Do you have adblock enabled?
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Wired)   Remembering the RAMAC: a refrigerator-sized hard drive with five whole MBs of storage. But hey in 1956 that was a lot, and it worked   (wired.com) divider line 107
    More: Cool, RAMAC, Albert Hoagland, dry cask storage, Santa Clara University, air conditioning units, paper of record, refrigerators, first computer  
•       •       •

3518 clicks; posted to Geek » on 06 Jan 2014 at 8:11 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



107 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread
 
2014-01-06 07:03:51 PM  
I kept some VAX discs for no particular reason for a long time.  We ended up shooting them like clay pigeons. Still have some Hollerith card decks and some 8" floppies in some long forgotten box that will show up on MTV Hoarders one day.
 
2014-01-06 07:04:32 PM  
Oh, yeah, 640 K ought to be enough - Bill Gates.
 
2014-01-06 07:06:24 PM  
My first hard drive was only 20mb, but it was far more reasonably sized.
 
2014-01-06 07:22:45 PM  
My first hard drive held 5 MB, but it was only as large as a shoe box.

Damn thing still cost nearly 3 grand.
 
2014-01-06 07:38:57 PM  
5MB is a lot of ASCII porn.
 
2014-01-06 08:07:20 PM  

Radak: 5MB is a lot of ASCII porn.


Especially without an hierarchical filing system.
 
2014-01-06 08:14:11 PM  
I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.
 
2014-01-06 08:19:18 PM  
Disk drives are for pussies.

You haven't lived until you've spend an hour clearing a jam out of an IBM 2501 card reader.
 
2014-01-06 08:22:48 PM  

Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.


Amazing, isn't it?  300mb isn't sufficient VIDEO memory these days.  I watch my 6 year old playing with her ipad mini and remember when I was her age staring at our Tandy 1000 with 384K of ram, 2 5 1/4" disk drives and stellar Tandy graphics with SIXTEEN color text!  As used to modern technology as I am (degree in computer science, work in IT) it still amazes me how far computers have come in such a short time.
 
2014-01-06 08:32:42 PM  

Lt. Cheese Weasel: Oh, yeah, 640 K ought to be enough - Bill Gates.




Ignoring the fact that this is storage and not memory - there is zero evidence he ever said this. None. Whatsoever.
 
2014-01-06 08:33:24 PM  

Lt. Cheese Weasel: I kept some VAX discs for no particular reason for a long time.  We ended up shooting them like clay pigeons. Still have some Hollerith card decks and some 8" floppies in some long forgotten box that will show up on MTV Hoarders one day.


They made great wind chimes.
 
2014-01-06 08:36:22 PM  
I still have a platter from an old CDC 80MB disk pack that head crashed.  When it died, I got one of 300MB jobs of which Kibbler speaks.  If I had known that would happen, I would have crashed it sooner.  The brakes on my 80MB drive were shot, so I used a comb to defeat the lid lock, then jammed said comb into the hub to stop it spinning.
 
2014-01-06 08:40:32 PM  

nekom: My first hard drive was only 20mb, but it was far more reasonably sized.


My first PC (but not computer) came with a 120MB drive, which in all honesty lived up to the salesmen's claim that we'd never fill it up; never did honestly didn't get above the 90MB mark.   Just now I was wondering why a single .TIFF file I was writing to an SD card was taking so long, so I looked... 40MB.    I've a 4TB disk that is literally full of media... crazy isn't it?


/Ancient machine only does 1MB/s to the SD Card reader, takes 32GB cards.
 
2014-01-06 08:41:16 PM  

nekom: Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.

Amazing, isn't it?  300mb isn't sufficient VIDEO memory these days.  I watch my 6 year old playing with her ipad mini and remember when I was her age staring at our Tandy 1000 with 384K of ram, 2 5 1/4" disk drives and stellar Tandy graphics with SIXTEEN color text!  As used to modern technology as I am (degree in computer science, work in IT) it still amazes me how far computers have come in such a short time.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKWGGDXe5MA
 
2014-01-06 08:43:28 PM  

Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.


Really?  I had a 130 MB hard drive around 1992 and I think it was a regular 3 1/2" drive size.  Around 1996 or so I had a Quantum Bigfoot drive that I think was 4 ish GB in a 5 1/4" drive running at 3600 RPM.  

A friend of mine had a 300 MB drive that he bought around 1988 or so for around $700.  I think it was a full height, full size drive.

I have worked with DASD drives (If you ever hear some old guy say DASD you know they worked for IBM), that were the size of a refrigerator, had platters the size of a pizza, and were belt driven with a belt that was 2 or 3 inches wide with probably a 1/3rd HP motor on them.  One of them had a head crash which was described in the daily log as a 'loud screech in the back followed by an error on the console'

I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.  I think the Windows 7 system idle process takes 24k.
 
2014-01-06 08:48:48 PM  
"And it looked kinda like one of those massive cylindrical air conditioning units that used to sit outside your grade school cafeteria."

The air conditioning units we had in our school were installed in the outer walls of each room, we called them windows.
 
2014-01-06 08:52:27 PM  
TheGreatGazoo:
I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.

I think that's what our old TRS-80 Model I Level I had.  I don't remember much about that, I was just a little toddler.  Our first PC clone (Tandy) had 384 (8086 or 8088?), second one had 640 (286).  We skipped the 386 entirely and our first 486 had couple megs, 4 maybe.  But not like memory today, you still had the base and extended memory, and it was a real pain in the dick to get all of the drivers to load into high memory.
 
2014-01-06 08:55:48 PM  

nekom: 384K of ram


Luxury.  We had 32kb of RAM and 32kb of ROM.  The rest had to fit on a 5.25 floppy.
 
2014-01-06 08:56:34 PM  

nekom: TheGreatGazoo:
I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.

I think that's what our old TRS-80 Model I Level I had.  I don't remember much about that, I was just a little toddler.  Our first PC clone (Tandy) had 384 (8086 or 8088?), second one had 640 (286).  We skipped the 386 entirely and our first 486 had couple megs, 4 maybe.  But not like memory today, you still had the base and extended memory, and it was a real pain in the dick to get all of the drivers to load into high memory.


Remember QEMM?
 
2014-01-06 08:58:03 PM  
The first computer I ever owned personally was a Macintosh SE with a 20Mb hard drive (SCSI) because at the time of its purchase, I could not conceive of needing 40Mb capacity.

I later upgraded this old Mac with a 55Mb SCSI external "zero footprint" drive; this machine sits on the other side of my computer lab, though I will admit that I have not powered it on in more than 10 years.
 
2014-01-06 09:06:06 PM  
I had one of these when I was a kid.

oldcomputers.net
 
2014-01-06 09:06:47 PM  
My first hard drive was a Quantum 52MB drive, supposedly the first low-profile 3.5" drive on the market.  Still have it in a box somewhere.


Lt. Cheese Weasel: 640 K ought to be enough - Bill Gates


Except that he didn't actually say that.


Eddie Adams from Torrance: ou haven't lived until you've spend an hour clearing a jam out of an IBM 2501 card reader.


I never understood why cards took off when tape was so much easier.  You could even use compact audio cassettes as opposed to 1" reels if you needed to keep the cost down.
 
2014-01-06 09:08:43 PM  
I started with a whopping 2kb of memory in a Timex Sinclair 1000. Of course that was tiny compared the computer we had on our ship, the USS wainwright. We had 3 Univac CP-642As , an armored computers the size of a sub-zero freezer, which was state of the art when it was built in 1964.

No worries about memory though. We had another 64K in an Extended Core Memory Unit. It was true core memory, consisting of a mesh made of copper and tiny ring shaped magnets. That was built by Sperry and was only the size of a normal refrigerator.

Now it gets exciting. Up until just before I arrived on the ship, paper tape was used to load the programs using technology Ada Lovelace would have understood. But during a refit a year before I arrived, we received actual magnetic tape.

