Friday, October 31, 2008

I Fought the Law...

Just so everyone's on the same page, there's a little thing called Moore's Law stating computer processing power doubles roughly every two years. That is to say, chip companies can now jam twice as many transistors into a specific space than they could two years ago.

While Moore's Law usually applies to processing power, I had my own little experience with it this week in terms of storage capacity. This happened when I realized a Word document I'd been thinking about was actually stored on Opus, my older, but incredibly faithful Macintosh Power PC 7500. (He's named after the penguin in Bloom County. There's a pretty good likeness of Opus here if you're interested.) This was my first computer and, when I bought him in December 1995, he was the most kick-ass computer on the ninth floor of Morrison Hall. I was kicking all kinds of ass at Marathon and Marathon II.

Anyway, to get to the point, as I was strolling down a digital memory lane and digging around on that old 1G drive, I discovered there was a lot more stuff there than I actually remembered. Letters and emails and journals and notes I'd taken covering this story and that. Now that I knew it was there, I wanted to save them all like a PETA member protecting baby harp seals.

Here's where Moore enters and the problem arises (again, Moore's applies to processing, not storage, but who really cares?) The venerable old Mac has, as I said, a 1G drive. Sitting at the other end of my desk, next to Opus' illegitimate Gateway son, Evil Opus, is Milo Bloom, a 250 gig external drive (named after another Bloom County character), and the ultimate destination of all the digital crap I'm unwilling to part with like some folks and their shoes. Figuring seven doublings during the 13 years since I bought it (I'm rounding up), that 1G becomes 128G, just one doubling short of actual reality.

Now, you may not think a 1G drive is very big, to tell you the truth, my iPod Shuffle (Little Opus) has the same capacity. But here's where I ran into my fight with technology. There were no CD burners built into computers in 1995 and, following a horrific and tragic crash about eight years ago, old Opus lost some of his marbles and no longer has a program to interact with the Interwebs.

So, without a burner in the drive bay, I was left with nothing but 3.5-inch disks (in case you forgot what they look like) to move everything from one computer to the other.

Do you have any idea how long it takes to move a couple hundred text documents and photos 1.4 megabytes at a time?

Gotta love that technology.

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