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WhatTheFlux!
12-26-2013, 09:08 PM
So I had an interesting project today. Got a call from the second-hand store... normally I take apart and clean old sewing machines for them, and they turn them around. There is a market for old well-running machines.

Today's call involved a record-player in one of those MASSIVE old consoles We're talking LP turntable, big old radio and MASSIVE speakers in a wood dreadnought. They asked me if I could take a look at it and see if I could get the turntable working again.

Took me about an hour with a soldiering iron and some wire to replace the broken leads. Took another hour to figure out how to change the stylus. When I left it was playing some classic 45s from long ago.

It strikes me as odd that I can repair a machine from 50+ years ago and turn around and play a recording from the same era with very little effort... yet the MP3s I downloaded last year expired and I had to buy them again. It also strikes me as fundamentally odd that a 50 year old storage medium still has flawless playback while five year old CDs and DVDs are unplayable, my collection of floppy-disks is unreadable and I have a stack of broken thumb-drives that I can't access.

Don Young
12-26-2013, 09:39 PM
It is often preferable for something not to work in a digital manner such as "perfect or not at all". Aircraft engines are a good example!

Doozer
12-26-2013, 09:51 PM
There is a philosophy I have been preaching about lately,
in an attempt to get people to join my clan.
It is called Robust Technology.
Throw a candle off of a rooftop.
It will still work.
Run a book over with a truck.
It will still work.
These simple devices are robust by their nature.
They do not need an operating system or updates to run.
They are Robust Technology.
Like carburetors and Kettering points and condenser.
Robust.
I might not fall too far back and use a brace and bit and
ditch my drill press, but my drill press is 8 feet tall and
weighs more than a Hyundai.
Anyone want to join my clan and re-take society with
our robust technology? The asteriod is coming, ya know.

--Doozer

doctor demo
12-26-2013, 09:55 PM
It also strikes me as fundamentally odd that a 50 year old storage medium still has flawless playback while five year old CDs and DVDs are unplayable, my collection of floppy-disks is unreadable and I have a stack of broken thumb-drives that I can't access.

Yeah but, just try adding new information to that fifty year old storage medium and see how well that works.

Steve

WhatTheFlux!
12-26-2013, 10:06 PM
I can't add anything to my floppies either as my 5 1/4 inch drive broke. Nor can I do anything with the "shelf stable CD-RWs" I have because they crazed and delaminated.

doctor demo
12-26-2013, 10:08 PM
There is a philosophy I have been preaching about lately,
in an attempt to get people to join my clan.

Anyone want to join and re-take society with
our robust technology?

The asteriod is coming, ya know.

--Doozer

The only asteroids that concern me right now are the ones in Washington DC. Well that isn't entirely true there are a bunch of asteroids in State Govt. also that sorta piss me off on a regular basis too.

Steve

macona
12-26-2013, 10:51 PM
Treat those records like you are treating your flash drives and get back to me...

I have a flash drive that must be 7 years old now. It has been through the washer at least a dozen time. I lost it for about 6 months and my roommate found it on the side of the street and it went through the winter in rain and snow there. Still works perfectly.

Doozer
12-26-2013, 10:52 PM
FWIW... I have an Apple IIE with 5-1/4" floppies and whole bunch of
vintage arcade style games. The old Apple II is pretty robust.
Never a problem with it.

--D

Doc Nickel
12-27-2013, 01:16 AM
My grandmother has a collection of family photos stretching back, in many cases, over a hundred years. All perfectly accessible to anyone with reasonably functional eyes.

Where will your collection of digital camera photos be in a hundred years? Locked away on a USB drive, fifty years after computer makers dropped the USB format in favor of some kind of wireless connection? Locked in some format that went obsolete and unused ten generations of computer ago? Locked on an old hard drive that can no longer be safely powered up due to the grease hardening in the bearings- and even if it could, no one has the hardware to interface that old format anymore?

None of this is hyperbole. I have a perfectly-functional printer that is less then ten years old, that I can no longer use since it connects with a parallel port cable- and no PC maker has included a parallel port in four or five years. I have half a dozen old ZIP discs that I know I have some old data on, but I have no way to read them. Even finding an old ZIP drive isn't a fix, since the majority of them are no longer functional. I have several old IDE hard drives that I saved in order to archive the data. I can now only access IDE drives with a SATA-IDE adapter, or an old IDE external enclosure.

Old SmartMedia cards for digital cameras- you can still get card readers that have SM capability, but for how much longer? Nobody's bothered to manufacture SM cards for six or eight years.

The aforementioned floppies. I have stacks of them, including several that have some of my early digital artwork, some book and magazine articles I've written, and some early designs for various projects and inventions. Last I tried, I could only successfully read about one in three- and at the time, they were hardly six to eight years old.

Yes, I can, with dilligence, keep transferring and if necessary, updating storage mediums and formats, but what happens after I'm gone? A great-great-grandson stumbles across a box of old recordable CDs in a dusty attic somewhere around 2089. Will he be able to find a CD drive? Will the OS of the day be able to run it? Will the software recognize the format?

What happens when, in the wake of the NSA revelations, all the manufacturers start adding built-in encryption to their hardware and software? What if that loose hard drive requires the administrator password from the OS that created it?

Some people have theorized- with good justification- that future generations will see a "Great Gap" in recorded knowledge around this time. Formats and OS's are still very much in flux right now (witness how recently VHS tape was utterly ubiquitous) and so many people are recording so much of their lives to ephremal sources like "cloud" storage (will your grandchildren even know you had an account? Where to look for it? The password to access it? Will that company even still be in business?) or third-party sites like Facebook. (Again, will your posts and writings be available for your grandchildren in fifty years? I have letters my grandfather wrote while in Europe during WW2. Where's that Facebook post about the birth of your first child going to be in just twenty years when he has a kid of his own?)

Printed paper- both photos and writing- are, unfortunately, bulky to store, hard to search and difficult to organize. They're also almost immune to changes in formats, and if decent paper is used, more durable than most electronic mediums.

