This Can’t Be Possible

I still remember paying around $80 for 128 megabyte memory card because it was cheap. This card’s price per gigabyte is 26 cents.
How soon before a petabyte card?

Any memory card stories?

I have been a proud owner back in the day of a Compact Flash, Smart, Meomory Stick, Card, and Micro SD. Does anyone want to buy a floppy or a Zip Disk or Drive from me?

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18 thoughts on “This Can’t Be Possible”

  1. Ain’t it grand?!  I worked in laser engineering for the company that invented use of a laser to physically process memory chips at the sub-micron level.  Fun, is all I can say.

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  2. OMG, I can not imagine what use one of those would be. Obviously photography, but what level of photographs? Wow!

    What’s your oldest memory stick?

    I have them up to 64 GB The one above is a 64 MB !!

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  3. Gerry_D:
    OMG, I can not imagine what use one of those would be.

    Recording 8K video on a Samsung Galaxy S20 uses around 600 megabytes per minute.  Professional gear which records in raw mode generates even higher data rates.   If you’re doing lots of editing with intermediate files, it’s easy to burn up plenty of additional storage.

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  4. John Walker:

    Gerry_D:
    OMG, I can not imagine what use one of those would be.

    Recording 8K video on a Samsung Galaxy S20 uses around 600 megabytes per minute.  Professional gear which records in raw mode generates even higher data rates.   If you’re doing lots of editing with intermediate files, it’s easy to burn up plenty of additional storage.

    No matter how big these cards get there seems to always be a way to fill them up.

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  5. I guess it was the early 1990’s … pre Apple store.  Went into an ‘Authorized Apple Dealer’.   Guy had gust got in one on the very first Gigabyte hard drives.   He was over the moon.  “A gigabyte !!!    Do you know how much that is??!?!?     You could NEVER use that much storage!! “

    I used to work with a guy who espoused the “Stuffing Principle”.    The amount of stuff to be stored expands to fill the available space.

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  6. 10 Cents:
    I still remember paying around $80 for 128 megabyte memory card because it was cheap. This card’s price per gigabyte is 26 cents.

    Here is the first “mass storage” device I owned.

    Persci 270 floppy disc drive

    To the right of the IBM 3101 terminal is the Persci 270 dual floppy disc drive I bought in 1977.  This unit was a dual drive sharing a common voice-coil positioner (much faster than the stepping motors used by most other floppy drives, using 8 inch single-sided, single-density floppies with a storage capacity of around 256,000 bytes.  Using both drives provided a total capacity of around half a megabyte.  In 1977, I paid about US$ 3,600 for the drive and an Alpha Micro DMA controller.  In present-day dollars, this is equivalent to around US$ 15,000, so in comparing with current memory cards, this is the figure I’ll use.

    Taking the just the cost of the drive and controller gives a price of US$ 30 million per gigabyte, but that doesn’t add in the storage media.  I don’t remember and can’t find a reference for what 8 inch floppies sold for in 1977, but on eBay New Old Stock 8 inch floppies seem to go for around US$ 4 at present.  Figuring US$ 4 / (0.25 megabyte) gives a price of US$ 16,000 for a gigabyte of 8 inch floppies, which is almost lost in the round-off compared to the drive and controller.

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  7. To put one terabyte into perspective, the amount of information in all printed matter in the Library of Congress is estimated as around 15 terabytes.  As 15 of these MicroSD cards are comparable to the size of a dollar bill, a digitised Library of Congress would fit easily in a wallet.

    Interestingly, the entire text of English language Wikipedia is only around 16 gigabytes.  Media files balloon this enormously, with around 23 terabytes in Wikimedia Commons as of the end of 2014.

    In the NASA Project Cyclops report, the total amount of information which we know about ancient Greece: writings, sculpture, architecture, etc. was estimated at less than 1010 bits, or 1.25 gigabytes, a unit Philip Morrison suggested be called a Hellas.  The 1 terabyte storage card could, then, store 800 Hellades.

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  8. The (old) joke used to be that IBM came out with an infinite capacity disk drive.  The first customer bought two.

    It was a good thing, since the OS took all of the first drive!

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  9. John Walker:

    10 Cents:
    I still remember paying around $80 for 128 megabyte memory card because it was cheap. This card’s price per gigabyte is 26 cents.

    Here is the first “mass storage” device I owned.

