Winner, Name That Ware July 2011

The ware for July 2011 is a Flip Flop by Engineered Electronics Company, model Z-90048-B. A photo of the tube in its protective case is shown below.

It’s…sobering to recall how quickly technology has come along. The flip flop above is a little bit larger than a tube of lipstick, but it only stores 1 bit. I’ve got a USB stick that’s smaller and lighter that holds about 1,099,511,627,776 bits. So that’s about 12 orders of magnitude improvement in storage density over a period of about 50 years.

With the sun setting on Moore’s law, one has to wonder how the world of electronics will once again change. Another 12 orders of magnitude in 50 years is highly unlikely — to achieve that, you would need to store about one bit per atom in that volume. Maybe business practice will once again value optimization over growth. Maybe value will continue to shift away from capability toward social status — much like cars are today, where the core technological difference between cars that have an order of magnitude price difference is often less than a factor of two in technological specifications. I think that would be a positive development for small businesses and individual innovators, but perhaps (more) bad news for the macro-economy.

Picking a winner was difficult, but I think I’ll go with Joe Bleau. He didn’t quite name the model number of the tube, but he nailed the make and function of the ware quite quickly. Congrats, email me for your prize. However, I must also commend nophead for recognizing the double-triode configuration as being a signature part of a tube flip flop; I took care to angle the photo so as to highlight the double-triode construction to improve its guessability.

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