Re: CD Life

Subject: Re: CD Life
From: eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2004 15:55:59 -0400

bounce-techwr-l-106467 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com wrote on 07/30/2004 03:33:02 PM:
> In the article i read on CD degradation, a music archivist pointed
> out that, while their older CDs were already damaged to the point
> where parts of the data had been lost forever, you can take any wax
> or vinyl record and play it by spinning it around a pencil, with a
> pin attached to a paper cone (for amplification)... and there you
> have the music, in pretty much its original form. