Friday, March 24, 2006

What We Really Own

In his most recent blogpost, Raymond Chen thirdhands an expression I now fourthhand to you:
you don't really own anything you can't carry at a dead run while firing an AK-47 over your shoulder.
Ha ha, we think; how glib.  But what about data?  One thing you can carry at a dead run while firing an AK-47 over your shoulder is passwords, and the mobile phone in your pocket -- you know, the one with more compute power and local storage than the entire WORLD 35 years ago -- probably doesn't slow you down that much.  Not to mention the fact that, as long as the war you're in the middle of isn't global, you probably have some safe (virtual) place to store a bunch more bits.  Greg Papadopoulos, in a spiel I attended, made the analogy between data storage and money storage.  Nowadays, it's totally obvious that the safest place for your retirement nest egg is a bank and not your mattress.  But not only was that not always the case in the past, but it took people's perception a bit of time to catch up to the reality that yes, banks are safer.  Not always more convenient, but safer.  And the money's no less yours for you not having actual specie in your posession.

And the same thing goes for data, we just don't all know it yet.

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