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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
One left her sweater sitting on the train / and the other lost three fingers at the Cannery
— Neko Case, Margaret vs. Pauline
July 30, 2006
Computing’s Weakest Link

Over at Newsweek, Steven Levy has an article about the 50th anniversary of the hard drive.

The Hard Disk That Changed the World
IBM delivered the first disk drive 50 years ago. It was about the size of two refrigerators and weighed a ton.
by STEVEN LEVY, The Technologist

August 7, 2006 issue — If there’s a bottle of vintage champagne you’ve been saving, next month is the time to pop it open: it’s the 50th anniversary of hard-disk storage. Don’t laugh. On Sept. 13, 1956, IBM shipped the first unit of the RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) and set in motion a process that would change the way we live.

Hard drive’s are computing’s weakest link — more data is lost to bad magnetic media every year than can possibly be imagined, and it’s thanks only to intelligent system administrators and redundant backups that this isn’t catastrophic. These precision machines spinning at upwards of 5,200 revolutions per minute are the pulse of our digital lives, and the weakest link. A crash is inevitable, it’s just a question of when — and don’t realistically expect any advance warning.

50 years is a very long time in the world of technology: it speaks to the aggressiveness with whic manufacturers have been able to boost capacity that hard drives are even more relevant today than they were when computing hit the mainstream in the early 80s.

If you’ve got money to invest, invest it in next generation storage technologies: this equation will change, and the future will likely rest on some form of optical technology.

Posted by skooter at 3:51 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
This entry is tagged: Data, Storage, Technology

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