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

Date:Thursday, July 3, 2008, 4:26
> [] On Behalf Of Tristan
> li_sasxsek@NUTTER.NET wrote: > > > I think digital versions have the potiential to live much
> > because they propogate easily. If I make a thousand copies
of a
> > book, it's likely that in fifty years only a few will still
> > around and they will probably be tattered and torn with
> > pages that turn immediately to dust. Digital versions could
> > duplicated instantly from person to person to person, ad > > infinitum without any loss of quality. The only problems
> > arise with digital forms are the periodic changes in types
> > media. For example, I still have a container full of 5.25" > > floppy disks in the original Apple II format. I keep them
> > the hopes of someday retrieving the data. Nothing really > > important, just a few cheesy programs that I wrote, and some
> > my earliest conscripts but I'd like to get them back
> > Not too unlike the old reels of 8mm films that I'd like to
> > transferred to DVD, then they could be easily copied and > > distributed to the whole family. > > Furthermore electronic media degrade over time --- quite
possibly sooner
> than you thought. Try finding pages from five years ago on;
> you'll get most, but by no means all. A popular work is
likely to spread
> further and wider while it's popular, on the Internet, but
it's likely
> to be lost much quicker as people upgrade and don't take it
with them. Digital media is getting better, and is still much better than some of the preceding types. Magnetic media had to be one of the worst, but now we have optical media like DVD's and CD's. The ability to easily copy them means there *should* always be a backup. The other benefit is that copies will be precise duplicates of the originals unlike a photocopy of a book which will lose a bit of its quality with every generation. It's true that things will only be circulated while there is still an interest in them. As interest wanes, expect there to be fewer and fewer copies in circulation but that would be the same for books, magazines and other printed materials as most of them will probably end up in landfills or paper recycling centers.
> Today's unwanted electronic media is pretty much guaranteed to
be lost
> tomorrow. Today's unwanted books can sit on a shelf for a
hundred and
> fifty years and still be mostly readable, even if the pages
fall apart
> in your hands and a few pages have been eaten. Also,
electronic media is
> only going to be readable while computers are widely
available. Who
> knows what's going to happen a hundred, a thousand year's
time? Dark
> ages come and go.
Paper doesn't last long either, especially modern paper. I have 20 year old books and newspapers where already turning yellow and rotting away into dust. At least optical media like CD's will keep for a long time if you avoid scratching them, and I can make backups in case one becomes unreadable. In the not-so-distant past microfiche was used to preserve documents without wasting too much space, now we have the means to do the same using less space while maintaining the quality.
> Print media is just so much more reliable, because you can > see it right there in front of you!
They make these neat little devices now called "printers". You always have the option to print out what you have stored electronically, and even print multiple copies for all your friends. I'd also bet we're not too many years away from having handheld devices capable of rivaling the quality of print for reading. I do have to admit, I'm not yet completely sold on digital photography. I've gotten much better pictures by scanning the 35mm images than I have from any digital cameras, but that too will probably change over time.


Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>