Something sassy

By Grant Jacobs 28/07/2013

Aww, ain’t she purty.


Very sleek, yes.

Enough to knock your caps off.

She’s got 5 megabytes, Chuck.

5 million alphanumeric characters.

’pparently IBM reckons they got no way to sell one with more.

Chuck clicks in appreciation.

6 bits for each character. With a parity bit!

Right, right.

Takes only point-six seconds to locate a record.

Imagine what you could do with that!


In 1956 IBM launched the 305 RAMAC, the first computer with a hard disk drive. The hard drive unit weighed over a ton and stored 5 MB of data. It was moved about with a forklift and large cargo aircraft.

Think of this next time you look at your 8Gb USB stick.

All factoids for the dialogue are lifted from the wikipedia entry. (Hey! – it’s a lazy Sunday piece written while watching a movie.)

My first computer with a hard disk was a IBM PC clone. Before that I owned an Apple ][e clone that used a consumer tape player as it’s external storage.

My original source for the photograph was a re-tweet by @dgmacarthur of  a tweet by Rich Powell (@cultmojo).

Other articles on Code for life:

Sinclair ZX envy

Consumer brain-computer interface

What use now is handwriting?

Teaching bioinformatics at high school

Retrospective–The mythology of bioinformatics

0 Responses to “Something sassy”

  • It’s almost frightening how compact memory has become. From this behemoth and “No-one will ever need more than 64kB of storage” to a micro SD card that can hold 256GB (and growing…) on something the size of a fingernail. We are living in the future!

  • Somehow I don’t think I’d be putting one of those 1956 era disks in my pocket! 🙂

    You’re right there are larger-capacity cards – I used the 8Gb example as one even your typical home user would have.