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New external storage then and now
I may have mentioned times past that my first external hard disk, purchased in downtown San Francisco just around this time thirty years ago, held a whopping ten megabytes, connected to my first-generation Macintosh via a serial port, required booting from a floppy after startup (the computer itself likewise requiring a boot floppy), and came with an emphatic recommendation from the manufacturer that it be partitioned into fourths for optimal performance. I felt very cutting-edge, possessing such a peripheral, even though it cost me a sum equivalent to what I was then paying for two months’ rent.

I recall that the thing was fairly heavy, owing to its internal power supply, and it displaced something rather larger than the spatial volume of a quart carton of milk. I’m thinking about seven pounds, but let’s say five.

The other day I set up my latest external drive (solid-state, which I think is all I'll be purchasing going forward). In surface area it’s somewhat smaller than a business card. It’s about a quarter inch thick and weighs a hair over an ounce. It’s USB3 (currently used with a USB2 MBP), and accordingly moves data back and forth at a brisker pace than the old serial interface permitted.

To equal the storage of my new toy using my 1986 tech, I would be obliged to deploy 50,000 units of that drive, which is probably ten times as many as that short-lived company ever manufactured. At full retail, assuming no volume discount and including estimated sales tax, this would have cost me enough to make the rent through approximately AD 10,800. After that kind of outlay, it’s doubtful I could have paid for the electricity to run the things, even with the coin I’d have saved on gas heating. Come to that, the energy savings would have eaten up by the costly structural reinforcement required for that house, a handsome 1911 craftsman bungalow, to support 125 tons of external storage, although I suppose I could have stashed a few thousand of them in the basement.

On the other hand, had today’s per-megabyte cost obtained in 1986, I could have brought home three of those primitive devices for just a penny, including sales tax.

Expand Edited by rcareaga Feb. 16, 2016, 02:19:57 PM EST
New And I'll bet spell-checking a large manuscript takes just as long

     external storage then and now - (rcareaga) - (1)
         And I'll bet spell-checking a large manuscript takes just as long -NT - (drook)

You ever read Wambaugh?
47 ms