“In all things there is a law of cycles.”—Publius Cornelius Tacitus
The world is full of cycles. The earth circles around the sun giving us the cycle of seasons. There are life cycles, economic cycles, and weather cycles. The technology development process has a cycle. One has a choice in the number of parts or phases into which one breaks it, as it is with a number of other cycles. For example, just two phases consisting of a new moon and a full moon could have defined the monthly moon cycle instead of the generally accepted four phases of the moon. Alternatively, in theory eight phases could work for the moon’s cycle except for the somewhat awkward situation that each phase would be three and a half days long. The choice rests on convenience and utility. Dividing the technology cycle into four phases suffices for the purposes of this book. This number provides sufficient granularity to support the arguments and concepts that follow and it keeps the discussion of the details of the process to a minimum.
For many, primary school lessons provide the basis of their knowledge of the technology developers and their associated development methodologies. This includes the stories of Ben Franklin discovering with his kite flying escapades that lightening is really electricity. These primary school lessons provided visions of him having problems seeing and tinkering in his workshop to develop bifocal glasses. Similarly, these lessons retold the story about Thomas Edison and his trial and error approach to developing the light bulb in his workshop. Moreover, no one can forget about Alexander Graham Bell’s, “Do you hear me?” question to Mr. Watson, his assistant in the next room. Unfortunately, these images are mere caricatures of reality. Exploring some examples of modern technology development will provide some insight into the technology development process.
The transistor provides a good example of modern technology development. Today, transistors permeate everything electronic including telephones, computers,