Thankful Thoughts from a Geek
Here in the US Thanksgiving is just around the corner. That makes this a nice time to reflect on some of the things that make a geek like me thankful.
First and foremost, the economy is looking up. Most of you reading this have managed to stay employed. You kept your house, your car, your health insurance. You made a few small sacrifices - a few benefits, a raise or two and your office sold its latte machine. The economy, at least here in the US, is on the mend with real (if slightly anemic) growth. You've survived the worst economy of your career and can focus on looking forward instead of wondering if you, your friends or family will soon be out of work. That is truly something to be thankful for.
And thankfully the US midterm elections are over. Even more important is that we've fixed the scary and devastating dominance of a single political party.
I've been studying up on IPv6 and now I'm thankful for it too. Let's talk tech. Did you know that we're just over a year away from running out of the 4 billion IP addresses that were originally defined in the IPv4 protocol back in 1981? Do you remember 1981? Imagine how ridiculously huge the idea of 4 billion connected computing devices must have seemed to the IPv4 committee at the time as they banged out meeting minutes on their Commodore 64's.
Don't panic - this isn't the digital doomsday that the media will surely sink their teeth into like the next Y2k. The best analogy I've heard is that we've got an ocean of IPv4 devices. In that ocean are small but growing islands of IPv6 which are transparently (to you and I) connected via various tunnel protocols. Over the next generation (literally) the IPv6 islands will grow to the point where they dominate the landscape, which will still be dotted with puddles of IPv4 devices. All of this drama will unfold over decades not months or years.
IPv6 will bring new levels of coolness to the internet. No longer limited to a measly 4 billion static IP addresses, IPv6 takes us from 32 bit up to a 128 bit address. These v6 guys were thinking uber-big. 128 bit means we've got 2^128 unique IP addresses available. That's more than enough for each and every person on the planet to have their own personal internet of billions of devices with public IPs. Or looking at it another way, there is more than enough addresses for every grain of sand on the planet (but just a bit short of enough to be able to uniquely ping every atom on Earth). And there's more capability buried in version 6 than just node count but that's a topic for another day. For today it's enough to give you the heads up that the world won't come to an end next year when we run out of IPv4 addresses, and that the opportunities for machine-to-machine communications expansion and innovation is intense.
That leads to all kinds of fun thoughts and prognostications about the future. But this is November so I should be thinking about Thanksgiving and Turkey and save the crystal ball for a more appropriate month. For today I'll settle for being thankful for our existing 4 billion nodes and that internet doomsday is a myth.
I'm thankful for Dilbert. While much of the world thinks Dilbert is a comic strip, you and I know that it's a documentary.
Of course there are the staples - health, family, happiness and a bumper crop of tasty turkeys, but that's hardly a good read.
Here at B&B we're all thankful for what's turned out to be a strong 2010. Check out the splash on our Zlinx Xtreme wireless I/O and radio modems on the homepage. I told you how good it was a couple months back. Now the wise folks over at Plant Engineering have nominated it as a finalist for Product of the Year (I told you it was good!).
What's got you thankful this Thanksgiving? Talk back on the blog.