Thing-Explainer is a book being written by XKCD’s Randall Munroe which tries to explain complex concepts and objects – using only the 1000 most common words in English.
He released is writing tool “Simple Writer” today which makes sure he doesn’t use an “uncommon” word, and I *had* to try it. After being disappointed by “Little Red Riding Hood” using common language, I decided to turn up the heat a bit and re-write the Wikipedia entry on Hard Disk Drives…
It’s actually really, really hard in spots.
A spinning drive, “hard drive”, hard plate drives or fixed plate is a information keeping thing used for storing and getting computer information using one or more hard fast spinning plates coated with special stuff that keeps information. The plates are paired with special heads put on a moving arm which goes up and down, which read and write information to the plate surfaces. Information is read in a from anywhere it finds it, meaning that single blocks of information can be stored or read in any order rather than one-by-one. Spinning Plates keep stored information even when powered off.
Made by World Business Machines in 1956, Hard Plates became the most used runner-up information keeping thing for not-different computers by early 1960. Made better over time, Hard Plates have stuck with this position into todays big computers and personal computers. More than 200 companies have made Hard Plate things, though most of them are made by other companies. World wide spinning plate money gatherings were US $32000000000 in 2013, down 3% from 2012.
The main points of interest of plate drives are how much they can hold, and how fast it can read and write. How much it can keep is written in number-letters telling us how many 1000’s it can hold. In most cases, most of what it can hold is not for people because it is used by the map of things in the system and the thing that makes the computer do stuff, and sometimes built in mirrors of the stuff in case things go wrong and it has to be fixed. How fast they can go is kept by the time needed to move the heads reading stuff to a track or plate (usual look time) and the time it takes for the wanted part to move under the head (usual time until it gets where you want it, which is held back by how quick it can spin around each minute), and finally how quickly the stuff is pulled (read time).
The two most usual forms for todays spinning plates are 3.5 fingers wide for tall personal computers, and 2.5 fingers for small flat computers. Hard plates are joined to systems by information sharing lines such with different ways of sharing the information.
As of 2015, the main other way of keeping information is flash memory in the form of drives that do not spin, which are quicker at sharing information, less chance of breaking, and takes less time to find information, but spinning drives remain the main way for keeping stuff because it is less money to keep things on the drives. However, drives that do not spin are taking over spinning drives where being quick, eating power, and less problems are more important.