Running Out of Space: The Story of Our Lives

I realized a long time ago that men and women have different engines when it comes to certain activities. For example, get me in a room where there’s a hint of competition or something to win & my senses are heightened and I’ll fight until I come out on top. My wife? She’d rather hangout and talk with those watching on the sidelines. But get my wife in a building with stores that are lined up in a straight line with red signs marked “sale” and she’s ready to have at it. Me? I’m the guy that sits on the nearest flat surface until we’re ready to leave. All that to say…we went shopping today.

While shopping, I ran in for a quick respite at the Apple Store. I know I won’t ever buy anything, but just being surrounded by cool technology inspires me. I was hovering around the section where they sold the new magic mouse, which happened to be sold out. While asking about when they were going to receive a new shipment of the mice, I was eavesdropping on a conversation close by. They were talking about the days when 30gb Hard Drives were the sickest thing on the market and how we find 1tb Hard Drives as a default on our computers now.

That led me to think, “When did we ever find the need to have 1tb of information on our computers?!” But the dude was right, without 1tb of Hard Drive space, we’d be hard pressed to have anything on our computer these days. We just have so much crap on these things. They hold our entire lives on a small spinning disc. And in one way or another, our lives have grown from dreaming about 30gb of stuff to needing 1tb of space. We’ve amassed so much junk, haven’t we? I can barely fit my life into my 160gb Hard Drive currently, but I remember a day when I didn’t know what to do with a 30gb computer. My how times change, but more poignantly…my how our lives are full of junk.


33 Comments on “Running Out of Space: The Story of Our Lives”

  1. That’s so incredibly true. I’ve been wanting to get an external hard drive for a while now…because of this reason! My photographs have started to take over all of my computer space!

    If you get the chance, take a look at my blog ( :

  2. dessousblog says:

    Youu’re right. We’re still in the state of hunters and collecters but now in digital space. Who will find the pictures from his last hollyday or from a nice party with friends in that data mines? Saved and forgotten…

  3. Pretty Project says:

    I do believe the world would stop turning if I lost my laptop. Great post! 🙂

  4. David Raikow says:

    1 TB? When did we need 10MB worth of space? Oh yeah, 1982. Times don’t change. What changes are new people being exposed to old patterns:

    1982: a 10 MB drive? That’ll never fill up.
    1990: a 250MB drive? That’ll never fill up.
    1995: a 1GB drive? That’ll never fill up.
    2000: a 30GB drive? That’ll never fill up.
    2005: a 250GB drive? That’ll never fill up.
    2009: a 2TB drive? Yep, I guess that will fill up.

    And for you REALLY old-timers, yes, I’m ignoring the glory days of the Apple II+, Commodore 64, TRS80, Commodore Vic 20…no doubt someone out there can regale us with memories of the Altair.

  5. Clau says:

    Good article!!

  6. sravan953 says:

    In a few years, even 1TB will seem too little for the HUGE amount of data we handle everyday.. and the next step will be something cloud-based… 🙂

    • elcoquito says:

      Cloud-based, yep. Google already want you to store all your documents with them. If I were paranoid, I’d say that was a perfect recipe for snooping.

      “Beware the Googlewock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
      Beware the App Engine, and shun
      The frumious Google Docs!”
      –with appologies to Lewis Carroll

  7. Omar says:

    This is not a problem, as soon as the harddisk spaces are increases exponentially with time.
    but the problem arises when we thing “What would happen with our lives when these harddisks really goes out of service !!!!!”
    I prefer to kill myself when this happens 🙂

  8. JJ says:

    I have a Mac mini, a Vista emachine, Compac windows XP, and Asus laptop. I have a scanner. And I have a lot of paper copies and notes. And I have a 320 GB external hard drive. I feel like a kid with lots of toys. I just like collecting and that is good enough for my purpose. The time it takes to maintain all these beasts. I long for the days of more people contact.

  9. Indicative of our contemporary culture. No amount of anything is enough – square footage, storage on our hard drives and other devices, “things” for our homes and closets.

