Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Byte or Bite?

I remember how excited I was when, in 1986, I bought the school's first hard drive. At 25 megabytes big, it eliminated having to use those cumbersome 3.5 megabyte "floppies" to store computer information. At the time I felt decadent thinking, "We'll never run out of storage. Who will ever need 25 megabytes of storage?" Huh! Slowly but surely, megabytes were overwritten by gigabytes and now we are hearing terrabyte more frequently.

Only bytes away, a front page article in the Sunday NYTimes "Charging by the Byte to Curb Internet Traffic" will most assuredly speed up the desire to gather information faster. Broadband carriers are angling to charge Internet users for the amount of gigabytes used on the WWW. I predict that Time Warner, Comcast, etc. will get away with it for a while but will soon have to give into the merchants, vendors, and consumers who will insist that electronic commerce and information must be free.