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Why Your IT Spending Is About To Hit the Wall

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the supply-constantly-battling-demand dept.

Businesses 301

CowboyRobot writes "For decades, rapid increases in storage, processor speed, and bandwidth have kept up with the enormous increases in computer usage. That could change however, as consumption finally outpaces the supply of these resources. It is instructive to review the 19th-century Economics theory known as Jevons Paradox. Common sense suggests that as efficiencies rise in the use of a resource, the consumption goes down. Jevons Paradox posits that efficiencies actually drive up usage, and we're already seeing examples of this: our computers are faster than ever and we have more bandwidth than ever, yet our machines are often slow and have trouble connecting. The more we have, the even more we use."

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301 comments

I know what you're talking about (5, Funny)

SpaceCadetTrav (641261) | about 2 years ago | (#39680957)

Despite technological advancements, it takes forever for Slashdot to load on my phone.

Re:I know what you're talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39680977)

our computers are faster than ever and we have more bandwidth than ever, yet our machines are often slow and have trouble connecting.

Not mine. But I ditched Windows in 2007.

Re:I know what you're talking about (4, Insightful)

MachDelta (704883) | about 2 years ago | (#39681065)

Yeah, they broke^h^h^h^h^h^h improved the comment system a while ago. In the name of progress, of course.

Re:I know what you're talking about (4, Insightful)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#39681713)

of course everyone loves eye candy, even at the expense of usability and stability

Re:I know what you're talking about (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681159)

In light of technological advanvements, better bottlenecks are being implemented.

Re:I know what you're talking about (5, Insightful)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#39681719)

programmers can keep trying to make their software idiot-proof, but society will forever continue making better idiots

Re:I know what you're talking about (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#39681207)

Which shows it isn't the OS or the hardware, its the networks. i have to wonder if the whole "buffer problem" we've been reading about here is about to hit the tipping point as it seems like everything now has big fat buffers built in and as we know the Internet model simply wasn't designed for having large buffers throw the timing all to hell.

Personally I think it is high time we use an old solution to fix a new problem...bring back the WPA. a lot of our bandwidth problems would disappear if we had nationwide FTTH or at least fiber to the neighborhood. It seems like a great way to put all those sitting at home on unemployment to work and you build it right and just as many bridges built by the WPA in rural areas still work fine so too could a well built fiber network last us for ages. this would also give us the benefits of new businesses springing up to make use of this new resource and finally kill the duopolies that have been hamstringing growth in so many areas of the country because the lines would be open to competition.

I truly believe if we don't do something radical like bring back the WPA we will end up staying on the short bus to the info superhighway because the corps can make more money by throttling and cherry picking than by actually growing their businesses and in our short sighted corp climate the quarterly reports are all that matters. i know that even though my home town has grown by more than a third neither the cable nor DSL has moved an inch in a good decade or more. They would rather just add caps and sit on the big wads of money than actually add new customers. If we don't change this situation we are gonna end up being left behind so its high time we put those unemployed to work building us a new broadband infrastructure.

Re:I know what you're talking about (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681267)

No it's not the networks, it's the morons in charge of the content.

Slashdot should load 10X faster than it does, but the uneducated developers and designers put in a lot of crap that is not needed to add in "pretty" that does not add to the content at all.

So slashdot now takes over 10X in bandwidth and processing power to deliver the same content it did 8 years ago. All so I can gave some web 2.0 crap that does nothing at all.

But it's not just slashdot. ALL websites are bum rushing the add more crap idea. Facebook takes 10X longer to load from 5 years ago, CNN, ESPN, etc.. all of them have went from hiring competent people that understand that adding more data to send to the viewer is bad , to a bunch of morons that use every JS toolkit known to man so I download 40mb of libraries before the page loads. Some JS is useful. Good programmers put in the libraries only what is needed, posers put in the whole damn library. This same trend is on Desktops and phones. android and IOS suffer from this as well.

It is about to hit the wall because low paid low skill developers are what companies hire compared to highly skilled people that will do it right.

Re:I know what you're talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681499)

Yep. Slashdot was blindingly fast before the big Ajax rewrite/redesign. And it used to work flawlessly in every browser.

Great HTML forms > crappy Ajax

Re:I know what you're talking about (5, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 2 years ago | (#39681567)

> But it's not just slashdot.

No it isn't. If the average visitor isn't impacted the devels don't care. But if the average user were impacte dthey would. Which is the problem with the concept under discussion. The belief that bloat MUST be therefore there being nothing that can be done we are all doomed to spend ourselves into poverty fighting a problem that will never exist.

Because as soon as it becomes a problem, suddenly the average pageview will suddenly be able to shrink in half without impacting usability at all and if that doesn't do it it can cut in half again with minimal impact. And it isn't just webpages, most everything suffers the same bloating. Does a simple little game that was a 50K download on Palm OS really need to be a 1MB app on Android or iOS? Nope. But because users don't care the developers don't care either. And again, if the first part of that statement changes you can bet yer butt the second one will.

