SSDs – my only worry

While I’m really excited about the future of computing in an SSD-based world, there’s one thing that scares me: as SSDs start to become ubiquitous, software developers will start to use them all the time.

Which means that applications for users running machines with old-fashioned spinning drives will get slower and slower.

I have a g4 powerbook. It was perfectly fine in its day. It’s still usable, but … it’s getting slower. It’s just a matter of perception. Every now and again software gets updated. A new version of firefox, apple updates, whatever. But the changes more and more assume a faster pc with more memory. The overall effect is that the pc slows down.

It’ll be much more pronounced with SSDs: as developers stop viscerally feeling the cost of each I/O, they’ll use more. I wonder if this effect mightn’t slaughter spinning drives very quickly, quicker than you’d otherwise think.

It’s a shame: hard drive manufacturers have done so much for us. But they’re doomed. As doomed as tape makers and floppy disk makers. There’ll still be a niche, but it’ll go from mainstream to niche in maybe as little as a year.

By 2011, it might not even be possible to buy a laptop with a spinning drive. Not even at the bargain basement.


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