Simultaneous Ingress, Runkeeper, last.fm, Spotify – let’s just call it MORES law
I took a walk Tuesday afternoon, and after the walk I got to thinking.
My walk had two purposes – to go by an augmented reality portal that is part of Google’s Ingress game, and to get some exercise. To play Ingress, I had my Android smartphone with me. Although I didn’t need my Android smartphone to walk, it is a handy thing to have because I can then record my distance via the Runkeeper application.
Unfortunately, Ingress doesn’t seem to play well with other apps running simultaneously – at least on my older Android phone – so I didn’t even try to run both Ingress and Runkeeper at the same time.
After I returned from my walk (not recorded in Runkeeper), I began thinking about an ideal smartphone setup. In the ideal world, I’d be able to run Ingress and Runkeeper at the same time. Oh, and while I was at it, wouldn’t it be nice to listen to some music at the same time, perhaps via Spotify? And, of course, I’d want to log all my Spotify activity to last.fm.
How ridiculous would my ideal smartphone computing environment have appeared a mere 30 years ago? Back then, the idea of a smartphone didn’t even exist. The vast majority of personal computer users were performing their work in a text-based, 80 character times 24 line screen. And the users were performing this on a device that was much larger than my smartphone, with many fewer features.
Things have changed significantly in the computer world between 1982 and 2012, and they’ll change a lot more between 2012 and 2042.
One of the reasons for these changes is because computers have become more powerful. Intel illustrates this with a processor-based example. Imagine that in 1970, you walked into a concert hall with a seating capacity of 2,300 people. Forty-one years later, imagine that you could take the entire population of China – 1.3 billion people – and fit them into that same concert hall.
Intel, of course, is heavily influenced by the thinking of Gordon Moore, who postulated that the number of transistors on a chip will double approximately every two years. This concept (Moore’s Law) has driven the expansion of Intel, its competitors, and those who rely upon the chipmakers to power their computers and computing devices.
As a result, the dedicated BASIC computer that I used in junior high school in the early 1970s was eventually able to become the Macintosh Plus, which featured a windowing environment, a program called MacWrite that could beat the pants off of any typewriter by producing text in four different fonts, and the ability to store up to TWENTY MEGABYTES of “files” with my data. And, of course, things have continued to grow – and shrink.
But it’s never enough for us. If someone from the past were to look at one of today’s smartphones, with its ability to communicate anywhere in the world and its ability to tell you exactly where you are, the person from the past would marvel.
But in my case, I just want to allow four complex Internet-enabled applications to run simultaneously in a device that fits in the palm of my mind.
Meanwhile, the person who will be living thirty years from now will be unable to believe that I suffered under such extreme restrictions.
Why call it Moore’s Law? Let’s just call it MORES Law…because we will always want more, more, more. (How do you like it?)
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