Hi John:

We are both speculating, heavily.

I hope we are both around in 50 years to see if 5" digital reader/playback devices are still readily 
available. I would argue, they will be. I would say there is too much installed base all over the 
world not to make it a viable business model for decades more.

But again, we are both speculating and only living 50 more years will give us the answer. I will 
toast both of our good health over a glass of red wine with dinner!

--- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John Spencer" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, January 06, 2008 10:05 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] CD-R question

> Good Morning Tom,
> I don't think you snipped the point I was trying to make. Here is a  part of my post:
> <snip>
>> The quality of the music may be better, but the quality of the  media (as evidenced by the 
>> dumping of crappy CD-R media in every  store, from Wal-Mart to Walgreens) does not relieve my 
>> confidence.
> <snip>
> My point here is that if someone is going to use CD-R media, PLEASE  don't use the cheap-o stuff 
> that you find literally everywhere.  Furthermore, make multiple copies if you can with different 
> batches  of media. There have been many posts by experts about good and bad  media types.
> Regarding any difference of opinion we may have, please understand  that I am not advocating 
> "managed storage with off-site backup" for  the casual collector that wants to digitize his or her 
> holdings.  That's a pretty long leap from burning CD-Rs, and not one that I  would recommend given 
> the scenario. Additionally, I've never  recommended people store files on hard drives - BAD 
> decision.
> The points I tried to make (and obviously didn't do a good job!) were:
> 1. We don't have any idea if optical media PLAYERS will be available  in 50 years
> 2. Even if I bought a pallet full of CD players, I cannot guarantee  they will operate in 50 years 
> (even if I shrink-wrapped a technician  to store with them)
> 3. The proliferation of various formats is not necessarily a good  thing (you mention photoCD, I 
> could add many more)
> 4. The CD players that are being built now are essentially "throw- aways" (read - junk)
> As you mentioned, there are many "in the cloud" storage options that  could be considered as 
> alternate backup locations (Amazon S3, .mac  accounts, etc.). They are popping up every day - 
> however, they too  may go out of business and I'm out of luck....but for now, they are  realistic 
> backup alternatives that are extremely cheap. External  drives as you mentioned are good as well. 
> In the archival world, I  guess they call it "geographical separation" - I would refer to it as 
> "covering your backside".
> It is not a "Kia" vs. "Cadillac" scenario, there are many "Chevrolet  - Ford" solutions out there 
> (but ouch, I hate making digital storage  comparisons to car manufacturers.....).
> At the end of the day, the collector that occasionally scans this  list and draws the conclusion 
> that "make a CD-R and you'll be fine"  is, in my opinion, leaving with a misguided mandate.
> I have NO problem with well-made CD-Rs - but you have to factor in  the reality that you will 
> probably have to migrate those as well  sometime, to whatever "flavor of the year" is regarding 
> digital  storage available to the masses.
> Actively managed storage can take many forms, from full-scale  monoliths with high costs, to 
> simply pulling the CD-Rs you have off  of the shelf every 3-5 years and bumping them to another 
> batch.
> John Spencer
> BMS/ Chace LLC
> email: [log in to unmask]
> web:
> On Jan 6, 2008, at 7:18 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> Hi John:
>> Happy New Year all around.
>> I think a big difference of opinion we have is that I think it's a  Great Thing to have many 
>> different formats/standards for the 5"  laser disc. To me, that's insurance that reader/playback 
>> drives  will be made for a long time. The trend so far is that every time a  new format/standard 
>> comes along, soon afterward the manufacturing  MO becomes universal players/drive that read/play 
>> ALL previous  formats.  Look in a modern DVD player user manual and check out how  many formats 
>> you can play on these things, including photoCD  (something I'd argue is a fringe format that 
>> never really caught on  with the masses) and data CD's full of MP3 and sometimes WinMedia  files. 
>> And some players now accept flash media so you can take pix  and video cards right out of your 
>> digi-camera and look at them  right on your widescreen flat-panel (sometimes the flat-panels 
