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February 12th, 2004

Are you a computer packrat?

Rebecca Blood wrote an insightful weblog post regarding computer storage and memory. She points out that soon, searching for information on your own computer will be more important than a search online.

With hard drive sizes getting Really Really Large and only increasing, and the sheer amount of stuff one can have, it’s really tempting to just be a packrat. I have emails on my computer from its first bootup, which was in 2001. I also have text files and some graphics that are from 1993, and I know I have floppy disks somewhere with stuff from the Dark Ages.

Recently I was talking with a co-worker on this, and she wondered why I would ever need an email from 2001. Chances are I won’t, but there’s also no impetus for me to get rid of anything; I’m using just over half of my 80GB drive (and about half of the used space is my music collection.) Thus, I’m a packrat. Are you?

Posted in Technology

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday February 12, 2004 -- 8:41:19 am
Nope. Maybe because I grew up in an age where memory and storage space was very expensive, I find myself frequently cleaning my hard drive, deleting stuff I'm not using, even though its only about 20% full.

Also, the engineer in me believes every extra application or file on your computer is one more thing that can screw up when you least expect it.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday February 12, 2004 -- 9:19:03 am
I'm definitely an information packrat, but I find that information coming in useful more frequently than the average person, I think. I have e-mails in my current mail program that date back to 1994 and even older e-mails from other systems stored in text files on floppies. But, I actually do go back and often find myself searching for a specific bit of information or the name of some random person I met 8 years ago. With space being so cheap, as long as you keep your information relatively organized, it's worth keeping it, especially with things like e-mail since text takes up such a miniscule amount of space.

This isn't to say I don't purge -- I definitely do, but I also won't delete something just because it's old.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday February 12, 2004 -- 9:37:41 am
I finally zipped up old website stuff on my hard drive a few weeks ago, and that made me remember the time I used DoubleSpace on my 60MB hard drive. I lost everything a few months later - DoubleSpace was a piece of brilliant engineering.

Now, my watch has 60MB. (Actually, no.)

FROM: Alex
DATE: Thursday February 12, 2004 -- 9:54:59 am
Yep, I'm definitely a computer packrat. I used to zip everything I wanted to keep and put it on a zip disk, now I just burn my files to a CD so I can keep them off my hard drive, even though I have the space. At least I'm an organized packrat!

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday February 12, 2004 -- 11:30:55 am
Paul -- I ran into a similar problem recently. I decided to try and burn all the info from my old hard drives to CD. That was no problem, but I also decided I wanted to import some mail I had sitting around in Pegasus Mail on my old P90. I couldn't figure out why I was only seeing a few messages -- then I remembered I used a great little DoubleSpace-type program called Freespace. Unfortunately, Freespace is long gone from the market and the company that made it has been sold twice over. Looks like I'll need to work some magic to get that stuff decompressed.

FROM: Ace High
DATE: Thursday February 12, 2004 -- 3:03:07 pm
I can remember when a 30MB hard drive was considered really big. Today there is so much memory avalable that nobody seems to economise on memory space of the size of files.

FROM: pope_hentai
DATE: Monday February 16, 2004 -- 8:29:14 am
dang i thought this would be from a hardware point of view... if that was the case i've got like 7 old cases in plain view of this chair *L*

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