Re: CHAT: facing your own mortality (as a conlanger)
|Date:||Thursday, July 3, 2008, 4:26|
> [mailto:CONLANG@listserv.brown.edu] On Behalf Of TristanMcLeay
> li_sasxsek@NUTTER.NET wrote:
> > I think digital versions have the potiential to live muchlonger
> > because they propogate easily. If I make a thousand copiesof a
> > book, it's likely that in fifty years only a few will stillbe
> > around and they will probably be tattered and torn withbrittle
> > pages that turn immediately to dust. Digital versions couldbe
> > duplicated instantly from person to person to person, ad
> > infinitum without any loss of quality. The only problemsthat
> > arise with digital forms are the periodic changes in typesof
> > media. For example, I still have a container full of 5.25"
> > floppy disks in the original Apple II format. I keep themin
> > the hopes of someday retrieving the data. Nothing really
> > important, just a few cheesy programs that I wrote, and someof
> > my earliest conscripts but I'd like to get them backsometime.
> > Not too unlike the old reels of 8mm films that I'd like tohave
> > transferred to DVD, then they could be easily copied and
> > distributed to the whole family.
> Furthermore electronic media degrade over time --- quitepossibly sooner
> than you thought. Try finding pages from five years ago onarchive.org;
> you'll get most, but by no means all. A popular work islikely to spread
> further and wider while it's popular, on the Internet, butit's likely
> to be lost much quicker as people upgrade and don't take itwith 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
> Today's unwanted electronic media is pretty much guaranteed tobe lost
> tomorrow. Today's unwanted books can sit on a shelf for ahundred and
> fifty years and still be mostly readable, even if the pagesfall apart
> in your hands and a few pages have been eaten. Also,electronic media is
> only going to be readable while computers are widelyavailable. Who
> knows what's going to happen a hundred, a thousand year'stime? 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.