The history of computer data storage, in pictures

Picture of an 8'' Floppy DiskNowadays we are used to having hundreds of gigabytes of storage capacity in our computers. Even tiny MP3 players and other handheld devices usually have several gigabytes of storage. This was pure science fiction only a few decades ago.

Here is an interesting walk through memory lane, the journey to massive information storage.  I remember eight-inch floppies and laserdisc players very well.

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What Would (Will) our Children do with This

Picture of Accelerator ConduitAn April 6 story (Coming soon: Superfast Internet) from TIMESONLINE, describes a new parallel Internet that will reportedly move information 10,000 times faster than a typical broadband connection.  Called “the grid,” the network is being established by the Cern particle physics center, and will be launched for research purposes on “Red Button” day, when the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is switched-on. [image ((Kalmann, Marco. “Cern.” CernMarcokolmann’s Photostream. 29 Jan 2008. 8 Apr 2008]

The network is initially being built by Cern to handle that huge amounts of data that will be generated by the super collider, distributing it out to various research centers around the world.  One of the goals of the collider will be to locate the Higgs Bison particle.  You can look that one up for yourself.

There is no promise that “the grid” will ever become part of our household infrastructure, though information speeds like these will certainly be part of our future.  It might be interesting to ask students, the inheritors of this future, to speculate on what they might do with connections capable of sending…

…the entire Rolling Stones back catalogue from Britain to Japan in less than two seconds. ((Leake, Jonathan. “Coming Soon: Superfast Internet.” TIMESONLINE 6 Apr 2008 8 Apr 2008 science/article3689881.ecehigg.))

Share what you think?

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My Personal Learning Network needs a ######### !

I’ve been thinking about this article for some time now, but haven’t been able to start it because I know I’ll not do it justice.  Very soon, I’ll be doing some serious writing about PLNs — about my Personal Learning Network and how it helps me accomplish my goals and keeps me abreast of news and thinking about teaching and learning in this new information landscape.

I see my PLN as having three basic components.

  1. The network — People who have things to say that help me do my job, and dynamic information sources that provide me with the raw materials I need.
  2. The tools — Essentially, the avenues of communication through which I connect with people and information sources — conduits that often add value to the information.
  3. My Own Personal Echo Chamber — This is my own world view from which I teach, where ideas from my PLN bounce around off the walls of my mind and off of other ideas, either losing momentum and fading away, or generating energy and growing. (I’d look to talk a bit later about what I see when I look at this on my screen)

Poseidon unzipping an ocean stormBut there is a 4th element to my PLN that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.  You see, as I rose this morning, and switched on Twitterific, I got pulled into the thoughts of Ian Usher, up a few hours already in England.  Then Julie Lindsay in Qatar, then Ewan Mcintosh and Josie Fraser from Scotland and England.  Also Chris Craft, with insane energy, chimes in from South Carolina.  Jeff Utecht, of Shanghai, is at the tail end of his day, but will be back at the end of mine, as he begins his tomorrow.

My aggregator is crazy busy, with a thousand+ messages waiting in my “Everyday” folder alone.  I have no intention of reading them all.  I read as many as I can.  But I subscribed to all of that, because I felt that it was valuable to me.

25 minutes later -- because I got sucked into my Google Reader, and bookmarked four new resources.


what my Personal Learning Network needs

is a zipper. 

I need a way to open up this nebulous and ever evolving thing and slip it off of my head, so that I can enjoy the azaleas, take walks, sit and read a mystery, veg in front of the TV, get back to cooking, pick up my guitar again, go meet my brother for lunch, go to a matinée.  Of course I do these things (except for the cooking, guitar, and haven’t been to a matinee in months), as do we all.  But the networks are not a 9 to 5 affair, and it’s why zippers on our PLNs need to be an explicit part of our conversations. [Image ((AZRainman, “Poseidon.” Azrainman’s Photostream. 2 Aug 2007. 1 Apr 2008. ]

2¢ Worth.

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Cost of Spam

Spam is on the riseThere’s been a good bit of blogging and Twitting about a sudden increase in e-mail spam.  Anyone know why this is.  Bob Sprankle wrote about it (Spring Cleaning for Spam) in Bit by Bit, and referenced a blog post I wrote in 2006 (Sick and Tired) about the cost of spam.  I commented on his blog with some stats that I use in one of my presentations these days.

There are lots of stats out there about spam. According to a study from Richi Jennings ((Jennings, Richi, “Spam and Other Email Threats: Market and Technology Update.” Farris Research. 8 Jun 2007. Ferris Research. 9 Jun 2007 .)) , Spam cost the world $50 billion in 2005, the U.S. about $19 billion. Projects are that for 2007, that number will double with $35 billion costs for the U.S.

To put this into perspective, acording the to Copenhagen Consensus ((Kerr, Roger. “hard-Hedadad Spending Decisions not Cold-Hearted.” BusinessROUNDTABLE. 2 Jul 2004. New Zealand Business Roundtable. 9 Jun 2007)) , we could bring HIV Aids, world wide, under control for only $27 billion, less than we’ll spend protecting ourselves from spam. [Image ((Kaiser, Steve. “Spam.” DjBones’ Photostream. 24 Sep 2005. 27 Mar 2008 ]

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Upcoming Shortage of Laptop Batteries

A darker side of a flattening world has raised it head, as a major producer of laptop batteries in South Korea recently caught fire.

Dell said on Tuesday the personal-computer industry was experiencing a shortage of laptop batteries partly because of a recent fire at a major supplier, but the company was working with other suppliers to limit any price increases.

Factory fire blamed for laptop battery shortage – BizTech – Technology ((“Factory Fire Blamed for Laptop Battery Shortage.” The Sydney Morning Herald 26 Mar 2008 26 Mar 2008.

I remember, a few years ago, when a fire in a chip plant caused huge price increases for memory chips. I’m not sure what this means, within the context of this blog and it readers, except that a global economic is going to face new global challenges.

Of course there is a certain amount of irony in a factory fire that affects computer battery supplies. [Image Citation ((Lin, Yu-Jie. “Battery.” Livibetter’s Photostream. 8 Dec 2006. 26 Mar 2008 <>.))]

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Just in from Asheville

Early Girl Eatery - AshevilleI’m just now back from Asheville, where we visited with my daughter and got to see her appartment .  I have to say that it was one of those weird father things to visit your oldest’s apartment. 

It was a nice visit, owing in no small part to how much Brenda and I love Asheville — and we got to have breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants this morning, Early Girl Eatery on Wall street.

Now that I’m back in my office, connected to the network, for the few hours I have left before earnest travel, 2008 style, begins, its time to look back through the 16 comments posted on the article I submitted early yesterday morning.  I’m almost hesitant to glance…