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Happiness Is...

April 28, 2004

Recent acquisition:

Screenshot of new LaCie Firewire drive specs, 160GB

Which brings our household data capacity to a quarter of a terabyte. I’ve long claimed that 5 petabytes is all I’ll ever need, for life. Which provokes bemused expressions on the faces of those around me. No one ever seems to factor in the increasing demand for storage…

My own personal storage history, distributed across drives and systems:

  • 1988 - 1994: dual 360k floppies, no hard drive.
  • 1994 - 1995: 40MB
  • 1995 - 1998: 850MB
  • 1998 - 2000: 4,000MB
  • 2000 - 2001: 30,000MB
  • 2001 - 2003: 70,000MB
  • 2003 - 2004: 100,000MB
  • 2004: 270,000MB

5 petabytes. It’s all I ask.

Reader Comments

April 28, 10h

Heh, altogether my apartment has just around 1535 Gb (1.5 terabytes) of storage space. (5 people - college: 260Gb, 620Gb, 290Gb, 165Gb, 200Gb)

And we’re still running out of space. :D

Specifically our music, movie, and television collections are what is taking up tons of space. As media becomes more and more digital, we’re going to progressively need more HD space to put it on.

April 28, 10h

Storage, for me, has never been much of an issue. Currently I am running the following:

1. 80GB (Windows Development Machine)
2. 13GB (Windows Development Machine)
3. 80GB (iMac G4)
4. 20GB (Wife’s Toshiba Laptop)

And I have plenty of room. Except on the iMac, where I store all of my digital video, music and photos. If anyone knows how to keep a mounted SMB drive mapped - PLEASE email me.

April 28, 10h

BTW, the Beatles once said “Happiness is a warm gun.” I am guessing, with this post you are simply stating that Happiness is a warm storage medium.

April 28, 10h

It’s amazing to think that in the space of 10 years the average hard drive size has gone up 2,000 times.

So in 2014 we should have plenty of petabytes to share around.. ;)

DarkBlue says:
April 28, 10h

All you need a rack full of these: LaCie !TB “Bigger Disk”

DarkBlue says:
April 28, 10h

Hmmm, the link didn’t work:

Derek says:
April 29, 01h

Ah, remember when we used to create compressed archives of important files, and then save them to floppies so we could delete word processing documents, application installers, and desktop publishing files to save space on our external 40 MB Sony hard disks, which we had to shake at power-on because the platter lubricant got sticky overnight?

Good times, man. Good times.


April 29, 01h

I just added a 40g to my previous 36g… pleeeenty of room, just as long as I don’t start ripping all of my cds…

Why then still add a 40g HD you ask? It was a bargain… and now I can back up the whole primary HD :)

April 29, 01h

Hmm, what’s that I’m smelling? Oh, it’s my envy…

I shouldn’t complain, though. I have 4 HD’s at home, 2 currently plugged in (40+60 gb) and 2 waiting till I get around to fixing my raid controller. I’ve got notoriously little space left, however.

I’m looking forward to seeing a new line of harddrives come out with FAR more storage space than the current drives, but I’m afraid it will still be a little while. Maybe that’s just me, though. Anyone else think it will be at least 3 more years before we’ll see harddrives come out of 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB storage? At affordable prices, of course…

April 29, 02h

heh…i remember about 1 1/2 years ago when i got a 100GB drive to complement the existing 2x 30GB drives on my PC. i’ll never fill that, i thought…well, as i’m currently working on 3 large video projects, i find myself running out all the time…

April 29, 03h

oh…just for the sake of it:

April 29, 04h

I am currently running 4 HDD’s in my Windows box.

40GB ATA (X2 Raid1)
and an old SCSI Narrow 9.1 for laughs.

jgraham says:
April 29, 04h

Filesystem Size Used Avail Use%
/dev/hda1 4.3G 3.9G 162M 97%

April 29, 06h

My Windows PC has 1x30GB, 1x40GB and 1x120GB = 210GB. My Powerbook has 80GB and my Xbox has 120GB.

My biggest problem is - ironically - the sharing of date between the different platforms.

April 29, 06h

Ehm. That’s 410GB all in all…

Paul G says:
April 29, 06h

Hah! I mock your claims of a lack of storage space! My main computer at home currently has 2 hard drives, a 10GB and a 1GB (that’s 11GB total, for the math impaired). I tend to keep my files burned onto CD (years of working with computers has made me paranoid about HD crashes), so I don’t usually run out of space. I suppose I should probably break down and buy the 120GB upgrade one of these days, but I think it’s funny that many portable music players have more storage than my computer.

