Iâ€™d like to take pride in the thought that I belong to the information age. With all the good things there are, there is, however, one really painful side effect â€“ Information Hoarding.
In the simplest terms: I donâ€™t feel like deleting anything, ever. Of course, GMail and the ever dropping prices per GB of hard disk space donâ€™t help. And the worse part of all this â€“ the digital hoarding follows me to the offline world as well â€“ and it doesnâ€™t port very well there, given the lack of real-estate-space and all the junk that accumulates.
The logic is simple: Thereâ€™s no reason to really delete or destroy stuff, unless it is really sensitive, and even then, thereâ€™s encryption. Moreover, you never know when you might need something tomorrow, in some way that you didnâ€™t account for today. Then youâ€™d thank yourself because you didnâ€™t destroy it yesterday.
The biggest bane is of course, finding what you have when you need it. Leaving aside the really unique things for which I donâ€™t have any alternatives, I often find it easier to grab a new download rather than search for that needle of information in my now close to over three terabyte of hay-stack. Donâ€™t get me wrong â€“ Iâ€™ve tried every search solution that exists today, and frankly nothing really helps me, and Iâ€™m not that disorganized.
Certainly, sometimes this information hoarding does make for some really nice surprise nostalgia. I once found some really silly skit I co-authored when in my fifth grade. Unfortunately, I lost the climax to it. Then there was the very first attempt at philosophy â€“ and boy, how crazy was I! Greetings, lovey-dovey letters, emails arguing about the pros and cons of a Intel Pentium 133 MHz versus a Intel Pentium 166 MHz with MMX, my first free email provider registration, a first-grade math notebook, marksheets from my pre-KG and a doctorâ€™s prescription for cough medicine from 1989!
All of this makes me feel a bit sad â€“ why wasnâ€™t I born a few decades later? That way, Iâ€™d be able to record every ephemeral second, in every sense that I felt it when it happened. And then being able to get back to it instantly. Yes, all you nit-pickers may point out the obvious problems with that. But for now, Iâ€™d like to stay in my bubble and imagine only the positive aspects of such a detailed recording.
Another real issue that plagues me currently: security of this stored information. Not in the sense that someone might steal it, or worse, use it against me in some way â€“ Iâ€™m not all that important, yet, for someone to warrant spending all that effort â€“ but in the sense that storage today isnâ€™t entire reliable. The venerable Winchester drive, or the HDD as we all know it today, isnâ€™t meant to last for ages. CDs / DVDs and now the HD-DVDs and the Blue-Rays last only for a decade or two in the real world. So thereâ€™s some sort of a false sense of security that we all have, that the information weâ€™ve stored digitally is really secure and retrievable tomorrow. And Iâ€™ve not even started enumerating the issues with formats and compatibilities. Not that the offline world is any better suited, but still.