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.