Doc.

boslab
12-27-2013, 02:22 AM
I have suffered at the hands of bespoke manufacturers of technology for years in the steel industry, LECO from the US was one of them, they make combustion analysers for carbon, Nitrogen, hydrogen and so forth, the machine is simple, heat the sample, draw off the gas, pas it through an infra red cell, display amount, ok simplistic but you get the idea, the machines have firmware versions in and on each board in the machine, they all have to be the same to work together, if a board fails, yes you get to replace them all!, you cant fix them yourself, you get to go to thier agent, who will fix the board, then charge you for a whole new set, a simple repair 25,000 USD, Service contract on top 100,000.
Thermo analytical same story, you buy a machine and find that they have dropped support for it after 3 years focing you to buy a new one as it cant be repaired as the firmware abruptly dies, almost as if its designed to, not that any manufacturer would date stamp a chip for failure, that would be improper wouldent it, imagine being able to predict when a chip would go tits up, its just ludicrous lol
How many products have "built in obsolescence" i wonder?
TVs, mp3 players, even electric toothbrush chargers seem to suddenly die, why?
Mark

darryl
12-27-2013, 02:50 AM
I remember the electrolytic capacitor fiasco a decade ago- made with a poor electrolyte and doomed to fail. Switching power supplies biting the dust, and often taking the device they power out of service for good. It's gonna be awfully hard to convince me that we haven't been sold down the river- in so many ways. We have certainly been fueling the electronics industry by gobbling up all these modern conveniences, but yeah, I believe there's a wave rolling along which takes the old stuff out of our hands and forces us to buy in again, and again-

I have one of the good old stereo systems. I have a turntable, cassette deck, tuner- remember those:) The rest of the gear also- amps, speakers, etc. All still works, though the cassette deck needs rubber parts now. Even that medium had a lifespan all but eclipsing that of our modern media. I know all my records will still play.

I found an AM radio kit amongst stuff my dad had. Tube model. I think I'm going to build it.

Circlip
12-27-2013, 05:10 AM
TVs, mp3 players, even electric toothbrush chargers seem to suddenly die, why?

Crap Crapacitors and Leadless solder.

Regards Ian

TRX
12-27-2013, 08:59 AM
We threw out all out cassettes and VHS tapes a few years ago, when I got rid of the streaming tape backups for the computers. The cassettes and tapes were going on 20 years old, and "through-printing" had made them too muddy to endure. The tape backups still worked as well as they ever did - not very well - but their capacity and speed were far too small to work with modern hard disks. Oh, and all the floppy disks went at about the same time; some only five years old were unreadable when I tried copying them all up to the hard disk.

Just about all our stuff is on hard disk now, which means every three to five years we have to upgrade, riding the technological tiger. If something bad happened to the industrial base, it would all be gone forever as the bits faded on the platters. Of course, I'd probably have more pressing problems than lost data...

A few years ago I came across an audio version of the Epic of Gilgamesh on one of the usenet feeds. The clay tablets were inscribed over four thousand years ago, found, translated, read aloud, and uploaded to the networked aether, where the voices of the digital djinni read them back to me.

Magnetic deterioration and tin whiskering from lead-free solder make the lifespan of my electronic devices as short as ten years, and probably no longer than twenty... but four thousand MORE years from now, those clay tablets will still be readable.

gizmo2
12-27-2013, 09:24 AM
Been computer shopping lately? Most do not have a CD drive in them. So how do you use that data? Soon they too will go the way of the floppy. Which begs the question, what next after thumb drives? The family (much more tech savvy than myself) believes it will move to 'the cloud', whatever the hell that is, and we will have to pay for the storage and retrieval of our own info. Rather disturbing trend, if you ask me.

loose nut
12-27-2013, 09:28 AM
I might not fall too far back and use a brace and bit and
ditch my drill press, but my drill press is 8 feet tall and
weighs more than a Hyundai.


A Drill press should be considered robust tech, even cheap Chinese ones are fairly reliable. Other non-CNC machine tools will, with reasonable care, outlast your grandchildren. DRO's may fail but the hand wheels will still work. The electrical power generation will let you down.

MikeWI
12-27-2013, 11:11 AM
One of the first companies I ever worked for in IT had a basement storage area full of complete backups of their computer system. Only trouble was this area was for all the old media ie. HUGE multiplatter hard drives, out-moded tape formats, etc. A perfect historical record of storage media from the "beginning" to the last form to go obsolete. They apparently had to keep them, but there was literally no way to read any of it any more. :)

I'm curious where those expired MP3's were purchases. I've never heard of that happening, although pretty much everyone has dropped the copy protection on music now, so it shouldn't be an issue any longer.

Baz
12-27-2013, 02:14 PM
British Telecom ran a series of adverts where the guy had 'lost' al his family photos - but it was ok because he had BT broadband and had them all backed up at the central servers. Then last year they cancelled that service and wiped the files. In order to force customers to give up paper bills they 'gave' them a new central storage facility if they signed away the paper bills. Even if you signed up they didn't transfer your data from the old system to the new. In a couple of years they will find another ruse to save money and wipe the data - probably only provide a service if you pay for a ridiculously high data rate.
The cable broaband supplier in the UK only sells 30Mbps minimum and no longer provides either the website service or remote store.

WhatTheFlux!
12-27-2013, 02:39 PM
I recall an episode of Star Trek where Spock had to look up information regarding 20th century/21st century Earth. His reply was that it would be a difficult task as "records from that time-period are fragmentary at best." Or something along those lines.

Looks like Star Trek predicted this situation as well. :)

darryl
12-27-2013, 03:05 PM
It's ironic. I have data records from decades ago that are still readable and will cost some money to get rid of. It's a heavy format considering the relative lack of data density, but it's one of the most widely used formats ever invented- I have countless magazine articles stored this way, all organized and sorted, perfectly readable without the need for software or hardware. The dual read heads have weakened over time, but can still retrieve all the data. Most any other dual read head can access the data as well.

It's the 8-1/2 x 11 flat sheet.

WhatTheFlux!
12-27-2013, 03:10 PM
I'm curious where those expired MP3's were purchases. I've never heard of that happening, although pretty much everyone has dropped the copy protection on music now, so it shouldn't be an issue any longer.

The service I bought them from stores my purchased copy in the cloud. My $1.99 purchace entitles me to a fixed number of downloads from the cloud.

On paper I only need to download once and copy it as much as I want for my personal devices. However technical glitches, device failures, upgrades and other reasons make it so I have to download from the cloud again, and again. Suddenly I have to pay $1.99 to get my song back.

If I was smarter I'd make master copies on a robust medium. ;)

darryl
12-27-2013, 04:04 PM
Hey, I have an idea- maybe we could use round paper discs which would be mechanically coded by impressing a physical pattern on them. Or maybe use a more robust medium such as vinyl. Some kind of rotary mechanism would rotate them, and you could even skip the digital part totally, going straight to an analog output- :)

Weston Bye
12-27-2013, 04:04 PM
I read threads like this and think of our host magazines and the irony of many of you clamoring for the electronic version. As a writer I am ambivalent about electronic publishing. Sure, I would like to get my stuff out there, but I appreciate the relative permanence of paper. In that medium my stuff has a better chance of staying out there.

An old Latin saying:
Scripta manent, verba volent. (writing remains, spoken words fly away)
I wish I knew more Latin to append the saying to add data evaporates.

