(2005-05-23) DAT's the way to go...

Hehe, just had a trip of nostalgia. I bought a second hand DAT-player today(Casio DA-2). My first experience with Digital Audiotape was in 1993, when I bought a brand new Casio DA-7. During all those years I recorded lots of stuff onto DAT-tapes. And so in 2000 the darn machine gave up the ghost. Thus I've been unable to listen to the tapes until today. Ohh joy. Among the first tapes recovered was a show I and a few friends made, where we discussed technology and society in the upcoming millenium. It was broadcasted december 31 1999, just a few hours before the big moment when we entered the year 2000.

As I write this the show is transfering from DAT to DVD-rom and it makes me wonder, will we leave anything to posterity? No, not the show, I mean most of the 20th century. VCR, Eight-track, DAT, DCC, Minidisk, Compact Cassette, 1/4" Open reel, mp3... What will remain readable in let's say the year 2100? The old silver bible is in paper and still readable. Mona Lisa can still be adored, but magnetic tape degrade and optical media fails. A Swedish magazine tested ordinary CD-Rs. They bought a few different brands, then subjected them to the suns UV-radiation for 30 days. The CD-Rs were wiped clean. No data what so ever was left to recover. My backupconsultants at work tells me not to trust DLT 7000-backuptapes older than 5-10 years, but my old dictionary from 1942 is still in pristine condition.

Second problem, who can read old tapes and discs? Will future generations have any idea how to decode DVD or CD-formats? One can only guess... In the end decay always wins.

Tags: Data retention
Posted: 2010-06-17 by Erik Zalitis
Changed: 2010-06-17 by Erik Zalitis

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