Re: PERSONAL computer!
O.K. - perhaps I should have another go.
The oil industry started out small and distributed with a low entry cost.
Much like the PC industry alluded to in the article.
All you needed was a wildcat rig and a "nodding donkey" and (with luck) you were an oil man.
All Texans were millionaires and fuel costs were so cheap that cars were made with huge engines and bodies because why not?
Since then the industry has followed the model of most major industries.
Over time the big players have swallowed up the small players maximising efficiency and productivity with ever larger plant and distribution networks.
Over time the "low hanging fruit" has been picked and each new major oil field required more complex and expensive equipment to begin extraction, and more complex and vulnerable distribution networks. Increasing the efficiency of recovery from older fields has also required more expensive technology.
Oh, apart from the Saudis who did the wildcat and nodding donkey thing back in the day and now just sit on the oil fields turning the tap on and off, and the price up and down, to match the production costs of the non-Saudi producers. No major new investment required as far as I am aware.
So as far as I can see all the investment in extraction technology required to recover more from old fields and remote recent fields has turned up a method of extracting crude using affordable plant from resources which are easily accessible - so much like the early days mentioned above.
So the clock has been reset back a few decades and oil can once again be extracted without having to pay governments with potentially dodgy backgrounds (hang on..) and always having to consider being held to ransom over our energy needs. We now start climbing the same slippery slope as the easily frackable resources are exploited and the cost and sophistication of the technology starts climbing again - just like in the old oil days. A reprieve, nothing more. Once again "peak oil" is just a spike on a jagged but steadily climbing graph which has a big dip at the moment..
Hopefully this will give us more time to develop alternative resources. More likely it will destroy all the current business cases for alternative energy such as wind and solar which seem to depend on an ever increasing oil price to justify the expenditure. The West will just coast along with a warm and toasty feeling that all is well again and all that green stuff can be safely ignored because we are more or less energy self sufficient. Watch out for changes in the requirements for new gas fired generation plant.
So I don't see any parallel with the mainframe/PC industry which started out high technology and horrendously expensive per unit of computing and then gradually cost reduced and became ubiquitous.
I see some parallel with the immense increase in the technology to produce computers coupled with the massive reduction in the location and number of producers. I wouldn't like to see fracking following this model because if a flood in Thailand crippled the global industry we would all be very unhappy.
Equally I don't see any major change in the technology basis of crude oil extraction - just a re-emergence of small distributed extraction plant where small onshore distributed resources in temperate first world locations are once more available and economically viable.
So the overwhelming impression is that this article has no real relevance to IT but has mainframe/PC shoved into it to shoehorn it into an IT rag - which I think is probably the aim of the original report the article is based on
Fracking is always interesting but ------->