Miniaturization and Godzillabytes

How small is small?  Really small?  Miniature?  Really miniature?

Yesterday, somebody asked about a “little amp” that can be attached to a belt.  He described it as “just plug in a guitar, and you have music on the go.”

“Are you interested in a headphone amp?” 

“No, I want something that can be heard without headphones.”

Scurrying through a catalog and the Musician’s Friend website revealed several alternatives.  Not much thought was needed to determine that just how small the “mini amp” could be was dictated by a quarter-inch guitar plug and speaker size. 

Why somebody would want to play music through a 2-inch speaker was puzzling.  Intuitively, we all know that a 2-inch speaker cannot approach two 12-inch speakers in sound quality or resonance.  Otherwise, nobody would need 1,000 watts driving 15-inch speakers in the back of a car to let us know what music he likes.  We would hear him just fine at the intersection with 2-inch speakers.

That was yesterday.  This morning, I struck up a conversation with a perfect stranger.  Perhaps because we were in the idyllic dairy country of California’s north coast, the conversation began with his observation of the absence of airplanes, freeways, busy streets, and city noise.  Then it shifted to poor internet connectivity and how the rapidity of communication threatens reflective thought. 

For awhile, we were a couple of old folks ruminating about the days when you could say, “Mail it to me, and I’ll get back to you.”  That really meant, “I need to think about it.”

Then the stranger segued into miniaturization, the conductivity of copper, and present day limits on computer storage.  Of course, I cannot tell you what a terabyte is; I have no idea of what terabytes, gigabytes, or godzillabytes mean to computer operations. 

The conductivity of copper?  Hey, I took Russian Literature to avoid Chemistry and Physics and managed to retain nothing.

Miniaturization.  That was within my grasp.  After all, I checked out “mini amps” the day before.  The stranger explained to me that digital cameras, smart phones, and other electronic gadgets can be made “infinitesimally small.”  “Infinitesimally small”!

Then, he hit on something that I understood.  “But they can’t because they are limited by the size of the human finger.”  Whew! 

Eschewing the opportunity to suggest that the human finger might evolve into a stylus size and shape to adapt to miniaturization, I excused myself with, “Interesting.  But I have to meet some friends for breakfast.  You have a nice day.”

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