Data Storage History

imageI’ve always been greatly interested in data storage and file systems. I started performing some research online about older data storage systems and found some pretty amazing stuff. It’s hard to believe how far we have come in 50  years. What will it be like in another 50 years? Is SSD (Solid-State Drives) the future? Crystal storage? What do you think?

 

 

 

 

Timeline (1956-1991)

1956: First Hard Disk – The 24-inch IBM 350-1 (proceeded by 650 model) had about 50 platters and priced about $10,000 per gigabyte.

Shown Below
An IBM 350-1 5MB Drive, Two full 350 units, An IBM 650 Drive
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1962: IBM Develops a storage system based on six-packs of 14-inch disks. Each pack of disks holds approximately 2MB data. This marks the commercial availability of hard disks.

Shown Below
An IBM 1311 Disk Storage Drive (center)
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1970-1975: The Burroughs On-Line Disk File System – Burroughs releases a file system which stores over 48 million characters (approximately 48MByte) and uses large platters which have the rotational mass of approximately 38lbs. These enormous disks had to have electric brakes and spun at around 3600RPM. These disks were revolutionary at the time. (PDF)

Shown Below
Platters from a Burroughs On-Line Disk File System
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1979: IBM introduces the first thin film recording heads. These heads offered higher performance at reduced costs. This allowed IBM to store the most data in the least amount of space. Thin film recording heads allowed for out higher-capacity and higher-performance disk drives of today.

Shown Below
Thin film recording heads
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1983: Rodine issues a 10MB 3.25 inch hard disk. This is still the form factor of today.

1988: PrarieTek releases the first 2.5 20MB hard disk. This is the form factor of today’s notebook hard disks.

1991: Integrated Peripherals shows its first 1.8 inch hard disk. Drives like these were meant for small devices like iPod’s … more than 11 years later.

10 Most Geeky Things to Wear

While the items listed below might not win you over with the ladies (at least the non-nerdy type), they’ll spark your geekgasm for sure. I’m not saying that I would actually wear these items in public but they at least give me a good chuckle. Would any of the viewers actually wear this stuff?

 

 

 

 

  1. The ThinkGeek 8-bit Tie

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    Nice tie, it accents the emo hair and tattoos. This tie is a perfect addition to your wardrobe.

  2. The "Utilikilt"

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    What in the world is this? Oh I need something to store my geek gear in… I’ll pick up this SKIRT. That’ll show everyone how cool I am ;-) 

  3. The "Geek" Work Shirt

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    Well.. at least you can wear a shirt that accurately describes you or your way of life.

  4. The Cat5/6 Bracelet

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    Okay, Okay I guess this is fashionable and might be a good way to recycle all those short lengths of Ethernet cable in the closet…

  5. Multi-Color IDE Belt

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    Now here’s a new one to me. I guess this might go well with the Cat5/6 bracelet above.

  6. Circuit Board Cigar Box

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    There’s absolutely no way to look cooler while puffin on your big stogie than pulling your $5.00 Wal-Mart-purchased cigar from a box made of circuit boards. Priceless.

  7. Cat 5-Tested Wedding Rings

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    What next? /facepalm

  8. Freaking Clownshoes – MP3 shoes

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    I don’t even know what to say. I am in complete dismay that a company would actually spend more than 5 minutes thinking about the idea of including speakers and volume controls on SHOES. No one wants to hear what you are playing on your iPod. Wow this is just sad…sad.

  9. Keyboard.. In PANTS

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    Photos courtesy vouspensez.com
    What? Seriously? How is this practical or common? What would you do if you saw someone hitting the space over… and over… and over again… what would you think? Also how hard would it be to pull up your favorite adult site … it might be easy to get to the site but after about 10 minutes of browsing typing may become… a bit… harder?

  10. Scarves for Tech Addicts

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    Ok. WTF is this? Apparently these Scarves are for geeks who want to game in public places. Of course this has to make you wonder what they’re really using them for…. I’ve never seen anything like this.