Weston Bye
12-27-2013, 04:10 PM
If I was smarter I'd make master copies on a robust medium. ;)

Punched paper tape? Hollerith cards?:)

trackfodder
12-27-2013, 07:03 PM
It might be wise to get a vehicle running that doesn't have electronic circuitry in case of an EMP.

loose nut
12-27-2013, 07:13 PM
I appreciate the relative permanence of paper. [/I]

It's isn't all that permanent. Modern paper last less then 100 years, depending on the acid content. It literally crumbles away and while it may not be digitally encoded, in a way that can't be read in the future, it is hard to read dust.

Weston Bye
12-27-2013, 07:39 PM
It's isn't all that permanent. Modern paper last less then 100 years, depending on the acid content. It literally crumbles away and while it may not be digitally encoded, in a way that can't be read in the future, it is hard to read dust.

Indeed, but 100 years seems to be better than the small fraction of that that we are experiencing with the "modern" storage methods. It appears that paper will outlast me - not so sure about anything digital.

If what I have to say is profound enough, it will survive in some form. If it turns out to be drivel, it will follow me to dust.

wierdscience
12-27-2013, 07:53 PM
Hey, I have an idea- maybe we could use round paper discs which would be mechanically coded by impressing a physical pattern on them. Or maybe use a more robust medium such as vinyl. Some kind of rotary mechanism would rotate them, and you could even skip the digital part totally, going straight to an analog output- :)

Why stop at vinyl? Gold discs would be the answer,if they were good enough for the Voyager probes they should do us quite well:D

PStechPaul
12-27-2013, 08:39 PM
I have lots of 3-1/2" and 5-1/4" floppies that I was unable to read, but it seems that the major reason was that my floppy disk drive heads had corroded and were scraping grooves into the magnetic media and rendering them useless. I was able to read quite a few of them and transferred their contents to CDROM and hard disk. I also have some audio cassettes from the early '70s that are still playable, but definitely deteriorated. Old photos, movies, and slides, especially color, have deteriorated but are probably somewhat restorable with color correction. I have a couple of records that were made of me reciting nursery rhymes in the early '50s, and they were made on a machine that directly etched the audio on a plastic substance bonded to an aluminum platter, but last time I looked they were delaminating. Probably my far less than ideal storage conditions with high humidity and wide temperature swings. These are probably "Acetate Discs" recorded directly on a lathe:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetate_discs

"Carved in stone" seems to be about the only way to assure fairly long retention of data, but it must be protected, as can be seen by the barely readable inscriptions on gravestones after a couple hundred years. It is certainly not practical for any large amount of data. But there is new technology that may offer 100 million year storage:
http://www.techspot.com/news/50313-hitachi-unveils-quartz-based-storage-data-may-last-100-million-years.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_data_storage
http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2013/jul/17/5d-superman-memory-crystal-heralds-unlimited-lifetime-data-storage

Such memory technology is similar to that of audio recordings on plastic or metallic media in the sense that the information can be retrieved by fairly standard opto-mechanical means rather than using electronic and magnetic techniques. It seems likely that future generations (or advanced extra-terrestrials) would have such means at their disposal and the only difficulty would be deciphering the code.

darryl
12-27-2013, 11:01 PM
Interesting to read that. Earlier today I had been having thoughts of using an edm to etch data into carbide surfaces. It's not too much of a stretch to think that some hsmers would be able to set up a workable system. Data density would be low in all likelyhood, and the relative unimportance of our individual data would likely not be worth the effort. When it comes to passing knowledge to future generations, there is nothing aside from 'etched in stone' that has proven capable of surviving beyond a few decades. So- maybe a high-tech 'etched in glass' is the best way, or even the only way. But then any future generation would have to be able to decypher it, and there's no guarantee that they would be able to. I think we are assuming far too much in that regard. Maybe our ancestors had it right all along- pictures carved into stone, where the information has to be regenerated in the minds of the viewers.

boslab
12-28-2013, 12:02 AM
I read threads like this and think of our host magazines and the irony of many of you clamoring for the electronic version. As a writer I am ambivalent about electronic publishing. Sure, I would like to get my stuff out there, but I appreciate the relative permanence of paper. In that medium my stuff has a better chance of staying out there.

An old Latin saying:
Scripta manent, verba volent. (writing remains, spoken words fly away)
I wish I knew more Latin to append the saying to add data evaporates.
Think the word data in latin is mauris, to capture, or so i read
Mark

+ or - Zero
12-28-2013, 02:51 AM
I read threads like this and think of our host magazines and the irony of many of you clamoring for the electronic version. As a writer I am ambivalent about electronic publishing. Sure, I would like to get my stuff out there, but I appreciate the relative permanence of paper. In that medium my stuff has a better chance of staying out there.

An old Latin saying:
Scripta manent, verba volent. (writing remains, spoken words fly away)
I wish I knew more Latin to append the saying to add data evaporates.

This depends on just how you think of "staying out there" and "relative permanence".

Lets take "relative permanence" first; how about defining it as "as permanent as the human race can maintain the ability to retrieve it and understand the meaning of it"? Seems like that would cover about any meaningful definition of "relative permanence".

All methods of achieving any degree of the above definition are technological methods, with the exception of human memory --and oral tradition served us well for a very long time, but information density eventually exceeds any possibility of expecting information lasting very long as an oral only, memory function.

So the printed word came along and pretty well took away our memory as an information storage function --a technological solution. All further advances in storage have followed this same curve --as information density increases the need for higher density storage for that information also increases. To date all advances in storage density have been technological ones. I see no change in this paradigm, if you do I'd love to hear about it.

So in short, "relative permanence" will always be whatever is the most advanced technology that achieves the best storage density. This does not insure we will always be able to retrieve the information --but that statement is quite demonstrably true of printed material as well as 'high tech' solutions. But the 'high tech' solutions have an almost negligible cost of transposing from older formats to newer ones and an ever decreasing cost of storage density --paper simply can not match this for increasing the odds of the survival of the information it may contain. In fact the cost of duplication and moving that written on paper information is ever increasing and should it need to be transposed into a newer format (Latin to modern English, or as 'high tech' stored info from pdf to odf, for a couple of comparable examples) the cost for paper stored information escalates enormously, while the 'high tech' costs simply continue to fall.

That leaves the "staying out there" proposition. I will not beat a horse that's pretty much already won his race, beyond pointing out that as the cost of digital (or other 'high tech' methods of storage of information) continues to fall, so does the cost of duplication.

The nature of only irritating a few million electrons to copy any high density modern technologically stored information is so low that it is almost not measurable on any human scale --it is trivial. The cost of duplicating paper stored information is not trivial and can only increase.

So if "staying out there" can be measured in how many copies exist so that some copies will survive (the miracle of all that knowledge 'lost' and found again in monasteries and in Arabic translations of Greek works rediscovered, etc.), then the 'high tech' solutions once again win --overwhelmingly.

