Goodbye 2007

December 31, 2007

by Mark Ollig

The end of another year . . . 2007, we hardly knew ya.

Welcome to the 53rd and final column for 2007.

As I drove to Winsted to celebrate the season, I was listening to Bing Crosby singing “Silver Bells” from my car radio. The song was appropriate . . . as blankets of bright white snow covered the countryside and the city sidewalks along the way.

As we come to the end of this year, I wonder what new technology will be revealed to us in 2008.

Will the future technological discoveries capture the excitement we experienced of those past?

Sure they will. The future of high-tech is one of wonderment, and the new discoveries that will be realized tomorrow will, without a doubt, seem like magic to us today.

I imagine there are a few intelligent young minds out there right now contemplating on or working an idea they have with the intention of improving how we will live our lives in the future.

One of these people – with this original and revolutionary idea – is probably envisioning how this future technology will someday change the world.

This new technology or idea may not even be a device; it could be a revolutionary software program they are working on.

One of the observations about the Internet that I have realized is how it is changing from being just a one-way distribution medium. In the past, we would access the Internet to find information.

Today, a paradigm-shift has occurred. The face of the Internet has changed.

Years ago, most uploading to the Internet consisted of kilobytes of typewritten text. Today we upload information in the gigabyte range with no end in sight.

The common term is “user-generated-content.”

Not only are we downloading information from the Internet to digest, we are seeing the reverse also taking place. The amount of individual user content in the form of text, voice and video being uploaded to the Internet on venues like YouTube, Facebook, numerous other websites and personal blogs is surging.

The Internet network itself has exploded into a broadband transport medium handling every conceivable media format – even our voice communications, sending them along as packets of information over a controlled protocol. Our voice, video and data files are being uploaded and downloaded over the Internet faster than ever before.

We are using the Internet to interact with others not only across the country, but also on a global scale.

In the future, as Vinton Cerf, computer scienteist, sees it, we may also use the Internet to access information from devices on other planets in outer space.

It is a given that improvements will need to be made in the computing devices and pathways that make up the Internet itself in order to handle the increasing bandwidth requirements.

Have you seen the infamous “Internet Cloud”? I have seen it referenced as a cloud in some technical publications.

I heard this representation is used because most folks do not care about the details on how the packets of information get to their final destination – it is only important that they do get there.

Some think of it as the combined collection of “hosts” or Internet Service Providers along with the private networks that connects it all together.

I read in a blog where the younger generation experiences this cloud as the “oxygen” they use that supports their digital lives.

When we look inside this mysteries cloud, we see the individual parts that make up the Internet backbone. The many individual trunking networks consist of fiber-optic cables, high-capacity core routers, multiplexers, gateways, access points and computer servers.

All of these transport and equipment devices are constantly being monitored and maintained to ensure they are able to process their portion of data.

As with all electronic devices, they sometimes break down or will need to be replaced.

Computing processing components, hardware and software improves each year; this necessitates the need for upgrades to these and other intelligent devices in the network.

Nothing stays static for very long when it comes to the Internet and new technology.

Someone must be making money on all of this, right?

Cisco is the primary supplier of core routers used to manage traffic over the internet backbone. I wish I had bought some stock in them years ago, as I read they just completed another prosperous quarter.

So, as Bits & Bytes says “good-bye” to 2007, let’s go out with the latest high-tech discovery.

Here is an interesting one I found at www.physorg.com.

The folks in a lab at the University of California, Riverside, have developed the technology to create a one-inch square 10-terabit memory storage hard drive. They are using nano-lasers to write the data at the molecular level.

More to come in 2008.