[Paleopsych] BBC: Britons growing 'digitally obese'
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Mon Jan 17 16:42:28 UTC 2005
Britons growing 'digitally obese'
People are finding more things to do with their colourful gadgets
Gadget lovers are so hungry for digital data many are carrying the equivalent
of 10 trucks full of paper in "weight".
Music, images, e-mails, and texts are being hoarded on mobiles, cameras
laptops and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants), a Toshiba study found.
It found that more than 60% kept 1,000 to 2,000 music files on their devices,
making the UK "digitally fat".
"Virtual weight" measurements are based on research by California Institute
of Technology professor Roy Williams.
He calculated physical comparisons for digital data in the mid-1990s.
He worked out that one gigabyte (1,073,741,824 bytes) was the equivalent of a
pick-up truck filled with paper.
The amount of data people are squirreling away on their gadgets is clearly a
sign that people are finding more things to do with their shiny things.
If digital hoarding habits continue on this scale, people could be carrying
around a "digitally obese" 20 gigabytes by next year.
"Britain has become a nation of information hoarders with a ferocious
appetite for data," said Martin Larsson, general manager of Toshiba's
European storage device division.
"As storage capabilities increase and the features and functionalities of
mobile devices expand to support movie files and entire libraries of
multi-media content, we will all become virtually obese," he told the BBC
The survey reflects the increasing trend for portable devices with built-in
hard drives like music and media players from Apple, Creative Labs, Archos,
iRiver and others.
This trend is set to grow, according to analysts. They suggest the number of
hard drives in consumer electronics gadgets could grow from 17 million last
year to 55 million in 2006.
"Consumers are driving the move towards smaller devices that have greater
functionality, and industry is trying to keep up," said Mr Larsson.
"People are looking for more than just phone calls and text messages on the
move, they want things like web browsing, e-mailing, music, photos and more."
Many are finding memory keys and memory sticks are simply not big enough to
Toshiba hard drive
Hard drives are getting smaller, cheaper and better
"Floppies and memory keys have their place, but they don't have anything like
the capacity or flexibility of a hard drive so are unable to meet the demand
for more and more storage capacity in consumer devices," said Mr Larsson.
The cost of making hard drives has dropped and is continuing to do so because
of improved technologies so they are proving to be more cost-effective than
other forms of memory, he added.
The amount of data that can be stored has grown by 400% in the last three
years, while the cost for every gigabyte has fallen by 80%.
It is also getting easier to transfer files from one device to another, which
has traditionally been a slow and problematic area.
"Transfer of data between different memory types has improved significantly
in recent times, and will be further helped by the standards for hard drives
which are currently being developed by the major manufacturers," said Mr
According to technology analysts IDC, a fifth of all hard drives produced
will be used in consumer electronics by 2007.
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