I have intentionally left the argument over 'right to copy so all those copies exist' out of this post. Not because I think it is a trivial matter, rather because I think it's an irrelevant issue, for both practical considerations and it is an economic argument, not one about information storage and retrieval in either the "relative permanence", or the "staying out there" venue.

I'd like to know how you think about these two issues, as I have put them forth --I'd be interested in learning the flaws in my reasoning, if any.

Zero.

flutedchamber
12-28-2013, 03:30 AM
Planned obsolescence. That, and the never ending desire for a certain group of people to have the latest I phone out on the market...that will be obsolete in a month. Many billionaires made that way...and paupers for that matter.

PStechPaul
12-28-2013, 07:03 AM
The problem with the proliferation of so much data is that it becomes impossible for any human to process any more than a tiny portion of it, and also that there is no reliable way to assure its veracity. Data in digital format does not have the "watermarks" and chemical composition of media that allow it to be analyzed and determined to be genuine or even dated. So we may be faced with such a humongous pile of data that it becomes indistinguishable from noise and thus useless. I have experienced that myself because I have always tried to save everything, and for instance I have piles and boxes full of magazines that I have put away until I have time to read and catch up. But the magazines keep coming, both in paper and digital format, and there are many other sources of data that I feel interested in or obligated to assess and respond to.

So I have become a regular reader and contributor on this and several other forums, which although interesting and valuable, also serve to take up a lot of time. And I receive close to 100 emails daily, most of which I save until I get time to read them. And I conduct internet searches on various subjects that interest me, and find thousands of pages of raw data to assimilate and determine whether or not it is factual. I have thousands of old pictures and documents that I would like to review and save for posterity, while at the same time taking thousands of new digital pictures and videos which I sometimes share with others, who likewise have similar items they share with me. Actually I am probably less prolific than many others, who seem to be constantly recording their every moment on cell phone cameras and seeming to live their lives through the lenses and audio transducers of their digital appendages.

We are experiencing much of what Alvin Toffler predicted in 1970 in his book "Future Shock (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Shock)". The electronics industry, especially, seems to be getting increasingly specialized and complex, which makes it difficult to grasp the latest technology and implement it before everything changes and your latest design is now obsolete.

aboard_epsilon
12-28-2013, 07:13 AM
100-Year-Old Box of Negatives Discovered by Conservators in Antarctica

http://petapixel.com/2013/12/27/100-year-old-box-exposed-negatives-discovered-conservators-antarctica/

all the best.markj

tmarks11
12-28-2013, 03:38 PM
I have a perfectly-functional printer that is less then ten years old, that I can no longer use since it connects with a parallel port cable- and no PC maker has included a parallel port in four or five years.

For $9 you can get a parallel port PCI card and install it in said computers, and it will work fine. 5 minutes of your life and you will be able to attach all the old technology you want to your modern computer.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815166004

That too much work? Then get a usb-parallel port conversion cable for $12.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812156005

Doc Nickel
12-28-2013, 05:14 PM
For $9 you can get a parallel port PCI card and install it in said computers, and it will work fine. 5 minutes of your life and you will be able to attach all the old technology you want to your modern computer.

-Certainly. Just as you can still buy external USB floppy drives and the aforementioned IDE-SATA converters. The point is, for how much longer?

Those floppy drives? 3.5 is easy. Seen an new external 5-1/4" drive lately? We recently tried to recover some data off an old Macintosh SE by removing the hard drive and mounting it in an external enclosure. I don't know what it is, exactly, but it's something prior to IDE. A Mac-whiz buddy of mine looked, and no adapters or enclosures exist. We're trying to find a working SE to remount it internally, in order to recover the data.

The point is time. That SE is, indeed, over 20 years old- pushing 30- and whatever data it holds is very close to unrecoverable already. In 50 years, if that grandson finds an old SATA drive in the dusty attic, will he be able to find an adapter to plug that then-forty-years-obsolete drive into whatever a then-modern PC will be? On that SE drive, even if we could mount it, only an SE OS will read it- a new Mac wouldn't be able to do much more than make a copy (which would also then be unreadable by anything other than an SE OS.)

In the relative near term, sure- if there's a demand, somebody will make an adapter, or some converter software, or whatever. I'm talking long term. ANY digital format will only last as long as there's both hardware and software to read it. That 30-year-old hard drive is essentially inaccessible. Those less-than-ten-year-old floppies I mentioned are at least partially if not mostly inaccessible. The 15-year-old ZIP discs are now almost entirely inaccessible.

And that's still near-term, as far as I'm concerned. What happens 20 years from now? 50?

Doc.

CarlByrns
12-28-2013, 05:17 PM
Printed paper- both photos and writing- are, unfortunately, bulky to store, hard to search and difficult to organize. They're also almost immune to changes in formats, and if decent paper is used, more durable than most electronic mediums.

Not really: http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/fire-1973.html

flutedchamber
12-28-2013, 05:30 PM
For $9 you can get a parallel port PCI card and install it in said computers, and it will work fine. 5 minutes of your life and you will be able to attach all the old technology you want to your modern computer.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815166004

That too much work? Then get a usb-parallel port conversion cable for $12.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812156005

Not all of those adapters and adapter cables work as intended. I ordered mine from Newegg with horrible results, as well as from Tiger Direct and an office supply store whose name I am not sure of..Office Max or Office Depot. Gender changers are a hit or miss deal.

PStechPaul
12-28-2013, 06:08 PM
I designed and manufactured a data acquisition system (Ortmaster (http://www.ortmaster.com)) which used the parallel port under MSDOS, but it does not use the standard printer drivers so it will not work with adapters. There seem to be some laptop computers (http://www.kingoflaptops.com/Laptops/ToughBook/Panasonic-Toughbook-CF-29-TouchScreen-Fully-Rugged-CF-29-Touch-Withstand-pid-759) that still have a serial and/or parallel port that can be addressed via BIOS and direct I/O addresses, but you would need to boot it with MSDOS (or Win95 which runs as an MSDOS application). More recent versions of Windows require a low level driver to access the hardware and I don't know of any that will work at the level required for my application.

Since my customers have not been able to get new computers that work with the old hardware and software, I had to design a new version which used a serial port, but then they became rare and I found that only certain USB-Serial converters would work. So I used a Microchip PIC with USB and made my own USB-Serial converter, and it has worked fairly well.

But one customer uses a 13kV source for the closing coil of the reclosers he is testing, and it has caused the USB connection to lock up. So now I am working on a way to go back to the serial port connection, which may be more robust, and I also have it working using Bluetooth, which may or may not work reliably in his facility.

It's difficult to predict the longevity of any computer standard. USB seems to be fairly stable, and I think the RS232 and RS485 will remain valid for a long time. Ethernet also has been around a long time and seems to be still a solid standard, although as with USB there are always enhancements for higher speeds and smaller connectors.

