There is some interesting information on The Refrigerator Door. One list to catch my eye was the origins of some of the common prefixes we use:
- Kilo comes from the Greek khiloi and means, curiously enough, 1000. It is interesting enough, the only prefix with a direct numerical meaning (and a different meaning for data and everything else)
- Mega comes from the Greek mega meaning "great", as in "Alexandros O Megas" (Alexander the Great).
- Giga comes from Latin gigas meaning "giant".
- Tera comes from Greek teras meaning "monster".
- Peta comes from the Greek pente meaning five. This is the fifth prefix (for 10005).
- Exa comes from Greek hex meaning six. This is the sixth prefix (for 10006).
- Zetta, often mistaken for the Greek Zeta, is the last letter of the Latin alphabet.
- Yotta is the penultimate (next to last) letter of the Latin alphabet.
There is a good attempt to describe data sizes in the “How Much Data is That” page but it does show how difficult this task is without relying on mathematical symbols.
Although it’s not ‘Technology’ (other than the MIT link) I also like the ‘Sunscreen’ speech. Read the first 3 paragraphs, I sure that they will hook you to the rest.