To give you an idea of the tech I'm talking about, I was qualified for micro miniature repair. I knew how to solder together NOR gates.
 
2014-01-06 09:11:04 PM  
Marcus Aurelius:
Remember QEMM?

Don't think we ever had that.  I remember himem, loadhi, something like emm386.  I still to this day use a dos box for various things, it's faster than using windows explorer for me.  Christ I still remember my Prodigy login for some reason.  Funny what the brain keeps sometimes.
 
2014-01-06 09:11:42 PM  
I think this is the same drive Comcast uses for my DVR set-top-box. It also came with a dog's "choker" chain for a remote.
 
2014-01-06 09:11:58 PM  
Makes more sense than a hard-drive-sized refrigerator.

Can't find the en-dash, and that's driving me nuts.

Yarr.
 
2014-01-06 09:14:08 PM  

nekom: I think that's what our old TRS-80 Model I Level I had.


My first computer.  I was an Electronics Tech at the time, and Tandy sold schematics to the TRS-80.  Quickly figured out how to put my own 64k RAM in the machine (new chips had 2 more address lines you had to solder or something), thus saving bookoo bux over the official RAM upgrade.  You could only use 48k of that memory, the other 16 was video RAM.

CSB.  Had a friend that worked for a cable company and had a TRS-80.  I upped his machine to 64 MB, he modified my cable box to get all pay channels (including Playboy, whoo hoo!).

Figure his machine stayed usable 2-3 years, I kept that cable box for over 10.

CSB 2.  Around the same time figured out Atari game cartridges had a common PROM with one of the control lines inverted (CS I think).  Made cartridges with ZIFF sockets, built a library of games on floppys, and the entire second floor shared games.  At least the folks who knew how to replace a PROM did :)
 
2014-01-06 09:18:36 PM  
meh
I remember working as a 3rd shift operator.
Having to mount 3330s.

my science we have come a long way. and people STILL talk about replacing hard drives with solid state?
ROFL

/next they are going to tell me about yet another limit that we will never, ever be able to beat, that was beaten. again.
/sure, we are getting close to some real limits. damn atoms.
 
2014-01-06 09:21:52 PM  

Snotnose: nekom: I think that's what our old TRS-80 Model I Level I had.

My first computer.  I was an Electronics Tech at the time, and Tandy sold schematics to the TRS-80.  Quickly figured out how to put my own 64k RAM in the machine (new chips had 2 more address lines you had to solder or something), thus saving bookoo bux over the official RAM upgrade.  You could only use 48k of that memory, the other 16 was video RAM.

CSB.  Had a friend that worked for a cable company and had a TRS-80.  I upped his machine to 64 MB, he modified my cable box to get all pay channels (including Playboy, whoo hoo!).

Figure his machine stayed usable 2-3 years, I kept that cable box for over 10.

CSB 2.  Around the same time figured out Atari game cartridges had a common PROM with one of the control lines inverted (CS I think).  Made cartridges with ZIFF sockets, built a library of games on floppys, and the entire second floor shared games.  At least the folks who knew how to replace a PROM did :)


while the dark ages were FUN, I really dont miss pulling chips out of sockets and all that jazz.
I like jsut being able to plug stuff in and get right to gaming.

WHY did I ever throw that old hardware away?
It wouldnt be worth much, but the nostalgia alone would have been worth the storage space.
 
2014-01-06 09:23:35 PM  
If you watch the video, I love how around 4:40 they say something along the lines of "A new method was discovered using magnetic disks and a retrieval arm.  Engineering a working machine was now the job of product development."

That probably glossed over 5 full years of work from the R+D and engineering folks.  I also like that one of the R+D guys probably looked at a record player and had an "ah-ha" moment.
 
2014-01-06 09:23:39 PM  

nekom: TheGreatGazoo:
I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.

I think that's what our old TRS-80 Model I Level I had.  I don't remember much about that, I was just a little toddler.  Our first PC clone (Tandy) had 384 (8086 or 8088?), second one had 640 (286).  We skipped the 386 entirely and our first 486 had couple megs, 4 maybe.  But not like memory today, you still had the base and extended memory, and it was a real pain in the dick to get all of the drivers to load into high memory.


Trash80 Model I with Level I BASIC usually came with 4K RAM.  Usually.  Generally, the Level IIs and the (rare Level IIIs) came with 16K.

/learned BASIC on a Model I, Level II
//later, got a Trash80 Co-Co with 16K RAM and 1500baud cassette recorder
///can't bring myself to toss my old Mac SE with 4MB RAM and 20MB HDD, upgraded to 7.0 in 1991
 
2014-01-06 09:24:12 PM  

namatad: /sure, we are getting close to some real limits. damn atoms.


fark atoms, we have a quantum computer!
 
2014-01-06 09:31:58 PM  

Lsherm: namatad: /sure, we are getting close to some real limits. damn atoms.

fark atoms, we have a quantum computer!


No, the NSA has a quantum computer.  You have NOTHING for the next couple of decades.

/Or they start really pushing the latency limits on RAM and SSD's, and getting faster internet connections.  Seriously, hyperthreading is basically "I have so much free time waiting for this RAM to give me info that I might as well load up another entire thread".
 
2014-01-06 09:33:15 PM  

Eddie Adams from Torrance: Disk drives are for pussies.

You haven't lived until you've spend an hour clearing a jam out of an IBM 2501 card reader.


Never worked with a 2501, but I *have* had to deal with a 1442 after someone put a card deck through it - with two cards *STAPLED* together.

/unfortunately, I was never able to identify the culprit and grant them the death they had earned.
 
2014-01-06 09:34:43 PM  
Ok.  The thing looks to be about 1 meter in diameter.  I imagine the usable area of the disk is maybe half a square meter, and I doubt they used both sides.  There are 50 disks, so 25 square meters.  That's 25 million square millimeters, to 5 hold 5 megabytes.  So, roughtly 1 bit per 0.5 square millimeters.
 
2014-01-06 09:38:07 PM  
5 MB can't even store an uncompressed screenshot of my monitor.
 
2014-01-06 09:39:08 PM  

TheGreatGazoo: Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.

Really?  I had a 130 MB hard drive around 1992 and I think it was a regular 3 1/2" drive size.  Around 1996 or so I had a Quantum Bigfoot drive that I think was 4 ish GB in a 5 1/4" drive running at 3600 RPM.  

A friend of mine had a 300 MB drive that he bought around 1988 or so for around $700.  I think it was a full height, full size drive.

I have worked with DASD drives (If you ever hear some old guy say DASD you know they worked for IBM), that were the size of a refrigerator, had platters the size of a pizza, and were belt driven with a belt that was 2 or 3 inches wide with probably a 1/3rd HP motor on them.  One of them had a head crash which was described in the daily log as a 'loud screech in the back followed by an error on the console'

I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.  I think the Windows 7 system idle process takes 24k.


Hell, the diag panel on IBM SystemX servers I bought last year indicates hard drive problems with the notation 'DASD'.
 
2014-01-06 09:40:58 PM  

TheGreatGazoo: Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.

Really?  I had a 130 MB hard drive around 1992 and I think it was a regular 3 1/2" drive size.  Around 1996 or so I had a Quantum Bigfoot drive that I think was 4 ish GB in a 5 1/4" drive running at 3600 RPM.  

A friend of mine had a 300 MB drive that he bought around 1988 or so for around $700.  I think it was a full height, full size drive.

I have worked with DASD drives (If you ever hear some old guy say DASD you know they worked for IBM), that were the size of a refrigerator, had platters the size of a pizza, and were belt driven with a belt that was 2 or 3 inches wide with probably a 1/3rd HP motor on them.  One of them had a head crash which was described in the daily log as a 'loud screech in the back followed by an error on the console'

I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.  I think the Windows 7 system idle process takes 24k.


(For those playing along at home, 'DASD' = 'Direct Access Storage Device'.)
 
