Tech.co.uk reports that 1TB optical disks the size of CDs/DVDs have been developed by a company called Mempile in Israel. While obviously it will be a while for these (or something like them) to become consumer-grade products, muse a bit on that 1TB number and read this report about broadband connections in the US vs some news today from Finland.
I’ve written about broadband access in the US before. To summarize what the people over at CommunityWireless.org already know, and Bob Cringely has written about before, it stinks on ice. There are some pretty major differences (both politically and geographically) between Finland and the U.S., admittedly. Our problem isn’t that it’s difficult for a U.S. citizen to get broadband connectivity faster than 3Mbps while you can pretty easily nab 20Mbps in France or a whopping 61Mbps in Japan. Our problem is that we’re behind the curve, and in spite of the fact that we’ve recently moved up marginally in some of the standings, the leaders are not only already faster than we are, they’re also getting faster faster than we are. Google makes headlines for rolling out 802.11 b/g coverage in Mountain View, in the meantime Samsung has pocketed a nice package of patents rolling out WiBro in South Korea. The WiBro/WiMAX story in South Korea at first glance doesn’t look like an astounding smash, but those OFDM patents represent leader-of-the-pack development that will undoubtedly pay big dividends in the future.
In 2002, I had DSL coverage at 768Kbps and my hard drive at home was 20GB. In 2007, I have 1.5Mbps, and my hard drive is 250GB. My data rate has doubled in five years while my data storage has gone up 12.5 times. Already I rely heavily on sneakernet and various data storage media to move bits around. In another five years, we’ll be relying more on bike messengers and FedEx to move our data around *physically* overnight, because the staggering amounts of data people acquire simply won’t be able to fit through an electronic transfer.