July 15th, 2003



Computer geek-out time:

Jim Gray of Microsoft Research talks about data storage

Executive summary:

1. Right now, once your data sets get into the Terabyte range, it's cheaper to Fed-Ex a computer full of disks than it is to transfer the data over the internet.

2. Disk capacity increases faster than disk access speed, by a factor of 10. This means that when disk technology reaches its technical dead end in the Petabyte scale, your disk will be too big to access all of it's data in any practical time span, much less back up.

I have to think that some of the current basic-research pie in the sky stuff will come online before that time -- carbon nanotube random access storage with access times closer to current RAM access speeds.

I started adding it up the other day, and realized I had something like 1/3 a terabyte on line at my house -- 300 gigabytes or thereabouts spread over 5 computers. How the eff would I ever back that up economically? Right now I periodically burn off all my master music recordings and archives of some of my writing, and figure the rest is chaff.

Thing is, nearly everything about my life is chaff -- the only things I really care about -- my kids, my wife, aren't amenable to back up.


These things are the bomb -- they have this odd closure method, where
the bottle is sealed by a glass marble in the neck. To open it you push down on the marble with a special plunger that comes with the bottle. Then as you drink, the marble rolls around in a little reservoir in the neck of the bottle.

They're Japanese (naturally) and at an Asian grocer near you. They taste decent too, like fizzy lemonade with a slight tang of Hubba Bubba bubble gum.