archiving, digital vs. film

Started Oct 3, 2003 | Discussions thread
MennoB Contributing Member • Posts: 984
Re: For film disbelievers, I believe

toughluck wrote:

The streamer, or a 'streaming unit', using 8 mm film cartridges,

Eh, thats VIDEO cartridges. Nothing to do with film.

[snip long text]

6. it's digital, the cartridge is magnetically sealed, and comes in
a magnetic shield, so there is no possibility of wiping data.

Magnetically sealed or not doesnt really matter that much. Iron dioxide, as applied on the tapes in such cartridges, after a certain amount of time loses the (magnetically stored) information on it by NATURE. Nothing you can do about it.

cartridge also has a VERY simple mechanic system that cannot break,

Can not? Come on, all tape systems are vulnerable of tape breaking and tape damaging. Specially the narrow & ultra thin tapes used in 8mm systems. Also, since there's physically contact between media and reader (the tape heads) tapes wear out because of the polishing effect of the rotating scan heads. And besides that, anyone owning a VCR can tell you that a tape CAN break or be damaged quite easily.

and the tape is environmentally protected (to heat extremes, for

No its not. Not completely anyway. A tape cartridge simply can not be completely sealed as the tape has to be transported out of the cartridge, into the inner parts of the streamer during reading and writing. At that moment, when the streamer mechanism is faulty, it could brake or 'eat up' the tape. This can never happen on an optical reading system like cd/dvd.

Examples of use: service centres of GSM operators. All messaging
systems' messages, and operator billings are backed up on a
cartridge in monthly intervals.

The one and ONLY reason streamers are often preferred there is because of the immense storing capabilities. Not because it is more reliable. Becasue it isnt.

It is much preferred over any
compact disc.

But not over HD. Many systems you mention only use the streamer for the backup of large amount of data. For daily use they -of course- use the hard disks in their computers. BTW, in a lot of office environments DVD writers are used now for backing up. They usually do their automated job at night, when there's no activity in the office anyway, so speed of writing is of hardly any importance.

The lowest speed streamers have transfer speed of 10-20 MB/s.

That will be the WRITING speed, in a continuous flow. The read speed is MUCH slower, as the tape has to be advanced/prewinded to the place where the file to be read is positioned. Optical media have random read capabilities.

The major downside, aside from the price, is the definite need of a
SCSI interface (for internal streamers), or a Firewire (external

What are you talking about? There are plenty IDE streamers. For instance the popular HP Colorado 3000 is an IDE type.

And you
probably don't have a SCSI hard drive in your PC, so that means
lower transfer rates as well.

In what age do you live? Todays IDE hard drives can be virtually as fast as SCSI ones and dont heat up (like SCSI drives do). Face it, the golden days of SCSI are over, period.

The other downside is the media cost. A 10 GB storage unit costs
around $40-$50, which is much less than an HDD that size

I've seen plenty small capacity hard disks (like the 10 GB you mention) being sold for LESS than $40-$50

Of course, the price of streamer units should start dropping, and
companies should begin to introduce low-end streamer units equipped
with E-IDE/ATAPI interface in a few months, once the market for
such devices grows above the critical point - the market being
enthusiast photographers.

A streamer can be of use to store large quantities of data for back up, such as in an office environment. But it is clearly NO good for storing photo files.

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