Jakob Nielsen, web usability guru, has written a speculative article on what the next 30 years in computing will bring (found on Slashdot). He suggests that, in about 25 years, a personal computer will have enough hard disk space to record every second of your life in HDTV-quality video.
That got me thinking – you can get a lot of the benefits of that system by recording your whole life in audio. And you’d only need to record your waking moments (snoring doesn’t really make for fascinating listening.)
Speex can record perfectly intelligible voice at 8 kbit sec-1, which is 1KB sec-1. 60 x 60 x 16 x 365 x 80 = 1,681,920,000 seconds in a life. It all shakes out at 1,681GB.
That’s not actually very much. If your 20GB iPod implemented Speex compression, you’d only have to get a new one (or dump the data to DVD) every year. This technology is actually here today; all it needs is the right UI. More on that later.