I have some old hard disks that I have been unable to access for a long time, although I probably could if I made a supreme effort. One of them is a 40MB Panasonic RLL encoded disk with its own IDE interface card, and I have another disk drive that I bought which had the drive mounted on an IDE card for a standard PC slot. But in those days you had to set up the drive parameters using BIOS or even using the DEBUG utility to access the controller memory directly in IO and RAM space. PnP was a great advancement! Here are some standard hard disk interfaces:
http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/44082/hard-disk-interfaces

Weston Bye
12-28-2013, 06:16 PM
This depends on just how you think of "staying out there" and "relative permanence".....
.....I'd like to know how you think about these two issues, as I have put them forth --I'd be interested in learning the flaws in my reasoning, if any.
Zero.
Zero,

I may have touched upon this in Post #23 above. I find no fault in your reasonings given the availbility of suitable technology. However, presuming that a paper copy survives, no supporting technology is needed for any but the profoundly illiterate to read.

In the past, I have printed out articles and photos and such. A good thing too, as going back later the the item of intrest is gone. Same with old disks. Such is the ephemeral nature of digital data.

All that being said, I have a lot of stuff saved to disks, hard drives and flash drives.

Wes

macona
12-28-2013, 06:36 PM
-Certainly. Just as you can still buy external USB floppy drives and the aforementioned IDE-SATA converters. The point is, for how much longer?

Those floppy drives? 3.5 is easy. Seen an new external 5-1/4" drive lately? We recently tried to recover some data off an old Macintosh SE by removing the hard drive and mounting it in an external enclosure. I don't know what it is, exactly, but it's something prior to IDE. A Mac-whiz buddy of mine looked, and no adapters or enclosures exist. We're trying to find a working SE to remount it internally, in order to recover the data.

The point is time. That SE is, indeed, over 20 years old- pushing 30- and whatever data it holds is very close to unrecoverable already. In 50 years, if that grandson finds an old SATA drive in the dusty attic, will he be able to find an adapter to plug that then-forty-years-obsolete drive into whatever a then-modern PC will be? On that SE drive, even if we could mount it, only an SE OS will read it- a new Mac wouldn't be able to do much more than make a copy (which would also then be unreadable by anything other than an SE OS.)

In the relative near term, sure- if there's a demand, somebody will make an adapter, or some converter software, or whatever. I'm talking long term. ANY digital format will only last as long as there's both hardware and software to read it. That 30-year-old hard drive is essentially inaccessible. Those less-than-ten-year-old floppies I mentioned are at least partially if not mostly inaccessible. The 15-year-old ZIP discs are now almost entirely inaccessible.

And that's still near-term, as far as I'm concerned. What happens 20 years from now? 50?

Doc.

Old Macs use SCSI drives. SCSI is still around, I have a SCSI AIT Tape Drive in my 12 core Xeon PC running Win 7. There is software that will allow you to read HFS drives on PCs so just plug that drive into the SCSI bus and access it. Or you can get an USB-SCSI adapter and hook it to a newer mac. Lots of options. New macs will read and write HFS, they still use it.

I am not worried about format changes, I have rarely found a file I can't open. Newer open format file types will have even more life since the file format is open and known.

And then there is emulation. I had DAT backups of my old Powermac 8100 and used a scsi dat drive to recreate an image of the disk I was using over 15 years ago. I made that into a disc image on my mac mini and use SheepShaver to run it as an emulated machine. It runs way faster than my old 8100 ever thought of running.

mike4
12-28-2013, 07:33 PM
Some like to change the OS with so called upgrades , I find that many upgrades are to cater for the dumbed down users who are unable to think for themselves.
I have never liked the Windows icons , I much prefer a text based link to files , quicker to locate what you are looking for and the machine does not have to waste computing power to display pretty pictures.

The software should be made freely available once the companies stop supporting the older versions , ( yes I realize the later versions are based on or incorporate the early code), with some form of security patch required to prevent you from breaking into later versions.

I find that a couple of my old DOS based machine are quite a bit faster as controllers than windows as there are no processor loading garbage files running.

Also i have written my own software in early C+ and the like . Its surprising how many of the present generation of "programmers " cant read or follow these early systems.

There always will be applications for simple bullet proof software which can run in real world enviroments like dusty hot enclosures with solar or genset power backup , I know from very expensive experiences that ninety percent of the current OS's will freak out in an imperfect situation .
Michael

Michael

loose nut
12-28-2013, 07:40 PM
- In 50 years, if that grandson finds an old SATA drive in the dusty attic, will he be able to find an adapter to plug that then-forty-years-obsolete drive into whatever a then-modern PC will be? .

Probably not.

If your grandson finds, in 50 years, all your old magazines, books and "important" or "historical" papers in the attic, that have been chewed on by mice, insects and mold, will he be able to read them.

Probably not.

Digital data needs to be backed up to the newest formats as they become available to remain viable. If this isn't done then they probably where not considered worth the trouble and expense. Do any of those 20 year old disk that only work with obsolete computers really have any value?

A typical small town library may have a couple of thousand Sq. feet of floor space that must be heated/air conditions, cleaned and staffed when all the books can be digitized and stored on a single USB drive. It may not be an ideal solution for maintaining the printed word but it is going to be he future, like it or not.

mike4
12-28-2013, 08:02 PM
It does not matter if a storage media is new or fifty plus years old , without power they are all useless.

A book can be read as long as you have daylight or some other source of adequate light.

My kids have asked several times if I would like a Kindle or similar device , good as they are I have refused , I will buy books as long as I can find them , yes they are bulky and often weighty but can you discourage the neighbours cat with a usb stick thrown at it , whereas a heavy paper back book will definately get the message home.
Michael

kendall
12-28-2013, 08:19 PM
Probably not.

If your grandson finds, in 50 years, all your old magazines, books and "important" or "historical" papers in the attic, that have been chewed on by mice, insects and mold, will he be able to read them.

Probably not.

Digital data needs to be backed up to the newest formats as they become available to remain viable. If this isn't done then they probably where not considered worth the trouble and expense. Do any of those 20 year old disk that only work with obsolete computers really have any value?

A typical small town library may have a couple of thousand Sq. feet of floor space that must be heated/air conditions, cleaned and staffed when all the books can be digitized and stored on a single USB drive. It may not be an ideal solution for maintaining the printed word but it is going to be he future, like it or not.

