Terabyte Lifestyles

Seagate, the hard drive manufacturer, has
just released a series of hard drives for portable storage, claiming that we are
already living in the age of terabyte lifestyles.


When my grandparents talked of their young lives in Oklahoma Territory–before statehood, which arrived in 1907–it was always in a conversation that compared the early days with the present. Oklahoma celebrated its first fifty years with an exposition called “From Arrows to Atoms.” The point was that the pace of change was fast even then.

Living in the changing technological environment we move through today is different. Change happens so fast and frequently that to mark each change would consume us. But the monicker given to one change in computer hard drive storage caught my attention. Seagate, the drive manufacturer, has just released a series of new drives that store enormous amounts of information and the company says the drives are for the terabyte lifestyle.

These are portable drives for cars, MP3 players, GPS, video, gaming, and laptops. (We even need a new language to talk about these things.)

That we are now living in the terabyte age is the intriguing thing. We process so much information we can’t hold all of it on existing storage materials easily, not to mention between our ears. We’re on overload in that space already. So we need smaller containers to carry around with us.


One Seagate executive says in five years cars will need 5 terabytes onboard. One terabyte is the equivalent of 1,024Gb. A terabyte holds 240,000 songs. But how long would you have to live to listen to all that music?

I remember the excitement of the Commodore 64, the home computer that started this revolution for most of us. The C64 has 64 kilobytes of information. Wow! That’s my equivalent of “from arrows to atoms.” Some people are still using that beloved, tiny machine that debuted in 1987. In computer lives that’s like the Stone Age. Real aficionados.

As a collector of nearly everything, including information, I can use additional storage on the machines I use today. Information is just one more collection. No doubt when these drives are available, I’ll want one.

But there’s one feature I haven’t heard they’ve built into it yet. And I really need it worse than anything else. I need it to tell me where I left my car keys.

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