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No More Hard Drives

  1. Feb 26, 2005 #1
    This Austin company may have the future of computing: no more hard drives
    KXAN.com - Nano Chip Research In Austin
    http://www.kxan.com/Global/story.as...34&nav=0s3dWBSJ [Broken]

    Applied Nanotech Inc. has signed a research and development agreement with Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. in April of 04.
    Applied Nanotech also conducts research on carbon nanotubes.

    Austin-based SI Diamond Technology [OTC BB: SIDT] is a holding company for Applied Nanotech and for Austin's Electronic Billboard Technology Inc., which develops electronic signs.

    And here is a much broader discussionof NNPP (formaly SIDT):

    Nano-Proprietary Inc - OTC BB: NNPP


    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 26, 2005 #2
    Yes, delisted companies always have the most promising technology breakthroughs.
  4. Feb 28, 2005 #3


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    The first link is bad. But, the general concept of a hard drive free computer is an interesting one, which has been around for a long time. There are several alternative for data storage.

    In the early 1980s, there was a huge debate over the dumb terminal v. the decentralized system where individual PCs had data, back at the end of the mainframe era. I remember going to a local university and using dumb terminals back hwen the most powerful PC you could get was a TRS 80, a build it yourself Sinclair, or an Apple II.

    Today, most large corporate environments and law firms use a variant on the dumb terminal. The vast majority of data is on a LAN Server or in the case of the college where I work, on a Internet accessable server. Desk top computers typically have little more than an operating system and off the shelf applications on them. The only thing personal left there are your non-work related files (billing disputes with the phone company type of thing) and your "preference" files. The dumb terminal trend seems to be making a come back.

    Java script is another step towards the dumb terminal, where even applications have most of their data remotely stored.

    Another alternative is to put all worthwhile data on removable media. Some of the first PCs kept even operating software on removable media (floppies back then), and there is no obvious reason why this couldn't happen again. This was the norm when I was in college, as you never knew which computer in the lab you would get to use and the network wasn't very sophisticated. Later, in graduate school, most data was hosted on a university server.

    A mix of the first and second options which is becoming popular is to have data on a central server with incredibly long passwords, and then to store the passwords on a keyring sized USB flash drive or the equivalent (possibly itself protected with a biometric key like a finger print swipe).

    A third choice is to actually store data on a local PC on a hard drive, the current paradigm, but one that could easily fade away. Why have a hard drive and a CD when you can manage with just one? Yes, a hard drive gives you dozens of gigabytes, while most removable storage gives you only one gigabyte, but even with current technology there is no reason why applications and data files have to be so data hungry. One doesn't have to be terribly thrifty in designing an operating system to get an acceptable product to fit into 50 megabytes or so of storage capacity, and one can likewise build an office suite that isn't so memory hungry.

    The virtue of a dumb terminal, be it through removable data or remote storage, is that it drives down hardware prices in a competitive market, and allows for greater flexibility. If dumb terminals became as common as telephones and televisions, you wouldn't have to lug your laptop through airports on business trips or to and from work, or waste time harmonizing the files on your home and work computers. Everyone with a hotmail account can recognize the convenience in that.

    The removable media approach is also a big boost to privacy. No one, not your spouse, or your kids, or your boss, or an internet hacker, can snoop data that is on a CD in your coat pocket.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2005
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