ACJ says:
April 29, 07h

Every time I get a new hard drive, it’s about four times the size of the previous, yet I seem to able to stuff it up in the same amount of time.


April 29, 07h

What, has nobody around here has mentioned Sinclair“s Spectrum computers? Wating 4-5 minutes for programs and games (all 48K of them, mind you) to load from an external tape deck (until they came out with the integrated tape later on or even later the floppy model)…

hehe, now those were the days ;-)

Nilo says:
April 29, 07h


20Gb Lacie Pocket Drive USB 2.0
20Gb Laptop
20 + 40Gb development PC
10 Gb server
20Gb Girlfriend (I mean my girlfriend’s Pc has a 20Gb HD, not her)

Total 130Gb

Actually, I keep all that almost empty or, at least redundant so add:
- approx 150 CDs at home
- approx 500 CDs at mom’s house :-P

(150 + 500) * 500Mb Avg = 325GB

I’m cursed with a single 20 GB ATA-100 hard drive, running Fedora Core 2 Test 3 and Windows XP SP2 (note that WinXP comes after the fact; Fedora rocks!). I have no Zip drives, keychain USB drives, network storage, or anything else, and I still have 3.3 GB free (only after deleting 2.1 GB of Fedora install images, though).

So I guess I can’t complain. But there’s still that piece-of-crap Pentium III 533 Mhz processor to contend with.

uplink says:
April 29, 08h

Hehehe, do you realize that in 16 years you have increased your storage capacity by 768,000 times? Bye bye Moore’s Law! 768,000 is a big number…. ;-)

April 29, 08h

I’m pretty much in the same boat. I’ve got a 20 GB HD, dual booting SuSE 9 and WinME. Of course, though, my P3 933 Mhz processor would destroy yours…

Dan says:
April 29, 08h

Never enough space. Especially with MythTv ( - I’m using 0.5T on my fileserver:

/dev/mediavg/medialv 482G 482G 845M 100% /media

The various other servers/desktops have around 200G more. But I should really add a few more drivers to the LVM, making it a full 1T.

The sad part is that from setting the /media folder until it filled up took only 3 months.

trollll says:
April 29, 08h

let’s see:

imac: 10gb
pc hd1: 20gb
pc hd2: 80gb
dell laptop: 40gb
powerbook: 40gb
xbox: 8gb
ps2: 40gb (fileserver)
maxtor fw: 80gb (NEVER buy. free replacement for a 60gb that crashed and burned twice, this one has already done that once)

318gb at this point, though i’ve eyed lacie’s big external for a while now ( )… anyone know of any stability issues? i’ll never get a maxtor again…

beto says:
April 29, 09h

MP3s, movie files and those weird videos that your friends send from time to time are what takes the biggest chunk of space on a hard drive. Being badly burned by lots of HD crashes in the past, I’ve come to an habit of backuping (is that a word?) all stuff in CDs, although with increasing data recollection I’m switching to DVDs for the same task. Things like MP3s and videos get copied into DVD so I can use my HD space on more “important” things…

As the computing experience gets more of broadband and video on it so will do space requirements. However, there’s one app I don’t see it makes anything essentially better or different than its past version, yet keeps getting fatter every time: MS Office. An “easy install” is easily 90% filler you don’t really need. There’s probably some conspiracy among MS and hard drive manufacturers so they can have an excuse to make us buy more and more storage…

igner says:
April 29, 10h

A few months ago, I did some work at a local firm, and increased the capacity of their AppleShare server tenfold. I pointed out to them the limitations of their current backup system (which they were not in a position to replace), and stressed the importance of archiving off projects and managing their data storage. I then made a smart-ass wisecrack about giving them “six months to fill the drives.”

Last week, I got a call that the file server had crashed. When I brought the machine back up, I discovered that there was a scant 40 MB remaining. I’m not sure if it was the attempt to save a 1.2GB Photoshop file, or the background copying of a few 200-300MB TIFFS that brought AppleShare to its knees, but there you go.

Time elapsed: 5 months.

I tried to resist, but in the end was compelled to (good naturedly) say “I told you so.”

X-Wes says:
April 29, 10h

I only have ten gigabyte on my newer computer. I’m constantly strapped for enough space to cache a compact disc I’m burning. My older computer has two 550-megabyte disks, but I rarely use that computer, as it has sixteen megabyte of RAM and a 66-megahertz processor.

