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    petragottschalk
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    Hard drives are the product of decades of development. They didn’t exist when my grandfather was my age. But he did grow up using typewriters and carbon paper. And he used to take a lot of photographs. So he was familiar with WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get. Good typewriters and good cameras let you see what you are about to print. And because the printed output is the important thing, what an editor or camera operator sees is what gets printed.
    With hard drives, there is no WYSIWYG. Everything you see is what you get more info. The drive reads the data from the platters or platters, and it gets back an image that stores all the tiny bits that make up each word or photo.
    Because hard drives store lots of data, they need lots of platters. And more platters means more moving parts. So more moving parts means more chances for things to go wrong.
    But hard drives do work. And for a lot of people, they work great. If you want to store lots of data, a hard drive is almost the only way to do it. But even hard drives have limits. If one of them fails, the data on the drive is gone.
    And hard drives work this way because human beings made the technology. Which leaves us feeling like we are spending our money on something that was designed by people!
    But in fact, humans are just one of a number of species that try to build devices and systems for storing data.
    Living things have DNA, and DNA can store lots of information. But DNA is slow. It can’t hold much. And things that are fast usually have problems storing information. So life had to settle for something that works, but I still feel like a biological system should store information, in the same way that hard drives store information.

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