Web/Tech


Humax PVR

I don’t know how I lived without this incredible box of tricks. It was invited into my life when my video recorder died just before Christmas after over a decade of providing televisual entertainment. Though expensive, it’s the business ! I can pause, rewind and move around in live TV; record two programs whilst watching a third; start watching a program that’s recording before it’s finished; one-press recording programming.. the list goes on. I can even download the recordings via USB to the PC and run a conversion utility to burn them to DVD.

It does everything bar make the tea, and when I need to do that I simply press pause and it’s ready to play when I get back – and not a second missed.

It’s amazing just how much technology moves on in the space of a few short years. Just a few years back, a 1Gb microdrive for a digital SLR was hundreds of pounds and the storage capacity seemed incredible.

Move forward to a few days ago, when I received a package containing a 2Gb pen drive which cost me the quite staggeringly small sum of £10.99. That pen, which is 3cm long and 0.5cm thick, contains half of the space available on the hard drive of this antiquated laptop which I’m using to type up this entry.

How on earth did we store all of our information and data before the advent of cheap flash memory ? I remember when a box of 10 full floppies was considered excessive, and they were only 1.44Mb each. Now they’re relics consigned to the dustbin of technological history, and we’re each probably carrying gadgets in our pockets capable of holding a combined total up to 60Gb: mobile with 1 or 2Gb miniSD memory, pen drive on a keychain and an iPod or mp3 player.

Where will it all end ? How much data do we each need to keep, personally ? What happens when a format becomes obsolete – will we spend our lives accumulating terabytes of data which we need to continuously transfer onto new formats to keep the data available ? Will we need counselling and feel a sense of loss or bereavement if we lose huge chunks of our stored lives through theft or media breakdown / failure ?

I think I’ll start reverting back to using the good old pen and a pad of paper, so that hundreds of years from now whatever I write might still be available without needing the requisite antique technology to extract the data in the first place. Your eyes will do just fine, and hopefully in a few hundred years we won’t have replaced them with something electronic !

As I age, I find myself forgetting things more frequently. Fortunately, the boffins in white lab coats have come up trumps with this little baby: the USB Memory Stick.

It’ll be my first April purchase…..