Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I saw this picture on Boing Boing. It's a ancient (about 30 years old) hard disk that probably fit about 256K according to a Boing Boing reader.

This iDuck can hold 1000X as much as that disk drive.

And these little 0.2mm RFID chips hold 128K each.

I wonder when they will start selling memory at the drug store in Petabytes per gram...


This seems indeed to be an ancient Burroughs-make hard drive, though perhaps not the exact model I worked with in the middle 1970s.
The part over the nearest disk surface which looks somewhat like a model aircraft carrier holds an array of heads; one head per track (which is why it was also referred to as a HPT drive). The technician is in the process of swiveling one of those down. This arrangement made the complex head-seeking mechanism used in other drives unnecessary and made the drive very fast, as only rotational delay would come into play.
If I recall correctly - and this seems to check with the photo - the drive had 4 platters, with 8 fixed-head assemblies, one per platter side. Total capacity was about 10 megabytes. On the Burroughs 6700 system I worked with, this was used for booting the MCP operating system and also as the virtual memory swap drive. The drive pictured may be an earlier, lower-capacity model, as I seem to recall seeing more than 13 heads per surface...

I thought I was hot shit when I upgraded my ][+ to 64K.

I was just thinking about this a few days ago.
When I bought my 386, 1MB of ram costed about 60$, and the average RAM on a computer was 4MB.
10 years later, the average is 512MB and it costs about 36$.
And it still has the same size.

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