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free storage for grads?
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- Subject: free storage for grads?
- From: "James J. O'Donnell" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2011 21:04:49 EDT
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Joe, In the 1984 novel Neuromancer, in which William Gibson invented the term "cyberspace", he had a thriller plot that depended on the maguffin (Hitchcock's word) being kept away from the bad guys because it was so valuable and so powerful. Conventional enough, but it kind of spoils for you when you read it now because in this case the object of such immense value and power set centuries in the future was a memory chip for a computer that held TWO WHOLE MEGABYTES. Oops. I thought of this when I read your post about the UNC school offering lifetime mass storage for its graduates. It's a device to get them to stay connected with their old school, get their online professional continuing ed there, send their kids, etc., etc. Somebody's probably figured out it wouldn't cost that much and what the heck, it could create real brand loyalty. Reminds me of a dean 15 years ago who wanted his dental school to offer a lifetime warranty on the degree -- come back and top it up whenever you need to was the idea. The only way we'll know this is a good idea is if it works -- but the odd downside risk is that it's a waste of time. What if oodles of gigabytes of storage turns out to be the cheapest commodity service, built in to the electrical grid or suchlike, too cheap to price? (Think what's happened to flash pens and how quickly they went from being black magic to, now, pocket clutter that makes it hard to find a quarter when you need one and who remembers what's on that one anyway?) On the other hand, if it turns out to have real value, then it has real cost. That's the way the risk on this works: either you're wasting your time or you're committing substantial future value for uncertain outcome. If I knew any senior academic administrators, I think I'd tell them to give this one a medium hello at best. Jim O'Donnell Georgetown U.
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