2014-01-06 09:45:43 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: nekom: 384K of ram

Luxury.  We had 32kb of RAM and 32kb of ROM.  The rest had to fit on a 5.25 floppy.


You were lucky. My first computer was a Vic=20 with 3.5kb and a tape drive. If I wanted to connect to a BBS via 300 baud modem, it was easier just to type in the 4-line terminal program that I had memorized.

But we were happier in those days, even though we were poor.
 
2014-01-06 09:48:27 PM  
Its debut was only two years after this:

i.imgur.com
 
2014-01-06 09:53:23 PM  
I started watching the video: "It is the business of some of us to think about the business of others." So, the NSA?
 
2014-01-06 09:53:52 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: nekom: TheGreatGazoo:
I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.

I think that's what our old TRS-80 Model I Level I had.  I don't remember much about that, I was just a little toddler.  Our first PC clone (Tandy) had 384 (8086 or 8088?), second one had 640 (286).  We skipped the 386 entirely and our first 486 had couple megs, 4 maybe.  But not like memory today, you still had the base and extended memory, and it was a real pain in the dick to get all of the drivers to load into high memory.

Remember QEMM?


Oh GOD! Back in '92, I had to support desktop PCs on a project where we were running *Three* networks simultaneously: Novell NetWare, DEC DECnet, and Windows NT.

I had to set up standard DOS 6.22 configurations for user PCs to load all the necessary network (and CD-ROM) drivers - while still leaving (hopefully) at least 500 kb of free DOS RAM so the users could run MS Office.

Just to make it *interesting*, the PCs had 3 or 4 different network cards installed; some were running EMM386 and some were running QEMM386.

Talk about a farking jigsaw puzzle!
 
2014-01-06 09:58:45 PM  
A dumb question, but what is the actual difference between the disk in TFA, and todays 1TB platters? More refined metals? stronger magnetic particles?
 
2014-01-06 10:00:46 PM  
To this day, it remains filled with ASCII porn
 
2014-01-06 10:01:27 PM  
I got into computers around 1998, so I got in when component's prices started to drop to a reasonable amount. But a friend told me of the days when a 100MB drive used to cost $1,000. Now I can buy a 1TB drive for $99.
 
2014-01-06 10:05:59 PM  
wac.450f.edgecastcdn.net

And the hard drive's inhabitants were so very, very glad when someone finally did a virus scan on that damn thing.
 
2014-01-06 10:07:03 PM  

Old enough to know better: A dumb question, but what is the actual difference between the disk in TFA, and todays 1TB platters? More refined metals? stronger magnetic particles?


That isn't a dumb question at all, I'd like to know the answer myself.  My guess would be better read/write heads allowing for much higher density of data.  But I've never worked in hardware so I'm quite likely wrong on that.
 
2014-01-06 10:19:59 PM  
And when they sent it in for replacement under warranty they got a 10mb.
 
2014-01-06 10:36:43 PM  

jtown: I had one of these when I was a kid.
[oldcomputers.net image 511x316]


Ah, the Mattel Aquarius. Still remember playing Astrosmash late at night on that thing.

First real computer for me was a used Wyse 286 (with the 287 math coprocessor) with a VGA graphics card, and it had been upgraded to 2mb RAM and a 40mb HD. It outperformed most of my friends' 386s when playing Wolfenstein. Unfortunately, whoever upgraded it used an IDE hard drive without replacing the MFM controller. I had all kinds of weird issues with it until that got fixed...

Anyway, I remember spending my youth trying to write sci-fi stories on that 286.  I distinctly remember that the flagship of some space fleet I imagined had a top of the line computer with 500gb of storage capacity. Because that was pretty much all I could imagine at the time... and I imagined it would take hundreds of years to get to that point.
 
2014-01-06 10:42:09 PM  

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: TheGreatGazoo: Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.

Really?  I had a 130 MB hard drive around 1992 and I think it was a regular 3 1/2" drive size.  Around 1996 or so I had a Quantum Bigfoot drive that I think was 4 ish GB in a 5 1/4" drive running at 3600 RPM.  

A friend of mine had a 300 MB drive that he bought around 1988 or so for around $700.  I think it was a full height, full size drive.

I have worked with DASD drives (If you ever hear some old guy say DASD you know they worked for IBM), that were the size of a refrigerator, had platters the size of a pizza, and were belt driven with a belt that was 2 or 3 inches wide with probably a 1/3rd HP motor on them.  One of them had a head crash which was described in the daily log as a 'loud screech in the back followed by an error on the console'

I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.  I think the Windows 7 system idle process takes 24k.

(For those playing along at home, 'DASD' = 'Direct Access Storage Device'.)


oh thank science I am not the only person who still uses DASD
 
2014-01-06 10:51:27 PM  
1956: 5 MB
www.wired.com

2014: 2,097,152 MB
www.micro-sdxc.com
 
2014-01-06 10:52:06 PM  
www.micro-sdxc.com
 
2014-01-06 11:06:02 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: nekom: TheGreatGazoo:
I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.

I think that's what our old TRS-80 Model I Level I had.  I don't remember much about that, I was just a little toddler.  Our first PC clone (Tandy) had 384 (8086 or 8088?), second one had 640 (286).  We skipped the 386 entirely and our first 486 had couple megs, 4 maybe.  But not like memory today, you still had the base and extended memory, and it was a real pain in the dick to get all of the drivers to load into high memory.

Remember QEMM?


Remember EMM386, remember LOADHIGH, remember HIGHMEM? Ah, the good ol' days trying to get enough memory to run Red Baron, Aces of the Pacific, etc

/Even wrote a BAT file to reboot with the right AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files for various games
 
2014-01-06 11:08:02 PM  

Sugarbombs: Its debut was only two years after this:

[i.imgur.com image 744x558]


I have seen the picture before and always wondered what they thought we would do with the steering wheel thing.

Anyway, I remember when I was young and we had a 486 or something and we had 4 megabytes of RAM.  I dreamed of someday convincing my parents to upgrade the RAM and get 8 so I could play cooler games.  My memory is a little hazy here and I don't feel like doing the actual research but I recall a stick of ram being like $50 dollars for that next 4 megabytes of RAM.  I don't know, something like that.

Damn you technology!!! You have reminded me that I am old!!!
 
2014-01-06 11:11:21 PM  

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: TheGreatGazoo: Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.

Really?  I had a 130 MB hard drive around 1992 and I think it was a regular 3 1/2" drive size.  Around 1996 or so I had a Quantum Bigfoot drive that I think was 4 ish GB in a 5 1/4" drive running at 3600 RPM.

A friend of mine had a 300 MB drive that he bought around 1988 or so for around $700.  I think it was a full height, full size drive.

I have worked with DASD drives (If you ever hear some old guy say DASD you know they worked for IBM), that were the size of a refrigerator, had platters the size of a pizza, and were belt driven with a belt that was 2 or 3 inches wide with probably a 1/3rd HP motor on them.  One of them had a head crash which was described in the daily log as a 'loud screech in the back followed by an error on the console'

I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.  I think the Windows 7 system idle process takes 24k.

Hell, the diag panel on IBM SystemX servers I bought last year indicates hard drive problems with the notation 'DASD'.


Same or similar with AS400s. When the CSR came to replace it, I wondered out loud about the fact that the faulty item was a fairly bog-standard 5.25" unit. He said "it is, but look at that controller".

Reliability in those things was all about the controllers, not just the disc units.
 
2014-01-06 11:13:48 PM  

ol' gormsby: Nicholas D. Wolfwood: TheGreatGazoo: Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.

Really?  I had a 130 MB hard drive around 1992 and I think it was a regular 3 1/2" drive size.  Around 1996 or so I had a Quantum Bigfoot drive that I think was 4 ish GB in a 5 1/4" drive running at 3600 RPM.

A friend of mine had a 300 MB drive that he bought around 1988 or so for around $700.  I think it was a full height, full size drive.