The Day Twitter Died

We monitor large buzz sites and sites which demand high availability. It looks like twitter.com took a turn for the worst yesterday (5/20/08) as their site constantly flapped up and down. Twitter has been long known as a "Web 2.0" application used to "micro blog". Recently Twitter has been noted to help save lives in the recent China earthquakes.

Yesterday we noticed that Twitters site was completely unavailable (at least from the Midwest United States) for a combined 5.18 hours! This kind of reliability for a site which seems to be so important is mind-blowing.

Here are some statistics of the outage (click for larger view):

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Global Warming: Not Real

I have been very intrigued by global warming in general over the past few years. We all studied global warming in school and we all were taught the basics of global warming. We are taught that the ice caps are melting and that we are the primary cause (cars, aerosol cans etc). We’re constantly trying to reduce the amount of "greenhouse" gases our cars and motorized vehicles are producing.

 

 

Why Global Warming is NOT Real

j0437269It’s easy to see. The earth itself is a living being. The earth goes through very long-duration cycles or phases. Look at the ice age where virtually everything on the Earth was wiped clean. Global warming is simply a phase of the Earth that we must accept. I know we’re constantly trying to link our usage of petroleum products to the rise in heat, flowers blooming earlier and birds migrating earlier; but we really need to understand that this is simply a phase. Global warming has been around for more than 100 years. 

Light Bulb: No One Knows

Absolutely no one can predict j0437381what the world will physically do. We can’t  predict storms. We can’t predict drought and we can’t predict the future. There is absolutely no way we can directly link our petroleum usage or greenhouse gas output to the world changes. Humans, in general, try to figure out major issues we are facing and how to solve these issues. Humans, especially males, are logic-oriented and have a deep need to fix and decode things. This is simply a large issue we can’t figure out and we’re wanting to correlate as many happenings as possible to this phenomenon.

What Can We Do

Nothing! We can’t do anything. Remember who’s in control.. We are not in control. We need to understand that we can’t control everything… especially not the world. If you believe in any kind of higher power you have to think… Have we faced massive epidemics in the past? Yes. Have we faced drought in the past? Yes. Have we experienced famine? Yes. This is a normal cycle of our Earth.

Summary

The above was just one of my senseless ramblings. I like to think about everything as logically as possible. I like to have an explanation to everything. I believe it’s very important for us, as a human race, to remember that we are not always in control and we must (sometimes) accept that there is not always a true answer to everything in this world. What do you think? Tell me!

Reference:
http://www.break.com/index/tough-to-argue.html
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/392319/global_warming_is_not_real_whats_behind.html
http://www.heritage.org/research/energyandenvironment/HL758.cfm
http://a_pretty_rainbow.gnn.tv/blogs/21664/Global_warming_isn_t_real_3_whole_scientists_say_so

Five Easy Ways to Save Gas

We all know how gas prices are these days. As gas prices rise it seems the economy’s prosperity falls. Here’s some easy, no-brainer ways to save gas at the pump.

  1. Fill up on Wednesdays Before the Sun Rises.
    Filling up in the middle of the week helps you to avoid high gas prices on the weekend. The gas companies depend on weekend travelers and raise the prices accordingly. Filling up before the sun rises assures that you get the most gas for your money. Gas, like air, is more dense when cold. Filling up at cool times assures you get more bang for your buck.
  2. Check Your Tire Pressurej0399397
    Low tire pressure causes your car to work extra hard to travel the same distance. Make sure that your tires are aired up to the higher end of the range listed on the tire. Generally speaking, the higher the pressure the better gas mileage you can achieve.
  3. Car Pool
    Well this seems like a no-brainer as well… and it is! Ride with someone to work, to eat and anywhere you go with someone together. Readjust your schedules to match others (if possible) and ride together. Split the cost of the gas and you instantly saved half your normal gas bill. Of course, use the most fuel-efficient car available.
  4. Accelerate Easily
    Push the gas pedal one fourth of the way down when accelerating. This will greatly reduce the amount of gas you use in the city. Jackrabbit starts and breaking heavily consumes larger amounts of energy with the same results as driving easily. Be light on the gas and you’ll be surprised!
  5. Find Cheap Gas
    This also seems like a no-brainer but some stations are much cheaper during the middle of the week. Stay away from highways and popular areas. Check sites like gasbuddy.com to locate cheap stations as reported by "gas spotters".