Short version: This is a self correcting non-problem.

Re:I know what you're talking about (5, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#39681815)

Does a simple little game that was a 50K download on Palm OS really need to be a 1MB app on Android or iOS?

Depends on the app. If we're talking about an all-text game, that's a little extreme. On the other hand, if it contains any image assets at all, that is probably not unreasonable.

Remember that the original Palm hardware had 240 x 160 resolution in black and white. A current-generation iPhone has 960 x 640 resolution in 24-bit color, and it is usually bundled as dual-platform for iPad, which is 2048 x 1536 in 24-bit color. So if that 50k app on Palm were nothing but uncompressed image data, you would expect the iPad/iPhone version of the app to be a whopping 96 megabytes.

Obviously image compression helps with that, and obviously an app contains content other than image assets, both of which contribute to that being something of an overestimate. That said, using that as an upper bound, a mere one megabyte doesn't sound bad at all.

Re:I know what you're talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681585)

Amen!

Re:I know what you're talking about (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#39681721)

"No it's not the networks, it's the morons in charge of the content."

In many ways I must agree. I have strenuously protested many of the changes made to Slashdot over the last couple of years, which have seemed to add nothing substantial to usability, and instead have added overhead and time, and actually made it MORE difficult to use.

Re:I know what you're talking about (2)

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | about 2 years ago | (#39681827)

While you're absolutely correct, the solution is not to re-train developers to "do it right"; it's really not feasible, and isn't a final solution by itself anyway.

Just like has been predicted for years, IPV4 is running out of addresses. We *could* force the A block owners to give up their IPs, we DID kludge in NAT, but the proper solution was to increase the available resources. For bandwidth/processing power issues, we need a multi-pronged approach, including increased resources (infrastructure upgrades), better development (cleaner standards, maybe?), and competing providers. I like hairyfeet's suggestion for this, though I think it's a bit of a stretch to present fiber to the home as a way to solve unemployment, too.

Re:I know what you're talking about (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39681883)

>>>Facebook takes 10X longer to load from 5 years ago

Yes. Facebook is just about unusable on my Kindle G3. It wasn't like that before they switched to the Timeline setting that loads a ton of junk & makes the poor 500 MHz processor go into la-la land. I wish there was a simpler version of facebook.

Re:I know what you're talking about (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#39681899)

i'm currently working on an engineering compliance app i php and i've found that its very easy to increase the page size with the simplest things (like js event handlers on items in every data row). not so bad for as as its only a lan app so performance isn't really a problem.

i think its just the nature of html.

as a static langauge (requiring js etc for interactivity without page or iframe reloads) everything must be fully described from the get-go. if you have hidden sections that appear with js, you still have to include them in a div with display:none or whatever.

if entire pages were scripted it might result in less content being downloaded, and with the speed of computers now the time required to generate the page using the downloaded script onto the browser window would be negligible. the problem with that is the amount of work required to produce the script that is essentially given away to anyone who requests the page makes for a poor return on investment. this development cost far outweighs the performance hit for a static page load. at least server side scripts are retained as an ip investment (which is what drives the whole sas business model).

if you're a company that requires lightning fast page loads, its probably more efficient and effective to simply host on a higher network bandwidth server (datacenter) and blame poor performance on the client end. that's no doubt what slashdot does.

Re:I know what you're talking about (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39681617)

Buffer problem?

President Obama did hatch a plan to get high-speed internet. Unfortunately his plan was to turn-off free TV (all channels 25 and up) and turn it over to wireless companies. That's not a solution... at least not as good as Fiber to every home.

>>>Which shows it isn't the OS or the hardware, its the networks

No it's the programmers. How else do you explain being able to run WordPerfect on a 1/2 megabyte machine (referring to my 68000 Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Apple Mac), or Word on my 8 megabyte laptop (386SX), but today it takes 500 megabytes. Yeah they added some new features since the 80s/early 90s but that shouldn't require 1000x more RAM.

Web pages have grown in bloat too. We used to be able to view the web on 14 k modems. Now even 56k can't handle it. (I usually turn-off the too-bloated images.) I can understand people want High-def video and that requires bandwidth, but why should a plain-text site like /. require bandwidth? It should zip right across the phone line.

The WPA? (2)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | about 2 years ago | (#39681689)

p>

Personally I think it is high time we use an old solution to fix a new problem...bring back the WPA. a lot of our bandwidth problems would disappear if we had nationwide FTTH or at least fiber to the neighborhood. It seems like a great way to put all those sitting at home on unemployment to work and you build it right and just as many bridges built by the WPA in rural areas still work fine so too could a well built fiber network last us for ages.

I think there is plenty of old-school WPA-type work that those people could be doing. lt won't happen because it means "Big Government" giving opportunity to poor people, and that is somehow un-American.

Re:I know what you're talking about (1)

BeaverCleaver (673164) | about 2 years ago | (#39681853)

This is what's happening with the National Broadband Network in Australia. Fibre to the home, for at least 90% of the population. Hopefully it will gain enough momentum before it gets cancelled by the next change of government.