Oh, and I have about 15 gigabyte of backups on CD-ROM. Go compact discs!

Josh says:
April 29, 10h

Unfirewalled XP machines are great for distributed storage.

Sure, it may be kind of illegal, but if the mouth breathers are gonna open the attachments all the time, do they really deserve their own free space.

/This has been a disgruntled IT worker

Nicole says:
April 29, 11h

I have 15 GB on my laptop, and I’m only using about 1 gig.

geek status: unstable

April 29, 12h

Whatever amount of hard drive space I have, I will fill it. I could never set a cap on what I’ll need because if there’s empty room, I’ve got to put something on it. Digital photos, MP3’s, movies, Photoshop files….. more more more!!!!

Jeremy S. says:
April 29, 12h

I don’t really have that much storage.

80 GB SATA Drive
20 GB ATA Drive
60 GB ATA Drive
Total: 160GB.

not very much, but I have trouble filling it.

April 30, 01h

I remember my first external Hard Drive that I bought in 1991. This was a 100MB Frog Drive and cost £333. My latest 250GB internal cost £120.

I thought the 100MB would be all I’d ever need. :)

April 30, 02h

Is it wrong that when I built my home PC I went straight for the Terra? Hey, it’s only about $1200 when you raid 4 250’s

History for Me:
Home Computer (August 2003): 1T
Old Home Computer (June 96): 36G
Really Old Home Computer (90): 500meg

Wanna see more about that computer, or don’t believe the terra thing, see my site.

How says:
April 30, 03h

I think road planners in the UK could learn a lot from this; no matter how much capacity you have, people will always find a way to fill it up ;)

Peter says:
April 30, 08h

Let me see…
PC 1 (1996): 10GB + 20GB (added in 1998)
PC 2 (2000): 2x40GB + 120GB external (added in 2002)
PC 3 (2004): 160GB + 160GB internal

I have good experiences with my Maxtor external disk, and a LaCie Porsche disk, but have recently returned 2 LaCie BigDisks of 500GB (awkward, carrying 1TB in your hands) because under heavy usage, they give up and lose their data.

Could someone make a small web app where anyone could add his data and it would show statistical graphs over time :-) ?

Richard says:
May 02, 01h

36 comments so far and most of those detailing the impressive storage the respective posters call their own.

But nobody mentionned those 5 petabytes.
I wonder if there really is nobody who might know what that is the reference to? I for one really liked reading that - and I couldn’t agree more ;-)

Richard Hulse says:
May 02, 01h

I started out with a 1.2 gig drive that cost $NZ7500 in 1990. I am just about to buy a SATA RAID - 2 terabytes for just over twice that amount.

Not to mention the 10 TB box and the 1 PB tape robot on the horizon…


Tunnuz says:
May 02, 05h

Currently I have 3 pc: 40 + 10 + 1GB (the last is my tryout server =/ )

May 02, 12h

Watch out! I had a beautiful brushed-metal-with-blue-blinky-light LaCie 120 gig drive for about 6 months, then it started making this scary clicking noise during seeks and sometimes randomly powered off. This drove me to buy a replacement last month and get all the data off it before it died for good. Though this is just my experience, maybe I was too hard on the thing, and I’m pretty sure it was a fluke.

photo_t says:
May 03, 01h

Well, my first hard drive was a Jasmine 20Mb external that I bought in 1988 for the bargain price of $699. I just spent $600 to buy two 250Gb Firewire drives. My current home setup is as follows:

40Gb internal HD (transplanted from my previous CPU)
80Gb internal HD (came with computer)
120 Gb Firewire External (full of scanned photos)
120 Gb Firewire External (ditto)
250 Gb Firewire External (new but filling fast)
250 Gb Firewire External (current backups)
TOTAL: 860 Gb

Of course, I’m a photographer shooting medium format and scanning at 4000dpi, so each raw scan is 170Mb. If I add layers in Photoshop, the files double in size. I’m lucky if I can get two on a CD.

Thank God storage is cheap!

Cam says:
May 06, 01h

Don’t you love Firewire though? I have an 80GB box I bought in Japan a couple years back before I left, and it has proved to be extremely useful. I remember getting it and thinking “Man, it’ll take years to fill this thing up…”

Fast forward 6 months, I was deleting everything I could find… :)