Last week, I read the book Managing Gigabytes by Witten, Moffat, and Bell. It's about storing and retrieving huge repositories of data.
This week, I am reading Trilobite! (Eyewitness to Evolution) by Richard Fortey. It's about trilobites, the prehistoric critters.
This, of course, begs the question: What is the difference between a gigabyte and a trilobite?
- A gigabyte is a K of megabytes--about 109 bytes. "Trilobite" sounds kind of like "A trillion bites", which in the US&A is about 1012 bites. Advantage: Trilobite
- One half of a gigabyte is a giganybble. One eighth of a trilobite is like a trilobite over eight; and that is like a trilobite overate; which is more than a nibble, but much much less than a giganybble. Advantage: Gigabyte
- A word-based Huffman encoding can compress a gigabyte of text into much less space. Intense geological pressure can compress a trilobite into a fossil. While this takes less space than the original critter, it is a very lossy transformation. Advantage: Gigabyte
- Retrieving a gigabyte of information from storage involves a fast index lookup and also decompression. Retrieving a trilobite from the surrounding rock involves a hammer. Advantage: Trilobite
Tags: animal ; book ; programming
Labels: book, programming