Just What Do You Do With All This Space?

Among other things, I’m looking for some new hard drives.

I’m particularly looking at the Western Digital drives with 8Mb cache. There’s only one problem:

What am I going to do with all that space? (OK, I can buy the 80Gb rather than the 120Gb, but 80Gb is an awful lot).

If I choose to RAID it, then I’ll have 160Gb. Double trouble.

I know full well I’ll probably have 400Gb drives to complain about a year from now, and terabyte drives two years from now.
This leads me to ask you a simple question:

Just what do you do with all this space?

Personally, I find it difficult to conceive of the average person taking up more than 10Gb, 20Gb max, of programs (or files created by such programs) that the person paid for.

In contrast, I find it very easy to conceive of the rest of these hard drives containing material that wasn’t paid for. Mind you, that doesn’t necessarily mean obtained illegally, and if they are, I don’t want to know about it. I just don’t think the average person could afford to have 80-100Gb of paid programs/content.

I suspect the average hard drive (and especially the average home hard drive) is the equivalent of a closet that hasn’t been cleared out for a loooonng time, stuffed with a ton of free stuff grabbed from the Web, most of it not worth the bother to use, not worth to bother to get rid of.

However, hard drive sizes are reaching sizes that are bigger than the amount even the most avid concent procurer can fill.

Take MP3s. That 80Gb drive could contain 20,000 MP3s easily. It would take you about two months of 24/7 to listen to them all. Once. Are there 20,000 songs out there you like? Are there even 20,000 songs out there you can even stand, or even know?

Take pictures. That 80Gb drive could contain a million decent-quality JPEGs. Given that the average Internet picture is more likely to be porn than Picasso, well, never mind . . . . 🙂

Warez has a natural limit, too. I’d challenge anybody to gather up 80Gb of programs and actually use most of them with any regularity.

Video seems to be the only media capable of filling all that rust, but of course, if you end up having to pay for those Hollywood movies, there aren’t going to be all that many movie-crammed terabytes out there in a few years.

And if there isn’t, what will the average person need a terabyte hard drive for in a few years?

Disposable Media?

What we may have in cyberspace is a new view of content.

Media makes its money two ways. It makes money from ephemeral viewings (you go to a movie, it is shown to you, that’s it), or by permanent purchase (you buy the video/DVD).

The Internet world seems to want something inbetween, something I’ll call conditional possession. You gather up a ton of material, much more than you would if you had to pay for it, but you virtually discard (not use) most of it. You may not actually get rid of it for some time (until the next cleanup/hard drive crash/virus attack), but it’s effectively junk to you.

Essentially, people do the same thing they do with material possessions, but temporary possession is much better than permanent possesion since you didn’t pay for it to begin with so you don’t feel guilty about throwing it out or otherwise losing it.

It seems to me this could be the foundation for a solution to the digital dilemna. If people paid for use rather than possession, this might make all parties happy.

I’m sure the media companies would much prefer streaming-media-on-demand (that certainly would give the broadband folks a huge boost), but it’s possible people might feel better actually getting the item for free and just paying for usage. (It certainly would make the hard drive companies happier.)

We’ll probably end up with the first simply because the thieves would ruin any chance of the second working. Media thieves just don’t steal from corporations; they steal opportunities like this from you, too, which means you pay more.

Anyway . . . .

For Now . . . .

A few questions:

1) How much hard drive space do you have? Do you find that you have too little or too much space?

2) Would you say much or most of what’s on your hard drive is really just unused clutter that would be gone in a flash if you didn’t have to make a real effort to get rid of it?

3) Roughly what percentage of your hard drive consists of:

Items you paid for
Items you didn’t.

4) How much of your hard drive consists of:

1) Programs
2) Music
3) Pictures
4) Video


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