Friday, December 18, 2009

Will 22 Million E-mails Fit A Flash Drive?

The 22 million White House e-mails from March 2003 to October 2005 that somehow got mislaid during the Bush Administration got 'found' again in January - just before he left office. Found hiding in tape vaults in warehouses in caves, most likely. And now the courts have said that they must be read and archived. According to the Associated Press,
"The government now can find and search 22 million more e-mails than it could in late 2005 and the settlement means that the Obama administration will restore 94 calendar days of e-mail from backup tape, said Kristen Lejnieks, an attorney representing the National Security Archive."
How big are these emails? What is their average size? Would they fit a jump drive?

A full page of typed paper of 50 lines at 80 characters each contains 4000 characters. This page of text will fit in 4 kilobytes of storage space. This is not saved as an image, but as a text file in the ASCII format. An ASCII file is readable in Microsoft's WordPad and is searchable in ordinary databases.

Suppose these emails are three pages long, on the average, including headers. An average message then requires 12 kilobytes of storage space.

22,000,000 messages would require 264,000,000,000 bytes of space - 264 gigabytes. All the emails would fit very nicely on a portable 32o gig drive. These drives cost $59.95 today and are so small they will soon be off the market. Sold only for use as delivery media.

Would you pay $149.95 for the inside scoop on the Bush boogie-man years? How about the Library Edition with indexes? Would you like the plain cloth outer-box cover or prefer the Corinthian Leather? Sign with my pen or yours? Yes, you can keep it, oh sure. We give them as souvenirs.

Of course, only 94 days will be released at first. 3 months out of 32, roughly. Ten percent. And that will be cut in half by messages removed due to security issues. So only five percent of the 264 gigabyes will be released within the next few years.

That's 13 gigabytes. Fits on a 16 gig flash drive. It will walk out the door.

The portability. The market. Would you like the Corinthian Leather flash drive?

We will give them as souvenirs.

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