Utilizing the above tips can save you a truckload of money over time. By simply adjusting a few small things in your everyday routine, you can save money and keep more in your savings.

Things you can do with your saved cash:

  1. Put the saved cash in your savings
  2. Invest the money in a mutual fund of your choice
  3. Start an IRA and start saving for your future
  4. Buy extra groceries – frozen foods keep long – stock up!

Good Luck! Save your cash!

Fix computers remotely and make cash!

The Internet brings us technology almost at an instant. People around the world take their computers to places like Best Buy’s GeekSquad, CompUSA, and Circuit City to name a few. Here’s an idea- Put them out of business! I’ll present a few ideas to you below to help you earn a few bucks easily without even getting up.

Talk to your friends and family and let them know you can fix viruses and spyware. Tell them you can troubleshoot their issues without them having to pack up their PC. There are actually quite a few free services that provide remote access to another machine on the Internet at no fee to you or the end user.

Use a service like CrossLoop and connect to their PC.  Tell them that they don’t even need to stick around while you fix the PC. imageJust make sure not to reboot the computer until you’re sure you’ve done as much as you can to fix the issue (you may need them to re-initiate the connection after the reboot). Charge them by the hour and send them a money request with PayPal. That’s easy huh?

Many people have been doing this for quite some time now. I would say that you could help your family and friends (and even their friends) in your off-hours and make some extra revenue. This is a great way to get your name out there. Save your friends and family money while making you money. It’s a win-win situation.

Good Luck!

GeekSquad Confession – Child Porn

Well I must admit I worked at Best Buy. I worked there when I was in college to make my way through paying for books, housing and general expenses. While working there you tend to see it all.. people mad that Best Buy won’t cover their broken PDA screen to people who surfed porn all day and complained that their computer was slow and there were too many pop-ups. There were also a few notable things that came up while working there.

While working there in 2004 a person came in with his daughter (who looked to be around 16-17ish) and handed one of my co-workers their digital camera. The camera seemed to be a very nice SLR camera. The customer claimed that the camera was not taking pictures very well and that the quality was less than standard. We powered the camera on and proceeded to take a few pictures. We switched the camera to view mode and started to look at our pictures we had taken.

To our utter shock and dismay (I actually felt a little sick) we found some rather disturbing pictures. We found pictures of a nice little bedroom with pink everything, a nice bed table and what looked to be a full-size bed with a woman (actually more of a girl) completely nude perched on top. I quickly looked away and, having caught a glimpse of this girls face, looked back at the man and girl. The girl was the girl standing right next to him. This was very VERY disturbing. Multiple pictures were on this sick individual’s memory card and my coworkers and I had no idea what to do.

My coworker and I took the camera to the general manager on duty and reported the issue. The general manager reviewed the obscene content and said that there was nothing they could do. I persisted: "Why can’t we call the police? There has to be something we can do!" and he acted very calmly and added that there was nothing Best Buy could do.

Of course, the girl seemed to be happy and perhaps she was old enough but the disturbing pillow laying next to the bed (which was bright pink) said "Daddy’s little girl" and almost made me lose my food. I still feel very weird about the incident that day and I wish there was more I could do about it.

There have been many shady happenings at the Best Buy GeekSquad. This is one of the most offensive things I experienced in the two years I worked there.

Please feel free to leave a comment and maybe suggest how my coworker and I could have handled this issue better… There’s some really sick people in the world.

Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

It’s been three years since the last Chronicles of Narnia titled "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" released. This year we’re going to see a new (second) film titled "Prince Caspian" due to release on May 15, 2008. The last movie topped over $291 million in the box offices and I believe that the new movie will top or beat the previously earned amount.

