How Fast Is Technology Advancing?
Most of us cannot believe how fast technology has advanced just in the last decade. Ten years ago we were still using something called film in cameras. Now, adults and children alike take thousands of digital photos without ever buying a roll of film. Look at how digital technology changed the photo industry. The largest film company in America, Kodak, did not adapt quickly enough to this dramatic shift in photography. Since the firm waited too long before jumping into the digital age, it still pays for that costly mistake today as other companies have taken away its market share.
Moreover, just 10 years ago, music was on something called a compact disc. During the time of the CD, we were all amazed at the quality and ease of playing and finding the tracks on the disc. Although still used somewhat today, even CD’s are going to the wayside only holding 15-20 full songs. Music is now stored and played in the hundreds and thousands on devices such as iPods and mp3 players. Personally, one of the best gifts I’ve ever received was my 80GB iPod. I have over 5,000 songs and 3,000 digital pictures on a device about the same size as HALF a deck of cards. Even with that many files on my iPod, I’m only using 35% of its storage capacity.
Although DVDs are still popular, the next big move is to Blu-Ray. If you haven’t yet heard of Blu-Ray, www.blu-ray.com/info/ defines the format as:
“the name of a next-generation optical disc format jointly developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group of the world’s leading consumer electronics, personal computer and media manufacturers.”
What makes it far superior to current DVD’s? First, Blu-Ray is in HD or High Definition. Moreover, a typical DVD holds only 4GB single layer/8GB dual layer, while Blu-Ray holds an astonishing 25GB single layer and 50GB dual layer, or 6 times that of DVDs. Not to be outdone by those increases in storage capacity, the same site also speaks of Pioneer creating a Blu-Ray with 20 layers and up to 500GB of storage capacity. This is approximately 100 times what current single layer DVD’s can store. More amazingly, all of this has occurred just in the last few years.
Also, 10 short years ago, most of us didn’t know about satellite radio. Today, we can access over 100 stations, most commercial free, expanding our options from traditional radio. Online sites, such as www.pandora.com, allow users to create their own personalized station that will only play music they like. This is done by the user clicking musical formats of interest, then as the station plays, the user can give thumbs up or thumbs down to any song. The site then remembers these tastes and continually adjusts and personalizes the station. For example, you can choose country, rock, pop, Christian, R&B or a mix of any of the above to play on your station. Within your station, you can customize what groups or types of songs will play. Go online and give this site a try: www.pandora.com.
So, has technology advanced at the same pace or more rapidly over the past few years? The question is debatable, yet researching what is called Moore’s Law will shed some light on the subject. According to a multitude of websites, including Wikipedia, Moore’s law is defined as:
..a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware. Since the invention of the integrated circuit in 1958, the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has increased exponentially, doubling approximately every two years. The trend was first observed by Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore in a 1965 paper. It has continued for almost half of a century and is not expected to stop for another decade, at least and perhaps much longer.
Almost every measure of the capabilities of digital electronic devices is linked to Moore’s law: processing speed, memory capacity, even the number and size of pixels in digital cameras. All of these are improving at (roughly) exponential rates as well. This has dramatically increased the usefulness of digital electronics in nearly every segment of the world economy. Moore’s law describes this driving force of technological and social change in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Therefore, in a nutshell, Moore’s Law states that computer technology doubles every 24 months. Some more recent studies suggest the average time technology doubles has decreased from 24 months to 18 months. The most recent technological developments follow this law.
Another advance in technology is touch. Many cell phones now offer touch screens and have very few buttons. The Apple iPhone and Samsung Instinct are two great examples of this technology. Users are able to be more ‘attached’ to the phone, if you will. Consumers can use stylus pens or fingers to activate features on the phone.
In personal computing, surface computing was unveiled in 2007 by Microsoft. Surface computing allows the user to become the input mechanism for the computer instead of the traditional input devices such as mice and keyboards. For a great demonstration, go to Microsoft’s website and view the video at http://www.microsoft.com/surface/index.html or visit YouTube and type surface computing for a wide selection of videos.
Most of you have already seen surface computing in action, but perhaps not realized it. During the most recent election, most networks used this type of technology when analyzing voting trends and statistics by state and county. Most newscasts, especially at the national level, use these as well. If you’ve watched the weather, you’ll see the meteorologist interact more with the screen behind them to zoom in or out of various maps. If you watch Extra, hosted by Mario Lopez, he too uses this type of technology when interacting directly with the video screens around him on the show. These are just a few examples of how surface or touch computing is used. This technology has so much in store that I will write a future article just on it alone.
What will the future hold? Even more of the same with big leaps in technology continuing!