Linked by Kroc on Thu 26th Oct 2006 17:10 UTC
Features, Office History tends to leave behind mostly two kinds of information - the irrelevant and the biased. Archaeologists are either digging up people's thrown away junk, or reading some emperor's pompous account of his great deeds. The archaeology of the future will involve carefully extracting random 1s and 0s off of media and theorising what it all could mean. In the reckless and fast moving digital world, many stumbling blocks have been created that would drastically inhibit future generations learning about our ancient digital existence.
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CDRs and DVDs rot: Just because today's CD-ROM drives may not be able to read cheap CD-R's over 5 years old, that doesn't mean we won't come up with a better tool to read them, like a high-resolution CAT scan or something. In fact, we've already come up with tools to read 10th century documents that have been "washed" (erased) and overwritten, like the Archimedes Palimpsest:

Magnetic media: There are tools to read data from hard drives after the drive has been reformatted. So in the future, reading data from a CD-R or magnetic media that hasn't been purposely erased should be pretty easy.

Ties to hardware: We already have emulators (like MAME), so you no longer need the original hardware to use old software. And some hardware is even starting to be emulated in hardware--see for an example.

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someone Member since:

CDRs and DVDs rot: Also, one should note that pressed CDs/DVDs/Other Optical formats are one of the most durable storage medium ever created. They will not fade (unlike dye based CD-R/DVD±R).

Ties to hardware: Well, that's why we have XML. Everything is stored in plain text!

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Kroc Member since:

Stored in plain text, possibly on a proprietry filesystem, possibly encrypted, possibly on a storage medium that won't last long, possibly without original hardware to read the data.

Plain text on your screen, is never quite plain text on your storage medium.

Reply Parent Score: 1