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Don't let your data die of old age

Discussion in 'Bits & Bytes' started by Allene, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    I wonder how well those M-Discs will fare over the years? Will we get to a point where they won't work with whatever computers are around in, say, 50 or 100 years from now? I'm going to eventually give my genealogical research to an institute at a university back home. That institute specializes in preserving local history and genealogy. I'd like to give it to them in both a paper and a digital form, but don't know if they'd accept the paper version because of physical storage limits.

    Don’t let data die of old age - Business - The Boston Globe
  2. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    This all assumes that we'll still be using that technology 1,000 years from now.

    For example, the very first floppy disks (1972) were 8 inches. Yeah, they were huge. See any of 'em in use these days? 45 years after their introduction, you don't even see machines sold with floppy drives in any size/format any more.

    Mechanical hard drives will eventually go the way of the dodo bird as well, in favor of Solid State Drives which have no moving parts. Who knows what will come after that? There has been research done with using DNA as memory. 100 years from now, computers could very well be the size of a cigarette case and all you need to do to operate it is plug it into a surgically installed jack on your body. (Thankfully, I'll be long dead by then!)

    So any company that claims their product is going to last for 1,000 years is playing on the public's ignorance of technology and assumptions that what we use today, will still be in use 1,000 years later.

    Nice marketing ploy, but if you really think about it, it's only a ploy to get you to buy their more expensive product. CDs already are designed to last over a hundred years and DVDs aren't too far behind that. Just don't buy the cheapest disc you can lay your hands on as they're not all created equal.
  3. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    I agree with you.

    I don't remember the 8-inch floppies. They were at about 5-something inches by the time I had my first home computer in 1988, but we started using computers behind the scenes in libraries I worked in back in the mid-70s. It took years to convert card catalogs to the current online versions.

    Right now I make frequent backups of my database, but am also planning to go online with a private site that has different levels of password-protected access (i.e., family; friends; other researchers, whose lines cross with mine). That site will disappear after I die, most likely, because I can't count on anyone in my family taking it over, although they are all interested in the research. It's a lot of work.
  4. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    Forgot to ask: Is that bit about plugging into one's own body a serious idea or a joke?
  5. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Don't be surprised if it doesn't happen. In a way, it's already happening with some prosthetics.
  6. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    Come to think of it, that's true! :)
  7. Brazbit

    Brazbit Nah... It can't be.

    Just make sure you check for port compatibility first. You don't want to rely on a gender changer for your cybernetic connectors and universal ports are awkward....
    Allene likes this.
  8. Brazbit

    Brazbit Nah... It can't be.

    They put highly durable storage on the Voyager probes. They even did everything they could think of to make the discs universally accessible. Yet I bet you if you locked a CIS major in a room with it they would have the devil's own time extracting any data from it.
    Allene likes this.

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