Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Chris Anderson on The Long Tail

Hey everyone. I'm back from a lovely vacation to Maine and Canada. Thanks especially go out to the Calais Free Library in Calais, Maine (pronounced "Callous"--although the people there are anything but...) for welcoming strangers. Calais is a border town with Canada and we stopped there on our way north. If you're into tides and tidal action--or maybe just geology--the Bay of Fundy and Hopewell Rocks was quite a sight, too.

We encountered the world's largest blueberry and other adventures. I actually forgot my camera battery in Moncton, so I can't surprise and delight you with heaps of photos yet.

Being back, I see that The Long Tail is finally out as a printed book and that Chris Anderson--you remember him from the 2005 OCLC Symposium (scroll down)--is also talking to NPR and LJ. You heard it here first. Or maybe I should say, I heard it here first...thanks our resident futurist, Alane.

Did I mention I just acquired a 60 gig external hard drive along my travels? I luuuuv it and my laptop does, too. Hard drives with bigger memory in a smaller package is surely on the long tail of rich content/Web 2.0, eh?

1 comment:

Andy Havens said...

You're in good company with that "Long Tail" comment r.e. hard drive space, Alice. Over my vacation on the beach in SC, I was reading MIT's "Technology Review," and there was an article about a terrabyte portable hard-drive (actually, two drives slaved together as one virtual drive, but if it says, "E," it looks like one to me).

Terra. Yes. 1,000 gigs. Makes me think that my files will never be "Gone with the Wind."

"Terra! Home. I'll store home! And I'll think of some way to get him backed up. After all... tomorrow is another day."

Sorry. Ahem... Anyway. Besides the review of the drive, which was pretty favorable, the main point was that huge, cheap storage made "The Long Tail" possible for your own stuff (Alice's point), and "The Wrong Tail" possible (my silly phrase, MIT's other point), too. Meaning that it's very easy to store all kinds of stuff that you, A) May NEVER want to see again, and, B) Can't tell apart from the stuff you do want to find. For example, it's much easier to dump the entire, current, 100 meg contents of your current "MyDocuments" folder into a dated, full backup directory than it is to use an actual back-up program.

If you do that once a month (how many of us really back up more often than that...), the terrabyte drive will do you for that task for about 85 years. The problem becomes, of course, knowing (in March of 2019) if the July 2006 or April 2008 version of the file you're looking for is the one you're looking for.

Solutions may be found... among library sciences perhaps? Searching for like items among many similar items? Personal ontologies? Hmmm...