Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Read an exciting article on disaster recovery the other day (I know, I know, proof that I have NO life!)...I came across info on the life expectancy of various digital storage media... average life of a diskette - one year, average life of a CD - ten years - average life of magnetic tape - tops 50 years. All of these involved storage in ideal conditions (temperature controlled, stored vertically, dust free, etc.

Since the advent of the digital age, more and more knowledge is stored electronically, often with no physical counterpart. We take photos with digital cameras, save them on unbacked up hard drives or worse still leave them on the tiny cards that come with our cameras. We write novels and store them on flash drives. We leave these flash drives dangling from our key chains or stuffed in our backpacks.

By way of example, a friend stored all the family photos on a server and in the time it takes to say "power surge" they were gone. No more baby pics. His wife learned from this, and now nothing can stop her from ordering prints from Walgreens. She says it is just comforting to have it in your hands--that digital info. is just too fragile and non-corporeal to rely upon (alright, I admit it, I paraphrased; she didn't use the word "corporeal" but I'm sure that's what she really wanted to say!).

When I first saved a document on a computer, I didn't fear it. I regarded it as a modern day miracle. Finally permanent archive--a way to organize and above all KEEP all of my writing. No more paper that would crumble to dust, no more file folders too lose, no more headaches. Ha ha. Ah the innocence of that comfort.

On the other hand, the Rosetta Stone? 2200 years! I'm thinking of taking up carving.

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1 comment:

janet said...

...and what did this article say was the life expectancy of a piece of paper stored 'under ideal conditions?'

I have the sneaking suspicion that we are learning yet again that the digital option isn't the panacea we wish it to be.