An interesting development is occurring in the economics of information transfer. It will spell the end of backup and the end of tape for all practical purposes. It may also bankrupt a hard drive company or two. It can be summed up as this: you’ll never need to delete anything.
There are three aspects to information economics:
- The generation of information
- The sharing of information
- The storage of information
The former concerns itself with methods of creating data; keyboards, mice, joysticks, cameras, camcorders, and microphones seem to be the primary ways in which humans have found to send information to computers. Some information, like most of that sent by mouse and joystick, is purely temporary, meant for commanding the computer. Other information is recorded directly, such as keystrokes, then transmitted to others. Other information is captured from the real world (such as in the case of photography), brought to bits, edited and then compressed; the new digital creation is then sent to others.
Keyboards have not been changing much in the course of the last decade; nor have mice, other than to go optical and free us of the monthly ritual of cleaning out the dust rings. Cameras and camcorders, on the other hand, have recently managed to make the leap into consumer digital products and are now considered ordinary to be interfaced to a computer.
Overall, it’s fair to say that this field is growing at a fair clip, what all with five-megapixel cameras popping off shelves. But is it likely that