Thursday, August 02, 2007


Busy! Not me, my computer. It’s busy making a bootable backup of my entire 160 GB hard drive on my MacBook Pro. I am using my old 12-inch iBook G4 for the first time in quite some time. After skating on the edge of possible disaster for far too long, I finally purchase a ½ terabyte (terabyte!!) external backup drive. I was also spurred by more than a few sad tales of lost files… photos, prose, etc., that will never return. Ok, the last straw? I have more than 90 gigs of photos that are taking up far too much space on my internal drive. It’s slowing down my hotrod of a laptop like a smogged down, de-tuned mid seventies muscle car.

Ninety gigabytes of photos. I don’t even want to think about the time it will take to eliminate duplicates and catalog them. Indeed, the abundance of external space will relegate that task to the back burner - for now. Nevertheless, I can’t help but to sit here awestruck… it was only perhaps 15 or 20 years ago that my employer purchased its first network computer system. It had four or five workstations, ran only DOS text-based programs (WordPerfect and Lotus 123, if memory serves) and had a Novell Netware 3.x server. Oh, yes… the network interface was through the now obsolete Arcnet coaxial cable (the now ubiquitous Ethernet was brand new and therefore very expensive).

All of that is nothing more than gibberish to all but a few, but there is one part of that server that makes a pronounced point about the speed of technological progress. We had what was at the time a state-of-the-art, very high capacity hard drive - a Maxtor 400 megabyte unit. It ran on a SCSI interface (also considered very high end at the time - in some contexts it still is) and was more than big enough to handle our files for years to come. Like… two. The size of one’s hard disk drive (HDD), memory (RAM) and the speed of the processor (x.xx GHz) are the big three specifications, most everyone who has purchased a computer has some familiarity with these terms.

I am now the proud owner of a 500-gigabyte (1/2 terabyte… terabyte!) external hard drive. It is 1,000 times larger and many time faster than that old Maxtor unit. And it is only a mid-range unit. There are far faster and bigger drives available - for a price. This unit has more space than I can even fathom, yet I know that within a year, I will need more. I know it. I have been wrapped up in computers since very early on. I have been on the cutting edge and now (thank God!) I am an end user. The pace of technological advancement is dizzying and it is no longer a surprise that obsolescence is never far away. I remember my first 1-gigabyte hard drive like it was yesterday. It almost was.

Addendum - for perspective.
My 17" MacBook Pro has 2 gigabytes of RAM! Crazy!

A rare second addendum - In the process of moving old back-up files around, I inadvertently LOST all of my old archives. Although most of it is replicated elsewhere, not all of it is. I don't even know the extent of what I lost. I take solace in knowing this might be the last time I have to endure such an unexpected data purge. But hey, life goes on, I'm already past it. The upside? My MacBook is like its old self again.


OldLady Of The Hills said...

It is all too much to fathom, for me...You are really savvy...And I feel like I don't understand what anything is, but I do know I want as much memory as I can possibly get! (lol)

As to the Hummingbirds....I have some really sweet close-ups of a few of these guys, "at rest" on another plant....I have some wonderful vifeo I would love to put on the blog, but haven't a clue as to how to do it....It really shows the "dance" of these darling little birds...! Do you know how I can do that Mike?
Any help will be most appreciated.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

"VIDEO"....! LOL!
This one finger really is hilarious sometimes...!

Pat said...

Mike I wish you could drop in for a coffee and see if you can psnetrate my thick skull so I could grasp hard drives etc. At least I regularly get one of the grand-children to copy my story to cd and I try to delete superfluous photos. I can't help wondering what happens when I need a new computer. I suppose Somerset UK is a bit far for a coffee.
Michele sends her best.

Michele said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kenju said...

LOL, I'd play Scrabble with Mike or Michele - anytime!!

Oddly enough, I understood 90% of what you said, Mike.

Anonymous said...

Good morning, this is my very first official comment, although I do read here and there and love your writing voice.

About those 90 GB of photos .... wow, I don't even want to think about putting all those photos away properly. My idea of putting photos away is to upload them into my computer, email off a few good ones I'd like to share, and then, well, that's it, I'm done. This explains why my 6 year old daughter's photo album abruptly stopped when she was about 10 months old ...... (and yes, I feel terrible about it). Photographs and the act of putting them away is my downfall.

Congrats on your new computer! Hello, Michele sent me! And you did an incredible job as the Hall Monitor last week. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hello, Michele sent me. Apparently she thought I needed to have drive envy today, because after reading your post I DO. (Actually, I do need a backup drive, if only to make more space on the various computers I use daily.)

