Sunday, 31 October 2010

My life

Thanks to Fanpop for the image.

Having recently finished Arthur C Clarke's 3001: The Final Odyssey, I was contemplating how much memory might be required to store the entirety of a person's existence ready for re-activation at a future date - a la Rimmer out of Red Dwarf.

I recently purchased a very reasonably priced portable hard drive from PC World (£34.95 - 320GB) so that I could back up and take with me my Mac settings and all of my music and pictures. I was amazed (and slightly disappointed) that all of this chaff together took up just over 80GB of space.

Of course, that 80GB total does not contain the totality of me. Without mentioning the music I have  owned in vinyl, magnetic tape or CD form which I have not yet digitised, nor even just heard somewhere (ah, the demise of Limewire... What are we to do?) it doesn't capture the stored verbatim Monty Python sketches, the memorable (and less so) scenes from the many movies I've seen, or the - admittedly few - moments of glory from Manchester City matches (anything from yesterday's match would of course be over-written very quickly). Neither does it hold recordings of the millions of bits of human interaction that have taken place in my life. I think AC Clarke posited about 2 TeraBytes as an estimate of a person's existence, but maybe he was basing that figure on vastly superior data compression technologies than any we currently have access to.

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