28 February 2011

Shorter Wires

One of the themes/memes of this endeavor is that we are inevitably headed back to the 1970's, in more ways than one.  An oil embargo looks to be an added carrot to the stew, but I digress.  The 1970's from a macro-architectural point of view:  centralized data and dumb-ish screens connected to same.  I was the first of the pundit class, that I can find, to tell this story. 

Others are beginning to see it, too.  I keep track of Mr. Market through, among others, the Seeking Alpha site (a stock pumping outfit, that also sometimes publishes technically "interesting" stuff).  In today's episode is a piece on Intel's Thunderbolt tech; worth reading.  What caught my eye, and inspired this post however, was a comment from one who signs as ryanclarke:

By having an office full of 'data screens' with Gigabit or Thunderbolt fiber connectors ... all could be using the same processor sitting in a storage rack in the coffee room. Back to the 'thin client' and mainframe days of the 1960s-1970s. That's the technological push underway right now.

When I was a Fed, back in the days of yore, we four (not horsemen of the Apocalypse) were OR/stat guys in the midst of HR managers.  There was a bit of friction.  One of my colleagues, Frank the Elder (as opposed to Frank the Younger; last names omitted to avoid legal action, one never quite knows about these things), was a psychometrician who was fond of the term "subvision".  This is not to be confused with Subversion, the recent bit of VCS.  No, subvision was the counter to supervision, whereby the worker bees led the queen bees (most of whom, obviously, were male; I've always wondered how staff got tagged as worker bees, given that the apian world is female dominant yet the human male) forward.  This evident shift, and a tectonic one it is too, looks more and more to be understood by the troops on the ground, but ignored by general staff.  (Shift in metaphor.)

The main issue is whether we also take advantage of RDBMS/SSD datastores, or go all the way back to Neanderthal times to COBOL/VSAM.  I pray not.

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