20 May 2010
SETI League
PriUPS Project

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"Yesterday's" blog, already a temporal stretch, ended with this paragraph.

Although I promised "action" in the form of beseeching the external drive manufacturers to consider this, I've deferred epistolary activities until I finished writing part two, whose end we have just reached.  I'll do it shortly.

As you can see, "shortly" is as fluid a concept as "yesterday" for me.  But Western Civilization has been around longer than I have, and I trust it to carry on regardless of my dilatory behavior.  Here are the addresses of the drive manufacturers' executives whom I have importuned to consider my proposal. 

Seagate Technology
920 Disc Drive
Scotts Valley, CA 95066

John F. Coyne

Western Digital Corporation
Lake Forest Drive
Lake Forest,
CA  92630-7741

Steve Milligan
President and CEO

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies
3403 Yerba Buena Road
San Jose, California 95135

Alex Koyshman
Press Contact

Fantom (MicroNet Technology)
20525 Manhattan Pl
Torrance, CA 90501

Peter Wharton
Vice President, Marketing

IOmega Div. of EMC
3721 Valley Centre Drive, Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92130

IOmega Div. of EMC
4059 South 1900 West
Roy, UT 84067

Philippe Spruch
Chairman of the Board of Directors/General Manager

Minh Le
Director of Marketing

22985 NW Evergreen Parkway
Hillsboro, OR 97124

And Here Is What I Wrote To Them

Dear Insert Name Here:

I have a marketing suggestion for you, one that will give your disk drives a competitive advantage and, not so coincidentally, benefit the indispensible and non-profit Wikipedia foundation.  It may also help continue the existence of Western civilization.  I hasten to add that I personally have no pecuniary interest in this suggestion and expect nothing from anyone if you implement it.

As external hard drives expand into the terabyte territory, most users without extensive video collections may never come close to filling them, even if used for multiple backups.  It would not impede your customer's mission if you, the manufacturer, were to add approximately 50GB of extremely useful data to the drive before shipping.  What data?  Wikipedia!  The whole thing.  With that resource available to the user, and the software to access it, your disk drive would not just be a backup, it would be a repository of the knowledge of mankind.  If the internet (for whatever reason) becomes unavailable, at least people whose social networks become inaccessible wouldn't be sitting at their computers with nothing to read.  Even in a less extreme case, Wikipedia articles could be downloaded from your drive, which would reduce internet bandwidth usage, a boon for everyone.

If you add the Wikipedia to your drive, who benefits?

  • You do.  You are not just selling a hard drive, you are selling a valuable learning and reference tool.  You can charge for this.

  • Wikipedia does.  Although its articles are in the public domain, one would hope that your advertising would include "$5 donation to Wikipedia for each drive sold" or, of course, whatever amount is determined to be appropriate.  Even if the amount is $0.00, their expense for internet bandwidth is reduced.

  • Your customers do.  I would love to have guaranteed access to Wikipedia even if my normally reliable internet connection is broken.  How much more valuable to people with slow, unreliable, or even non-existent connections?

  • Everyone does.  Let's face it.  The internet is new, and you can read a different article every day about how it can be and is being compromised.  If there's a cyber-disaster or EMP attack, wouldn't it be nice not to be cut off from our hard-won knowledge?

If you think this suggestion has merit for you company, I encourage you to contact Wikipedia and discuss an arrangement.  Again, their project is in the public domain, and any incremental income or reduced expense to their foundation would be most welcome.  I have written more detailed thoughts on this.  You can find them at PriUPS.com/riklblog/may10/100504-western-civ-wikipedia.htm .

Yours truly,

Richard Factor

If I have any pro- or anti-gress to report, you know where you'll find it.

"Get Me To The World On Time"
The Electric Prunes





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"Just hand over all your chocolate and no one gets hurt" T-shirt
Richard Factor

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