Monday, May 17, 2010

2.1GB Hard Drive for How Much? Little robots in TVs?

Here's an interesting relic from the mid 90's... 1996 if my memory serves me right. I decommissioned an ancient computer system I began using as a dust collection apparatus many years ago, which will soon be happily recycled into whatever old computer systems are recycled into, and still adhered to the hard drive was this sticker (see image below). Yes, you see that right. It's the price tag for an incredibly spacious and very speedy 2.1GB Ultra-Wide SCSI hard drive. Back then, the drive this sticker belonged to was state of the art. And who could really argue with that price? $1,430? Sold! I don't think I've seen hard drives this expensive these days, excluding some of'em fancy solid states ones.

And in case you're wondering what I was doing with such a super-duper crazy fast drive, the answer is video and 3D animation. Back in the good old days, when the World Wide Web had 12 sites, three with photos and not just text, you had little choice but to get one of these drives to capture video with, as well as play it back, without dropping frames when outputting to your video recording device. In my case, for work I did, I rented a Betacam SP deck and for my own purposes (i.e. demo reel) I utilized a machine called the VCR, which employed the use of VHS tapes. Unlike motion picture film on which you could see the captured images, VHS was a magical medium. If you examine the strange, dark, thin, and very flexible material, no images can be seen. But put one of these tapes into the VCR and the little but fast robots (made in Japan) could "see" those pictures and quickly tell their brethren in the television set (through wires!) to paint the images on their giant window glass. Of course for us humans this glass is what we watched the shows on (like Alf, Knight Rider, and Airwolf). The vacuum inside the television set tube is what allows these micro-robots to move about at their extreme speeds; no friction from the air. ... Oh my! I'm rambling on, aren't I. I always enjoy a good walk down memory lane. Well, enjoy the sticker-shock!

P.S. MacGyver's first name was Angus!

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