This suits my current black mood regarding the digital life.
In slashdot, a thread on "Best way to back up digital photos and video" that takes unusual turns in the comments.
Having just tackled the issue of backing up a network, I read a number of posts describing 3-level backups on tape, hard drive, CD and DVD, fireproof storage, etc. before coming across this discussion (click More).
this is actually a BIG question (Score:4, Insightful)
by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Sunday June 26, @12:13AM (#12912210)
(Last Journal: Monday July 12, @10:38PM)
And one that I have railed about for many years.
I have been in the same position the Author discussed, and I have come to ONLY negative conclusions. In a few words, and I hate to say this, but buddy:
Digital is a loser's proposition. backing up to analogue or even digital data on analogic substrates (such as DV tape) fail. Simply nad purely.
The *only* thing that comes close is some kind of RAID, and those, even with the plummeting price of storage, are still too expensive given the needs.
Also, a RAID assumes a continuity of several things that are not likely to be continuous:
Framerate, number of lines, colour depth, aspect ratio, file format, compression format, Operating system compatibility, etc etc etc. All of these things are variables.
sample rate, compression format, bit depth, file format, etc.
Basically all of it points to very bad places.
I am fairly well convinced that our age will simply disappear. They will find our garbage, the few books not pressed on acidic paper, our paintings (fat lot of good the abstract stuff will mean to them) and drawings, that's about it. the rest will just be shiny little bits of crap in the landfill.
Since we will have used up all the dense energy forms, they will be appalled at the energy requirements just to get the few remaining museum piece devices to work. Archiving the 21st century will be impossible. To the 25th century, the 21st century will be seen as a dark age - not only for the holocaust of the die caused by the failure of the petroleum based economy, but from the simple fact that very little of the information formats we are totally geared into will survive, including this note on /.
His problem of saving personal video is just the tip ofthe iceberg. His problem is the problem of our very civilisation, writ small.
That's why I am abandoning video, and going back to painting. In 500 years, my painting CAN survive. the video simply won't.
[ Reply to This ]
Re:this is actually a BIG question (Score:5, Insightful)
by agent oranje (169160) on Sunday June 26, @01:47AM (#12912580)
(Last Journal: Wednesday June 04, @05:01PM)
Mod parent up "brilliant."
In the digital world, there's currently no such thing as an archive. There are backups that last for quite some time, but I seriously doubt any of them will last forever. The only reason any of these backups last so long is because the people creating them put some serious effort into keeping the data safe - and even then, what's to say it's not going to fail tomorrow?
You're right about the 21st century becoming a second dark age. Half the time, it proves extremely difficult to find web-published articles from two years ago, never mind what someone was putting on the web 15 years ago. Servers come and go as those involved become disinterested with the media they created. But, the difference between a print magazine going belly up and a dotcom media source going belly up is that the printed magazine will still exist while the data from the dotcom will likely never be accessible to the public again.
In the case of personal media, digital is a disaster. My grandparents still have stacks of photos documenting their entire lives, as do my parents, as do my parents for me. However, my photo collection currently suffers a gap which will never be recovered, specifically 1997-2000. During those years, I used a digital camera, and I left the photos on a working hard drive for safe keeping - alas, when I went to retrieve some files off of the drive when I wanted to go back and read a paper, I discovered the drive had committed suicide in a year without use. Yeah, that sucks.
Currently, the best way to back up data is RAID - and that's not even backing the data up, it's just making it more persistent. When you move to another machine, move all of the data to the new RAID. Repeat forever. To be extra safe, have a backup RAID just in case the first one suffers from a catastrophe.
Why is digital media troublesome? Books rarely render themselves unreadable while sitting on shelves, and are likewise rarely destroyed when dropped. Carving something into rock requires a bitchin' act of god to get rid of. But the deleting of a file, or the death of a hard drive, can wipe vast amounts of history out of existence, both in a personal and societal sense. Without an ability to permanently archive digital data, none of the data from the digital age will exist in the future.
[After a rebuttal from someone who claims data has never been more permanant, the first writer responds:]
wow - what a load.
OK - point for point:
Thus it's not supprising much of it gets destroyed. For that matter, most of it isn't worth saving anyhow.
That's not the argument - the problem is the evanescence of digital media itself. It's not a question of most - it's a question of ALL.
Books are not such a perminant media as you might think. They wear out, and can be destoryed.
I didn't say they were - they are merely MORE permanent if they are made properly. furthermore, the *context* of their information is much lower - all it takes is paper and pen and you can (carefully) copy the data *with no loss* of the "original* message. This is how the Bible and other "important" works were maintained over the centuries.
DIgital data requires a very high context situation for its copying: it MUST be copied to another digital (drive) or digital supporting substrate (tape). Tape breaks down (I occassionally work in tape restoration - tape SUCKS for storage. Sticky shed gets you sooner or later...) and drives die and corrupt (I found that out the hard way last month when my main computer AND my back up both died within 2 weeks of each other. I lost a LOT of data...)
No one can sit and copy out trillions of ones and zeros - there isn't enough paper. Digital requires a huge and wasteful industrial system, which has been proven over and over to be unsustainable. Something's going to go, and I would submit that video and digital audio will be among the first to go.
The Nordic Legends weren't written down for centuries, yet today we still have them. They were passed down, as an oral traditon for generations. There was no perminance to them other than stories in people's minds, yet they've durvived thousands of years.
Then I suggest you learn all your favourite slashdot posts by heart so you can pass them down to your grandchildren, assuming we all don't starve to death with our kids in a refugee camp in Oregon in 2032.Posted by Dave at June 26, 2005 09:37 AM