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Re: CHAT: facing your own mortality (as a conlanger)

From:Nomad of Norad -- David C Hall <nomad-conlang@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 8, 2008, 1:18
li_sasxsek@NUTTER.NET wrote:
>> [] On Behalf Of Rick Harrison > >> Dana, imagine this scenario. You get an email from a woman who says her >> father had once worked on a conlang similar to Sasasek but different in some >> interesting ways. Unfortunately he died before he could publish anything, >> but she is willing to send you his computer files. You provide her your >> snailmail address and eagerly await the package. >> >> When you open the box, you find punch-cards and 8-inch floppies. > > I find some guy that collects antique computers and get him to read them. > If they aren't readable, then no big deal. Yes, it would be interesting > to see the materials but I wouldn't cry over it.
I gather there is at least one organization out there that specializes in retrieving data from obsolete media from all sorts of different vintage machines and platforms. Might be worth looking one of those up. There's also a company that makes punch-card reading and writing machines for companies that still use such technology (!!!). They've got a whole factory for it, and also refurbish old punch-card machines. I think there was an article in WIRED a few years back...
> > >> If the guy had kept his notes on paper, you'd be able to read them. But >> because he used the computer technology of the day, it will be difficult. If >> the floppies were stored in a warm humid attic or garage, you probably won't >> get any data off of them, even if you can find the needed apparatus. > > Paper degrades too and yes a faded piece of paper still can somewhat be pieces > together by humans. I suppose if we really want longevity, we could carve > everything into stone tablets. In 1000 years some archeologist will have fun > trying to figure out what it means.
Even if the paper has been shredded, it might be possible to retrieve the data off it. There was another WIRED article awhile back about a major project to do just that to the gadzillions of shredded documents that the serveilance society that existed in East Germany prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union made... where the government was spying on all of its own citizens and keeping reams and reams of notes on individuals. The agents in the particular agency that was doing this frantically shredded gadzillions of the most damaging (to themselves) documents they could get their hands on, working round the clock, in the closing ours of the Union. But then the citizens, having found out about this stuff, insisted that ALL of it be preserved, so that they could find out what kinds of stuff their former government had been recording about them. At first, they were reassembling the shredded documents by hand, but then some other group realized they could create an advanced computer scanning system to do it faster. Pretty interesting, that. It's beyond the scope of this mailing list, but it's still a pretty interesting thing. :D -- Nomad of Norad (David C. Hall) --- *TeamAmiga* --- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - For a dementedly wacky sci-fi continue-the-story project, join my WebBBS. ---------------------------------------------------------- This is the Emergency Backup .Signature File, it kicks in if the Regular Backup .Signature File fails to load.