Occasionally a request for information will catch my eye, probably because it fits within my areas of (so-called) expertise as far as lottery games and math is concerned. So be it here. Someone asked for an analysis on the UK Thunderball game (5/34+1/14 matrix, 3,895,584 possibilities), I picked it up and it quickly grew into a monster. The requestor wanted to know how many times (or what were the chances of) a rightmost number would be duplicated in any draw. Taking into consideration that the numbers 1 through 4 would appear more often than 5 through 0, as the matrix indicates, I wrote some code and I was off to the races. He got his answers, and more. I took the opportunity to give some spreadsheet software some exercise and, with the help of a macro-writing friend, proved that what I had gotten as a result of the programming was correct. Really a nice piece of work if I do say so myself.
But it makes me wonder - the Excel spreadsheet containing all the possible results for this lottery took 219 Mb of disk space - not a lot when my (2-1/2 year) old computer has 1 Gb RAM and a 75 Gb hard drive of which less than a third is filled - for now. I view 500 Mb spreadsheets as an occasional replacement for full-scale databases, depending on requirements. But this sort of thing leaves those with computers containing only (!) 256 Mb RAM in the lurch and out of the picture.
My first office PC, back in 1989, had 540K RAM and a 20 Mb hard drive - which I filled in 6 weeks. Ain't modern technology wonderful?
And yet there are now USB-powered and -controlled transferrable hard disks with capacities of up to 250 Gb. So long floppies, so long CD R/Ws? We can talk.....
Who knows what the future may hold?