A look at the latest trends in image capture and where the technology is heading.
By Jeff Dorgay
Living on the ragged edge
We live in a rapid culture, and it’s staggering to see how fast the gear we use has become. When I began my journey down the Photoshop path (with version 1.0), you could run out for lunch while applying the Unsharp Mask filter. Those days are happily over, and with Photoshop CS3 and other applications written for the Intel Duo and Quad Core processors, we will all get yet another jump in raw horsepower. I sincerely hope that the new Microsoft Vista and the next generation of the Mac OS will not just bog down this new capacity and will offer more speed-not simply provide more widgets. For imaging professionals, perhaps a stripped-down version of the OS that doesn’t have all the options is in order?
Along with processor-speed gains, storage is also getting quite a bit faster: 10,000 rpm drives are now commonplace, and memory cards read and write data a lot faster than they did just a year ago-helping fuel the imaging professional’s need for speed. Back when we had 1-GB cards, it wasn’t that much of an issue, but since moving up to 8-GB cards, the faster you can get the data downloaded, the better.
Unheard of a couple of years ago, having a terabyte’s worth of storage is the new status symbol, and thanks to the new 750-GB drives, it can be done in about 15 minutes. A few of the hard-drive manufacturers I talked to hinted that there may even be 1-TB on a disc by fall.
Putting together large RAID arrays is also much easier than before; I’ve seen a lot of aftermarket solutions for this on both platforms. Those of you on Mac platforms can rejoice at some of the new goodies from Sonnet Technologies, for instance; its new G5 Jive adapter lets you put three more drives inside your machine, and it looks factory installed. While the question remains if this will translate into more productivity, those of you on the ragged edge of the imaging world will be able to get things done more quickly. Time is money, after all, and every minute saved is a minute that won’t be spent in a panic over when FedEx is expected at the door.