Content Insider #69
Shrinking Storage?Keeping Data Safe, Close At Hand
By Miles Weston
In observance of the hard drives 50th anniversary, we cajoled our kids into visiting the computer museum in San Jose. Seemed like an interesting way to get them to understand the technology that has impregnated their lives.
We unplugged our sons MP3 player white earbuds.
Made him leave his PSP at home.
Turned off our daughters cellphone?no IMing.
Other than the sheer size, they were totally unimpressed with the worlds first hard drive -- the IBM RAMAC (Random Access Memory for Accounting and Control) drive.
Our son reached into his pocket and pulled out his 4GB USB flash drive and 8GB USB HD and asked, ?So what did they do with the 5MB refrigerator?
Its tough to explain to a kid who knows everything that OSs and apps were smaller then.
After all, he vaguely recalls that photos were prints?videos were in the theater?phones were attached to the wall by wire?people wrote/mailed letters!
Damn?we like progress.
Instant everything. And he wants it all with him?all the time (Figure 1).
We remember luggables.
Now pocket devices.
But no matter how small the device gets our storage requirements grow?in leaps, bounds?in megabytes, gigabytes.
The flash folks swear they are going to drive the hard drive into extinction. Just consider the features -- rugged, zero noise, broad operating environment, almost zero power requirements, darned good price/capacity ratio.
They just might if people followed Chris Andersons long tail concept (Figure 2).
Once you get away from the top hits (music, video, whatever) demand and storage requirements should thin out.
Flash manufacturers claim theres no need for portable music storage beyond 4-5GB.
They point out you really only need 32GB on your computer.
15GB for Vista?17GB for all your ready-to-use stuff.
Delete it?overwrite it?send it somewhere to retire.
These people are engineers?flash engineers at that.
They forget or blow off the fact that people dont carry just songs with them anymore.
They ?lug along (Figure 3) their video games?their photos?their videos?their music. Then they pack in other peoples photos?other peoples videos?TV programs?soccer and other games.
And they need their business presentations/papers, schoolwork, web downloads, email contacts/directories.
Add Tellywoods DRM (Digital Rights Management) ball and chains. Suddenly, youre talking serious storage.