold to discounters who sell on line, like, or ebay. Eventually even though the technology isn’t that different, the supplier wants to keep selling, so advertising is cranked up to the max, and the company hosts “Recycling” to get the second hand items out of the market. Parts are discontinued so older items cannot be updated. New parts cannot fit into the older models. (Planned obsolescence.) People are just pawns in the business model.

naisy says:

you can pay google to put ur ad on top of the search when certain search words are searched! then when someone searches MEP! they could get u! first thing!

optional says:

it is a conspiracy!

Mr Bill says:

That was your first computer? Man I thought you were older than that.

Or did you just rock out on the Commodore 64 until 1995?

Mr Sexy Pants says:

I rocked out on the Commodore VIC-20 until 1992.

Dani says:

I noticed today when I googled Odd Todd that I had a hard time getting here. AND there’s some OTHER odd todd out there too!. He’s creepy tho.

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