I just received the Kingston 64 GB USB flash drive shown above. It holds (duh) 64 gigabytes of data. I’ve included a US quarter for size comparisons. My first computer was a Commodore-64, for which I had the venerable C1541 floppy disk drive. That used 5.25″ floppy disks — which were actually floppy, you could bend them (though that was not advised!) — and could cram as much as 165 kB onto each one. Yes, that’s kilobytes. This means that, to hold the same amount as the flash drive, I would need something like 406,721 floppy disks. Laid end-to-end, they would stretch about 33 miles, or half again as long as you’d need to bridge the English Channel. Laid out in a square, they would cover an area of about 1.8 acres or 1.44 (American) football fields. Stacked, they would stand 650 m tall, or about 1.46 Empire State Buildings. A single floppy disk cost about $2.25 (when purchased in bulk, and we would obviously have to do that!). So the cost to own this much storage would be about $915,120. We probably shouldn’t neglect you’d have to buy the drive as well — that would add $400. OK, we probably could neglect that. Oh, wait. That was in 1982. According to the Inflation Calculator, $915,520 in 1982 would be equivalent, more or less, to $2,144,035 in 2012. (Information not available for this year yet.) I paid amazon.com the princely sum of $37. And got free shipping. (And don’t need a warehouse to store my 400,000 disks!) My point? We live in an age that would leave Scheherazade a-gasp and disbelieving. We live in an age of miracles.
Also, get off my lawn.