Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Sleek Black Thing

What is about the size of a thick paperback novel, is black and shiny and smooth to the touch, vibrates a little and gets warm when you turn it on.

It's my new terabyte external hard drive!

I think back to the 1980s when I bought my very first PC. I bought it from a guy who ran a gold shop underneath the typing company for which I worked. Until then I had a little desktop Apple IIc which had no hard drive. Everything went on floppy disks.

This PC had a real hard drive. A whopping 60 mb of storage. I knew that I would never need more storage than that. I'm sure a lot of us felt that way back in the 1980s. Now I probably have photographs that are bigger than 60 mb sometimes, I think.

But I was blissfully happy in those days.

I went through one PC after another, each with a larger hard drive. When I got this latest desktop (which, at 7 years old is "ancient" and sure to stop working any day now) I wanted a huge hard drive and so I got a 120 gig hard drive. Surely I would never need more storage than that.

But, of course, I did. I don't remember when I bit the bullet and finally bought an external hard drive to complement the 120 gigs on the desktop CPU. I bought a 250 gig hard drive. This would give me more than 300 gigs of storage and that would certainly be enough! (I needed my guru to install it because it came with complicated instructions--or at least he made it look complicated.)

But we all know how it goes. We really are going to burn all those photos onto a disk but by the time we get to it we have enough for hundreds of disks and the task seems daunting, so we just keep storing stuff on the hard drives that we have.

I was making a video from the trip the other day. I store all my videos on the external hard drive, but when I went to store this video, I discovered that the drive was full. I had filled a 250 gig hard drive. I managed to erase a lot of stuff (I'm sure there are many gigs of stuff that can easily be deleted, if I just take the time to do it) and I was able to finish the project, but obviously something serious had to be done.

I had to either spend a week burning stuff onto disks, or I had to buy another hard drive. I joked that I should just buy a terabyte and be done with it. For laughs, I checked on line and to my astonishment I found one that was well within my budget--and far cheaper than I expected to pay. I checked user comments and everybody raved about how easy it was to install and how well it performed, so I ordered it.

It came yesterday. It sat here for a day because I'm a terrible technophobe. I'm always certain that I'm going to screw things up. But I needed this and so I checked the instructions for installation. I discovered that Brianna could probably figure them out. This is Step 1:

Step1.jpg  (37454 bytes)

which I intrepreted as attach the drive to the computer's USB port. I figured I could do that, even if it meant dusting off the thick layer of dust on the CPU. That done, I moved on to Step 2:

Step2.jpg  (30816 bytes)

Which seemed to involve finding a place to plug the thing into a power source. I plug things in all the time. So far so good. Then I came to Step 3:

Step3.jpg  (38809 bytes)

Step 3 just seemed to say "OK--does it look like this?" Mine did. I had also downloaded the upgrade for iTunes and I knew that was going to reqire a reboot, so I figured that when it rebooted would be the right time to finish plugging in the drive.

It rebooted. I waited. When everything had loaded, I checked the computer and by was THERE.

drive.jpg  (42251 bytes)

I was so happy. I had really done it. And it worked. Just to be sure, I typed a brief test note in Notepad and saved it to the new drive. Saved like a dream.

I spent the entire day moving all of my photos from the external drive where they have been stored to the new external drive, which will be their new home. In the process I freed up tons of space on both the L backup drive and the original C drive. I am in storage hog heaven. I figure it should take me at least a couple of years before this becomes an issue yet again, but I am out of CPU slots and I'll probably need a new computer before then.

But there are those on Facebook who scoff and tell me how many terabytes they have filled. (What's bigger than a terabyte?) But for now I have 853 gigabytes free on this new playtoy and I am a happy camper.


harrietv said...

I wish I could tell you how big my "Passport" is; it's designed to be a constant backup to my hard drive. Last time I looked, it showed barely a sliver of used space.

The thing is, the computer had to go in for repair last week. UD hooked it up when we got it home, but she missed some, including the external drive. Simple though it may be, I can't hook it up. I can't see black on black, which is what I see on those panels. Where is the port?

Bev Sykes said...

The passport looks similar to what I have and it appears that the largest size (at least that I could find) was a terabyte, so on a par with what I have here.

jon said...

I actually operated an NCR 310 computer in 1964. It was a sophisicated adding machine. The info from that computer was inputted into a RCA 301. The place where I worked had 4 RCA 301 mainframe computers.
Those computers took a large space.

I have a macbook and an Ipad that has more memory than those computers. I can carry it in a small bag.


Kwizgiver said...

I share your enthusiasm for installing it by yourself. I've done a couple of techie-type things myself these past few weeks.