A little over 20 years ago, I finally filled the seemingly endless vista of the 40 megabyte hard drive of my first computer, the first Mac Classic. I ordered a 170 mb external hard drive over the phone for $399 plus shipping and handling (a phrase you’ve heard before). My friends asked me, “Vonn, are you stealing software?”
In 1999, I finally filled the seemingly endless vista of the 500 megabyte hard drive of my third computer, a Macintosh Performa 4400. I ordered a 4 gigabyte external hard drive over the phone for $399 plus shipping and handling. Since my 170 had served so well, I purchased the 4 GB from the same company. I told the phone operator about the 170 and how it also cost $399. He made a weird sort of snorting sound and said, “Please hold for a moment.” He did not do a good job of covering the phone, as I clearly heard him say, “You will NOT believe what this customer just said!”
My friends asked me, “Vonn, are you stealing software?”
Today, a co-worker attended a financial planning seminar on behalf of the entire HR department because of some changes coming to our 457 plan [similar to a 401(k)]. Among the free goodies on display were a bowl of free 1 gigabyte flash drives.
Free gigabytes of storage. Nearly six times greater than my 170 mb hard drive.
And nobody took any. Not even one.
My colleague scooped up a couple of handfuls and shared them with the rest of us when he returned to the office. One gigabyte holds my absolutely most critical files, so I added one to my collection of flash drives (yeah, I do a lot of backups). But it makes me shake my head; nowadays, one gig is so nothing people give it away.
I’m old enough to remember when people dreamed of a future of one gigabytes hard drives.
Vonn Scott Bair