I have worked with DASD drives (If you ever hear some old guy say DASD you know they worked for IBM), that were the size of a refrigerator, had platters the size of a pizza, and were belt driven with a belt that was 2 or 3 inches wide with probably a 1/3rd HP motor on them.  One of them had a head crash which was described in the daily log as a 'loud screech in the back followed by an error on the console'

I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.  I think the Windows 7 system idle process takes 24k.

Hell, the diag panel on IBM SystemX servers I bought last year indicates hard drive problems with the notation 'DASD'.

Same or similar with AS400s. When the CSR came to replace it, I wondered out loud about the fact that the faulty item was a fairly bog-standard 5.25" unit. He said "it is, but look at that controller".

Reliability in those things was all about the controllers, not just the disc units.


Really an AS400 including their disk drives were always amazingly reliable.
 
2014-01-06 11:16:06 PM  
Thats a worse volume/info ratio than paper. I think you can get something like 1mb of ascii on a ream of paper...
 
2014-01-06 11:21:24 PM  

Gergesa: Sugarbombs: Its debut was only two years after this:

[i.imgur.com image 744x558]

I have seen the picture before and always wondered what they thought we would do with the steering wheel thing.

Anyway, I remember when I was young and we had a 486 or something and we had 4 megabytes of RAM.  I dreamed of someday convincing my parents to upgrade the RAM and get 8 so I could play cooler games.  My memory is a little hazy here and I don't feel like doing the actual research but I recall a stick of ram being like $50 dollars for that next 4 megabytes of RAM.  I don't know, something like that.

Damn you technology!!! You have reminded me that I am old!!!


Rand has a section all about it, search for "home computer" on the page.
 
2014-01-06 11:24:03 PM  

nekom: Old enough to know better: A dumb question, but what is the actual difference between the disk in TFA, and todays 1TB platters? More refined metals? stronger magnetic particles?

That isn't a dumb question at all, I'd like to know the answer myself.  My guess would be better read/write heads allowing for much higher density of data.  But I've never worked in hardware so I'm quite likely wrong on that.


The read/write head is probably the key (the tiny size of it, and its ability to modulate its magnetic field very quickly and accurately), but they definitely have better materials on the platter as well.

(The platter area of a typical hard drive is 50 square centimeters, or 5000 square millimeters.  There are about 4 platters, and they each use two sides, for an overall area of 40000 square millimeters.  If you have a 2 TB hard disk, that comes out to about 50 megabytes per square millimeter.)
 
2014-01-06 11:24:47 PM  

Old enough to know better: A dumb question, but what is the actual difference between the disk in TFA, and todays 1TB platters? More refined metals? stronger magnetic particles?


No one single difference, but the accumulated effect of *many* improvements:

Plated media instead of oxide coating (more bits per inch)
Vertical domain recording (if a bit is like a domino, stand it on end instead of laying it flat)
More efficient encoding (more bits stored in fewer flux changes)
Zone-based recording (more sectors per track on the longer tracks on the outer parts of the platter)
Fantastic recording heads with the hard drive equivalent of ultra hi-def (like switching from a paint roller to a fine point marker to write a track)

... and many, many more.
 
2014-01-06 11:25:24 PM  

aerojockey: Ok.  The thing looks to be about 1 meter in diameter.  I imagine the usable area of the disk is maybe half a square meter, and I doubt they used both sides.  There are 50 disks, so 25 square meters.  That's 25 million square millimeters, to 5 hold 5 megabytes.  So, roughtly 1 bit per 0.5 square millimeters.


Similar but not exactly like the first hard drive I ever saw, back in 1963.  Probably a later version of the same thing, and as I recall did hold 5 Mb.  Like you say, about a meter square, but slightly taller than wide.  Reminded me of a washing machine, and the entire room vibrated when it spun up.  The version I saw had the hard drive platter mounter like a large cake cover, with a big handle at the top.  Maybe 20 inches across at the base.  You would put the thing on top, rotate the cake cover a quarter turn, and I guess that engaged the platters inside the cake cover thing.  I imagine the platter arrangement inside the cake cover was disconnected and then lowered into the rest of the washing machine looking thing.  Took a few seconds to do whatever it did, and then like I said, the whole thing spun up to maybe 12k rpm.  So, replaceable drives each in a cake cover thingee. They had at least four or five of the cake cover drives, and eventually (but not at first) two of the washing machine readers.

/This was for a milk and ice cream company.
 
2014-01-06 11:27:01 PM  

Sugarbombs: Gergesa: Sugarbombs: Its debut was only two years after this:

[i.imgur.com image 744x558]

I have seen the picture before and always wondered what they thought we would do with the steering wheel thing.

Anyway, I remember when I was young and we had a 486 or something and we had 4 megabytes of RAM.  I dreamed of someday convincing my parents to upgrade the RAM and get 8 so I could play cooler games.  My memory is a little hazy here and I don't feel like doing the actual research but I recall a stick of ram being like $50 dollars for that next 4 megabytes of RAM.  I don't know, something like that.

Damn you technology!!! You have reminded me that I am old!!!

Rand has a section all about it, search for "home computer" on the page.


Oh I see, oh well.  Still like it.
 
2014-01-06 11:28:17 PM  
theflatline:
Really an AS400 including their disk drives were always amazingly reliable.

Where I work, we are running one today.  I use it every single working day.  Bonus:  It's emulating a System/36 running custom code from more than 2 decades and 3 companies ago.  Damned thing is a data truck!  (not a series of tubes)

Of all the components we've ever had to replace, I think the power supply was the most frequent.  But I work in the office of a weld shop, the electric there is pretty bad with lots of spikes and drops when various welders, cranes, machines, etc kicked on or off.  A line conditioner helped a bit.
 
2014-01-06 11:33:39 PM  

Old enough to know better: A dumb question, but what is the actual difference between the disk in TFA, and todays 1TB platters? More refined metals? stronger magnetic particles?


Oh, and let us not forget hi - precision head positioners (based on loudspeaker voice coils, and evolving up from there), a *huge* improvement on the old stepper motors, that were accurate and precise enough to make high track densities into a practical proposition. Not to mention very much faster.

Coming up soon, drives with the platter cavities sealed and filled with helium, to reduce heat and allow greater densities and speeds.

I'm sure come tomorrow, I'll think of another dozen or so hard drive technology innovations and kick myself for not remembering them now.
 
2014-01-06 11:37:17 PM  

clkeagle: jtown: I had one of these when I was a kid.
[oldcomputers.net image 511x316]

Ah, the Mattel Aquarius. Still remember playing Astrosmash late at night on that thing.

First real computer for me was a used Wyse 286 (with the 287 math coprocessor) with a VGA graphics card, and it had been upgraded to 2mb RAM and a 40mb HD. It outperformed most of my friends' 386s when playing Wolfenstein. Unfortunately, whoever upgraded it used an IDE hard drive without replacing the MFM controller. I had all kinds of weird issues with it until that got fixed...

Anyway, I remember spending my youth trying to write sci-fi stories on that 286.  I distinctly remember that the flagship of some space fleet I imagined had a top of the line computer with 500gb of storage capacity. Because that was pretty much all I could imagine at the time... and I imagined it would take hundreds of years to get to that point.



You would think that by NOW, scifi authors would be a TINY bit better at realizing that their predictions are TERRIBLE and they should go CRAZY.
I remember recently reading a story in Analog. In the far future, interstellar travel, researchers were investigating ,... something something stellar evolution, who knows. And difference researchers were fighting about getting time on the mainframe.

FFS, I do enough research to know that we will always want more processing power. That some problems are NP complete.
Which means that you never talk about more processing power, you talk about better algorithms.

Same for running out of disk space.
PLEASE

You can buy a 4TB drive today.
In 10 years we are looking at from a conservative 35TB to a Moore's 230TB
These numbers become almost meaningless after awhile. 
And the people making the predictions look silly in hindsight.
 
2014-01-06 11:37:32 PM  

Lsherm: namatad: fark atoms, we have a quantum computer!


Well, we do and we don't.
 
