Faster technology but is it needed

Towards the end of 2009, came the news that USB 3.0 was officially approved. Backwards compatible to USB 2.0 and USB 1.1, it would offer 5Gbps – which ain’t too shabby. And then you though: Where can I use that extra speed? Mouse? Nope. Keyboard? Nope. USB keys/drives? Sure when they come around to make them. Web cams? Nice – whenever they arrive.

It’s been over 18 months since they came out. Outside of a few portable USB drives, there hasen’t seen much released.

Now comes the word that Intel’s Thunderbolt (formerly known as Light Peak technology) leapfrogged USB 3.0 as the new cable solution Intel is pushing. It features a 10Gbps speed and the ability to consolidate accessories and video connections into one cable with a connector that is half the size of a USB plug. There is talk that Thunderbolt could replace HDMI as the next interface for video cards to monitors. That’s all we need. First VGA. Then DVI. Then Display Port [and Mini Display Port]. Then HDMI. Now Thunderbolt?

Apple’s new line of MacBook Pro laptops are the first computers to include Thunderbolt. While Thunderbolt was originally expected to use the same type of connector as USB (an issue with USB-IF killed that), it will use a Mini Display Port connector – a technology developed by Apple and licensed without a fee. I’m hoping they can be distinguished.

But there is talk is about Wireless USB. If it gets accepted you will eventually have a wireless connection from your mouse, keyboard, printer and other devices to a built in [or external] receiver of your computer. Granted that you have Bluetooth keyboards and mice and wireless printers. But the Bluetooth devices can be flaky when it comes to connecting. Wireless printers are connecting to your wireless router – not your PC directly. To secure it, the wireless part can be limited to a short distance [I don’t think your mouse and keyboard has to be in the next room].

Wireless USB offers speeds of 480Mbps at 3 meters and 110Mbps at 10 meters BTW. Does anyone think that Thunderbolt is a dumb name?


About ebraiter
computer guy

One Response to Faster technology but is it needed

  1. Sam Azer says:

    Just wanted to say that there are some new ideas in the pipeline – ideas that will let you do new things that currently just aren’t possible with the speeds that we have today.

    You may already have heard about the super-computing applications that bring together the computing power of hundreds of thousands of workstations in various cities around the world – but there’s more coming. Here’s one article that touches on the subject:

    You may soon find that your accessories need to talk together at speeds that were never needed before. When I was a kid 110bps was the standard rate for the worlds most common digital device: the Teletype. In the late 70’s a 100k word processing document was considered monstrously huge (most computers in those days had only 4k of ram.) 20 years ago 14kbps was considered fast for a modem and a CD was crazy with 600mb of data (big hard drives in those days held 40mb!) Now we often have to shuffle 600mb files back and forth through USB keys, we often have to wait for hours to download updates through our 10mbps DSL and a stack of 5gb DVD’s is no longer able to handle a hard-disk backup because a typical hard disk is now 1tb!

    Once it becomes possible for 12 year-old kids to access geological, demographic and other databases in the terrabyte size range (they’re being constructed now,) to post to the super-computer they’re building on AWS (which you can almost do now for a few bucks per hour,) the situation will quickly get out of hand and any speed will certainly be too low.


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