January 16th, 2010

marcus 2013

I'm getting old...

It's sometimes difficult for me to grasp just how quickly really big really tiny storage devices have become (a) possible and (b) cheap.

Back in my TRS-80 days in the eighties my first floppy disks were 64k (about 1/20th Mb). My first PC had a 360k floppy drive and eventually a 5mb hard disk - an external box about the size of a very large shoe box. I don't think I got above 5gb total storage in a PC until 1998 or so.

The first Forgotten Futures distribution was on 720k floppies, the second on 1.44gb, by 2004 or so I was using CD-ROM for the distribution disks. That will still be OK for a couple more releases... I hope. I've got too much invested in a CD duplicator to want to give up on them.

Five or so years ago I remember paying ten or twelve pounds for a 64mb memory stick. The capacity went up real fast, and the price rapidly came down. I currently own a 4gb stick that cost about eight pounds, and a 1gb stick that cost about the same a year or so earlier.

Today I went to BETT, a fairly big UK educational technology show. And Microsoft were giving away 1gb sticks, free to anyone who wanted to help themselves from goldfish bowls on the stand. And eventually I came away a little disappointed because the technology on offer wasn't terribly exciting, and there really wasn't much else there in the way of freebies this year - I could have bought four or five sticks that size for less than it cost me to go there, if I factor in an unusually expensive lunch. I couldn't even find anyone giving away decent mugs, and I could do with a few more...

Meanwhile, you can get 30gb in something a little smaller than a packet of cigarettes for twenty quid. What surprises me about this one is the fact that I really can't think of a good reason to carry something so bulky - by the time I need it there will probably be 32gb sticks for considerably less.

No moral here - just a slight case of shell-shock!