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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Tech

Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old October 10 2012, 12:53 AM   #1
Ensign Ricky
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Memory Tape Compacity

So, how many terabytes does a memory tape hold? 4? 8?

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Old October 10 2012, 02:58 AM   #2
scotpens
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Re: Memory Tape Compacity

I don't believe there's ever been a canon answer to that question. For all we know, the method of storing data in the 23rd century may be completely different from how we do it today. The concept of "bytes," "megabytes," "terabytes," etc. may be totally meaningless.
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Old October 10 2012, 03:22 AM   #3
Tiberius
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Re: Memory Tape Compacity

Extremely advanced compression algorithms.
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Old October 10 2012, 06:30 AM   #4
Albertese
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Re: Memory Tape Compacity

Any realistic guess would seem unreasonably high by today's standards and yet laughably small by tomorrow's.

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Old October 10 2012, 06:33 AM   #5
Tiberius
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Re: Memory Tape Compacity

[DrEvil]They contain ONE MILLION BITS!!!!!

*Evil laughter*

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Old October 10 2012, 07:35 AM   #6
Chris3123
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Re: Memory Tape Compacity

My Son the Vampire wrote: View Post
For all we know, the method of storing data in the 23rd century may be completely different from how we do it today. The concept of "bytes," "megabytes," "terabytes," etc. may be totally meaningless.
Data and Wesley have mentioned "bits" and "gigabytes", respectively, in reference to 24th century computer systems, so it's safe to say such terms were also in use a century earlier.
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Old October 10 2012, 01:25 PM   #7
Forbin
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Re: Memory Tape Compacity

So does "compacity" refer to how much it can hold, or how physically small it is?
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Old October 10 2012, 01:29 PM   #8
Tiberius
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Re: Memory Tape Compacity

Chris3123 wrote: View Post
My Son the Vampire wrote: View Post
For all we know, the method of storing data in the 23rd century may be completely different from how we do it today. The concept of "bytes," "megabytes," "terabytes," etc. may be totally meaningless.
Data and Wesley have mentioned "bits" and "gigabytes", respectively, in reference to 24th century computer systems, so it's safe to say such terms were also in use a century earlier.
But it doesn't follow that the units were being used in 23rd century computers.
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Old October 10 2012, 02:27 PM   #9
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Memory Tape Compacity

Chris3123 wrote: View Post
My Son the Vampire wrote: View Post
For all we know, the method of storing data in the 23rd century may be completely different from how we do it today. The concept of "bytes," "megabytes," "terabytes," etc. may be totally meaningless.
Data and Wesley have mentioned "bits" and "gigabytes", respectively, in reference to 24th century computer systems, so it's safe to say such terms were also in use a century earlier.
The 22nd century Enterprise NX-01 measured stored data in XB.
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Old October 10 2012, 06:54 PM   #10
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Re: Memory Tape Compacity

In the first seasons of TNG, they did use "bits" here and there. I think later Trek shows used "-quads" (e.g. gigaquads, teraquads) simply to avoid the whole "this computer can hold an entire TERABYTE of data!" problem that comes with technology ramping up exponentially in a matter of decades.
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Old October 10 2012, 07:09 PM   #11
SchwEnt
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Re: Memory Tape Compacity

I'll also suggest that there needn't be some super-giant maximum capacity to dwarf our standards today.

Just as we have different size SD cards and USB drives, I'll bet there are varying sizes in ST. And some of them are probably just small to average size capacity, appropriate for whatever data it holds.

Like today, not every micro SD card is 64GB. Some are much smaller. Not every device needs to be the maximum technological state of the art. Same with ST.
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Old October 11 2012, 12:25 AM   #12
Wingsley
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Re: Memory Tape Compacity

I agree with the general line of discussion in this thread thus far that it is best not to measure the capacity of data stored on a TOS Enterprise data wafer in terms of "bytes", "terabytes", or even "exabytes". The only comparison that makes any sense would be that these cards are very vaguely similar to today's SD camera cards, only they would naturally have zillions of times better storage capacity, along with similar interface bandwidth to allow nearly instantaneous data transfer, and that each wafer could probably hold data for very long periods of time without any data loss due to degradation or environmental effects.

In "Court Martial", "Balance of Terror", "Friday's Child" "The Lights of Zetar" and "Wink of an Eye", (to name a few) we saw Starfleet personnel using these wafers to store (presumably) complete personnel bio files, detailed sensor data, and even super-high-def video recordings. So it is safe to say that, just as a modern laptop, tablet or SLR camera packs more computing power than the astronauts took with them on all of the Apollo moon missions combined, a single wafer could offer superior storage capacity, transferability and durability than any modern server farm could.

And a tricorder or a communicator could compute faster and more powerfully than any of today's supercomputers could. All rhetoric I know, but that's the only possible frame of reference. And if the human race is still prospering 300 years from now (barring any PLANET OF THE APES scenarios), whether we have faster-than-light spaceships or not, you can bet these musings about computers will hold true.
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Old October 13 2012, 07:51 AM   #13
scotpens
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Re: Memory Tape Compacity

Forbin wrote: View Post
So does "compacity" refer to how much it can hold, or how physically small it is?
It's a (possibly inadvertent) portmanteau, like "refudiate."

Apparently it's also a real word, though not in the sense the OP meant.
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