Return of the sneakernet?

Ages ago (pre-1990), most computers weren't connected to networks. You had to use sneakernet to transfer files — put them on a floppy disk, and walk to the other computer (in your sneakers).

The rise of networking killed off sneakernet, but maybe only temporarily. Rasmus Fleischer writes in The Future of Copyright:

The capacity of portable storage devices is increasing exponentially, much faster than Internet bandwidth, according to a principle known as "Kryder's Law". The information in our pockets yesterday was measured in megabytes, today in gigabytes, tomorrow in terabytes and in a few years probably in petabytes (an incredible amount of data). Within 10-15 years a cheap pocket-size media player will probably be able to store all recorded music that has ever been released — ready for direct copying to another person's device.

In other words: The sneakernet will come back if needed. "I believe this is a 'wild card' that most people in the music industry are not seeing at all," writes Swedish filesharing researcher Daniel Johansson. "When music fans can say, 'I have all the music from 1950-2010, do you want a copy?' — what kind of business models will be viable in such a reality?"

Regardless of the mistakes the recording industry is making, I suspect the sneakernet will come back, at least for transferring large amounts of content.

This reminds me of this quote I first heard in the mid-90's: "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon filled with CDs."

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