There are two schools of thought (5, Funny)

bigredradio (631970) | about 2 years ago | (#39680971)

From my own observations, there are two schools of thought.

  1. People who think anything older than 6 months is ancient and obsolete.
  2. People who say, "if it ain't broke don't fix it!"

Seems the former spend their time fixing things and the later spend time bitching about "damn kids" and their lawns.

Re:There are two schools of thought (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681139)

not really. seems the former are a bunch of fucking idiots constantly tampering with shit that doesn't need tampering with (gnome 3, anyone? unity?), while the latter are either refreshingly pragmatic, or, as you say, tedious old farts resisting progress for the sake of pretending to be smart (windows xp, anyone?)

my view is fuck the both of them, and there must be a third school of thought. however, i'm too tired and drunk to think what it might be.

Re:There are two schools of thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681173)

Alternatively the former have too much money and make crappy software decisions, whilst the latter are happy to leave things that work working.

Possibly it's even a mixture of both ;)

Re:There are two schools of thought (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#39681279)

and you forget those of us in the middle. we buy the 6 month old gear for $0.10 o nthe dollar off of ebay and get to use higher end gear from the used market for lower price.

No company needs 1000bt for the accounting and sales department. But there is always some moron IT guy out there that thinks they do so they scrap all their perfect 100bt gear. and I snap it up for nothign and sell it to small businesses for a profit.

Re:There are two schools of thought (4, Informative)

Eristone (146133) | about 2 years ago | (#39681607)

No company needs 1000bt for the accounting and sales department. But there is always some moron IT guy out there that thinks they do so they scrap all their perfect 100bt gear. and I snap it up for nothign and sell it to small businesses for a profit.

I see you aren't using more recent accounting and CRM/ERP packages and don't have people pushing multi-megabyte PowerPoint and video presentations around. (or in my case - Sales pushing around vm images of a couple gig) Or people moving between desks from other parts of the company. That moron IT guy that replaces everything with 1000bt gear is sitting there going "There. Now I don't have to worry which switch the conference rooms are plugged into or if the head of HR and the CEO snag someone's office so that person goes to an empty desk to do something... "

Re:There are two schools of thought (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#39681845)

Nope. we wasted a lot of cash of CRM/ERP It's a waste of money in a small/medium sized business. as for multi megabyte PPT files, that is not a problem with 100bt. It never has been unless the Network engineer needs to be fired.

Heck we even do HD videoconferencing over 100bt. if you think you need 1000bt in a general office, you need to hire better networking guys, they seem to not be able to do their job right.

Re:There are two schools of thought (2)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#39681637)

1000bT isn't necessarily for the bandwidth. For many environments, it's used for the reduced latency. In one particular case, we had 100bT from desktop to switch, 100bT sw2sw, and 100bT to server. Replacing the switches with a single 24x1gb with 1gb links to switches with 2x1gb + 48x100mb, then 100mb to desktop more than doubled performance of one critical app. In most instances, bandwidth wasn't a factor, but the reduced latency can be of tremendous benefit for some apps, including many accounting apps.

But I agree with the rest of your post. Stay off the bleeding edge. Be selective about buying and you can get high performance machines that last you 4-8 years, maybe a bit longer, and never pay top dollar for them (even if you're buying new). The secret is knowing what you need, then buying a quality machine that's expandable/upgradeable and is slightly more than you need now.

Re:There are two schools of thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681823)

We throw away machines with gig-e and 8 gigs ram. Want one?

Re:There are two schools of thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681573)

GET OFF MY LAWN!

Re:There are two schools of thought (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39681679)

>>>2.People who say, "if it ain't broke don't fix it!"

Time is finite and I don't want to waste it on things that don't matter (like the color of my desktop, or installing a new OS and trying to fix the broken parts that failed to work). I've used the same Windows XP desktop for 10 years now, and it's done everything I asked it to do. And I saved a LOT of days in my life but not having to relearn a new OS or new arrangement (think Office ribbon). Also cash.

How things change, how they stay the same (2)

cusco (717999) | about 2 years ago | (#39680981)

There was a time when my 486/25 with the 120 megabyte hard drive and the 14.4 modem was "all you'll ever need". That didn't last long . . .

Re:How things change, how they stay the same (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about 2 years ago | (#39681051)

Its still all you ever needed its just not all you'd ever want.

Re:How things change, how they stay the same (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#39681057)

I remember 110 baud. And soldering your own circuit boards for S-100 computers and tuning your drives with an oscilliscope.

Not to mention slide rules. Not the plastic kind - a fine grained wood one.

I remember 440 baud (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#39681179)

I remember my Apple II with 110, 300, and 1200 baud serial. The 1200 baud would not work on the 110/300 baud modems of the day. But I figured out how to get the serial port working at 440 baud by crossing some flags for 110 with some flags for 1200 in the serial port device register. Amazingly, that actually worked on a 300 baud modem calling another setup done exactly the same way.