Question is, in a thousand years, would anyone know what a hard drive is? If you look at Sumarian cuniform, it's 5000 years old, but we know it is writing. A 5000 year old hard drive might be recognizable as 'metal'.
Modern tech is geared towards speed, volume and ease of access, good, but who is to choose what is important enough to migrate to the latest storage device? The average person is gonna grab granddad's papers and letters, throw them in a box and put them in the attic, A government or corporation will upgrade their records storage to the newest and greatest media, but what will tell you more about real life a few hundred years from now?
A great deal of what we know about the past isn't from Government records, but from simple every day activities that somehow managed to survive through the millenniums, most of them such as a bill of sale for a donkey, or a personal letter, both written roughly 4000 years ago, would never had made it to any upgraded storage systems simply because they were not important in an official sense.
And seriously, does anyone expect their descendents to migrate all their 'priceless' data to the newest medium?

PStechPaul
12-28-2013, 09:47 PM
The fact is that, in a thousand years, and probably in less than 100, we will have reached a point in our "civilization" where we will need to figure out how to support the entire population of the planet on resources that will have become exhausted or polluted to a critical extent. It is highly likely that we will have imploded and destroyed most of our environment and depleted our human population back to the point we were 10,000 years ago. If we have not learned to live peacefully with each other and nature, we are doomed to self-destruction.

But perhaps we will fulfill our probable purpose as the "crown of creation" (or evolution) to be the only known species to have achieved self-realization and the power to either destroy or save the planet that has given rise to our existence. It seems that our next logical step forward is to learn what our purpose on earth really is, and work together to achieve it. If you are a religious person, you may accept that our purpose is to glorify and obey whatever God or Gods or Goddesses we believe created us, but most organized religions have become divisive and disruptive and antithetical to any truly divine paradigm, and usually propose some spiritual existence in an other-worldly paradise or hell.

However, as I see it, we have created our own "living hell" here on earth, and we need to prepare ourselves for an existence that may be in the form of immortal physical bodies, or perhaps some sort of artificial existence where our brains and thought patterns become integrated in some sort of machine or supercomputer. As such, all the data we have collected and stored may become meaningless, and indeed much of it already is superfluous and trivial. Consider the huge amount of video, voice, image, and text that is stored away in countless repositories, with much duplication and lack of meaning or practical use. We cherish the small bits of information we find from the distant past, precisely because it is so minuscule and rare and such a challenge to decipher. We now have a huge glut of data that is mostly not worth anything because it may no longer be relevant and because it is so voluminous and disorganized that only generalities may be formed from its analysis.

So, really, what will be the reason for keeping so much data as we have now? Future historians will have more than enough information to keep them busy, and their main observations may likely be only that we had become addicted to trivial information and trying to become ever more connected by electronic means, but woefully inadequate in our abilities to live together in peace and be prosperous in terms of enjoyment of life and nature. We will probably be living in a world where we have solved most of the great questions about how the universe came to be and what our place is within it, and our only concerns will be how to live happily with each other. Or, conversely, if we continue our mad dash into insanity with all the other lemmings, we will destroy what we have created based on materialism, and we will decimate our population with war, famine, plagues, and other calamities, and if we survive at all it will be to return to a simple life as hunter-gatherers among other species that manage to survive.

+ or - Zero
12-28-2013, 10:13 PM
The other, if less popular, view is that we are (mostly without knowing it) playing a long term Darwinian game of last man standing. In which case understanding our fellow man is a non starter in terms of where the species is headed.

It may be that simple kill all those that aren't you (however you define 'you') is the end game that nature is shooting for. Seems to be the actual way of nature, if viewed over a long enough time span.

So, just for balance there's the other side of the view of 'Can't we all just get along?', wherein the answer is a resounding "No, we can't."

So long as competition for the resources we, as humans, need (or believe we need) exists, so will 'removal' of the other competitors exist as a natural result.

Either way the answer seems to be fewer people and ever more of them 'like minded' --religion and it's relatives being just another way of trying to achieve this.

It is a process that keeps being repeated all through history, on ever larger scales (with a bit of help along the way from things like the black death, etc.).

So possibly the best course of action is to pick your side and be brutal about it --a largish portion of the world is doing just that. And mostly in the name of religion. But call it what you will, it's grab and hold power for me and mine --bloodshed along the way is just how one becomes a martyr, or at least the honored dead. Or the ruling class...

Lest you think this does not have to do with data preservation and the veracity it may or may not actually have, read 1984 (or check out NSA activity), and think again.

Zero.

vincemulhollon
12-29-2013, 07:38 AM
when all the books can be digitized and stored on a single USB drive.

noooooooooooooooooooooooo not a single usb drive. A thousand, maybe.

You've got an amazing technology that in minutes can create a perfect bit for bit replica basically for free and the consumable part is like $9... Never make only one copy. Always be copying, always to something newer / bigger.

The story that's really being talked around without discussing it directly is the death of write only media. In my digital lifetime I've gone from analog cassettes to four or five kinds of floppies to USB flash drives to multiple cloud storage providers. And when I was a kid my Dad gave me his old punch cards to use as bookmarks. Anyway I haven't lost anything serious in decades, learned my lessons back in the cassette to SSDD 5 inch floppy conversion in the very early 80s. Always be copying, always.

vincemulhollon
12-29-2013, 07:50 AM
I think there's a hilarious meta-discussion that "everyone in the biz" knows that you can't use shapers and manual machine tools in a machine shop. Everyone knows that, its certainly repeated like a meditation mantra, so it must be true. Yet, LOL, here we are, having fun, turns out doing the impossible is cheap and fairly easy. True, you can't buy a new Sherline or Bridgeport at home depot, therefore they must not exist, and people with a mill at home must not exist, LOL.

As another hobby I fool around with retrocomputing, just like lots of other people. "everyone knows" "no one" can read floppy disks and never will be able to again. Or analog computer cassettes. Or punch cards and paper tape. LOL. Yup, you can't buy an optical punch card reader at Best Buy. Is that a problem? Does that mean none exist on the planet anymore? Nope.

There's a lot of fun machining in old computer peripherals, I mean real old computers from the 60s (or earlier) not 2012's model.

loose nut
12-29-2013, 09:57 AM
"I mill therefore I'm not"

Dude that's so deep man. The colours, the colours...

loose nut
12-29-2013, 10:07 AM
[QUOTE=kendall;894105]Question is, in a thousand years, would anyone know what a hard drive is? If you look at Sumarian cuniform, it's 5000 years old, but we know it is writing. A 5000 year old hard drive might be recognizable as 'metal'.
QUOTE]

Can you read Sumerian Cruciform?

Maybe you think all of the mountains of data created each day should be stored on clay tablets, so that in 5000 years people will be able to read what we where doing?

Not very practical, storing on paper isn't either. I have shelves and shelves of books, my Model Engineering mags go back to the 1920's and they are starting to fall apart. What do I do when they are dust? I could photocopy them but the cost would be enormous and the copies don't last very long anyway or I could build a book scanner for all most nothing and scan them into digital form for the cost of my time, if I wished to do that.