2014-01-06 11:40:16 PM  
'Spinning magnetic hard drives will be obsolete in a few years.' I first heard that 20 years ago. I'm sure it will be true someday, but it always amuses me how every time I hear that screed, the very next day I see a slew of articles about new developments that will improve hard drive performance and capacity by a few orders of magnitude.
 
2014-01-06 11:42:25 PM  

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: Old enough to know better: A dumb question, but what is the actual difference between the disk in TFA, and todays 1TB platters? More refined metals? stronger magnetic particles?

No one single difference, but the accumulated effect of *many* improvements:

Plated media instead of oxide coating (more bits per inch)
Vertical domain recording (if a bit is like a domino, stand it on end instead of laying it flat)
More efficient encoding (more bits stored in fewer flux changes)
Zone-based recording (more sectors per track on the longer tracks on the outer parts of the platter)
Fantastic recording heads with the hard drive equivalent of ultra hi-def (like switching from a paint roller to a fine point marker to write a track)

... and many, many more.


A not insignificant one is fluid dynamics discoveries that allow the heads to float closer to the platter and with less deviation; that lets you be more aggressive with magnetic switching.
 
2014-01-06 11:45:09 PM  

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: 'Spinning magnetic hard drives will be obsolete in a few years.' I first heard that 20 years ago. I'm sure it will be true someday, but it always amuses me how every time I hear that screed, the very next day I see a slew of articles about new developments that will improve hard drive performance and capacity by a few orders of magnitude.


It's kind of becoming true.

If your laptop costs more than $1000 and you don't have a boot SSD, you're high.  It's just that the $$/GB and max size of SSD's (and possibly power usage?  I know that servers give a big deal about power costs) is really, really huge.
 
2014-01-06 11:47:53 PM  

ol' gormsby: Nicholas D. Wolfwood: TheGreatGazoo: Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.

Really?  I had a 130 MB hard drive around 1992 and I think it was a regular 3 1/2" drive size.  Around 1996 or so I had a Quantum Bigfoot drive that I think was 4 ish GB in a 5 1/4" drive running at 3600 RPM.

A friend of mine had a 300 MB drive that he bought around 1988 or so for around $700.  I think it was a full height, full size drive.

I have worked with DASD drives (If you ever hear some old guy say DASD you know they worked for IBM), that were the size of a refrigerator, had platters the size of a pizza, and were belt driven with a belt that was 2 or 3 inches wide with probably a 1/3rd HP motor on them.  One of them had a head crash which was described in the daily log as a 'loud screech in the back followed by an error on the console'

I've used a computer that had 16K of RAM.  I think the Windows 7 system idle process takes 24k.

Hell, the diag panel on IBM SystemX servers I bought last year indicates hard drive problems with the notation 'DASD'.

Same or similar with AS400s. When the CSR came to replace it, I wondered out loud about the fact that the faulty item was a fairly bog-standard 5.25" unit. He said "it is, but look at that controller".

Reliability in those things was all about the controllers, not just the disc units.


Amen. I want the idiot at IBM who shifted them from Adaptec controllers to LSI units - I want him fired. He's either incompetent or taking kickbacks (or both).

I've had more drive problems in two months with the LSI controllers than I did in 8 years with Adaptec.

Plus it took LSI until version 5.0.3 to make a RAID manager that worked.

And don't get me started on the battery problems on the LSI controllers.
 
2014-01-06 11:50:25 PM  

Sugarbombs: Its debut was only two years after this:


Shakes tiny fist
 
2014-01-06 11:50:39 PM  

namatad: clkeagle: jtown: I had one of these when I was a kid.
[oldcomputers.net image 511x316]

Ah, the Mattel Aquarius. Still remember playing Astrosmash late at night on that thing.

First real computer for me was a used Wyse 286 (with the 287 math coprocessor) with a VGA graphics card, and it had been upgraded to 2mb RAM and a 40mb HD. It outperformed most of my friends' 386s when playing Wolfenstein. Unfortunately, whoever upgraded it used an IDE hard drive without replacing the MFM controller. I had all kinds of weird issues with it until that got fixed...

Anyway, I remember spending my youth trying to write sci-fi stories on that 286.  I distinctly remember that the flagship of some space fleet I imagined had a top of the line computer with 500gb of storage capacity. Because that was pretty much all I could imagine at the time... and I imagined it would take hundreds of years to get to that point.


You would think that by NOW, scifi authors would be a TINY bit better at realizing that their predictions are TERRIBLE and they should go CRAZY.
I remember recently reading a story in Analog. In the far future, interstellar travel, researchers were investigating ,... something something stellar evolution, who knows. And difference researchers were fighting about getting time on the mainframe.

FFS, I do enough research to know that we will always want more processing power. That some problems are NP complete.
Which means that you never talk about more processing power, you talk about better algorithms.

Same for running out of disk space.
PLEASE

You can buy a 4TB drive today.
In 10 years we are looking at from a conservative 35TB to a Moore's 230TB
These numbers become almost meaningless after awhile. 
And the people making the predictions look silly in hindsight.


Try reading Richard K. Morgan (Altered Carbon) and Walter Jon Williams (almost anything of his).

I think you'll be pleased.
 
2014-01-06 11:53:03 PM  

skinink: I got into computers around 1998, so I got in when component's prices started to drop to a reasonable amount. But a friend told me of the days when a 100MB drive used to cost $1,000. Now I can buy a 1TB drive for $99.


Yep. As we techie types describe this phenomenon, nowadays drives are 'free in your Cheerios'.
 
2014-01-06 11:59:50 PM  
In two years, the Square Kilometer Array  project will start up, and this network of radio telescopes will generate an exabyte of new data, each day. The Human Brain Project in Europe, will probably generate that much every two days.

IBM is heading a consortium of computer and internet providers to create an architecture that can handle that firehose of incoming data, store it, and process it.  I have no farking idea HOW they are going to do it. But we're all going to be the beneficiaries of that increased data capacity, with higher-speed networks to link it, when they commercialize it.

In just 2-4 years from now, we'll see an improvement that makes today's tech look like this archival video we've just watched.
 
2014-01-07 12:01:11 AM  

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: Old enough to know better: A dumb question, but what is the actual difference between the disk in TFA, and todays 1TB platters? More refined metals? stronger magnetic particles?

Oh, and let us not forget hi - precision head positioners (based on loudspeaker voice coils, and evolving up from there), a *huge* improvement on the old stepper motors, that were accurate and precise enough to make high track densities into a practical proposition. Not to mention very much faster.

Coming up soon, drives with the platter cavities sealed and filled with helium, to reduce heat and allow greater densities and speeds.

I'm sure come tomorrow, I'll think of another dozen or so hard drive technology innovations and kick myself for not remembering them now.


SO I have read about this.
HOW is the helium going to stay in the drive?
I always thought that helium pretty much leaked out of everything given enough time.
What will the life-span of the drives be? Or will they just degrade gracefully and be slower once the He leaks out?

"HGST has not released any details about how it seals in the helium, beyond assurances that it is a hermetic seal guaranteed for five years, but Talke says it looks like the challenges have been overcome. "

6TB real soon now

For example, sealed helium-filled HDDs can be immersed and operated in a non-conductive liquid,
Now that makes for some interesting cooling options.
 
2014-01-07 12:01:50 AM  
www.army-technology.com
Glen Beck (background) and Betty Snyder (foreground) programme the ENIAC, the world's first digital computer - commissioned by the US Army to calculate artillery firing tables
 
2014-01-07 12:08:12 AM  

Any Pie Left: In two years, the Square Kilometer Array  project will start up, and this network of radio telescopes will generate an exabyte of new data, each day. The Human Brain Project in Europe, will probably generate that much every two days.

IBM is heading a consortium of computer and internet providers to create an architecture that can handle that firehose of incoming data, store it, and process it.  I have no farking idea HOW they are going to do it. But we're all going to be the beneficiaries of that increased data capacity, with higher-speed networks to link it, when they commercialize it.

