Re: Huge drivespace Re: computing budgeting (fwd)

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From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Wed Sep 06 2000 - 20:43:58 PDT

Brian Atkins wrote:

> Does anyone think that in the near future, the coming of multi-terabyte
> cheap hard drives will lead to any new business models?

That's a great question. Discontinuities like that present huge
opportunities. IME, though, the "apps" usually lag significantly because
people just can't figure out how to do anything but more-of-the-same -w-
discontinuous tech, often for years after it appears. A VC buddy of mine asked
me recently what I'd do -w- a gigabit to the house; after spending several
weeks doing due diligence on it, I had to sadly conclude that what *will* get
done with it for the forseeable future is just incremental: endless variations
on video-on-demand and a slow but steady creep upwards towards quality consumer
video telephony. (1Gb/s is about 3x the discontinuity between 300baud modems
and my DSL. Imagine trying to predict the Web back in 1980. Ted Nelson was
one smart cobber. :-) The really wacky, hip, cool, discontinuous apps are just
too wacky, hip, and cool to really happen right away.

> Will shipping
> hard drives full of data to people replace the Internet because last mile
> bandwidth may not keep up?

Nah, because most of what's interesting on the Web is ephemeral, dynamic,
application-oriented, communication oriented.

Maybe the model would go towards total web applications shipped down, made
local, pressure on the replication / group communication front.

Still, I'd love to have a complete snapshot copy of the Web. :-) :-) Might
enable some interesting search / knowledge management / knowledge extraction
stuff... might enable some interesting knowledge bases, research tools, etc.
Provides an interesting brain seed for AI efforts, though I shudder to think
about the distribution of kinds of content. ;-)

> I'm thinking by 2004? What would you do with
> 10TB 3.5" drives that cost $500 each?

Assuming you get a copy of Last Month's Web on that, static stuff only of

    * build graph / map of hyperlinks to exploit
    * trend / pattern discovery
    * lots of interesting market research opps
    * citation mapping on steroids
    * local crawling / trauling for goodies
    * local google
    * local alexa
    * capture / use local traffic to refine interaction with data
    * ...hmmm, just sort of thinking out loud here.
    * one hell of a playground for GP; breed some traders
    * that's a lot of historical stock market time series data --- maybe all
of it?

For that matter, 10TB is a hell of a lot of virtual memory. Never mind that it
would totally break most virtual memory swapping / paging algorithms, but using
it as such would enable some really, really big stuff: think massively complex
neural nets, GA, GP. Hell, -w- 10TB I could actually unload my
archive-of-all-email-since-time-began. ;-) When you start to get that much
storage capacity, it really starts to make sense never to throw anything away.

Tying back to the 1GB thing, one problem -w- VOD is that giving every customer
10 hrs of upstream storage would eat the current annual world output of 33GB
Quantum Fireballs in even a modest 1M subscriber network. 10TB storage media
at $500 price points really starts to make the notion of
remote-storage-as-utility feasible.

But of course the right answer to the question is I'd do whatever it took to
make a complete copy of every song that ever hit Napster. :-) That would eat a
noticeable fraction of the 10TB drive.


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