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From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad

Steven Barr commented on Richard Hess, and here is my attempt to be precise:

Hess:
> > People argue that it should be intuitively obvious and easy to make a tape
> > player in some future time. I argue that it took very intelligent folks at
> > Ampex and Studer (and other places) to arrive at high-performance tape
> > machines. I don't think that will be as easily reproduced--especially when
> > the size, fit, finish, and materials are no longer commonplace.

Barr:
> The problem is that it will only be "intuitively obvious" as long as there are
> people around who remember that there were once magnetic tape recorders, as
> well as some of the details about how they worked. You can't examine a length
> of recording tape and see anything about it that suggests it contains data in
> the form of varying magnetization of microscopic particles...and even knowing
> that won't tell you about details such as biasing.

----- it does not take much to determine that the tape is magnetic, and the
very length indicates that something of some duration could be recorded on
it. The future discoverer of a length of tape will destroy some of the
information in finding that it will adhere to a magnet, but he may
subsequently also try to grind up some brown magnetic pigment and distribute
it over the tape, thereby discovering that there are tracks (and also some
regularity that indicates that something generated the tracks at right angles
to the length of the tape. He would not need to even think about bias,
because that is a recording phenomenon.

>
> Probably the only form of "inuitively obvious" data storage is the shellac
> 78...you can run your finger along the groove and faintly hear the recorded
> sound! OTOH, there is nothing about a CD that tells you it contains data, let
> alone the complicated algorithms used to extract that data...


----- I completely agree: like reading you can see the wiggles with your
naked eye.

So let's hope that the future discoverer does not come across a Compact
Cassette tape or a microgroove record first, because he would have to learn
from the coarse and apply it to smaller and smaller objects - actually
retracing some of the original development.

The nice round mirrors that sometimes shimmer in all colours need the re-
invention of the microscope before information content is even suspected.
Perhaps a drop of water might give it away. van Leeuwenhook (1632-1723) could
resolve one micron at 275x magnification with one polished drop-like glass
lens.

Kind regards,


George