Re:I remember 440 baud (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#39681271)

Did you run a 128k RAM disk and load your programs into RAM from the floppies too? I found that got me about 1000 times the speed on execution on my Apple II.

Re:How things change, how they stay the same (1)

Xandrax (2451618) | about 2 years ago | (#39681101)

First business computer I had was a 286 with a 20meg hard drive. Then we got 40meg hard drives and $3K 4meg memory cards for ADA, but what were we ever going to need that much drive space and memory for??

Re:How things change, how they stay the same (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#39681259)

When I stuffed the board of my Apple 2 with RAM I knew I was set for a while. 48K

Re:How things change, how they stay the same (1)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#39681667)

I did development on a 486/80 with 12MB-16MB (yes, MB) RAM, running NT4. Don't remember the HD size.

Re:How things change, how they stay the same (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | about 2 years ago | (#39681903)

Had a roommate who spend $300 on a 300mb harddrive so that he could have many games installed at once. We told him he was a moron for wasting all that money because there was no why in hell he'd ever use all that space.

Oops.

Your mileage is not my mileage (4, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#39681031)

As we in the military, research university, and government spheres move to IPv6 and Internet So Fast It Makes Your Ears Bleed (tm), have you ever considered that perhaps it might be slow for you but not for us?

I mean 1000 Gbps is considered normal here, and some of us are running on faster connections, using less energy total to do the same thing.

We rarely print things anymore, and just because you have slower access to resources, you have to realize it could be because, in the war between Urban America and the rest of the country, Urban America with its more efficient energy usage and lower distances traveled - basically won the war.

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#39681129)

... you have to realize it could be because, in the war between Urban America and the rest of the country, Urban America with its more efficient energy usage and lower distances traveled - basically won the war.

Good. Then you can eat all the Internet you want. We'll keep the food.

Yours Truly,

Rural America

(I'd expand this comment but it takes a long time to get stuff uploaded on our 300 baud lines.)

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (0)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#39681263)

Good. Then you can eat all the Internet you want. We'll keep the food.

Yours Truly,

Rural America

(I'd expand this comment but it takes a long time to get stuff uploaded on our 300 baud lines.)

We have rooftop gardens too. Urban farming is enjoying a renaissance.

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (2)

garaged (579941) | about 2 years ago | (#39681879)

Oh yeah, like five tomatoes worth for every person every year, I can see america's overweight problem disapearing soon :)

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681595)

... you have to realize it could be because, in the war between Urban America and the rest of the country, Urban America with its more efficient energy usage and lower distances traveled - basically won the war.

Good. Then you can eat all the Internet you want. We'll keep the food.

Yours Truly,

Rural America

(I'd expand this comment but it takes a long time to get stuff uploaded on our 300 baud lines.)

You don't own your food. The bankers in Urban America do... just look at your lease/mortgage/loan for equipment.

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681875)

OK, you can keep the corn. We'll keep the ports importing 40ft containers full of canned goods and all the shit you buy at Wal mart.

Someone is just mad because they have to drive for 30 minutes to get to the grocery store. Gas prices on your mind? Not mine.

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (2)

similar_name (1164087) | about 2 years ago | (#39681223)

I have to ask at 1000 Gbps are your hard drives even able to write that fast ? That's 125 Gigabytes per second, 500 MB/s is pretty good for an SSD. Also, what are you doing that requires that kind of speed?

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#39681445)

I have to ask at 1000 Gbps are your hard drives even able to write that fast ? That's 125 Gigabytes per second, 500 MB/s is pretty good for an SSD. Also, what are you doing that requires that kind of speed?

We have 8 blade servers with SSDs, each blade keeps most data in DDR3.

What are we doing? Medical and statistical research. You should see some of the protein folding units.

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#39681649)

I have to ask at 1000 Gbps are your hard drives even able to write that fast ? That's 125 Gigabytes per second, 500 MB/s is pretty good for an SSD. Also, what are you doing that requires that kind of speed?

We have 8 blade servers with SSDs, each blade keeps most data in DDR3.

What are we doing? Medical and statistical research. You should see some of the protein folding units.

DDR3-1600 will give you a peak transfer rate of around 13GB/second. You can get higher throughput by interleaving across banks, but the Xeon 7560 (for example) will peak at around [wikipedia.org]15GB/sec [bit-tech.net]

PCIe Gen-3 x8 will deliver around 8GB/second.

The fastest interconnect I've seen on a blade chassis has 10Gbit ports.

Are you sure that "1000 Gbps is considered normal here"?

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#39681243)

Riiiight. Urban America, or as many of us call it "Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games". Did you ever stop to think that in most of America the cities are divided into the insanely rich gated communities and the places where you need to strap BPVs to your car like in Predator II? That kind of attitude might work in Asia but in the USA you are either rich enough to live in a gated community or you can go to bed to the sound of gunfire.

