Advanced. High-tech. Memory.
Above is an old hard drive – not a computer but just the internal component for rotating data storage – that weighs twenty pounds and cost nearly ten thousand dollars. It held about 350 megabytes of data (one-third as much as my keychain drive) and consumed more power than a typical computer does today.
How much is a terabyte? It’s a stack of roughly one-thousand, four-hundred CD’s, each one burned completely full. (Or nearly three thousand of those enormous hard drives you see above, weighing as much as ten Ford Excursion SUV’s.)
The chip is practically non-volatile; it holds its data on only a half microamp at five volts. Suffice it to say that kind of power is not hard to come by. It is faster than your hard drive – by far – and even with write operations, uses so little power it’s hardly worth accounting (2.5 microamps at 5 volts).
The devices made possible by this technology are fairly mind-boggling, but the important thing to remember is that when data storage becomes essentially free (not only in money, but in physical space, weight, and power requirements) then the meta-data – information about the data that allows us to find the data and use it – becomes like the other blade in a pair of scissors. You really can’t say which is more important.
Welcome to the Google future, everyone.
(via email from Pete)