Friday, April 20, 2012

Brilliant Designers Over Regulation Hampers Risk Reward Time To Market

I have a peripheral interest in computer technology, even though speed on my home machine isn’t particularly important. My stock service recommended a flash hard drive company back in July of last year (OCZ). It has been a disappointing investment because it has been used as a financial pump of sorts for those savvy investors who “short” the market, i.e. make money when the price goes down. OCZ threatened a lawsuit with the SEC to make a point about it. So I’ve been watching from the sidelines waiting for that big break out I would hope to happen with such cutting edge technology. As I’ve tried to keep updated on their position in the competition to survive the risk reward whims of the market, I’ve been drawn in to try to understand the concepts.
There have been several iterations to the drives with technical and stability improvements. There has been some price lowering. In the general scheme of things, the esoteric power users suffer through the R&D with glitches here and there from speed differences adapting to existing buses on motherboards. When those issues are resolved, the engineers move on to the next challenge and the stable drives hit full production for the rest of us. But the cycle time from competition makes it difficult for the companies to cover their investment, especially when they’re squeezed with greater regulations by those who take their brilliance for granted. The drives have evolved as hybrids where there have been various ratios of hard drive for slower needs and flash memory buffering some of the RAM and CPU cache memories. New bottlenecks appear when speed eliminates the last bottleneck, all driven by competition and brilliant people intent on solving problems. Information transfer buses got wider and wider upping the amount of information that can transfer at ever increasing clock speeds. It all becomes so mind boggling! In a new wave, smartphones and cloud computing have made servers a focus to relieve bandwidth bottlenecks. Consequently there appear to be designers attempting to move past the bottleneck of operating system software, to shuffle around the system architecture. Operating systems, like Windows act like relatively archaic gate keepers. So it looks like OCZ may become obsolete before the market settles. C’est la vie!

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