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (1, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#39681457)

Riiiight. Urban America, or as many of us call it "Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games". Did you ever stop to think that in most of America the cities are divided into the insanely rich gated communities and the places where you need to strap BPVs to your car like in Predator II? That kind of attitude might work in Asia but in the USA you are either rich enough to live in a gated community or you can go to bed to the sound of gunfire.

This isn't the south.

Stop watching the news media reporting on crime 3 states away and realize that urban violence and murder rates are at historic lows in the cities of America.

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (2)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#39681727)

Which are you supposed to be for the purpose of this thread, my karma-whoring, Microsoft-astroturfing friend hairyfeet?

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#39681305)

"Urban America with its more efficient energy usage and lower distances traveled - basically won the war."

Until the power goes out. then I own you with my farm and it's source of food you dont have.

rural america will always rule urban america. You cant raise cows in central park.

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681373)

You also can't fuck cows in central park. What's your point?

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681375)

Rural america will do what we tell it to do. You survive on subsidies provided by urban america. If you don't like it we'll give your farm to someone else who will play ball. Now get back to making my food.

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (0)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#39681465)

Rural america will do what we tell it to do. You survive on subsidies provided by urban america. If you don't like it we'll give your farm to someone else who will play ball. Now get back to making my food.

Exactly.

If Urban America ever stopped providing tax money to Rural America, the rioters in the farmlands would run out of gas money in minutes.

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#39681387)

Have you ever been to Delhi (As in the Capital of India, and not the new, cow free half of the city)? Right. Go there. The think long and hard about whether or not you can have cows in central park, or times square for all it matters.

Re:Your mileage is not my mileage (0)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#39681475)

Have you ever been to Delhi (As in the Capital of India, and not the new, cow free half of the city)? Right. Go there. The think long and hard about whether or not you can have cows in central park, or times square for all it matters.

Actually, there are sheep there (Central Park).

But cows? Those are called Beef On The Hoof.

BBQ time!

slow where (5, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | about 2 years ago | (#39681037)

My work Pc is slow and has trouble connecting because of the n layers of Corp security whatnot. My home Pc is reasonably fast and always connects quickly.

Re:slow where (3, Interesting)

jrminter (1123885) | about 2 years ago | (#39681479)

Ding ding ding - we have a winner. Our IT folks put so much crapware on our corporate image, that I had to take all my lab computers out of the domain and run vanilla installs w/ minimal antivirus and our imaging hardware/software. Makes a BIG difference.

Lots more than just CPU and transfer resistors... (3, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | about 2 years ago | (#39681047)

IT is a lot more than just CPU and the amount of little switches on a die. Yes, those get better and continue to do so, but there are a lot of bottlenecks that are not going away anytime soon. Until these are dealt with, things will stay almost the same in the IT world.

Couple examples:

1: Wireless bandwidth fees. This has gotten worse as time progresses. Two years ago, my T-Mobile CLIQ had unlimited tethering. Now, if I want to transfer 500 gigs of data, I'd have to pay my provider over five digits for that month.

2: Regular bandwidth. A year ago, bandwidth might be throttled on P2P downloads. Now it is metered as well on most ISPs.

3: Backups. The enterprise has the advantage that once they pay for the LTO-5 tape drives, individual cartridges are cheap, rugged, and have a lifetime guarentee. Individuals usually don't have the cash for the drive, so have to deal with hard disks which usually have a year warranty, and there is no consumer level software to handle backups, where it knows where a specific revision of a file is on what volume, be it a primary volume, or a copy saved in a safe deposit box somewhere. The enterprise has NetBackup, TSM, Networker, and other items. So, there is a major issue with making sure data is saved safely for anyone who can't afford to stick an EMC VNX array in their garage.

In the past, tape drives were not just affordable by consumers, and kept up with hard disks, but usually had some decent software that could help find media in case of a disaster. These days, there are not any good consumer level backup utilities, especially ones that can restore bare-metal.

4: Encryption. As grows storage grows the need to protect the data from everything from tapes falling off the pickup truck to hard disk drives getting yanked out of arrays.

Just raw CPU power may help things, but that is more incremental than anything else. Right now, IT is more affected by the BYOD trend than it would be by any CPU revolution. What would stir the pot would be bandwidth increases that don't have corresponding fee hikes. Having the ability to have fiber-channel bandwidth over the WAN fabric on the cheap would revolutionize things.

Re:Lots more than just CPU and transfer resistors. (0)

hondo77 (324058) | about 2 years ago | (#39681091)

3: Backups.

I have a Time Capsule [apple.com] and use Backblaze [backblaze.com]. I'm set in that department (I'd like to think).

Backup and your cap (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#39681575)

2: Regular bandwidth.

I [...] use Backblaze

How should one avoid exceeding an ISP's monthly transfer quota while making regular use of online backup?

Re:Backup and your cap (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#39681613)

Set a bandwidth quota at the router? manage your data at the source better? Allocate resources as needed? This isnt rocket science. You have a specific amount of X to use, meter accordingly.

