Taxonomy of a computer

By Eric Lau


Four kilobytes. That's the amount of disk space parse.js uses on my computer.

parse.js is the program I wrote to calculate the disk space that every file on my computer takes up.

The blue rectangle to the left shows the amount of space parse.js takes up. The rectangle is blue to signify that I, myself, wrote/created the file.

Lets zoom out to look at everything in the same folder as parse.js. The folder uses 360 megabytes, 90,000 times more disk space than parse.js.

The two large green rectangles are data files. Those data files were generated by parse.js and I use them to create this visualization.

The gray rectangle represents files that don't come from my own making. In this instance, the gray rectangle shows files used for version control.

The red rectangle also represents files that don't come from my own making, but specifically open source software that I use for programming.

Hover over each rectangle to get information about the file's name and disk usage.

As we zoom out further, we reach the projects folder, which I use to hold several of my personal and academic projects.

We can see some rectangles with lighter opacity. This helps us distinguish files from the previous zoom level.

The largest folders here are from messenger-data-viz, a personal project where I analyzed several years of my Facebook Messenger conversations.

Zooming out further, we reach the workspace folder, the folder I use to house all of the programming I do (school, work, personal, etc).

As we've seen from the other zoom levels, the biggest files involved in my work are usually data files and open source software dependencies.

At last, we zoom all the way out to my entire computer. I've used 83 gigabytes of disk space.

Of those 83 gigabytes, I'd only consider around 10 gigabytes to be really my own files.

Over 60 gigabytes are represented by a vast sea of gray rectangles. At least another 10 gigabytes are files from open source software and around 3 gigabytes are data files.