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