Laffer Curve (1)

V-similitude (2186590) | about 2 years ago | (#39681071)

This is similar in nature to the Laffer curve. It depends where exactly on the curve you are, and we have no real idea (in either case).

Debunking the Jevons Paradox [thinkprogress.org]:

The theory behind it is sound: Lower the cost of anything and people will use more of it, including the cost of running energy consuming equipment. But as with many economic ideas that are sound theory (like the idea that you can raise government revenues by cutting tax rates), the trick is in knowing how far to take them in reality. (Cutting tax rates from 100% to 50% would certainly raise revenues. Cutting them from 50% to 0% would just as surely lower them.)

Two no three major flaws with this. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681165)

1. Computer hardware is not a finite resource like coal is or any other natural resource. Prices go up; somebody build a plant to make more. Econ 101.

2. This assumes that computer hardware will be used the same way as it has been in the past. We are already seeing major changes. Less individual storage and more online storage; different devices that are less hardware intensive and computing is being used differently - less desktop and more handheld and all the differences down the chain from that.

3. No mention of significant technology changes. Who's to say will still be using the current architectures or even silicon tech in the future. This assumes the same old same old for the future.

Shit - the fourth problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681317)

4. The opinion piece also assumes that consumption will continue it's trend. Looking at the consumption of desktops, we see that eventually growth of consumption flattens out and even starts to decline and net consumption is even starting to decline in the PC industry.

Re:Two no three major flaws with this. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#39681439)

I expect we're going to transition to a home server with an online backup model, where people may have fast or slow (depending on needs) heterogenous terminals with local irrelevant fast storage (SSD's, only saving things that can be reacquired easily from disk, or the web). The real data will be in a more specialized networking device that will share files for everyone in the household.

The other issue that I'm not sure they quite get is that people have certain tolerances for how technology behaves. As much as it's a pain in the arse that it takes so many seconds for an app to load up, if I can move 4x as much data, I can now cram 4x as much stuff into the same time, so I do.

And some technology, notably hard drive technology hit a brick wall for a while, but SSD's are going to radically change how hard disks perform. Probably they will end up with some sort of hybrid drive, where you have a couple of terabytes of local storage, SSD cache (this has the added benefit that the computer can still function if part of the drive has failed too, which means it can tell you the hard drive is failed). All of which will have your actual user created data backed up somewhere.

BIOS tech is also one of those things that's becoming tricky, although like HDD there are faster solutions they're just not as widespread as they could be, yet.

This seems familiar (2)

RussR42 (779993) | about 2 years ago | (#39681177)

Don't we hear this same story every so often? Before it was trace width or storage density or whatever. Perhaps some day we'll run out of tricks to making better cheaper hardware but there seems to be a long way to go yet. I mean, we don't even have tenth generation AI hologrammatic computers with IQs of 6,000 yet!

International IT expendings (2)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 years ago | (#39681191)

will rise a lot when they have to move to local servers and companies to avoid the intrusion on their private data mandated by US government

That was the stupidest thing I've read in a while. (5, Insightful)

Brannon (221550) | about 2 years ago | (#39681193)

I'm not even sure where to start other than to say--technology is only ever adopted broadly if it is cost-effective to do so. The printing press wasn't successful because of some incontrovertible march of progress--it was successful because it was cheaper to make books that way than by having monks transcribe them by hand. Yes, that caused more people to read which drove up the demand for books. And I'm sure some jackass back then wrote an article saying that demand for books was accelerating at a rate that we weren't going to be able to afford enough printing presses anymore.

Re:That was the stupidest thing I've read in a whi (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681301)

I'm not even sure where to start other than to say--technology is only ever adopted broadly if it is cost-effective to do so. The printing press wasn't successful because of some incontrovertible march of progress--it was successful because it was cheaper to make books that way than by having monks transcribe them by hand. Yes, that caused more people to read which drove up the demand for books. And I'm sure some jackass back then wrote an article saying that demand for books was accelerating at a rate that we weren't going to be able to afford enough printing presses anymore.

Don't forget the laments for the unemployed monks.

And the cries for the government to save them! Oh, wait, there weren't many irresponsible, can't-take-care-of-themselves PUSSIES back then DEMANDING someone saving their lame asses as a "right".

Re:That was the stupidest thing I've read in a whi (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 years ago | (#39681881)

And I'm sure some jackass back then wrote an article saying that demand for books was accelerating at a rate that we weren't going to be able to afford enough printing presses anymore.

Oh yeah, I remember that guy! He talked to the King about it, and the King said "ok, well, to cope with that we'll introduce copyright. That way, anyone who can't get the books they want becomes a criminal, and no books for crims. Problem solved!"

What a bastard that guy was! But a couple of years later he tried to sell the King a Microsoft solution, and he ended up on the wheel. Served him right, I say.

The reason things are slow.. (1, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#39681197)

Is that we allow bloat to continue. We should be *demanding* efficiency in code.