When I built my desktop a couple years ago, I let my husband talk me out of a 200 GB drive, "120 is a lot," he said.

I remind him daily of that statement.

Dak-Ind said...

1/2 terabyte!?! and 90 gigs of pics!?!? on a laptop? is it a dell/intel?

Anonymous said...

wow... bigger than mine for sure!

michele sent me.

Anonymous said...

I love when you talk technogibberish! have a great weekend.

Heather said...

hello, Michele sent me!
I remember playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego and Oregon Trail on Apple systems with DOS and 5 1/2 inch floppies.
By the time I started college I got a top of the line laptop for a graduation gift taht had a whooping 8 MB of ram and a color screen.
Now I develop training on a system with two monitors and excessive RAM and ROM and get to play with one of those nice Macbook Pro's as well.
Then again I remember the house phone that was mustard yellow with 30ft of spiral cord so you could walk around the house while on the phone and I remember getting cable and going from 4 channels to 32 with a remote.
It is mind boggling to think about how fast the technology has developed.

BreadBox said...

I remember my first experiences with computers with similar nostalgia: I missed out on punch card technology only because we had to submit programs written out in fortran, I believe, on squared paper (so that the formatting would be correct!) which were then punch carded for us.
A year later we got to type in our own code, onto paper tape: such a thrill! I may have to post a piece on my own reflections later:-) You've made me quite homesick for the past....
ps Michele sent me, of course: she always sends me.

Anonymous said...

terabyte! Good heavens- you lost me earlier but I have enough knowledge to know that that is a HUGE load of space!
Now you've got me wondering if I'd gain any speed on my computer if I off-loaded my pictures (I have to admit to not even having a backup disk of any of the pictures on my computer)
Michele sent me to visit you today though I'm sure I'd have gotten here eventually over the weekend.

BreadBox said...

Most people have heard that Bill Gates could not conceive of a machine needing more than 640K of RAM --- I remember the first "personal computer" type machine I used had, if I recall, either 8 K or 16K of RAM!

Amazing that your machine has over 100 million times the power of that machine!

Michele sent me back...

Belizegial said...

Mike, it's been a long week and I am suffering information overload. So what to do? I copied your post into Word and will review at leisure over a cuppa tomorrow when things are slower.

I really need to digest this info. Especially after losing two harddrives within the past year.

Tomorrow, I will be attending a trade fair where hopefully I will be applying to a local US accredited university to start up MBA classes in September.

Have a fun weekend,

aprilbapryll said...

Here via Michele's, this is me just wanting an extra gig of ram so Oblivion stops crashing on me!

Moon said...

It's amazing how fast the technology is advancing..I am a novice since I got my first pc 7 yrs ago but even I know how much they have improved in that time..seems my 14 month old laptop is an antique now lol..I added some ram....but like u say,..will need more soon lol.
LEEPS AND BOUNDS..still trying to learn..but can't keep up lol
I am here via Michele's tonight..

Unknown said...

sam's got a big package.

got it.

Carli N. Wendell said...

I will never be satisfied until I can carry every tidbit of electronic information I own around in my pinky finger.

Enjoy your new memory.

Here from M.

kenju said...

Too bad you lost a lot of archives, Mike. Have you ever printed your posts as you go? I started that, and I have about 14 months' worth, but I need to start printing again. Trouble is, my new printer cartridges don't last very long at all and they are $15 each. Have you ever had yours refilled? Did you like the result?

Michele says hi!

Anonymous said...

As much as I enjoy my computer, digital camera, & related gagetry, the jargon gives me a headache.

btw, your comment made me laugh. Thanks!

Pearl said...

That's a huge drive. Almost 10x bigger than ours.

Thumper said...

I still laugh when I consider that out first computer had no HD, no floppy, no RAM...if you wanted to play with it, you had to first type in a program in BASIC. We thought it was spiffy when the next 2 computers had slots for cartridges, and then--oh we were COOL--we got a Packard Bell that ran at 8MgHz and had a 20 MB drive. We were even cooler 'cause it got us 300 baud, I think.

Today's kids don't know how good they've got it ;)

Here via Michele's today!

MsT said...

Wow! I am gobstruck by the thought of all that storage. I recently bought a memory stick of 128 MB (teeny tiny!) but holds tons of files and an mp3 player of 1 GB that holds tons of spoken word. However, photos and video would change that for sure. Here from Michele's!

Dear AL said...

My latest computer is pretty cool, but I'm still in the stone ages due to my dial-up connection.

Hi, Michele sent me!

Unique Designs from Zazzle said...

man don't those photos slow a computer down.

