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----- Original Message -----
From: "John Ross" <[log in to unmask]>
> 2) In the very long run, it will be a great deal easier for somebody to
> reconstruct an analog playback device than to figure out the software
> necessary to make sense of a digital recording. Not easy, but easier.
Sure,
> there will probably be plenty of CD players and computers that can read
WAV
> files in 2050, but what will the musical historians in 2403 have available
> to them?
> Of course, there will be a point in time when the world's stock of Ampex,
> Revox and Otari parts is depleted, and the tape players will stop working.
> But a good technician will be able to inspect the carcasses and build
> something that they can use. Will they be able to do the same thing for an
> integrated circuit that contains essential firmware?
This brings up another interesting point! If our archive is intended,
literally,
to be "for the ages," we had best keep in mind not only whether the required
technology will exist to play them...but whether the users/finders will be
able
to figure out HOW they can be played? In order to understand that a CD-R
contains information, it would be necessary to observe it under a powerful
microscope...and even then the observer will see only a random pattern of
tiny dots, which would require sophisticated analysis to suggest the sonic
content. A tape, or a hard/floppy disk, or any magnetic storage, has no
physical indication of any data content. A 78, OTOH, requires only the
accidental running of a fingernail (or claw, or talon?) along the groove to
produce a sound. There is, of course, always the possibility that the
25th (or 125th) century finder comes from a culture in which "sound"
was never used...but in that case the recorded contents would be not
only useless but incomprehensible...
Steven C. Barr