Dan's Rants

Cloud Computing – Whats Old Is New


The 80’s ….. what a decade, big hair, outrageous clothing, keyboard music, and using a  remote mainframe. Isn’t it funny that things haven’t changed,  some people still have the mullet, there are still radio stations devoted to 80’s music, and we are still using a remote mainframe except we call it cloud computing and the servers are owned by the megacorporations. How did this happen?.

Well back in the old days, computing was done using a screen and a keyboard, communicating with a mainframe at a whopping 30 characters a second – if you were lucky it was 120 characters a second.  We would run programs that were on the mainframe and stored our data on the mainframe. Gods know what processor the mainframes were boasting but it was the only way to do computing for a while, well until guys like Bill and Steve came along and started building them into a single computer on the desk.

For us, it wasn’t until a wonderful 6502 based computer came along with a whopping 8k of memory that I was really captivated – how could anyone want a computer with more than 8k in it? Well, most watches have more memory in it these days.

Then suddenly we started connecting our computers together using really thick coaxial cables and clunky connectors.  Then the connection speeds got so fast that everyone started thinking about connecting their computers to the latest thing – the internet. It was fun to watch it grow from text only to full graphics. Anyway, we now have servers for anything you can think of, and for a while, this was called grid computing.

About this time people thought Moores law was about to run out (the rate of technology improvement), there was a limit to how fast computing in a desktop could go and people wanted mobile right? About this time, something happened and the world didn’t want their data stored on their PC, they wanted their data to be stored in the cloud and be able to run programs in the cloud.  Sound familiar everything stored and run on a remote computer? As the old song says – everything old is new again.

For our own part, the opportunity to build distributed sensor networks, coupled with the power of remote computing is very attractive for both sports and health monitoring applications. See http://www.qsportstechnology.com/to-the-cloud

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