In just 2-4 years from now, we'll see an improvement that makes today's tech look like this archival video we've just watched.


I remember seeing the exabyte tape farm at Fermilabs.
The data pretty much went straight to tape, there was just so much of it.

so an exabyte is a 1,000,000 terabytes?
a day?
so yah, I would be surprised if that data wasnt going to be filtered, compressed or both.
so yah, I can wait to read the article about how they are storing/saving the data
 
2014-01-07 12:17:33 AM  

namatad: FFS, I do enough research to know that we will always want more processing power. That some problems are NP complete.
Which means that you never talk about more processing power, you talk about better algorithms.

Same for running out of disk space.
PLEASE


I remember using techniques like disk compression to squeeze out a few extra megabytes back in the 90s.

I don't know about you, but I've not felt the need to conserve disk space in a long time.  I have two operating systems installed on my SSD (one 32-bit, one 64) and it's running at about 15% usage.  My hard disk is running at 36%.  Computer is two years old.

These days, the vast majority of storage is used for multimedia, and I there isn't a lot of return you get these days for packing more data into existing media types.

Audio files are pretty much as large as they're gonna get.  In 1 terabyte, you can store about 50 full-length symphonies, in uncompressed 16-bit PCM at 44 kHz... with each instrument getting its own track.

I suppose photographs (and maybe monitors) will improve their resolution, so you'll need four to ten times as much to store photos and screenshots, but we're getting close to the point higher resolution doesn't help much.

The main growth in need for media storage would be motion pictures: certainly there is a lot of room for improvement.  But that will be limited because of bandwidth.

Basically, the current trends point to slower growth for storage needs in the future.  What could break this wide open again, and put us back on the path of storage scarcity, is new media.  3D projected surfaces anyone?  HD quality images from any vantage point.

Interactive media (i.e., games) are another thing pushing growth; the interactivity basically adds another dimension to the storage needs.  But these days high-end games are completely photorealistic.  Finer meshes and textures won't get you a lot.  Realism in the future will come from things like better motion, which won't need as much space.


You can buy a 4TB drive today.
In 10 years we are looking at from a conservative 35TB to a Moore's 230TB
These numbers become almost meaningless after awhile.
And the people making the predictions look silly in hindsight.


Reasonable, but I'm going to put it on the low end.
 
2014-01-07 12:18:51 AM  

Any Pie Left: In two years, the Square Kilometer Array  project will start up, and this network of radio telescopes will generate an exabyte of new data, each day. The Human Brain Project in Europe, will probably generate that much every two days.

IBM is heading a consortium of computer and internet providers to create an architecture that can handle that firehose of incoming data, store it, and process it.  I have no farking idea HOW they are going to do it. But we're all going to be the beneficiaries of that increased data capacity, with higher-speed networks to link it, when they commercialize it.

In just 2-4 years from now, we'll see an improvement that makes today's tech look like this archival video we've just watched.



after reading a bit more and laughing
currently manufacturers are shipping around 30 exabytes a years in storage. world wide
so an exabyte a day ... well, it wont be stored on drives, unless it is compressed. a lot.
 
2014-01-07 12:23:19 AM  

jtown: I had one of these when I was a kid.

[oldcomputers.net image 511x316]


Is that a defibrillator?
 
2014-01-07 12:32:59 AM  

aerojockey: Nicholas D. Wolfwood: Old enough to know better: A dumb question, but what is the actual difference between the disk in TFA, and todays 1TB platters? More refined metals? stronger magnetic particles?

No one single difference, but the accumulated effect of *many* improvements:

Plated media instead of oxide coating (more bits per inch)
Vertical domain recording (if a bit is like a domino, stand it on end instead of laying it flat)
More efficient encoding (more bits stored in fewer flux changes)
Zone-based recording (more sectors per track on the longer tracks on the outer parts of the platter)
Fantastic recording heads with the hard drive equivalent of ultra hi-def (like switching from a paint roller to a fine point marker to write a track)

... and many, many more.

A not insignificant one is fluid dynamics discoveries that allow the heads to float closer to the platter and with less deviation; that lets you be more aggressive with magnetic switching.


Thanks. I *knew* there were a ton of innovations that were slipping my mind.

Oh - and 'Magneto - Resistive Heads'. And 'Super Magneto - Resistive Heads'.
 
2014-01-07 12:35:42 AM  

nekom: My first hard drive was only 20mb, but it was far more reasonably sized.


My first hard drive on a computer I actually owned was 20 mb.

8088
640k RAM
5.25 floppy (i added a 3.5)
2400 BAUD modem
Color monitor with 16 Colors

/i went from that to a 486, man what a difference.

We had a couple of Apple IIs in the school library when i was growing up but that was about it in 80s.
 
2014-01-07 12:41:17 AM  

namatad: Any Pie Left: In two years, the Square Kilometer Array  project will start up, and this network of radio telescopes will generate an exabyte of new data, each day. The Human Brain Project in Europe, will probably generate that much every two days.

IBM is heading a consortium of computer and internet providers to create an architecture that can handle that firehose of incoming data, store it, and process it.  I have no farking idea HOW they are going to do it. But we're all going to be the beneficiaries of that increased data capacity, with higher-speed networks to link it, when they commercialize it.

In just 2-4 years from now, we'll see an improvement that makes today's tech look like this archival video we've just watched.


after reading a bit more and laughing
currently manufacturers are shipping around 30 exabytes a years in storage. world wide
so an exabyte a day ... well, it wont be stored on drives, unless it is compressed. a lot.


Yup.

Anyone else remember 'Odo's Law'?

On this one episode of Deep Space Nine, Odo was making a log entry, something along these lines:

"Chief Constable's Log, Stardate (mumble mumble). I'm only recording this because Captain Sisko insists. Humans have this ingrained need to record everything that can possibly be recorded. They never *do* anything with it or *delete* any of it. This results in a situation whereby every few years they need to invent newer and denser forms of computer storage to deal with it all."
 
2014-01-07 12:45:19 AM  

aerojockey: namatad: FFS, I do enough research to know that we will always want more processing power. That some problems are NP complete.
Which means that you never talk about more processing power, you talk about better algorithms.

Same for running out of disk space.
PLEASE

I remember using techniques like disk compression to squeeze out a few extra megabytes back in the 90s.

I don't know about you, but I've not felt the need to conserve disk space in a long time.  I have two operating systems installed on my SSD (one 32-bit, one 64) and it's running at about 15% usage.  My hard disk is running at 36%.  Computer is two years old.

These days, the vast majority of storage is used for multimedia, and I there isn't a lot of return you get these days for packing more data into existing media types.

Audio files are pretty much as large as they're gonna get.  In 1 terabyte, you can store about 50 full-length symphonies, in uncompressed 16-bit PCM at 44 kHz... with each instrument getting its own track.

I suppose photographs (and maybe monitors) will improve their resolution, so you'll need four to ten times as much to store photos and screenshots, but we're getting close to the point higher resolution doesn't help much.

The main growth in need for media storage would be motion pictures: certainly there is a lot of room for improvement.  But that will be limited because of bandwidth.

Basically, the current trends point to slower growth for storage needs in the future.  What could break this wide open again, and put us back on the path of storage scarcity, is new media.  3D projected surfaces anyone?  HD quality images from any vantage point.

Interactive media (i.e., games) are another thing pushing growth; the interactivity basically adds another dimension to the storage needs.  But these days high-end games are completely photorealistic.  Finer meshes and textures won't get you a lot.  Realism in the future will come from things like better motion, which won't need as much space.


You can buy a 4TB drive today.
In 10 years we are looking at from a conservative 35TB to a Moore's 230TB
These numbers become almost meaningless after awhile.
And the people making the predictions look silly in hindsight.

Reasonable, but I'm going to put it on the low end.