There is really no excuse for the sorry state of affairs we are in. My Atari ST from a good 20 years ago boots and runs faster than a current PC, and does just as much.

Re:The reason things are slow.. (1)

Dwedit (232252) | about 2 years ago | (#39681443)

Sure, let's try to decode MP3 audio in real time on an 8MHz 68000 processor.
Nope, it doesn't quite do "just as much".

Re:The reason things are slow.. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#39681549)

What really slows things down is the volume of data we are asking our machines to handle. Your Atari ST doesn't play HD video, for example.

Re:The reason things are slow.. (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 2 years ago | (#39681591)

and does just as much

That's a goofy thing to claim. My desktop workstation is powering a display area 2400x1920 in size while running three virtualized OSes on top of a fourth.
I'll agree that the Atari ST did more with the hardware that it had than this machine does now, but to claim that they can do just as much is laughable. I've never understood people that could make that sort of claim with a straight face.

My computer just turned two months old. (1)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | about 2 years ago | (#39681213)

Not good! I've got to throw it out and spend thousands on the most expensive one that I can find so I can use Microsoft Office and play Solitaire!

The more we have the more we use (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#39681231)

That's pretty basic economics and even physics stuff.

The more of a resource there is, the more it will be used.

The more of some form of a resource or energy or a product there is and the lower the barriers of using it are, the more of it will be used, always driving the usage up and as a result using 100% of it.

Usage increases until 100% of a resource is used up. Is that really such a new idea?

In economics of-course it's tied to a cost of using something - the less pricey something is the more it will be used. You can look at it from every perspective, from free money by the fed, welfare, EI, SS, Medicare or food-stamps to other concepts like youtube accounts. Nearly everybody has got one, the only thing that limits usage there is laziness.

I could summarise it this way: usage expands to occupy all of the available resources and the limits around usage are set by the price (or other type of expenditure, like energy expenditure) of using them.

Human perception (5, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | about 2 years ago | (#39681235)

There are limits to what will be demanded, and we have reached them in some areas already. Audio is a good example of this. The storage and bandwidth requirements for good (as in good enough for 99% of the population) audio is now a very small drop in the bucket. How many songs can you fit on a 16 GB micro SD card the size of your fingernail? How many songs can you stream real-time at once on a typical broadband connection? We have surpassed the technical requirements for audio by such a massive margin that it isn't even a consideration when purchasing hardware or bandwidth.

There are limits to video too. These so-called "retina" displays are a good example of the resolution limit of the human eye (we passed the color depth perception limit a good decade ago). The eye cannot discern individual pixels within the normal focal range (by the time you bring it close enough to the eye to make out individual pixels, the eye can no longer keep it in focus). We have a long ways to go to be able to store and stream video at such high resolution. However we will reach it before too long. Then it's a matter of how many hours / days of video do you need to store on how small of a device, and how many video streams do you need at one time over your internet connection.

One day we'll be moving and storing movie-length retina-resolution video with the same flippant ease as MP3s today. When we've reached that point, what would we need more bandwidth and storage for? Not for anything by human consumption - and that is the key factor.

Re:Human perception (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#39681297)

We just haven't invented the motor/sensory-fold interface necessary to consume higher bandwidths yet.

Hence we still procreate.

IT spending dropping dramatically (4, Interesting)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#39681237)

In our company, IT spending is actually dropping, even as we expand. The cost of used hardware is insanely low because of all of the individuals and companies who still feel the need to buy "new" equipment so rapidly. We have no problems running Pentium 4's and Windows XP throughout our business, and wil do so for the foreseeable future.. We've moved our email/backup/web hosting services out to providers, and all of that is sill insanely cheap. Tech has actually exceeded our needs, so our IT spending has dropped significantly. Keep buying new machines every few years, people! We're loving buying your completely functional equipment at yard sale prices!

Re:IT spending dropping dramatically (2)

jrminter (1123885) | about 2 years ago | (#39681553)

I agree. I was recently pulled into a project to develop some software that was going to run on a system with a highly-customized real-time Linux kernel built from scratch from the 2009 version of Ubuntu (Karmic Koala.) I needed to make sure my code ran on that platform, so I grabbed an old (2007 vintage) laptop and installed Karmic. I was surprised how peppy it was. I suspect that it would do 99% of what most students and office workers would need. The problem is that designers keep putting out content that use new versions of Flash and other plug-ins and I suspect that these kind of annoyances are what will force people to upgrade otherwise fully functional systems. Note that vendors do this to force upgrading to new hardware and software to drive sales, not because of true need by customers. But that IS how the world works...

Re:IT spending dropping dramatically (2)

AbRASiON (589899) | about 2 years ago | (#39681837)

You can buy very very reasonable used Intel Core 2 Duo / 3 year old IBM / HP / Dell workstations, add a 100$ SSD and 50$ of ram and have a PC which performs as fast or faster than the 800$ new boxes for literally half or less of the price.

I wouldn't recommend it for a large company but mid size it seems quite reasonable to me.

