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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Where did all the Gigabytes go?

My first computer was a KayPro "portable," 24 pounds of mean machine with 8K of RAM. No, "8K" isn't a typo. It was 1982 when I became obsessed with the idea of owning a personal computer. I read an article that said the Kaypro was reliable and less expensive than the new, more powerful IBM PCs, plus bundled software was included. It had two 5 1/4" floppy drives. After turning on the machine, I inserted a floppy with the operating system on it and loaded the system into the machine. Then I inserted a the word-processing program floppy. After loading the program, I removed the floppy disk and inserted a data disk. The machine had a "swap file" of a designated amount of space and would swap your work between the memory and the data disk as you worked with a file. When you were finished, you saved your file to the floppy and removed the disks after closing out the programs. I clearly remember saying, "This is so great, I'll never need more than this."

Power corrupts and computer power corrupts absolutely. I upgraded to a Kaypro II in a short time and, within five years, to IBM PCs. It wasn't long before I was talking megabytes and gigabytes. Which is why this is on my mind. My current computer is middle-aged (going on three in May). I thought it was a monster at 512MB RAM and a 56GB hard drive. Last week it was slowing down some, so I did some checking and discovered I had 4 GB left on my hard drive.

I couldn't believe it. I spent most of last week trying to recover some disk space and eventually got up to 16 GB (couldn't afford to buy an external hard drive so soon after Christmas!). The problem, of course, is the digital photos. I've gone through five digital cameras, starting with less than a megabyte up to 7 MB. Plus I save the best ones as TIFF files, which are very big, before editing. So I had all those files and different versions of them, when all I needed was the final file and the original. I'm sure I can save some more space, but I'm looking into PhotoShop Elements 3's backup-to-CD system to save the day. And I'll have to get an external drive eventually.

Did I mention that our only grandchild was born the same year I got the computer? That's where the Gigabytes went.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous melanie said...

I just went through the SAME thing a couple of months ago... my computer is about the same age as yours, with the same RAM and same size hard drive... I remember thinking I would never have it filled to capacity. Ha! Those digital photos really DO add up, don't they?

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Sabine Dinis Blochberger said...

I think if you are going to spend money on a bckup solution, you might aswell buy a DVD recording drive. It can record onto CD-ROM aswell. A DVD can hold 4GByte of data, so it would be perfect for the flood of images ;)
Do pay attention to the compatibility of the recorder, i.e. DVD -R, DVD +R and so on.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Nita said...

The DVD writer solutions sounds like a good one. Will have to research the compatibility issue. Thanks.

1:00 PM  

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