One of the definitions of information is "what is the most compact way of representing this data?".Ouch. I would say the two words mean the same thing, and if there is a more compact way of representing the data, then the device is not all data. I don't conclude that the data is not all information.
- If there is a more compact way of representing the data, then the data is not 100% information.
If data/information has mass, then one can get an efficiency measure of a device: the ratio of information mass to total mass. If information has no mass, then this is meaningless as it is always zero. If it is nonzero, is there a theoretical maximum ratio? If the limit is 1, then a given mass can be pure information. If the limit is zero (no mass to it), then a different measure is needed, such as bits per joule or something.
In this quote, you summed up 64 GBytes of blank USB drive in just 30 bytes: "a big consecutive swath of 0's".Hah! I said I had one of the newfangled 1TB drive.
That demonstrates that the visible* information content of a blank USB is pretty lowIndeed. The contents of the drive could be crammed into a zip file with only a few bytes. Not so if filled with white noise. Is that information, or is the library of interesting stuff more information that a terabyte of noise? There are those who say it's all noise until you know how to interpret it, but that's wrong I think. There are language experts that can look at writing or those 'speaking in tongues' and can tell if it has content vs just noise. You can distinguish the information even if you cannot decipher it yet.
I know a USB drive has some internal content which is not externally visible, like bad block maps, that does convey information to a blank USB drive...Besides the point here. Yes, they have that, but that is part of how it works, not part of the information whose function it is to store.