I can say with a pretty good amount of certainty that I won't be  
around to see if my positions were correct... I guess I'll have to go with a cold cerveza rooting my Titans  
this afternoon. Red wine would probably be a better choice, but  
doesn't go with nachos!


John Spencer
BMS/ Chace LLC
email: [log in to unmask]

On Jan 6, 2008, at 10:28 AM, Tom Fine wrote:

> 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: 
>>>>>> tape/  contact.htm
>>>>>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.