Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The magnitude of a Gigabyte (Gibibyte actually)

Today a friend of mine told me that good quality blank DVDs are now available for 11 Rupees (approximately 0.25 US $- down from about 15 rupees). I just smiled in surprise. Approximately 4.4 GiB of digital information can be stored for just 11 rupees now. That is about 4 Paisa per MiB. An intriguing fact is that standard floppy disks with 1.44 MB capacity are still available for 10 rupees.

As a reminder to myself of the huge amount of information that 1 GiB represents, I thought this. Consider a man with life span of 80 years. The number of seconds in his life are

80*365*24*3600 + 20*24*3600= 2522880000 + 1728000= 2524608000

1 GiB has 1073741824 bytes.

So if this man were to dictate the decoded (assume binary to decimal) form of each byte at the rate of 1 byte per second, he would manage to dictate only about 2.35 GiB in his entire lifetime, assuming he never sleeps, never eats and just keeps dictating 1 byte per second. And that is just about half of a DVD. An 11 rupee DVD.

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