Thursday, 4 December 2014

Ever increasing progress...

Earlier today I was sitting in our lower office waiting for the kettle to boil as I was simply desperate for a cup of tea. Idly I glanced at the reference book shelves and one tome in particular caught my eye...

Managing Gigabytes

I chuckled, "what, you mean like I have in my phone?" I suggested to one of my colleagues (not the hot perm) that it must have dated from the 90's at worst maybe the early part of this century. But, being a lazy cow I couldn't quite bring myself to have a look.

Until curiosity kicked in.

1999. To be fair it was the second edition, the original was 1994 when a gigabyte was quite a lot, I remember buying 105MB IBM disks for my company at the astonishing low price of £100 each, just a pound a megabyte! I even remember when in late 1995 at Millennium Interactive having a 1 Gigabyte disk sitting on my desk in a massive Micropolis AV enclosure. More data than you can possibly ever imagine.

My phone holds 32GB.

The micro SD card I keep inside my purse for carrying big lumps of data and reference source code around is 64GB. It cost me about £20.

I don't think I could have lifted 6 of those 1GB drives never mind holding 64. In my purse. Tucked in a corner.

What struck me though was that in 1994 this book was described as being guidance for dealing with large-scale information systems. Or phones as we call them now.

I know I shouldn't be surprised, my career has followed the wave from when 1K was considered powerful, through that first 10MB disk and on to the point where now I am responsible for ingesting and dealing with thousands of energy readings a second. As I write we stand at 4,328,418,436 readings, in the time it took to write that we passed 4,328,424,158.

Quite a lot then.

Our ability to generate data has grown to match our ability to store it. I suppose you could argue that it's the other way around though I suspect that it would be a teensy bit inconvenient to have your storage being permanently full as you await the next technological burst.

And the inevitable march of ever increasing progress.

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