Based on past experience, every prediction like this is an iron-clad guarantee that future storage needs will only accelerate, not level off ;-)
 
2014-01-07 12:57:05 AM  

aerojockey: The main growth in need for media storage would be motion pictures: certainly there is a lot of room for improvement.  But that will be limited because of bandwidth.


Codecs are getting better every day though, video file sizes have actually swung way way down, i agree that bandwidth is more the limiting factor (especially when you consider streaming services) than just storage space. I download a lot of TV shows, i remember most 22 minute shows were 174mb and 44 min shows were 350mb, for like 320x240 mpg vhs/sdtv rips. Now everything is like 90mb for a 22 minute 640x320 x264 HD rip.
But even without any codec....  120 minutes * 48 frames a second * 3840x2160 (just made a 3840x2160 tiff in PS, it was ~25mb) = thats ONLY a little over 10TB for a completely uncompressed 4k movie, then another TB for the audio, either discrete or some sort of rendered thing like Atmos. I mean we wont be streaming that any time soon, but i could see 12tb flash drives in a couple of years, and they already sell movies on flash drives... But theyd be stupid not to compress it.
 
2014-01-07 01:04:41 AM  

Any Pie Left: In two years, the Square Kilometer Array project will start up, and this network of radio telescopes will generate an exabyte of new data, each day. The Human Brain Project in Europe, will probably generate that much every two days.

IBM is heading a consortium of computer and internet providers to create an architecture that can handle that firehose of incoming data, store it, and process it. I have no farking idea HOW they are going to do it.



There's no economical way to store that much data on spinning disks. They'll probably have to print it all out instead.
 
2014-01-07 01:14:48 AM  

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: Based on past experience, every prediction like this is an iron-clad guarantee that future storage needs will only accelerate, not level off ;-)


S-curves, chief.  I might be wrong today, but someday it's gonna slow down.  Exponential growth can't be sustained for forever.
 
2014-01-07 01:17:45 AM  
Since we're sharing old computer stories, computer #1 for me was an Apple ][ clone (an 'orange') with a whopping 16k of memory and a 6502 processor ripping along at a blazing 1mhz.  I had two- count 'em two- 5 1/4 floppy drives though, meaning I was the guy to come to for game replication.

I replaced that in '85 with an Apple 2e, which I still own.  I should see if I can get that sucker to boot, I haven't tried in about 25 years.
 
2014-01-07 02:19:46 AM  

nekom: Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.

Amazing, isn't it?  300mb isn't sufficient VIDEO memory these days.  I watch my 6 year old playing with her ipad mini and remember when I was her age staring at our Tandy 1000 with 384K of ram, 2 5 1/4" disk drives and stellar Tandy graphics with SIXTEEN color text!  As used to modern technology as I am (degree in computer science, work in IT) it still amazes me how far computers have come in such a short time.


If you lived in San Antonio, I might have sold you that Tandy 1000 from Radio Shack.  I think back at how expensive that stuff was.  People would come in the store and about kill themselves filling out credit card applications and then if approved, instantly max out the card.  It wasn't uncommon to rack up $4K+ in charges.
 
2014-01-07 03:16:43 AM  
My grandfather worked on the RAMAC and I have a read head from one here that we found in a closet after he passed away.  I'm glad to see they got the one at the Computer History Museum running.

I heard about the project to restore it when it was announced.  I'll have to go see it.

OK now for my first hard drive story to add to the thread:

It was a Segate ST-138N, 30MB half height, the one with the 'sticktion' problem where the heads would stick in the park position.   The official solution was to hold it in the palm of your hand and gently bang one side with your other palm.   Then it would spin up.  I kept it in an external enclosure with the lid off so I could pick it up like this, all cables attached.    this was attached to my Amiga 500, one of the Many Amigas I owned during the heydey of that machine.   Good times.
 
2014-01-07 03:44:42 AM  

Gergesa: Sugarbombs: Its debut was only two years after this:

[i.imgur.com image 744x558]

I have seen the picture before and always wondered what they thought we would do with the steering wheel thing.



It's from a Fark photoshop contest a few years back now.  It's a submarine training simulator when you remove all the edits if I remember correctly, hence the wheel.
 
2014-01-07 04:06:06 AM  
im 31 and i feel like the youngest motherfarker who read every post in the thread.  im trying to remember what the first family computer had for memory, processor etc.   pretty sure it was a pentium 1 rocking like 66mhz with like 2-300 megs on the HD.  i do remember swapping and storing up games on 3" floppies for the shiatty macs we had in elementary/ middle school.  and old number munchers/oregon trail/whatever that farking drawing thing was with the farking turtle.
 
2014-01-07 08:09:22 AM  
Sixteen of us shared an abacus. Nintendo was a biatch.
 
2014-01-07 08:40:32 AM  

namatad: clkeagle: jtown: I had one of these when I was a kid.
[oldcomputers.net image 511x316]

Ah, the Mattel Aquarius. Still remember playing Astrosmash late at night on that thing.

First real computer for me was a used Wyse 286 (with the 287 math coprocessor) with a VGA graphics card, and it had been upgraded to 2mb RAM and a 40mb HD. It outperformed most of my friends' 386s when playing Wolfenstein. Unfortunately, whoever upgraded it used an IDE hard drive without replacing the MFM controller. I had all kinds of weird issues with it until that got fixed...

Anyway, I remember spending my youth trying to write sci-fi stories on that 286.  I distinctly remember that the flagship of some space fleet I imagined had a top of the line computer with 500gb of storage capacity. Because that was pretty much all I could imagine at the time... and I imagined it would take hundreds of years to get to that point.


You would think that by NOW, scifi authors would be a TINY bit better at realizing that their predictions are TERRIBLE and they should go CRAZY.
I remember recently reading a story in Analog. In the far future, interstellar travel, researchers were investigating ,... something something stellar evolution, who knows. And difference researchers were fighting about getting time on the mainframe.

FFS, I do enough research to know that we will always want more processing power. That some problems are NP complete.
Which means that you never talk about more processing power, you talk about better algorithms.

Same for running out of disk space.
PLEASE

You can buy a 4TB drive today.
In 10 years we are looking at from a conservative 35TB to a Moore's 230TB
These numbers become almost meaningless after awhile. 
And the people making the predictions look silly in hindsight.


Yep. The sci-fi stories that will endure are the ones that skipped the technobabble and focused on characters and events.
 
2014-01-07 08:49:07 AM  
I still have a working TRS-80 Model 100 somewhere around here. Picked it up at a garage sale years ago.

It's the fancy 24k version that sold for $1399 in 1983.
 
2014-01-07 09:19:17 AM  

Vaneshi: Just now I was wondering why a single .TIFF file I was writing to an SD card was taking so long, so I looked... 40MB. I've a 4TB disk that is literally full of media... crazy isn't it?


Digital media is a gas: It expands to fill its container.
=Smidge=
 
2014-01-07 11:01:32 AM  
Let me tie an onion on my belt and tell you of the first system I worked on in the Air Force.  It was the BUIC and actually I can't tell you much about it because I barely remember anything other than the multiple cabinets were as large as me and covered with switches and lights.   KAFB Tech School circa 1980.

But I do recall that one of those giant cabinets housed a drum memory, a cylinder, not a disk.
 
2014-01-07 11:30:31 AM  

Snarcoleptic_Hoosier: To this day, it remains filled with ASCII porn


you rang?????

i have a shelf of 5 1/4" disks for my C-64.  so many games, so little RAM.
 
2014-01-07 11:56:30 AM  

Markoff_Cheney: im 31 and i feel like the youngest motherfarker who read every post in the thread.  im trying to remember what the first family computer had for memory, processor etc.   pretty sure it was a pentium 1 rocking like 66mhz with like 2-300 megs on the HD.  i do remember swapping and storing up games on 3" floppies for the shiatty macs we had in elementary/ middle school.  and old number munchers/oregon trail/whatever that farking drawing thing was with the farking turtle.


I have you best by a couple years, but not much.

