How many instances of 'Gee Whiz' can you fit on your hard drive?
April 18, 2002 1:47 AM   Subscribe

How many instances of 'Gee Whiz' can you fit on your hard drive? With cameras mounted on eyeglass frames, he suggests, we can document every moment of our lives and create a second-by-second digital diary. "There won't be any reason ever to forget anything anymore," he says. Vannevar Bush had a similar idea 50 years ago, though in that era the promising storage medium was microfilm rather than magnetic disks.

Hate to parrot /. But this article was just way too fascinating to pass up not sharing it with any of you no-slashdot readers.
posted by crasspastor (9 comments total)
If it was instances of Cheez Whiz, I think I would have only one to fit, so it could be a floppy. Blechh.

[I've just discovered that there's a Cheez Whiz Light. As if people who eat Cheez Whiz give a fuck about what goes inside them. "And, honey, pick up another bucket of Lard&CombustiblePoisonin's for the kids. Make sure it's the turd-free kind."]
posted by pracowity at 4:10 AM on April 18, 2002

cool... all i need is a couple of petabyte drives, some cameras, and whatever sensors seem appropriate, and i can be a gargoyle. being a 'blogger was fun, but soon i can be a 'flogger*. weeeeeeeeeeeela!

posted by fnord_prefect at 4:37 AM on April 18, 2002

Over the last 14 months I have accumulated over 35Gb of digital photos. On average I have around 50 photos per day - and on numerous occasions they have helped me remember dates of events, details of the architecture, who was at the conference etc.

The bottlenecks occur in storage and transfer - spending hours transferring, organising and archiving/backing up is not my idea of fun. If terabyte storage is to become usable we need more tools like iMovie/Photo/Tunes.

The idea of a digital video/photographic diary - never having to remember anything appeals to me in many ways.
posted by mook at 6:11 AM on April 18, 2002

When I think of all the technological change my parents have seen in their lifetimes, it really scares me. And excites me.
posted by straight at 7:45 AM on April 18, 2002

Thank you very much for that link crasspastor, I enjoyed the article enormously.

One of the things that wasn't considered is the way that our data production rates have increased while disk sizes have been growing (obviously more slowly, but increasing nonetheless) which has often been due to the development of unrelated technologies. Video is a good example (and is mentioned in the article as a way to producing huge amounts of data), as is digital audio. Perhaps in 2012 we'll be complaining because we can only fit 3 complete memory/personality backups on those piddly little 120 terabyte drives.
posted by Gamecat at 8:45 AM on April 18, 2002

Now if only software would keep up. Most still seem to assume a few thousand files. When confronted with several hundred thousand or more, most get bogged down. Better file accessing strategies need to be implemented.
posted by HTuttle at 8:45 AM on April 18, 2002

storage and transfer bottlenecks aside (those are just small technical hurdles), this brings up an interesting parallel to the discussion of a 'surveillance society'. Paranoia aside, we are increasingly becoming a documentarian society, with the all the camera's on street corners, in atm machines, even the DoComo video phones that proliferate urban Japanese communities.. Even our web surfing statistics are a snapshot of our daily activities.

I wonder how long before personal anonymity is a thing of the past
posted by jazzkat11 at 8:48 AM on April 18, 2002

the economist had the fascinating story of GMR heads awhile back :)

there was also a great o'reilly interview with brewster kahle echoing jorn barger's writeup, "What will your harddrive hold in ten years?"
Kahle: Having the capital cost of equipment drop to effectively zero allows you to think bigger. You start thinking about the whole thing. For instance, the gutsy maneuver of saying "let's index it all," which was the breakthrough of Altavista. Altavista in 1995 was an astonishing achievement, not because of the hardware -- yes, that was interesting and important from a technical perspective -- but because of the mindset. "Let's go index every document in the world." And once you have that sort of mindset, you can get really far.

So if all books are 20 TBs, and 20 TBs are $80,000, that's the Library of Congress. Then something big has changed. All music? It's tiny. It looks like there're only one million records that have been produced over the last century. That's tiny. All movies? All theatrical releases have been estimated at 100,000, and most of those from India. If you take all the rest of ephemeral films, that's on the order of a couple hundred thousand. It's just not that big. It allows you to start thinking about the whole thing.
and what's cool is alexa is doing it for us!
posted by kliuless at 10:35 AM on April 18, 2002

finally...all your porn are belong to me!
posted by patrickje at 11:20 AM on April 18, 2002

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