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On 4/24/2011 1:18 AM, The Daring Dufas wrote: (snip)

Yes, it has been a problem at times. There are data retrieval companies out there that maintain libraries of obsolete hardware and software just for such occasions. And there are standards, so resurrecting engineers is seldom needed (assuming you can figure out which standard was used.) But if you go to data backup school, the first class describes the principles of how to avoid that. You have to constantly maintain your backups, testing them, refreshing them, and moving them to new media as required. As you might imagine, in a budget crunch, that is often pushed back to 'later', And since nobody can afford to back up everything forever, you have to decide how long data needs to be kept, and which data to spend the money on. Choose wisely, lest Murphy rise up and bite your posterior.
I don't recall the specifics offhand, but there are indeed efforts to come up with a universal standard for modern fancy documents, one that doesn't care what media it is stored on. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is driving that train, IIRC, and I'm sure Library of Congress has a seat at the table. Older data is less of an issue, since ASCII and such are well documented and accepted. The pile is so huge that standards for the meta-data for each chunk of data, are just as important as the data set itself. Imagine having 100 unlabeled CDs, and trying to find something on them. Now imagine a data pile the size of a million CDs, without an index.
Of course, for really important stuff, no electronic media yet beats hardcopy, printed or etched on something that won't turn to dust in 20 years, and stored in a controlled environment.
--
aem sends...

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On 4/24/2011 4:34 AM aemeijers spake thus:

How in the world could the format of a document have *anything* to do with the medium it's stored on?
The only possible case I can think of would be an old database or other indexed document stored using ISAM or some other obsolete storage method on an IBM mainframe.
I've worked in the media conversion business, so I know something whereof I speak.
There are (more or less) universal standards available today. Let's look at them:
o ASCII: the simplest form of text storage possible. Hasn't changed much since Day One. Even 7-bit ASCII documents could easily be read by most computer systems in use today.
o PDF: a de facto standard. Few computers in use today that can't read this format. (Of course, it suffers from some defects, owing to its semi-proprietary status as a creation of Adobe, but despite this it pretty much lives up to its claim of being a "portable document format".)
o RTF: although too closely associated with Microsoft Word, this is in fact a very widely-accepted and understood document format. Certainly any working copy of Word (or Open Office) will accept a RTF doc.

There is certainly a humungous pile of document formats, most of them moldering on the dustheap of history. I used to work for a company that specialized in oddball data format conversion software, and just off the top of my head, there is:
o Wang (word processing systems) o DEC (proprietary formats) o Lanier (word processing) o EBCDIC o Halo CUT (graphic images) o GEM (old Ventura Publisher) o PICT o Word Perfect (still in use, I guess, at least by lawyers) o WordStar o Lotus 1-2-3
(I mixed in some graphic formats there just for fun)

Yes. The value of printed documentation is highly underrated.
--
The current state of literacy in our advanced civilization:

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On 04/24/11 05:12 pm, David Nebenzahl wrote:
<snip>

Surely there was a non-proprietary RTF format long before M$ came up with their not-completely-compatible format by the same name, wasn't there?
Perce
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On 4/24/2011 2:26 PM Percival P. Cassidy spake thus:

Ackshooly, so far as I know, RTF is totally non-proprietary and is part of the SAA/CUA guidelines. Micro$oft may have tried to hijack it for their own purposes (Word's .doc format is just RTF-in-a-wrapper so far as I know), it remains firmly in the public domain.
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Helpful post, thanks.
Should "printed documentation" of value be on acid-free paper? Inquiring minds...
HB    
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On 4/25/2011 8:28 AM Higgs Boson spake thus:

If it's really that valuable, I suppose so.
I've got newsprint (saved newspaper article clippings) from the 1980s that are still in excellent condition, and I'd expect them to last, oh, probably centuries, unless they somehow got wet and stayed wet. So I wouldn't sweat it.
You've heard about that guy who discovered just how long paper lasts in landfills? The "garbologist" who excavated paper that had been buried in landfills decades prior. In most cases, the papers could still be easily read. Stuff lasts a long time.
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In a few thousand years will they be talking about the Dead Sea CDs (grin)
--
"Even I realized that money was to politicians what the ecalyptus tree is to
koala bears: food, water, shelter and something to crap on."
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On 4/24/2011 1:18 AM, The Daring Dufas wrote:

The government would simply need to do a little planning...
It has been well known for a long time that if you want to preserve data you need to move it to different media as time goes on. In the case of some media you need to rewrite the data to insure it doesn't degrade along the way.
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Were you using the CDs all the time or just putting them back for backups and only using them a few times ?
I just checked two , one made in March 1999 and another made in July 2001 . They both seemed ok to me. I checked several .gif and jpg files and some movies. Also some audio files and a couple of old dos programs.
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were you checking DVDs or CDs?

I didn't look at my CDs for a couple of years,then found they were unreadable;some files would read,others would not.Maybe I used cheapo CDs.
I've read of other people having the same problem with home-burned CDs. (not stamped-out CDs.)
--
Jim Yanik
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They were CDs. When they were made, I don't think you could get a DVD burner for a computer back in 99, but may be mistaken. Computers advance way too fast to keep up with.
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CDs? I've got music on CDs that I made back in '99 from Napster that still play just fine.
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I've also wondered that. I've got some CD going back a few years. I should check them, for fun.
--
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"Ron" < snipped-for-privacy@msn.com> wrote in message
news: snipped-for-privacy@e26g2000vbz.googlegroups.com...
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in

You won't notice sparse errors on music CDs.
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a fire/flood/tornado situation. Store one in your desk or toolbox at work. Label it "exercise and diet plan" and no one will ever touch it.
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Just put it in a safety deposit box at your bank if it's that valuable.
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On Apr 23, 12:38 am, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

How are HDD more reliable then DVDs? Especially if you make several copies?
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DVDs suck. They age and there is no telling when you're going to get an error creep in. They really aren't designed for data.
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Ralph Mowery wrote:

True. The downside is that USB drives are pitifully slow compared to an internal drive, 480Mbps vs. 6Gbps. An internal SATA drive has roughly twelve times the transfer rate of a USB drive.
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