It has been over a month since I purchased 20G of disk space from Google for $5 per year. Given that a relatively cheap 32G USB drive is being sold for €19 this is a bargain (including the risk of not being able to access my stuff over the network).
The reason I bought space from Google, was because I wanted to upload “My Documents” (PDF mostly) to a single place where I could access it from any computer I work from and always be in sync. By the way, for non-documents I am using MyNetworkFolders.
But here is where the Paradox of Choice emerges: In my “Books” directory I see over 200 ebooks (Math and CS-Math related mostly). They are either O’Reilly titles (including a few from Apress less than 20) or interesting books that have been made available online. Picking them up and filing them in a directory is quick and easy (Hey a book on Optimization, another on Topology, etc let’s keep a copy around). Can you imagine the actual space that 200+ hundred books would occupy? Would the bookshelf cost $5 per year? But then again how many of these books will I ever manage to read in my lifetime? At least it seems that sometimes when someone has a question, the answer may have already been downloaded.
The speed and easiness of the delivery are making us somewhat less picky (or alter the way we research before grabbing a book). I was having a similar discussion with a friend who is a professional photographer and he observes that people click far too many (digital) photographs which they file away and forget, as opposed to taking the time and shooting less photographs (because film was expensive, developing took time, etc) which they enjoyed viewing more. As Ashby said “only variety can destroy variety“.