The New York Times Sunday magazine section yesterday featured articles about Infrastructure. It contained a fascinating article about data infrastructure, called "Data Center Overload", with photographs of some data repositories: large, powerful, energy-intensive, always-on and out-of-sight data centers that run enormously scaled software applications with millions of users.
In the same magazine there was an article by Virginia Heffernan entitled "The Great Crash" describing what happened when her laptop recently crashed. She lost everything. She even sent it to Drive Savers, a data-recovery court of last resort, with no success. She reports that "the dull wooziness of having no data is hard to describe. I’d call mine flulike symptoms. The world seemed like a far-off place; I felt disassociated from it, in exile. There seemed to be nothing to me: no photos, no music, no letters, no journals, no documents."