Once upon a time 1K (yes enough to hold 1,024 characters) was the standard for running a personal computer and to move this information to another computer consisted of a C90 tape, a lot a screeching noises from the computer and much anguish. Apologies to those born after 1980 who probably have no idea what I’m talking about.
Things got better with the advent of the read/writable CD giving us the capability to move 720MB of data although it still took up to half an hour to copy the data onto the disk.
With the advancement to DVDs capacity moved to 4.7GB, quickly followed by dual layer DVDs, Blue Ray and more recently Dual Layer Blue Ray. The reality is that we can now store up to 50GB on a single disk but the time it takes to actually write the data (“burning” time) is an ever increasing issue. There is only so fast you can spin a disk!
The other challenge with all this technology is that you need a compatible device on both machines and with the more recent introduction of NetBooks it is quite common to find no such device attached at all.
One market that has continued to advance is the memory stick. Only a year ago it would have cost you £30 or more for 256MB but I have recently bought a 16GB stick for £17 and we are starting to see 32GB and 64GB sticks also dropping in price dramatically.
For me this is by far the quickest and most cost effective means of moving data from one machine to another as well as storing all those handy documents and programs for when you need them. With the advent of in-build encryption it is the perfect tool for my job.
Looking a bit further into the future, how long is it before we can do away with the traditional hard disk altogether and have Windows and all our programs stored on a single solid state device?