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Data Storage

Recording Your Entire Life 211

Scientific American has an article on Gordon Bell's 9-year-long experiment of recording great swaths of his life on digital media. The idea harks back to an article by Vannevar Bush in the 1940s, which arguably presaged hypertext and the Web as well. Bell, the father of the VAX computer and now with Microsoft Research, first published a paper on his experiment in CACM in 2001. The goal is to record "all of Bell's communications with other people and machines, as well as the images he sees, the sounds he hears and the Web sites he visits." Storage requirements are estimated at a modest 18 GB a year, 1.1 TB over a 60-year span. Not a lot if the article's projection comes to pass — that we will all be walking around with 1 TB of storage in our portable devices by 2015. The article is co-authored by Jim Gemmell, who wrote the software for the MyLifeBits project.

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome. -- Dr. Johnson