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08 April, 2008

Musings on 3TB

The other day, I was staring at the 3TB of drives spinning in my closet. Right next to the US Festival t-shirt. Who would of thunk I would ever have that much storage spinning away! I still can recall my "first real operating digital computer in plastic" The Digi-Comp1, complete with 6 bits of storage and a 3 bit output. In those days, storage was something you could see. On the Digi, those bits were short lengths of plastic tubing.

By 1983, I had migrated my Digi-Comp software to a Commodore 64 complete with 64 kilobytes of memory and a cassette tape deck to store programs. Ah, the good life. Finally, my first real operating digital computer in silicon. I could store some 200,000 bits on a tape and I must have had 30 tapes scattered around the house. From 6 to 6 million bits in only 20 years. Talk about driving fast!

But storage growth in our ole house didn't stop there. By 1988 I had an Amiga 2000 and by 1990 I had installed a womping 600 MB SCSI hard drive into that box. From there storage growth was running strong around here. In 1996 I got myself a PC with a 6 GB drive. Then came a series of iMacs each with an increasing amount of storage; 20 GB, 60 GB and most recently 250 GB. Storage in our house kept on growing.

By 2006 we were up to 1 Terabyte of storage on a NAS array. An Infrant NV with four 250 MB drives. O.K., so usable storage on this array was something on the order of 650 MB. Still, if you added up all the drives spinning on various computers we had at least 1TB.

Last year I bumped those 250 MB drives up to 500 MB. The Infrant is now holding some 2 TB of storage (about 1.6 useable). Then this year, I plumped down a chunk of change for Apple's Time Capsule. My rationale was I needed a faster wireless router now that we had 2 computers capable of taking advantage of 802.11N. While I was at it, I might as well get the 1TB model. As an old professor once said. Storage has 2 states. Needs formatting and Almost Full and that Infrant was at 80% capacity. I store way too many family pictures.

So there I am standing around looking and listening to the hum of 3+TB. I've gone from somewhere around 8 bits to over 3TB in under 1/2 a century.

I wonder if that fits into Moore's Law

******Update on Uverse vs DirecTV*********

Last night some guy from DirecTV cold called me offering a pretty good deal on HD DirecTV. I bit. But, this morning I backed down, called them back to cancel. Why? The package they were offering was O.K., but I need to check some "DirecTV Partner" programs to see if the deal was really good.

Here is what they offered.

2 receivers - one Stnd Def and one HD DVR: $100 one time

"Free Installation" - I asked for an installer that was not afraid of heights. They said they would put that in the request.

Premium Package with all the HD we could eat.
I forget how many channels but I'm sure most of them are HD shopping channels. : $115/Mo

An $83 credit on our bill (one time)

Ttl cost billed to my credit card that night: $128.17 (includes tax, license and transportation fees as applicable).

And a phone company like lock in for 2 years.
Damn those lock ins! Just provide excellent service so I would not even consider changing!!!!

When I told the wife of my great deal, she gave me a look like I had gone mad.

"What is so special about that offer? What happened to the free DVR? Can we still use TiVo? What about OnDemand video? What about the Internet connection?"

Well, we could still use our old TiVo for standard def. I think DirecTV has an OnDemand feature - but I'm not sure. Oh and I'd have to find a replacement for our internet connection.

Next morning, I snuck downstairs to quietly call DirecTV to cancel. They were very nice about the cancelation though they did try to offer me their Internet service (a.k.a HughesNet). I think I used vulgar language when they suggested HughesNet. Probably something like
" I wouldn't touch your scitan Internet connectivity solution with a 3 yard stake!"

Which brings up something else --
I was at my wife's Uncle a few weeks ago (after over 2 decades, I suppose he is my Uncle too). He has a 4 year old Windows based computer connected to the Internik via DirecTV (a.k.a. HughesNet). It usually works but at times he is pretty much reduced to the speed of a 300 baud modem because of "over use of the internet".

How can one in this day and age over use the Internet? That is barbaric and reminds me of the time when British Telecom threatened to shut our internet connection (dial-up) down because 3 people ended up using over 20 hours a month. I could almost understand why BT was upset, but Hughes? They've got all those big ass satellites up there beaming down mind control stuff to the minions. There must be room on those birds for my Uncle to read the N.Y. Times. It is not like he even knows what a torrent is, so I'm pretty sure he isn't "over using the internet". Anyway, even when he isn't over using the internet, his download speed is slower then browsing the internet from my iPhone.

While I was there, I did do one good deed beside cursing at the satellite dish. I helped him order an iMac. I'm not sure that will help browsing, but it will eliminate another Windows machine from the family bringing me one step closer to my ultimate goal which as soon as I figure that out I'll let you know.

e tutto per oggi!

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