The law of fast processors reaches usability labs

Someone must have described this already, but for now I’ll modestly coin Lombardi’s Law of Fast Processors: as processor speed increases, software replaces dedicated hardware. In music or video production it means programs like GarageBand and Final Cut Pro and a stock Macintosh replace dedicated rack systems and DSP chips. In usability testing, it means a program like Morae — which wow’d my coworker at the recent CHI conference — replaces a rack of digitizing and video manipulation gear. So a laptop and a USB camera becomes a powerful, portable testing lab.