"Backing up 998,532 files."

I bought a new disk drive to use with my shiny new iMac, specifically for use with Time Machine. Picking out the right drive to buy was itself educational.

There’s a tendency in geek circles to succumb to what I call measurebation, which more or less means to compare products solely by their feature lists. You pick the product at your price point that has bigger numbers on it, and you’re done. The problem is that this approach often ignores the tangibles.

Yes, tangibles. Some commentators like to refer to attributes such as industrial design or build quality as “intangibles.” That is because they are stupid. Build quality is no less tangible than, say, CPU speed. It’s just harder to put on a box.

When selecting my backup drive, I had two specific tangible qualities, apart from price, in mind:

(1) It had to store “enough” data. How much data is “enough” was negotiable. (2) It had to be perfectly quiet. This was not negotiable.

The sweet spot in external hard-disk based storage right now, if you’re only looking at price and capacity, is a terabyte. Nearly every manufacturer makes a terabyte unit at what can only be described as an astonishingly low price. You can walk into your local Best Buy and walk out with more storage than we ever dreamed of in 1990.

The problem with these terabyte units is that most of them are really little RAID arrays of 2 500 Gb disks. 2 disks in one assembly means they put out more heat. That means they require more active cooling systems, such as fans. That means they are all, as near as I can tell, too loud for my purposes.

I eventually settled on a [Seagate FreeAgent Pro 750Gb drive](http://www.amazo n.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSeagate- FreeAgent-FireWire-External-ST307504FPA1E3-RK%2Fdp%2FB000NDBRKG%3Fie%3DUTF8%26 s%3Delectronics%26qid%3D1193325015%26sr%3D8-1&tag=theusualsuspepat&linkCode=ur 2&camp=1789&creative=9325)![](http://www.assoc- amazon.com/e/ir?t=theusualsuspepat&l=ur2&o=1). Manly men feel offended by this drive’s creative industrial design, decorative orange light, and trying-a-bit- too-hard “friendliness.” All I know is: it is dirt cheap, physically small and elegant, it worked out of the box with a minimum of fuss, and it is absolutely, beautifully, perfectly quiet.

If I wasn’t worried about getting saliva on my data, I would kiss it.

Amusingly, now that my monster video editing station is set up and configured, my camcorder has finally died the death. So it will be a little while before I can pick up a replacement and start making booze videos again. Sic transit gloria Canon.