We don't have to like the future but it is coming any way.

loose nut
12-29-2013, 10:09 AM
noooooooooooooooooooooooo not a single usb drive. A thousand, maybe.


I was referring to a small town library (around here that's only a couple of thousand people, small libraries) not the Library Of Congress

MondosMetals
12-29-2013, 10:24 AM
A note on reading data off obsolete media....
Let it be known that there might be photos of naked children on that old obsolete media and you can be well assured law enforcement will be able to read it. It will not matter for how long that media has been obsolete, they will find a way to read it.

But to recover data of a more redeeming nature, perhaps not.

kendall
12-29-2013, 11:21 AM
[QUOTE=kendall;894105]Question is, in a thousand years, would anyone know what a hard drive is? If you look at Sumarian cuniform, it's 5000 years old, but we know it is writing. A 5000 year old hard drive might be recognizable as 'metal'.
QUOTE]

Can you read Sumerian Cruciform?

Maybe you think all of the mountains of data created each day should be stored on clay tablets, so that in 5000 years people will be able to read what we where doing?

Not very practical, storing on paper isn't either. I have shelves and shelves of books, my Model Engineering mags go back to the 1920's and they are starting to fall apart. What do I do when they are dust? I could photocopy them but the cost would be enormous and the copies don't last very long anyway or I could build a book scanner for all most nothing and scan them into digital form for the cost of my time, if I wished to do that.

We don't have to like the future but it is coming any way.

No, I can't read it, but if I spent a few hours studying I could learn enough to understand what was being said.
Electronic storage is fine and isn't going away for a long time, it's been instrumental in the spread of information, but there comes a time when upgrading is simply not cost effective and tons of information is lost. I have data on 20+ year old disks that I can't read without spending a good chunk of cash on the right equipment, but I can walk over to the bookshelf and pick up a 150 year old bible and read family history.

I agree, we do not have to like future and the upgrade cycle, but just because it's new doesn't mean it's better.

J Tiers
12-29-2013, 12:09 PM
Electronic storage, particularly "cloud" storage, has a serious problem.

You put a file up there..... later, you want it..... "file? What file? there is no such thing."

Companies put their catalogs up on the web.... and data sheets, etc.... "I don't need to store anything, it's on the web".

Next year, POOF all those are gone, and "We only support the current product"......

In the digital world, it is very very easy to make things go away. And to search for them and make them go away when found. History and information is able to be changed to whatever the one in charge wants, at any time.

Much harder with books, etc. You have to find every single one.

MichaelP
12-29-2013, 12:30 PM
And we discuss all this using computers and Internet instead of ink and paper or clay tablets. :)

Our generation creates and salvages an enormous amount of garbage data. Our grandparents left us with a few photos, letters and other artifacts, and because it's manageable, some of us take interest in it. We use digital cameras to load our drives with thousands of photographs and videos that don't even interest us, let alone anyone else. The Facebook and other similar services are polluted by the "valuable" information on how many times Joe pooped today, what he ate last Friday, and what came to his mind five minutes ago. Youtube is full of utter garbage. And it multiplies daily because we have better connections, larger storage capacity and more convenient ways to make a statement and become visible. Any dummy can now write a book and have it published on the Net. He doesn't understand that nobody is even remotely interested in reading it.

Do we really think anyone will ever need all this garbage in those quantities? Or, maybe, we think that we're going to live forever? Perhaps we kid yourself by thinking that our great grandchildren will be remotely interested in accessing content of all our hard drives, storage tapes, USB media, floppies, cloud, etc., etc., etc.? Have you ever had to clean a house of a deceased person where the attic and basement were filled with old memorabilia, bills, toys, papers, etc., etc.? How much of this interested you enough to salvage it from the dumpster? Ever thought that after we die everything we cherish so much, our tools, our photos, our books, our letters, our old toys, our memories will not be as meaningful to those who outlive us or come later? Nope! At least, not in the amounts we collected.

So, after all, it may be good that our modern electronic storage is not as robust as a candle dropped from the roof. This allows our world not to become a large dumpster filled with the utter nonsense collected by us, the early adopters of electronic storage solutions.

loose nut
12-29-2013, 01:12 PM
I have data on 20+ year old disks that I can't read without spending a good chunk of cash on the right equipment, but I can walk over to the bookshelf and pick up a 150 year old bible and read family history.

I agree, we do not have to like future and the upgrade cycle, but just because it's new doesn't mean it's better.

If the data on those disks was of any real value to you then you probably would keep it on current media, that's what I do with important files. If it isn't important enough to transfer then you haven't lost anything have you. That 150 year old bible may still be in readable condition, only because the paper they used lasts longer then what is used today but it will eventually crumble. A new bible certainly won't last.

I definitely agree with the future may not be better. The "future" back in the 60's was suppose to be peace, happiness and flying cars. Look what we got instead.




Where the hell is my flying car????????

J Tiers
12-29-2013, 01:15 PM
There are a number of the "classics" Greek authors etc, whose work was preserved by just ONE copy (and that incomplete). I have no idea how many copies there ever were, but the lesson remains.

It is very irritating to find that someone's "policy" has suddenly made the information you want disappear. And that is so easy with digital info that has no actual existence.

Your half of a World Series ticket from 1957? Fewer people are likely to care about it, certainly. But in 2427, it might (if still in existence, a dubious proposition), be of interest in showing something about history that was deleted from or changed on all "recorded" (and approved) history in the historical purge of 2142.

loose nut
12-29-2013, 01:34 PM
There are a number of the "classics" Greek authors etc, whose work was preserved by just ONE copy (and that incomplete).

But it only survived, and as you said just barely, because it was on a medium that could survive that long. What would you have us us today. Paper, nope won't last.

Maybe we should go back to using clay tablets or papyrus. Don't forget the fact that while a little bit of the ancient knowledge did survive the vast majority of it didn't.

MichaelP
12-29-2013, 03:13 PM
It would be hard for our future historians to discover Homer's writings if he lived now. Too low signal-to-noise ratio. ;)

J Tiers
12-29-2013, 03:43 PM
But it only survived, and as you said just barely, because it was on a medium that could survive that long. What would you have us us today. Paper, nope won't last.


papyrus has survived, parchment has. paper can, but is less likely, it is more damaged by water.

All are organic, all rot.

Survival is due to good climate, and being re-copied when the old one got hard to read.

darryl
12-29-2013, 04:39 PM
Well, here we are 'complaining' that our 'valuable' data is hard to save. What is this stuff- records of bills paid, records of music that we would like to re-play at will, photos of granny and aunt bessie standing in front of the model A, designs of machinery that are made on the computer- all this stuff is valuable of course in the interim, and could be saved by copying and re-copying, as suggested. This is merely a chore, and probably should be seen as just another part of 'doing business'. I'm as choked as the next guy that I can't read my data from a cd that I made 3 years ago, but all in all it's pretty insignificant. None of this has any worth to a future civilization, or even a relative down the line. It's nostalgic of course to be able to see what your great grandparents looked like, how they dressed, etc- and photos have survived longer than some here would have suggested. Same for writings- in my own home I have perfectly readable paper copies of events which took place a hundred years ago.

