Well son, it used to be normal to store things on spinning plastic

I’m sitting in a meeting where the only person using moving hardware is me. I look around the room and see a couple netbooks with solid state memory, as well a couple iPads and MacBook Airs. No kidding, my year old MacBook Pro is the only hardware here that has something moving in it. And that movement is a couple pieces of a plastic like discs spinning at 10,000 RPMs on a cushion of air. What will our grand kids think?

About the same as the current kids when you explain we used to listen (I’m only going back one generation here) to music on round flat discs of vinyl spinning at 78 (or 45 or 33) RPMs. On that disc was a thin wiggly line that when you placed a tiny crystal in would produce the recorded music. Of course, vinyl can scratch pretty easily so you would carry the 12 inch discs in a paper envelope inside of a cardboard folder. If a scratch did happen, depending on the direction of the scratch relative to the rotation of the ‘record’ your music would repeat a few seconds over and over or you would jump ahead a couple songs. That’s just crazy talk!

Of course music went the direction of the lazer CD where dots and dashes where burned into the surface that a lazer would ‘read’ and play the recorded music.

As we started to want to store more than just music, there became a need to store our spreadsheets and documents… and family pictures. So, we went back to the spinning disc world and put the data on ‘platters’ of magnatizable materials. The data gets picked up by a arm swinging back and forth across the disc. Need more memory, compress the data or start piling up the platters. You will need more arms so you are now swinging that ‘actuator’ arm between the discs. Need to get to the data fast, just spin the whole pile of platters at 10,000 RPMs.

Wait, it get’s better… lets put that whole little spinning platic, metal, magnatized opject in our pocket and run around (that would be the early iPods).

Money and technology and the need to get to our growing data faster is driving the world to solid state memory. What is next? Technology we dreamed up many years ago will find it’s way into our pocket devices… water memory may have been laughed at in the move Roller Ball but we may just be going there. Like driving a car without seatbelts, or even cars that had no seat belts, we scratch our heads over how obvious it is now but yesteryear it was common place.

No message here, just thinking about what we think is normal and trying to explain that to someone who didn’t live it how we got to where we are going.

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