>> themselves take the cards directly). My point is, this is truly a  massive Mass Market and it's 
>> not going to just dry up anytime soon.  All these "issues" about the hi-def formats will get 
>> settled in the  market and universal players will then quickly happen -- if that  doesn't happen 
>> in a couple of years please regurgitate this message  and tell me "I told you so."
>> As for CDR media, I don't see what your issue is. Of course a long- term archive should be on 
>> migrated and mirrored hard drives  nowadays. But CDR is cheap and available and I'd bet that 
>> higher- grade media will be OK in proper storage conditions as a backup.  What is much more 
>> worrisome to me is a newcomer to this list  getting an idea that CDR is a "bad format" and then 
>> doing a bunch  of transfers onto a single hard drive and having all that work just  blow up and 
>> be unusable one day. Hard drives are KNOWN to fail, and  usually in a lot fewer than 10 years. 
>> CDR is THEORIZED to fail at  some point (what exact point seems to be a matter of great debate) 
>> when stored under proper conditions (ie low dust, low light, low  humiditiy, proper temp). So I 
>> would say to the small-scale  archivist or collector -- most certainly do make liberal use of CDR 
>> media but don't rely on it as your ONLY digital format for the long- term. And for goodness sake, 
>> invest in a second disc drive and at  least keep a local mirror of everything. You'll be so 
>> grateful when  that computer konks out one day (hopefully the konk-out didn't take  out your 
>> second hard drive, but my experience is you're relatively  safe if the second drive is 
>> external -- barring something like a  massive power problem or a house fire, of course).
>> If you have an extensive investment of time or your transfers are  of great monetary or cultural 
>> value, I'd argue that you gotta bite  the bullet and go with managed storage with an off-site 
>> secure  backup system in place. But this expensive/complex/industrial-grade  solution is just not 
>> appropriate or in financial reach for most  people on this list (ie small-scale archivists and 
>> collectors). One  relatively cheap/easy thing to do if you have just a few real  treasures among 
>> an otherwise ordinary collection of digital media  is to simply FTP those treasures to your 
>> website if you have one.  Most website hosts these days give you a 1 gig or more of storage  as 
>> part of the package, and more gigs usually doesn't cost  anything. The idea is, there's your 
>> remote backup. You of course  can do much better, but this is the cheap/easy/available solution 
>> for the small archive or collector. Make the files inaccessible  from your website if they have 
>> copyright or other sensitivities, of  course. There are also plenty of 3rd parties online who 
>> offer free  or near-free file storage. For instance, gmail and yahoo give you a  1 gig mailbox, 
>> so you can simply e-mail yourself a file or two. I'm  sure this all sounds crazy to the 
>> inustrial-strength crowd, but  like I said, most members of this list don't work for well-funded 
>> universities or professional data-management companies so they need  small-scale/low-cost 
>> solutions. I'm throwing out some "Kia" ideas  here. If you can afford "Cadillac," definitely go 
>> that way.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Spencer"  <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Saturday, January 05, 2008 10:17 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] CD-R question
>> <snip>
>>> Here's where we diverge on opinion - there are currently (I think)  13  DVD specs (at least 6 of 
>>> which are not recognized by the DVD  patent- holder consortium), and now we have blu-ray and 
>>> DVD-HD - a  battle on  many levels (one is the movie studios desire to  continue to have a 
>>> physical disc to sell that is not easily  copied). This convoluted  "soup" of formats 
>>> (notwithstanding  patent issues) does not convince  me that the life of the CD will  be greatly 
>>> enhanced.
>> <snip>
>>> Best regards,
>>> John
>>> John Spencer
>>> BMS/ Chace LLC
>>> 1801 8th Ave. S.  Suite 200
>>> Nashville, TN 37203
>>> office (615) 385-1251
>>> fax (615) 385-0153
>>> cell (615) 714-1199
>>> email: [log in to unmask]
>>> web:
>>> On Jan 5, 2008, at 8:15 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>>>> You could think, once a medium goes out of "mass" status, how  many  years until all the 
>>>> playback equipment dies and nothing new  is  being made? Well, when exactly? LPs haven't been a 
>>>> mass  medium for  almost 2 decades now. Still plenty of turntables and  cartridges  available 
