Dear Squeak and Blat,

Help! I'm loosing my mind! I try to download some neat movies from the Internet on how to assemble bassoons and oboes and I keep getting this message saying that I don't have enough room. My uncle Sid from Spillville sells clocks (distant cousin to the famous Bily brothers of clock-making fame) and he uses computers too. He says that I need more RAM chips or something. I'm confused and frustrated! I have this cool New World PC computer but it's not helping me much.

Antonin D.  



First off, tell Sid in Spillville to stick to clocks and not give computer advice. You do need memory, but not RAM. RAM stands for "random access memory" and is the kind of memory that helps your computer run itself and applications that you want to use.

The kind of memory you want is storage memory. You just need more room on your hard drive to save those neat movies! You probably have filled up your hard drive with applications and files from your previous work and now you don't have the space for all your new Internet files that you want to save. Here are a few options. Dave might have other ideas:

1. Go through your hard drive and remove files. You probably have a lot of stuff you don't need. Stuff you think you may need sometime can be copied off to floppies for later use.

2. Replace your old hard drive with a bigger one. This is kind of extreme, but new drives are really cheap. You can buy an internal 1 gigabyte drive now for less than $400. You can even buy a case to put your old hard drive in if you want to still use it.

Relax Antonin. You'll be downloading those movies before you know it!



Antonin, isn't Spillville in Iowa? There were lots of chips around there the last time I drove through Iowa. Probably not silicon chips, however.

Peter's advice is on target, but there's more than one way to throw a chip or a hard drive. I like these portable drives that have various names like Syquest, Zip, Jaz, and MO opticals. If you are doing lots of multimedia work like digital movies or digital audio, you never have enough room. A single movie or audio clip can use up 10 mb easily.

These portable drives let you keep buying new cartridges or disks as your needs expand. One of the oldest is the Syquest drive with 44 or 88 megabytes of storage. They are about 5" square in size. Then came the Magneto Opticals or MO drives. These are about the size of a 3.5" floppy but a little thicker and use laser technology like on CD discs. You can store from 120 up to 240 megabytes or more on these. After the MOs came Iomega's Zip drive, a very light, portable drive that uses 3.5" disks with a unique technology to store 100 mb per disk. These were a real break through because they sell for under $200 for the drive and $15-20 for new disks. Iomega then came along with the Jaz drive (you can tell that a musician didn't create the name for this drive; it really is only one "z"!) for $500 with a portable cartridge disk that holds 1 gigabyte of storage with additional cartridges for $125 or so.

So, Antonin, that gives you lots of options to consider. For a low budget option, go with the Zips. If you've more money to spend and need speed as well as lots of storage, go with the MOs or the Jaz! Your uncle Sid knows how popular those traveling alarm clocks are for shear portability. The Bily brothers, like Pete, probably consider them low-class compared to the fine, quality clockworks and disk drives with precision and speed.

1441 Last modified on November 22, 2013
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