    Persci 270 floppy disc drive

    To the right of the IBM 3101 terminal is the Persci 270 dual floppy disc drive I bought in 1977.  This unit was a dual drive sharing a common voice-coil positioner (much faster than the stepping motors used by most other floppy drives, using 8 inch single-sided, single-density floppies with a storage capacity of around 256,000 bytes.  Using both drives provided a total capacity of around half a megabyte.  In 1977, I paid about US$ 3,600 for the drive and an Alpha Micro DMA controller.  In present-day dollars, this is equivalent to around US$ 15,000, so in comparing with current memory cards, this is the figure I’ll use.

    Taking the just the cost of the drive and controller gives a price of US$ 30 million per gigabyte, but that doesn’t add in the storage media.  I don’t remember and can’t find a reference for what 8 inch floppies sold for in 1977, but on eBay New Old Stock 8 inch floppies seem to go for around US$ 4 at present.  Figuring US$ 4 / (0.25 megabyte) gives a price of US$ 16,000 for a gigabyte of 8 inch floppies, which is almost lost in the round-off compared to the drive and controller.

    No wonder you made your company successful. You were trying to be rich enough to store a movie on 8 inch floppies.

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  10. WillowSpring:
    The (old) joke used to be that IBM came out with an infinite capacity disk drive.  The first customer bought two.

    It was a good thing, since the OS took all of the first drive!

    It has been amazing how quickly cutting edge technology has gone the way of the Victorola.

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  11. Ed K:
    I guess it was the early 1990’s … pre Apple store.  Went into an ‘Authorized Apple Dealer’.   Guy had gust got in one on the very first Gigabyte hard drives.   He was over the moon.  “A gigabyte !!!    Do you know how much that is??!?!?     You could NEVER use that much storage!! “

    I used to work with a guy who espoused the “Stuffing Principle”.    The amount of stuff to be stored expands to fill the available space.

    I had a “friend” in the early 90s who bought a massive 310 megabyte drive. Later he bought a 1.2 gigabyte drive for around $300. Funny how the great deal looks dumb a few years later.

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  12. 10 Cents:

    It has been amazing how quickly cutting edge technology have gone the way of the Victorola.

     

    My new computer’s got the clocks, it rocks
    But it was obsolete before I opened the box

     

    – Weird Al, It’s All About The Pentiums

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  13. I  go back to the days when a disk drive the size of a commercial washer held a quarter megabyte and we were amazed. I just expect the march of progress to keep on keeping on.

    I would worry if we started getting announcements of lower capacities for more money, which would follow electing people who wish to lead us into a utopia.

    We have moved from data which represents reality in the abstract to data which records the actuality in more detail than we can perceive.

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  14. WillowSpring:
    The (old) joke used to be that IBM came out with an infinite capacity disk drive.  The first customer bought two.

    The follow on to that gag was that the service wait time was also infinity. It was also reported to still use tape backup.

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  15. TKC 1101:
    We have moved from data which represents reality in the abstract to data which records the actuality in more detail than we can perceive.

    I would argue that this is a good thing.  In my 1988 crackpot screed, “The New Technological Corporation”, I had a section titled “Quantum Economics” in which I argued that all economic truth is in individual transactions, and that management and policy works on aggregates simply because the volume of individual transaction data is too vast to comprehend.  This is a statement of a specific case of Hayek’s local knowledge problem.

    But what if you could capture all of the transaction data, archive it forever, and query it in powerful ways?  One of my crackpot friends has argued for several years that this was what the central planners needed to realise their dreams, which were thwarted because an economy run by Gosplan will never invent computers or mass storage.  He goes on to argue that Walmart and their inventory, supply chain, and vendor management are, in fact, a latter day implementation of Marxist central planning.

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  16. TKC 1101:
    It was also reported to still use tape backup.

    Hey, don’t knock tapes.  This site is backed up nightly on LTO-5 tapes, which have a retention time of 15 to 30 years.  The latest generation, released in 2017 (I, as a conservative, stay a few behind until they get it right and prices come down) stores 12 terabytes uncompressed in a 10×10×2.15 cm cartridge.  Fourmilab has a tape changer robot which stores 24 of them.

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  17. John Walker:

    TKC 1101:
    It was also reported to still use tape backup.

    Hey, don’t knock tapes.  This site is backed up nightly on LTO-5 tapes, which have a retention time of 15 to 30 years.  The latest generation, released in 2017 (I, as a conservative, stay a few behind until they get it right and prices come down) stores 12 terabytes uncompressed in a 10×10×2.15 cm cartridge.  Fourmilab has a tape changer robot which stores 24 of them.

    I’m now working for a state government agency. Tapes are still our standard for our physical boxes (though our VM’s are backed up on ComVault).

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