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One less problem

By Jean-Claude Elias - Dec 20,2012 - Last updated at Dec 20,2012

It was unthinkable only ten years ago, but now at least one aspect of working and living with computers is a problem of the past — completely solved and for good. It’s data storage space.

There’s now more than enough room to put a lifetime of digital files of all kinds, including photos and music, and in multiple copies if you like, for added safety; all that for very little money what’s more.

At last we can keep creating and saving digital contents without thinking or worrying if they will fit, without having to calculate and to plan ahead if there’s enough space to put all that. Imagine a physical storage room in your house without boundaries.

The abundance of digital space is due to several phenomenon that are taking place simultaneously to guarantee the consumer unprecedented storage space.

The most striking is the price of hard disks, both removable and internal models. When 500GB can be bought for JD70 and 1TB (=1,000GB) for JD90, it’s a clear sign that the industry is doing something right. Moreover even the humblest laptop computer comes fitted with a 320GB hard disk, with some going up to 1TB. Today hard disk estate is 15 times less expensive than it was 10 years ago. Not to mention that the new drives are significantly faster and are built more reliable.

Your local hard disks are not the only reason why there’s a profusion of digital storage space available. The cloud has a lot to do with it too.

From Dropbox to Google’s drive and every similar service in between, tens of gigabytes are offered to you online for the average monthly rent of JD5 or even for free if you can be content with 10 to 20GB. For the young generation, for the “digital native” as CNN online described the generation very nicely a few days ago, it all goes without saying. For an IT old timer it’s a dream come true.

In the improbable case where your computer’s internal hard disk would be running out of space just send the overflow to the cloud. You will also be able to access it from anywhere you may be, of course; not a minor benefit.

Smartphones too are contributing to make digital storage cheap and widely available. Most new models can take memory cards that are 32GB or 64GB large. Do you really have enough digital content to fill all this? 

Last but not least tablets also play an important role in providing the consumer with additional storage, although most do not exceed 32GB.

Most of us have at least two of the above “quartet”: a laptop, the cloud, a smartphone and a tablet. I know of many who have the entire set of four. Besides, several vendors of laptops, smartphones and tablets now offer one form of cloud subscription free with the hardware they are selling.

Then there’s the inevitable counter effect.

Just like a too big storage room in your house may make you forget where you put this or that object, therefore requiring a minimal level of organisation, huge digital storage space, especially when spread over several devices and services can lead to chaos and to misplaced or lost files.

Till now no one has come with a magic solution to mayhem. It is up to the user to keep the place, or the places should I say, tidy and neat. But at least we do have plenty of space and that’s a good thing. We can focus on, or worry about, other IT issues.

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