Also I guess they could have just as well built that with a Pick and Place machine out of an electronics manufacturing company, but I guess UdK has an emphasis on things being hand-made and looking artsy.
It's very similar to a spinning-platter hard drive: latency depends on rotational velocity of the platter and radial velocity of the read/write head. That the latency is quite high in this device doesn't make it any less random-access.
what you described is called "sequential access"
> It's very similar to a spinning-platter hard drive: latency depends on rotational velocity of the platter and radial velocity of the read/write head.
hard drives & etc. are called "direct access"
> That the latency is quite high in this device doesn't make it any less random-access.
the problem is not that the latency is high but that the latency varies.
from wikipedia: "A random-access memory device allows data items to be read or written in almost the same amount of time irrespective of the physical location of data inside the memory. In contrast, with other direct-access data storage media such as hard disks, CD-RWs, DVD-RWs and the older drum memory, the time required to read and write data items varies significantly depending on their physical locations on the recording medium, due to mechanical limitations such as media rotation speeds and arm movement." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random-access_memory
This isn't what random access means.
"In computer science, random access (more precisely and more generally called direct access) is the ability to access any item of data from a population of addressable elements roughly as easily and efficiently as any other, no matter how many elements may be in the set. It is typically contrasted to sequential access."
Modern (ie. anything that was ever intended for personal computers and probably every harddrive ever sold by IBM as "DASD") hard drive does not known where given sector is physically located on the platter and does not care what is the current angular position of the heads. Instead it seeks to correct track and reads whatever data is there until it gets to sector header with correct sector address and then either reads or overwrites the sector (ie. it does have to touch irrelevant data).
I don't see that as an issue with GP's definition. Hard drives aren't random access.
While you could go on about the technicalities of what kind of memory is being represented here, IMO the main reason they called it "RAM" is because it's a term that is known to a layperson; so it immediately rings a bell.
Or a large, fixed delay - that way the jitter will be a small proportion of the total access cost.
That should make it random access.