Big Trends in Technology

I don’t have to tell you it’s sometimes worth checking to see if you are falling behind in the tech world.

Hardware, software and overall technological approaches are a constantly moving field. But, there are a few overarching trends at the moment which should make your research a lot faster:

  1. Chips aren’t getting that much faster. We hit a ceiling at around 4GHz a number of years ago and just couldn’t make chips much faster. While they have increased in efficiency (they get a bit more done in each clock cycle) and increased dramatically in power efficiency (great for gear that’s battery powered), the truth is that most computer chips aren’t much faster than they were 3-5 years ago. This means that the Intel Core i5 in your computer is probably still just fine for what you need it to do.
  2. Battery life and efficiency are getting better. Tech that runs on batteries is getting better. You know this already from watching the cell phone wars. Each generation of gear is getting significantly more efficient. You probably don’t notice the battery running a lot longer though, because this efficiency is spent putting more powerful chips in instead of just making the device run longer.
  3. Tech is getting cheaper. The downward slope in price continues as it has for decades. If you take into account what we’ve looked at in #1 and #2 we can see this rule: Often, older gear that’s not battery powered is a great deal. It’s fast and cheap. However, if it runs on batteries, it’s probably not worth getting something that’s older because it’s going to have a lot less efficient chips inside.
  4. Everything is subsidized by advertising and spying on you (and there’s really not much you can do about it). Google makes its money reading your email and watching your searches to send you specific advertising. Microsoft is giving away Windows 10 with an almost malware aggressiveness because it reports a huge amount about you back to them so they can advertise to you. This trend seems to have no end in sight so either make peace with it or get out your tin foil hat.
  5. The “Cloud” won’t solve all of your problems (but it’s pretty cool). You’ve heard of all of the computers out in the ether somewhere known as the cloud. It’s what’s powered huge amounts of your life right now. So, the easy rule of thumb is this: If you need it accessible all the time, put it in the cloud. If the data is big and you need access in only one place, don’t. Calendar is great in the Cloud. Your video projects… not so much.

Take these with a grain of salt, but as overall trends they will help you get started in figuring out what to watch as the tech world develops.

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