Sep 252012

When the opportunity comes to meet co-founder of Apple computer Steve Wozniak you jump at it, despite being jet lagged from the previous day’s flight.

One of the tough things when writing about Steve Wozniak is that he is a fast talker. You have to be quick to keep up with his ideas and words.

Steve was in town to show off the range of solid state computer memory cards manufactured by Fusion-iO, a company based in Salt Lake City.

Wozniak liked the idea so much he became Fusion-iO’s chief scientist in 2009. “When I first saw the iO drive, it was so beautiful I had to buy one from the company and put it in a frame just to frame it at home.”

What enthused Woz were Fusion-iO‘s range of NAND flash memory cards that speed up servers while reducing their power and cooling requirements.

Those power savings are important for data centres when hundreds of thousands of servers might be in one building, Fusion-iO’s CEO and co-founder David Flynn estimates this could save up the industry a $250 billion a year in operating costs.

Probably the biggest benefits though are in the corporate space, one Flynn’s boasts is how one movie studio used Fusion-iO’s products to reduce transcoding between formats from two hours to 39 seconds.

Another case study they show off is how grocery chain Woolworths were able to reduce the 17 hours to run their weekly trading reports to three hours meaning they were able to capture weekend figures for their weekly Monday morning board meetings.

For smaller businesses, the biggest benefit is these products can turn fairly basic desktop computers into workstations with the $2,500 ioFX card promising some serious post production capabilities for a system although one would expect an entry level box wouldn’t have the data connection, hard drive or – most importantly – power supply to cope with the demands of such a device would put on the typical cheap components in a basic desktop system.

All of these changes though are heralding some pretty big changes for big and small businesses.

Where Steve Wozniak sees the greatest application of moving data faster is in Artificial Intelligence applications like voice recognition. Apple’s Siri is a good example of this.

The barrier to effective voice recognition is the sheer amount of data processing required to effectively understand voice commands. Doing this on cloud services is a far more efficient and effective way of doing this.

As we saw at Dreamforce last week, the sheer amount of data pouring into companies is changing how they manage information. Getting access quickly to relevant information is an important part of managing it.

“I’ve never gotten so excited about or fell in love with a technology like this since Apple.” Says Wozniak.

Having a chance to speak to Steve Wozniak up close shows that fast talking enthusiasm is for real. The Woz is a real geek.

Like all true geeks Wozniak is passionate about what he believes in – whether it’s about NAND flash cards or becoming an Australian resident he bubbles with enthusiasm. Just don’t try writing notes down while he’s in full flight.

  One Response to “Meeting the solid state Woz”

  1. Awesome. Met him when I was about 14, amazing. Is he really becoming an aussie! Wow.

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