I wouldn't run XP though. (1)

toonces33 (841696) | about 2 years ago | (#39681897)

The security holes in XP start to really worry me. You can put an uptodate Linux on an old box and be quite safe.

I picked up an older Dell Xeon box from eBay about a year ago. As time goes on, I have upgraded with more memory, faster CPU (with quad-core chips), larger hard drive, 64-bit OS. But it is still insanely fast for what I am doing with it.

A hurricane will save us (2)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 years ago | (#39681253)

When you lash together the disparate clouds of application, compute, and storage facilities from the various vendors in that space, and truly begin to tie them together as distributed applications, an amazing thing happens.

The work load distributes. The storage requirements distribute. The compute requirements distribute.

And the more distributed they become, the closer we approach a true peer-to-peer architecture.

Now take it one step further, with each person having their own "data server" nodes in their home or leased from such cloud providers. Your device is no longer used for storage, but just presentation. It caches the data from your server(s), but it doesn't need to keep the data unless you expect to use it again in the near future. Your whole SSD/HDD system in the device becomes a cache, similar to the Andrew File System, but using different communications technologies including torrents that map into a virtual file space, and private downloads directly from your data servers for content that you own personally.

Suddenly you realize the problem is not that we need infinite capacity, but that we need to break the mindset that industries like banks "own" the data. They don't. It's OUR data, and it should be on OUR servers, with them needing OUR permission to access or modify it.

Problem solved.

Peak Computing? (4, Interesting)

slew (2918) | about 2 years ago | (#39681257)

If I gather what this article is speculating on, it's a phenomena similar to peak-oil.

Peak-oil doesn't necessarily mean that you run-out of oil, it just means that the marginal cost of producing more oil reaches a point which causes the rate of oil production to decrease. In the backdrop of increasing demand, and limited supply this implies a sharp downturn in availability of oil at historical prices.

If applied to computing, it would imply a limit to computing resources. I don't think we are there (although computing takes lots of electrical power and there seems to be enough semiconductor manufacturing capacity for the moment), but we may be at a point where demand increases beyond the rate at which technology can keep it on its historical increasing MIP/$ trend. If this MIP/$ trend flattens out, it may be difficult to find funding for new technological advances and fundamentally change the market for computing.

Re:Peak Computing? (2)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about 2 years ago | (#39681291)

Nice explanation. At the moment I think the actual physical computing growth is fairly easily covered since it is a fixed cost and quite cheap for capital expenditure. What is very expensive and doesn't scale well is software licensing. I've been on plenty of projects where all resources were available apart from the money for expensive licensing (try getting LPARS off a third-party provider for a dev, integration and production environments, then get enough for Internet scale; or pay for Oracle or Enterprise SQL-Server licensing for thousands of machines, ouch). This is one area where Linux shines economically - licensing for Internet scale business (just add hardware, zero cost for the software, and only a few *good* admins needed).

The funny thing is... (1)

stevenfuzz (2510476) | about 2 years ago | (#39681311)

Tomorrows /. article will probably be titled "Forget wasting money on IT, jump into the cloud-wagon". Guys... come on... make up your mind.

Bloated apps. (3, Insightful)

toonces33 (841696) | about 2 years ago | (#39681335)

It isn't so much that users are expecting more from the apps, but that application vendors bloat their software as time goes on so that newer versions really only run on newer and faster hardware. I won't point fingers too much - there are many offenders here.

And on top of that, the industry is using more Java which is as slow as snot. The attitude seems to be that if it runs slow, then throw some more iron at it.

I remember my first Linux box - i486 at about 90MHz. Those were the days..

hello self licking ice cream cone (3, Interesting)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | about 2 years ago | (#39681407)

I read the headline for this story and laughed - it doesn't matter how much faster my computers or networks get - Our IT department just installs more and more virus scanners, software maintenance tools, firewalls, monitoring tools ,etc.... Each computer I get has more CPU cores and memory and faster graphics and they are able to do less and less and take longer and longer to boot. I figure before too long I'll have to go back to my old TI-30 calculator and some engineering graph paper and I'll be equal in efficiency to my computer once I factor in all the time I spend waiting for it to get around to sparing .5% of the 12 CPU cores to run the actual software I need to use....

Software Bloat (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#39681531)

We used to say Andy [Grove] giveth but Bill [Gates] taketh away.

These days though it's more the result of hard drive capacity growing faster than CPU power.

Which is good for me professionally because I like to work on algorithms for web scale data handling.

FUD (2)

brillow (917507) | about 2 years ago | (#39681569)

It's all FUD. There is no reason to believe any limit is being approached. If we need more network capacity, it will be built.

I think the new slashdot is written by idiots !!! (2)

deysOfBits (2198798) | about 2 years ago | (#39681599)

I worked in assembler in my day. Where a skill was a skill. Now it's all objects and bullshit.

I got a great idea why not rewrite slashdot in FLASH !!!

So by that logic... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39681723)

... we should all buy SUVs to reduce gas usage and drive down price.

Makes perfect sense.

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