    I’m all for it on computing devices, and all for moderation in everything else. We have become a society that accumulates beyond conceiving, and either never disposes of what we need to, or disposes too quickly, wastefully, and thoughtlessly – including disposing of people.

    I am guilty of this as much as the next person – or was – until recessionary realities hit home more than a few years ago. We don’t “need” all this stuff or all this “space.” We want it. And that’s different.

  10. Kristi says:

    Just reading this makes me think, “What would I do if my whole system were to crash?”…..All of my music, pictures, my journals…. we depend on computers waaaayyyyy too much.

  11. pandabox33 says:

    Oh yes. My life is quite tragic with my Ibook with hardly any space in it. I can’t download any crap on it. My laptop is the only place I have digital pictures and I hardly look at them. But I would freak if I lost all the music I have on it !! All 15000 songs (big for me and small for a friend of mine who has more than 50000).
    We used to stock our garages with our junk. Now the computer’s the junkyard. 🙂

  12. Joseph S. says:

    I agree that we do have a ton more stored on our hard-drives, but I would also like to point out that file sizes of various files are a lot larger also.

    Music collections are a big part of the space taken on a hard-drive as well.

  13. This is funny! I thought this would be an article on material junk! I think we generally have too much stuff — on all levels.

  14. I remember when we got our first 1 gigabyte drive (for a 486). This was in the early 90’s and people would literally ask “a giga-what?”.

  15. Thoughts says:

    Being surrounded by new technology also does it for me. It does feel inspiring and I am obsessed with staying current on every new piece of it. I have so many writings on my computer, it does hold my whole life. Scary to think of it like that.

  16. Tushar says:

    A nice article..I totally agree with you. I bought a home PC back in 2002 with 40 GB HDDand never thought it would fill up. Nowdays, I’ am planning to buy 1TB HDD and still thinking should I buy 2TB…

  17. Haha, too true. It’s the same with everything to do with a computer. I mean, i remember 128 and 256 RAM. All the computer market really does, its push the boundaries of higher quality products and produce. Thus making you spend more and more to keep up. Its a bastard really.

  18. dykapede says:

    oh no, why be like this…

  19. danakennedy says:

    And to think I started computing on an IBM clone that didn’t even have a hard disk – I kept all my work on 360K floppies (5-1/4″ natch!). Oh, and my first hard drive wasn’t 30 Gb – it was 30 Mb!!!

  20. edamamu says:

    so true.its our story today.

  21. very interested says:

    yeah, and it does not stop. i work in archives…. storage for digital is a nightmare… organization of the information even worse. when i went to college in 1986 i bought a mac plus, the sale price included 20mb hd space, i wanted to up it to 40 and they said i would never need it, but i did it anyway. still with mac , work with film/photo have about 5tb of hd space and need to get more soon!

  22. […] bit on the wordpress homepage caught my eye–it was an exerpt from someone’s post called “Running Out of Space.”  The author writes about the amazing progression of the size of hard drives on computers–how we […]

  23. Kodie B says:

    Very very good point! I think that this really illustrates a newfound, mainstream, dependence on technology. More and more people have access to computers, and more and more people dump their lives onto these spinning discs.

    Although SSD will gather HUGE market share within the next five to ten years, I don’t think anything will ever tear me apart from the massive storage sizes available on a good ol’ HDD.

  24. Judge Pow3rs says:

    We live in an age where computer games and operating systems require 15Gb install space (and beyond) and where high definition reigns supreme, and with single movies being 50Gb it’s no surprise we’d need more than a 1Tb hard drive.

  25. lex w says:

    My Phone has more memory than my first computer. Great Post!

  26. darek says:

    I think it’s interesting that computers have progressed from something that was primarily used to compute values / run algorithms too tedious for humans to do with precision and speed, to a communication / information device, then to an entertainment device. With our desire to consume higher quality media faster, it’s only natural that hard drive space should increase, especially while internet latencies and bandwidth remain limited and “the cloud” remains nascent.

    All this to say… indeed, our lives are filled with junk.

  27. Hawon says:

    I remember my first computer back in 1990 was equipped with 20mb HDD and it was the coolest thing ever!

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