In that regard, don't we now have acid-free paper which is supposed to last longer than the 'old' paper which rots away?

Beyond all this though, what 'information' is worth saving and ensuring that it passes down to future generations in a readable format? Is there something here that would be instrumental in helping our descendants survive? Very little, in my estimation. You can't cut firewood with a book (but it might help start the fire). Knowing that the dinosaurs roamed Alberta and incubated their eggs between their thighs won't prevent us from dying from exposure after the armageddious period.

I'm thinking that the one thing which is going to be of value is the extent to which we have been able to incorporate our 'life lessons' into our spiritual existences- that which we live with in parallel with our physical existences during our 'lives', and that which we will be left with once departed. There does seem to be the potential for 'permanent memory' within this realm. It is the databank from which the intricacies of our gene pool sprang, and into which we revert as we 'ascend'. There will not be the option of 'losing' this memory- it will be there whether we want it or not.

kendall
12-29-2013, 05:39 PM
Just for the F of it, I took the walk to the 'shed', which is a very scary place because it holds all of yesterday's dreamS AND expectations.
I knew there were a lot of old 78 RPM records out there, and grabbed one at randome hoping I could escape without getting caught in 'yesterday'.

Manged to grab one and get out, but didn't escape completely unharmed. The one I grabbed was 'home again blues' by ted lewis and his band, on the "Columbia Exclusive Artists" Latest copyright was 1909, earliest copyright was jan 19,1908, frankly, while it was a little bit slow, I could understand everything said, could catch all the music etc. Can't do that with a modern system.
To make it sound 'normal' all it took was my finger in the center, 'pushing' the record at the right speed.

I wasn't quite fast enough getting out of the shed and yesterday got me, so I will be spending the next few days listening to old Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, Lefty Frizzel, Tammy Wynette, Marty Robbins, Freddie Hart, Janis Joplin, and tanya tucker albums......

Modern is fine, but when I can walk into any best buy and purchase something that will allow me to use 100 year old tech, it tells me that the old tech really isn't that bad.

loose nut
12-29-2013, 07:16 PM
In that regard, don't we now have acid-free paper which is supposed to last longer than the 'old' paper which rots away?
.

Yes but its more expensive so it is generally not used for day to day paper or most books and mags.

J Tiers
12-29-2013, 10:37 PM
In that regard, don't we now have acid-free paper which is supposed to last longer than the 'old' paper which rots away?


Nope..... OLD paper is acid free, doesn't degrade with time as fast. I mean real rag paper.

Pulp paper is acidic, and ever since it came into use, most "paper" has turned orangey-brown and brittle within 30 or so years, depending on climate. You CAN treat it to stop or slow that.

All of it rots, and all of it comes apart in water.

Parchment rots, and water doesn't help it any, but it resists much better than fiber paper. Papyrus is intermediate, it was glued together, and comes apart when wet, but doesn't "dissolve" into mush rapidly like fiber paper.

Doozer
12-30-2013, 10:18 AM
Someone touched on this, but I want to expand upon it a bit.
The difference between analog things and digital things.
Analog things tend to be more robust and still be able to function
with some damage to them.
Digital things tend to require that they are in perfect condition
in order to function at all.
Take a photograph or written text on a paper for example of
an analog piece of information.
The photo or text written on the page can be damaged to some
extent, and stll be readable by someone. Same with the picture.
Now take a MS Word document or a JPG image. If any little bit
of the digital information is damaged, the document or image
will not load, and not be viewable.
Interesting thing also about the DNA molecule, which is digital.
If it does not replicate perfectly, you get a cancer (in a matter
of speaking) and bad things happen.
Just food for thought.

--Doozer

loose nut
12-30-2013, 10:44 AM
Does that mean all of our digital data will get digital cancer.:D

It really doesn't matter if we do or do not like the digital format the PTB's have decided that for us.

Baz
12-30-2013, 02:13 PM
Actually the digital data we are exchanging on this forum is probably being received full of errors but it gets corrected. Same for Digital TV pictures. A couple of chaps called Reed and Soloman set the standard where extra bits of digital info are sent and correct a huge proportion of the errors so you don't see them unless it gets really bad. For TV that's maybe 40,000 errors per second. The situation with a Microsoft word document is different. A specific managment decision was made to specify the software to junk the lot if a tiny error was detected. That is human incompetance not an actual flaw in digital capability.
Error correction techniques are ever improving especially in the field of your home wireless connection just so you can download pointlessly fast without even bothering to connect an Ethernet cable.

JohnZappulla
01-25-2014, 11:09 AM
And by definition the asteroid is robust. Damn

+ or - Zero
01-25-2014, 01:31 PM
Someone touched on this, but I want to expand upon it a bit.
The difference between analog things and digital things.
Analog things tend to be more robust and still be able to function
with some damage to them.
Digital things tend to require that they are in perfect condition
in order to function at all.
Take a photograph or written text on a paper for example of
an analog piece of information.
The photo or text written on the page can be damaged to some
extent, and stll be readable by someone. Same with the picture.
Now take a MS Word document or a JPG image. If any little bit
of the digital information is damaged, the document or image
will not load, and not be viewable.
Interesting thing also about the DNA molecule, which is digital.
If it does not replicate perfectly, you get a cancer (in a matter
of speaking) and bad things happen.
Just food for thought.

--Doozer

You might want to learn a bit about Steganography, here's a simple starter page;

http://www.spywareguide.com/articles/article_show.php?id=116&rss

And error correction (as is mentioned above), is just dirt common in digital stuff. The old days rules of 'it must be perfect to perform' just aren't applicable to any of this anymore.

Zero.

danlb
01-25-2014, 06:55 PM
I heard recently that Homer's works are only considered great works of art because there are so few publications surviving from that time period. In other words, it has so little competition.

On the other hand, we have tons of old movies from the early days that literally self destructed. Some of those that remain are so brittle that the archivers are afraid to try to play them. The miracle of digital reconstruction has brought some of these classics back to life. They are stored digitally and in many places by many people so there is a greater chance that they will be available in some form for decades or centuries.

Re: archaeologists deciphering civilization from donkey receipts.... One of the frustrating aspects about ancient times (even relatively modern times) is that people do not document nor explain the obvious and the common. Guilds and unions go to great lengths to hide information. As a result diaries and receipts and ledgers tell us a lot.

Dan