I've never heard of a terabyte; it it's anything like a pterodactyl, it sounds big.

cheers via Michele's

Olyal said...

I didn't know that you could get Terabyte stuff! That would have cost and arm and a leg.
Glad that all your files are now safe on an external hard drive.
Michele sent me past today!

carmilevy said...

Understood every word, Mike - probably because this has been my life for longer than I care to remember.

I love this stuff. I love how fast it moves, and the capability that it gives us. All those geek specs allow me to share rich experiences with folks around the world. Before this technology was in our hands, communities like ours didn't exist. Cool.

Belated hello from Michele. I'm really slow today!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know the feeling! I had an entire second drive loaded up with videos of my kids, photos up the ying yang and a handful of Supernatural episodes . . . practically stopped the darn computer in its tracks!

Michele sent me, btw.

BreadBox said...

Sorry to hear about the second addendum losses. Does the mac have a data recovery mechanism where you can search for part of the content of a file and find where it is located? if the file is written contiguously (more likely with large hard-drives) then it is possible you could still recover some stuff...
Michele let me send myself this trip!

scrappintwinmom said...

Your walk down technology's memory lane made me laugh - Lotus 123 - holy moly!

I'm lucky to have a husband who is network admin, so I actually have more servers and storage space than some small companies...and redundant tape backups - YEAH!

We even have critical stuff burned to DVD and stored in my mother-in-law's house. Off site storage! :)

Here via Michele, as always!

kenju said...

Mike, you and Carmi are my heroes tonight. I don't know what demon possesses people like the idiot who is trying to hijack Michele's meet n' greet tonight. I am ignoring the heck out of him. Michele sent me - and I am proud to say that!

Anonymous said...

I too am here from Micheles site and very proud to be here. I often read your site but rarely leave a comment. But the way you try to keep the piece when RUDE buggers try to disrupt a fun site as Michele, I thought I would just leave a note and say thank you.
Keep up the writing as it is very entertaining and well written

Regards, Marisa McNamara

(I'm often commenting on M's site but I do not have a blog site I am quite content to visit her friends.)

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Michele sent me toniught, my dear Mike.....
I didn't get WHY you lost all that data??? These are the things that drive me up the wall about "memory" stuff on the computer, and all the other sruff I do not understand, at all! (lol)

Hey...What the F*** Is going on over at Michele's??? Who is this Blizzard person, and Roxanne...etc... In all the time I have been going to Michele's, I do not ever remember this kind of awful stuff happening....What a creepola! OY!

Olyal said...

I just wanted to stop by and say that it's nice to know that there are people out in Cyberworld who one can count on to stand up and defend their friends, even if they've never really met.
Thank you for being one of those people Mike. :o)

Anonymous said...

Michele sent me again - so sorry about the lost archives. My MacBook (my first experience with Mac) also has 2 GB of RAM - I'm so used to boosting RAM in anything I order that I did it without really needing to.

You also get a gold star for your help at Michele's blog tonight, at least, a virtual one, from me.

I know we're not supposed to feed the trolls, but sometimes you have to take action.

craziequeen said...

Blimey - 500tB!!

Is it me, or do we lose more IT information than we used to lose 'real' information?
Where I work, we are constantly battling information overload - and I barely worry about losing emails etc.

Michele sent me to say hi to her Knight in Shining Armour :-)


carmilevy said...

Hi again. Quick note before I tuck in - it's 5 a.m. here, and I'm bagged.

Just wanted to let you know I think you rock for all you did to help Michele.

Would sure love to chat over tea someday about how you found his and his wife's sites/related contact info. Great forensics...he had no idea who and what he was up against.

You've reinforced my faith in humanity. Thanks, mon ami.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I just got up this morning, and it seems there has been a right battle going on!

Michele sent me here.

Bobkat said...

Hey Mike,

You've just reminded me that I need to back-up all my photos too. I think my laptop might work a bit better then too!

BreadBox said...

Stellar work last night Mike! Michele sent me to tell you so.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Well, you did it Mike! You got rid of that terrible terrible troll guy!
I would love to know more about how you tracked this all down.
Anyway, Chivalry is not dead, my dear...YOU were wonderful! And I give you a standing ovation and a very loud BRAVO! WELL DONE, Mike!

Michele said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vid Digger said...

Sorry to hear about you losing your files. Had the same shit happen to me a few weeks ago.

Good job in taking care of Michele's blog, Mike!

scrappintwinmom said...

Just stopping by again this weekend give you a hi-five for standing up for Michele in the wake of all the drama (that I, thankfully, missed). You totally rock and I'm glad to know you.