1995, NEC 120mhz P1, 1.6gb, 28.8, 16mb (gasp) and a *16 bit sound card*!

That there was a -blazing- machine, and all for just shy of $2k.
 
2014-01-07 12:00:10 PM  

Kibbler: I had a 300mb hard drive in 1991. It was the size of three fullheight drives and weighed over 10 pounds. 10 years later I bought my first 1gb flash drive.


Yeah, somewhere around here there's a pair of 500mb full height drives.  Heavy as hell.

unyon: Since we're sharing old computer stories, computer #1 for me was an Apple ][ clone (an 'orange') with a whopping 16k of memory and a 6502 processor ripping along at a blazing 1mhz. I had two- count 'em two- 5 1/4 floppy drives though, meaning I was the guy to come to for game replication.

I replaced that in '85 with an Apple 2e, which I still own. I should see if I can get that sucker to boot, I haven't tried in about 25 years.


You got me beat, my first machine was a TRS-80.  128k, 4x 5 1/4 floppies.
 
2014-01-07 12:07:47 PM  

Nicholas D. Wolfwood: aerojockey: namatad: FFS, I do enough research to know that we will always want more processing power. That some problems are NP complete.
Which means that you never talk about more processing power, you talk about better algorithms.

Same for running out of disk space.
PLEASE

I remember using techniques like disk compression to squeeze out a few extra megabytes back in the 90s.

I don't know about you, but I've not felt the need to conserve disk space in a long time.  I have two operating systems installed on my SSD (one 32-bit, one 64) and it's running at about 15% usage.  My hard disk is running at 36%.  Computer is two years old.

These days, the vast majority of storage is used for multimedia, and I there isn't a lot of return you get these days for packing more data into existing media types.

Audio files are pretty much as large as they're gonna get.  In 1 terabyte, you can store about 50 full-length symphonies, in uncompressed 16-bit PCM at 44 kHz... with each instrument getting its own track.

I suppose photographs (and maybe monitors) will improve their resolution, so you'll need four to ten times as much to store photos and screenshots, but we're getting close to the point higher resolution doesn't help much.

The main growth in need for media storage would be motion pictures: certainly there is a lot of room for improvement.  But that will be limited because of bandwidth.

Basically, the current trends point to slower growth for storage needs in the future.  What could break this wide open again, and put us back on the path of storage scarcity, is new media.  3D projected surfaces anyone?  HD quality images from any vantage point.

Interactive media (i.e., games) are another thing pushing growth; the interactivity basically adds another dimension to the storage needs.  But these days high-end games are completely photorealistic.  Finer meshes and textures won't get you a lot.  Realism in the future will come from things like better motion, which won't n ...


Based on past experience, every prediction like this is an iron-clad guarantee that future storage needs will only accelerate, not level off ;-)

Well, how else will we store vast libraries of ultraporn?
 
2014-01-07 01:05:05 PM  

Markoff_Cheney: im 31 and i feel like the youngest motherfarker who read every post in the thread.  im trying to remember what the first family computer had for memory, processor etc.   pretty sure it was a pentium 1 rocking like 66mhz with like 2-300 megs on the HD.  i do remember swapping and storing up games on 3" floppies for the shiatty macs we had in elementary/ middle school.  and old number munchers/oregon trail/whatever that farking drawing thing was with the farking turtle.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logo_%28programming_language%29
 
2014-01-07 01:34:25 PM  

Markoff_Cheney: pentium 1 rocking like 66mhz with like 2-300 megs on the HD.


Wow you missed pretty much all of the 8bits (Spectrum FTW!) and the 16bit era as well (Atari ST vs Amiga, we all know the ST was superior so shadup).

You were spoiled!  In my day we had to use sticky tape to hold the RAM expansion pack in place if we wanted the Kempston interface for the joystick plugged in as well!

/37yrs old.
 
2014-01-07 02:06:02 PM  
We had a Commodore ADAM, C64 and VIC 20 at home.

My school started out with

i.imgur.com

Good old Commodore PET. OS on a chip, you could turn it on and work. Then we got 386 SX/25s running... I believe DOS 3 and in some ways it seemed like a downgrade lol. "I have to wait for this thing to boot? Oh..."
 
2014-01-07 05:55:16 PM  
I bought a 3TB backup drive at Costco last year for about $120. I was talking with a fellow computer nerd who is in his mid 50's about how long ago 3TB represented the entire worlds storage capacity.....

I figured it was well within our lifetimes, maybe the 60's?  Possibly the 70's?


Love to know the answer....
 
2014-01-08 12:13:03 AM  

Rezurok: Markoff_Cheney: im 31 and i feel like the youngest motherfarker who read every post in the thread.  im trying to remember what the first family computer had for memory, processor etc.   pretty sure it was a pentium 1 rocking like 66mhz with like 2-300 megs on the HD.  i do remember swapping and storing up games on 3" floppies for the shiatty macs we had in elementary/ middle school.  and old number munchers/oregon trail/whatever that farking drawing thing was with the farking turtle.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logo_%28programming_language%29


thats the one, thanks.

Vaneshi: Markoff_Cheney: pentium 1 rocking like 66mhz with like 2-300 megs on the HD.

Wow you missed pretty much all of the 8bits (Spectrum FTW!) and the 16bit era as well (Atari ST vs Amiga, we all know the ST was superior so shadup).

You were spoiled!  In my day we had to use sticky tape to hold the RAM expansion pack in place if we wanted the Kempston interface for the joystick plugged in as well!

/37yrs old.


had an atari, and one of my first experiences was it smoking and dying.  nintendo was as fancy as we got for awhile.
 
2014-01-08 09:14:48 AM  
Marcus Aurelius:
Remember QEMM?

Remember? I still have the occasional flashback. QEMM, DESQView (and its evil twin, DESQView/X)...

My first non-retail job was doing telephone tech support for Quarterdeck. Apparently, my voice is auditory Xanax, so I quickly got moved into the "VIP queue", which was a nice way of saying "give Ratty the REALLY mad/frustrated/crazy callers - you know, the ones threatening legal action and meaning it - and he'll sort 'em out." And i did. Deflect, defuse, de-escalate. And, if I don't say so myself, I think I did it well. All of this long before the internet was a thing, using the customer as my eyes and hands, no remote control software or anything more than "type this, read me what it says" and trying to understand what kind of farkery was going on, where the farkery was coming into what should have been a smooth, functional system, and how to un-fark it. I still have a file folder at home of printed-out config.sys/autoexec.bat files because printing them out and faxing them in was faster than reading them aloud.

Getting off those marathon calls, after a successful troubleshoot was a high I can't reproduce with anything chemical. (And I've tried, believe me.) Sometimes I miss the hacking... fun stuff like seeing what I can do to get a 3com ethernet card to coexist with an IBM token ring MAU and have both NETBEUI and TCPIP coexisting so the little beastie can act as a bridge between networks.

CSB: With a particularly insane combination of ConcurrentDOS, QEMM, the 4DOS command.com replacement, and an overwhelming drive to see just how much I could abuse a computer one weekend, I managed to fit four simultaneous - AND functional - virtual machines into a 4mb-havin' 486dx/33, and each DOS machine had 637.4k available in main memory. It's fun to go into job interviews and be able to demonstrate that I have 19 years of virtualization experience. VMware didn't invent virtualization, they just put training wheels on it and made it slightly less user-hostile.

/ "safe mode"? "last known good configuration?" kids these days...
// no, son, you boot off a system floppy with no autoexec or config.sys, pop over to C:, edit the config.sys there, take the memory ranges off of the loadhi.sys statements, save and open autoexec, comment out MSCDEX because we don't need a damn CD-ROM right now, take the loadhighs out if there are any, save the changes, reboot, and pray the magic smoke stays inside the chips this time.
/// eh, i'm in a good mood. i guess you ain't gotta get off my lawn, but you'd damn well better clean up after yourself before you leave.
 
Displayed 107 of 107 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
Advertisement
On Twitter






In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report