Smoke Signals

RJ Tee
February 13, 2015

smoke-signals -

Humans have always had an inherent desire to communicate. I think whether we realize it or not, our species has flourished because of the technology enhancements that have allowed us to speed up and improve our communication capability.

Everything of what we see and use today is simply an upgrade of something that was there before. I think we can go back pretty far and compare communication technology of today with communication technology of yesterday. And I'm talking way back.

The first tweet - smoke signals

Like the current tweet you couldn't put much into a smoke signal. You had to be frugal with your message due to the way you constructed the 'words'. Admittedly the tweets wouldn't have been as fun or witty as they are now, "Lindsey Lohan caught stealing pair of slippers in discount store #thief #serialoffender" and more information based, like "mammoth killed. Cooking now. Dinner at 8. #hungry" is a possible smoke signal, but the point is that humans were putting out short messages early in our history.

The first Facebook page - cave paintings (paleontology)

Yes, I went there. And Why not? Cave paintings were nothing more than static profile updates from cavemen. Instead of updating their post that said "I killed some springbok then got chased by a mountain lion", they had to tell us that as a non-updateable cave painting.

First GPS - Leaving markings on trees and rocks. So with this one I was trying to think of how far back I could go. I got to compass and then I thought- what did people do before that?

I suspect a hunter/gatherer (sales manager/channel manager - just kidding) would mark territories to help them find their way back home, or to certain locations like an area of water or food.

And I am sure some of you could think of more, but the interesting discussion I had (with Luca, my 10-year-old son) is what can come next? What developments will humans make to these technologies and communication tools to improve what we have now?

For me, I'd see speed and power to be the best areas for improvement. Speed—faster processors, faster access to websites, download speeds and overall experience are areas that are constantly worked on, but could get better.

For power- well it's 10 am and I'm typing this on my phone (won't say what it is but its name is shared with a popular fruit. No, not blackberry). And my battery is already down to 29 percent. And I haven't really done much except respond to emails and upload the odd Instagram picture (marazzi73 #followforfollow etc). I think the leader of the smartphone will be the one who works out how to make batteries last much longer.

If you have a smartphone, you will have at least one app that uses data centres globally. Even if you never install a single app on your phone, all of your updates for that phone will come from any number of data centres in the world. And if you have a Facebook account, that account will be stored in around seven separate locations around the world.

So if speed and power are dramatically improved, I would say this will drive the next generation of data centres, storage and need for rack-level power management. I think people would add more to their smartphones, use them for photos, updates and communicating much more, and this will drive an increase in processing power and storage in data centres, which will drive the need to understand more about what power is being consumed in each cabinet and, pick up early, if core application services may be at risk.

We (humans) have less and less patience on how long it takes us to get what we want. Can you imagine having to read a map and planning your journey? Are you prepared to take the amount of time that took?

Would we be prepared to scrape into a wall our Facebook status, and DRAW the photos we take so easily nowadays? Not a chance.

As humans, we do not suffer 'tools' gladly. Any phone app or service that fails and doesn't provide us what we need—we delete it. "Oh, I can't access your welcome page?" Gone. "Your servers are down, try again later?" Bye. We just don't care because there will be another app that can do pretty much the same thing.

So, as a consumer, you will reap the benefits that fickleness brings. For the rest of us that have to deliver that service to you in some form—good luck to us all.

If you need me, I'll be in a cave scrawling this post somewhere ;)

Marc Marazzi

If you have a good example of something old that you can relate to something new (Sony Walkman - iPod, for example) send it in to us at Server Technology. Each one will receive a USB key shaped like one of our HDOT PDUs! Trust me, they are cool.

CAUTION: Your data is trying to warn you!