Monday, July 13, 2009

Abundance is powerful in unexpected ways

Why Moore’s Law does not apply to Digital Photography: "So why do I say that we are near the limit? The diffraction limit of our lenses is larger than the pixel size on some sensors"

That may well be true but that also means we can start wasting transistors and doing something else with them that can help with making a better picture.

I have no idea what but I do remember when RAM cost $1000/MB, yes thats MegaByte. Now you can get a GB or about $50. When I was at Novell they had a $1 million computer for high speed testing, the only thing special about it was the fact it had 1GB of RAM, the cost of the rest of it was inconsequential. Now computers come with at least 1 GB of RAM as standard equipment.

The main problem was yield was really low <20% so RAM was expensive because of all the testing and waste and the whole thing had to be perfect to work.

I was in engineering school at this time and then all of the sudden the price of RAM dropped and kept dropping. It turned out that some smart guy figured out that there are lots of sections of the chips that were just fine only small areas usually were damaged in some way. So they threw even more transistors at the problem to route around any damaged areas. Suddenly yields jumped to 80+% and so the prices cratered.

When you have a lot of something you can waste some of it to create something far more valuable. That is the big effect of the Agricultural Revolution extra calories that was could waste on things like seeing what happens to this rock if you put it into a really hot fire or what is beyond that sea or desert. If making food doesn't take up so much time then you can begin philosophizing or making something new out of the other things you have a lot of.

There was a story of a family that was in trouble in the Midwest but they had some land and after a big wind a huge pile of tumble weeds so they created a website and started selling them. Now there are 182,000 hits for "tumbleweed for sale."

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