>>>> and the LP medium has a healthy niche (some  could argue  more economically viable than most CD 
>>>> releases). How  about cassettes? They seem to be a quicker-to-the-grave medium.  CD's  passed 
>>>> cassettes in I believe the early 90's. But cassettes  are  still a mass medium in some parts of 
>>>> the 3rd world. You can  still buy a variety of cassette decks and walkmans:
>>>> video&field-keywords=cassette%20player
>>>> Now, there's also the argument that magnetic tape and grooved  disks  are technologies that can 
>>>> be replicated with mid-20th  century level  or older technologies whereas CD playback is, 
>>>> well, somewhat akin  to rocket science.
>>>> But, 5" discs got another leg with the DVD medium and they might   get yet another fresh wind 
>>>> with hi-def discs. Blowing the other  way  is the wind of downloads and iPods -- where there 
>>>> are not  physical  mass media but rather computer files transmitted over  the Internet  and 
>>>> then perhaps around homes to media-less  playback systems. I  don't doubt the future is one 
>>>> without  packaged physical mass media  for audio and video content, but  it's not all there yet 
>>>> and the  installed and owned base of 5"  discs is enormous (I _think_ that  more CD's were sold 
>>>> worldwide  so far than all mesaured sales of all  LPs since 1949 -- and  that's not counting 
>>>> the fact that there might be a 1:1 ratio or  greater of pressed CD's to legal or illegal 
>>>> copies that are  essentially bit-by-bit replicas). Plus, as of now  the quality of  the 5" disc 
>>>> media is usually better than what you  can get over  the ether on your media-less playback 
>>>> system (that  will not be  true forever, indeed hopefully not for much longer).
>>>> So bottom line, I'll give the 5" discs another 50 years of   viability but I don't think they 
>>>> will be the dominant mass  medium  in the "first world" for too much longer -- and I think  the 
>>>> places still cassette-dominant will leapfrog over the 5" disc  media and go  right to the 
>>>> over-ether media-less model. For what  it's worth, I  have a 1986 CD player that still works 
>>>> just fine.  To my great joy,  it was designed future-looking enough to be  able to play most 
>>>> CDR  media. The make is Teac and the price was  not very high when I  bought it as a poor 
>>>> college kid blowing  some summer loot, so this  was no high-grade special machine in  its day. 
>>>> My point is, 20-year- old CD technology works fine in a  modern context. I have no reason  to 
>>>> believe my 2005 vintage  Marantz SACD/DVD/CD player won't work in  20 years. That would  get 
>>>> past the 50-year-viability mark for the CD  medium  (introduced 1982) and I betcha 5" disc 
>>>> players will be  rolling  off Asian assembly lines for at least another decade,  probably 
>>>> longer.
>>>> Let me just add that I think managed hard-drive-based archiving  is  a better idea nowadays and 
>>>> will be an ever-better idea as  the  storage media get cheaper, denser and hopefully more 
>>>> reliable.
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard L. Hess"   <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Saturday, January 05, 2008 8:36 PM
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] CD-R question
>>>>> At 08:11 PM 2008-01-05, John Spencer wrote:
>>>>>> Richard (and more so to Mr. Friedman),
>>>>>> Do we have any concrete expectations that CD drives will be   available
>>>>>> in 50 years? Please point me to the information that  guarantees  that,
>>>>>> I would be happy to be reassured that CD drives will be available
>>>>>> then. I tend to be much more pessimistic about hardware/ software
>>>>>> availability given the 50-year target mentioned.
>>>>> Hi, John,
>>>>> Happy New Year!
>>>>> I think we'll be in as good or better shape playing back CDs in  50  years as we will be 
>>>>> playing back reel tapes in 35-40 years  which  is approx the 50-year time frame that LoC was 
>>>>> still  advocating  transfers to 2-track tapes.
>>>>> There are just too many, and they're not going to all break.
>>>>> As with any media, as the supply of machines dries up it's the   archive's responsibility to 
>>>>> migrate/reformat before they cannot.  I  think we've had this discussion before <smile>.
>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>> Richard
>>>>> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
>>>>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada       (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
>>>>> Detailed contact information:  contact.htm
>>>>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.