Are you willing to let film die off? How do you really feel?

Started Aug 14, 2012 | Discussions thread
edu T Senior Member • Posts: 1,174
Re: Are digital copies easy?

RedFox88 wrote:

edu T wrote:

dherzstein wrote:

rattymouse wrote:

If you find photos on digital storage from 10-15 years ago, good luck trying to get those files back.

My oldest digital image files are just over 10 years old - back to my very first digital image. Somehow they made their way onto redundant 2TB HDDs! I have some DOC and TXT files dating back to 1986 (still readable) and they somehow found their way onto my windows 7 laptop!

That's because you've been constantly very diligent with your files for 26 years. But let's just suppose tonight you discover, inside a shoebox in the basement, a nice bunch of letters and poetry from 1986 that your late and beloved grandfather left recorded, unbeknownst to the family, on the removable media of choice back then… 5.25" floppy disks. THEN you'd need luck!

And that's only about the physical survival of the (already then) precarious magnetic medium and the present availability/connectivity of reading devices. You'd still need to worry about information encoding/formatting: hopefully your grandfather was writing using at least Word for DOS, not WordStar for CP/M or WordPerfect for Atari TOS.

This has been my viewpoint with those that think digital photo files are perfect archival elements. We aren't going to maintain and monitor our photo files throughout our whole live, most of us won't. There'll come a time after kids move out, fewer and fewer photos are taken, and retirement happens. You may even put computers out of use for just a phone. What will happen to a box of hard drives when your kids find them in the attic after you pass away? This is 20 years after you put them in the box. Will the data be in tact? Will any computers of the day be able to interface with the drives? Will there be software that can open the files?

I see the pace of technology accelerating. I can see the optical disc (CD, DVD, Blue-ray DVD) being ended soon in favor of a different medium. If that happens, your optical discs may not be readable by anything in 20 years. Same goes for hard drives. Interface cables/ports advance and most likely will be all wireless here soon. In 20 years you might not have computers with any ports to plug anything in except for the power cord!

Except that I heard that electromagnetic induction links have already been replacing power cords in appliances.

Where prints or slides in a box will still be prints and slides in 20 years that can be viewed within seconds of opening the box. Can't say the same about a box of hard drives and optical discs!

On a more serious but nevertheless ironic note, I just recalled a far-reaching and totally fascinating "Dead Media" cataloging/discussing project (whose curator was no one less than cyberpunk founding writer Bruce Sterling) only to find it updated January 4th... 2001!
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