This is a somewhat neutral review of how the movie looks, what technically seems better in the new movie coming from a person who has not previously viewed "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" released in 2005.

Many advanced in CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) have been made since 2005 and it really shows in the new trailers. Just compare the old trailer to the new trailer. The sheer smoothness of all computer generated graphics in newer movies amazes me. Wikipedia provides a nice timeline of CGI in film and television.

Nevertheless, the second Narnia really catches my eye; the previews and trailers beg me to watch. I’m definitely going to see this movie. Sure, call me a girl, but I really want to see this movie for the special effects and cutting-edge computer generated imagery.

Trailer

Four types of internet connectivity

Dial-access modems

The operation of the dial-in access is simple. You connect to an ISP (Internet Service Provider) via dial modem. When you dial in you connect to the ISP as another user on their network. You use their lines to connect to the internet. The maximum data rate is 56kbit/sec but is restricted by the FCC to only 53kbit/sec. There are virtually no distance limitations, wherever a clear voice can be heard on a phone line you can dial in. One advantage of this service is that it is versatile, widely available but the disadvantage is that it is very slow by today’s standards. This connection would suit someone doing occasional browsing and checking e-mail. The service cost is ~$9-20 dollars a month.

DSL

DSL is a technology used by many major phone companies to bring high speed internet to your home with the existing phone lines inside your home. The maximum data rate that can be achieved with DSL is 8mbits/sec with ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line.) However, with VDSL (Very high bit rate Digital Subscriber Line) you can achieve up to 55mbits/sec. The main advantage of DSL is you can use your existing phone line at the same time you are on the internet. The disadvantage is that the speed is directly limited by distance from a central office. The type of user that would benefit from DSL is a person who wants high speed browsing, relatively fast downloads but who also is close to a central office. Approximate monthly costs range from $27.00 to $40.00.

Cable Modems

Cable internet is very fast and stable. Basically the network is around most residential and business areas. The cable internet (e.g. Roadrunner®) infrastructure is already there – mostly fiber optics in this area. This allows for a massive amount of bandwidth to flow through the cable system. The maximum speed able to be obtained over cable is 10mbits/sec as determined by the cable modem and service providers. The main advantage is always on high speed internet. A major disadvantage, in areas where the network throughput overall is low, is slow speed because it is a shared network. The type of user that would benefit from this connection would be someone wanting to play online games with low ping times, and enjoy high speed downloads. The approximate monthly cost is $30-$50 depending on the provider.

Satellite-based Internet Access

Satellite internet is very interesting, I personally have used it and it is conceptually a very good idea but the latency of the satellite can bring the good idea to a screeching halt. When you connect you either use a dial up modem (receive only internet) where you dial to a separate ISP, then you send out a request via dialup then a tunnel is created to your satellite provider so your upstream can communicate with the provider so the received information can be beamed to your house from the satellite. This whole process takes up to 800 milli-seconds! This is very unacceptable for everyday browsing, but the advantages to some people make the service worth it. The main advantage is for users who have no access to higher speed internet. The downstream is about 512kbit/sec which isn’t too bad. (I’ve achieved 150-200kbyte/sec with it) but it is unacceptable for the ping times. The main disadvantage is the sheer space between the satellite and your home and the provider takes time to beam info back. The type of user who would benefit from this technology would be someone in the middle of nowhere. The cost of the service varies; usually you can lease the equipment for $99 dollars a month including service. Or you can buy the equipment for about $500-$600 dollars.

IPtables Port Redirection

Here’s the command-by-command reference of how to forward TCP port 80 on the local host to a remote host (10.1.21.21) on TCP port 8080.

# iptables -F
# iptables -X
# iptables -t nat -A OUTPUT -d 10.1.21.21 -p tcp –dport 80 -j REDIRECT –to-ports 8080
# iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -d 10.1.21.21 -p tcp –dport 80 -j REDIRECT –to-ports 8080

# /etc/init.d/iptables save
# /etc/init.d/iptables restart
# chkconfig iptables on