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January 05, 2007

The Desktop Terabyte

The desktop terabyte has arrived. For the entire history of computing, storage has been a scarce resource, and usage strategies have revolved around that scarcity: How much data to keep? For how long? What to archive, and what to throw away altogether? Now, with desktop storage comfortably outstripping the vast majority of application needs (with the notable exception of digital video) strategies of scarcity start to give way to strategies of abundance.

In other words: How does using a computer change when nothing ever has to be thrown away? And how does the experience design of software have to change to accommodate that change in usage?

<=> | January 5, 2007


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How does computing change when nothing has to be thrown away? The same way your apartment changes when no garbages is taken out...

Posted by: Rimantas | Jan 5, 2007 3:51:36 PM

I guess more effort on findability is going to be spend. And structuring the information.. ??
Actually some scientists say that the human memory also stores everything. Maybe mechanisms could be developed that work similar to the human brain.
Like when we study sth we studied earlier we remember the whole information asscociated to that field. So when some sort of information is being used all the information related to it would be somehow "highlighed". But then of course the question is what is "related information".
And there could be context-dependency.. which is maybe similar to this. When you study for an exam in a certain place, it's easier to remember the information in that place rather than another. Or the same works for moods.. (I would say the equivalent of 'internal context'). But I cant think right now what that 'context' would translate to in the computer.

Posted by: Elif | Jan 6, 2007 5:05:34 AM

I think the big point here is that nothing's *needed* to be thrown away for some time, but lots of stuff is being thrown away.

Windows has had a journaling file system for years, and Macs have Time Machine shortly, but I'd say the single biggest source of data loss is still overwriting old versions. UI/UX usually lags these kinds of fundamental changes in computing architecture, but I think in this case even the operating systems' most core components are outdated, which means UI is doomed to lag even further.

Posted by: Anil Dash | Jan 7, 2007 11:04:12 AM

With so much data, it's difficult to pick-and-choose *what* to throw away. In a busy lifestyle, this isn't an option, so as Elif mentioned, findability is a mandate.

I wonder what it'd be like to live in a world with no privacy concerns whatsoever?

Currently, I'm inspired by Gordon Bell's MyLifeBits; I saw his interview in Fortune magazine and it's pretty impressive how far not just the technology, but the uses for it, and how available and ubiquitous it's becoming.

Posted by: Torley | Feb 5, 2007 11:20:40 PM

Just by having the possibility to store data and keep it, I do not delete anything anymore even if I am quite convinced that I will not ever need it again. This is where we have to distinguish between data and information. We are living in a knowledge society, but useless data and spam is getting a concern....

Posted by: Murray | Mar 5, 2007 1:38:32 PM

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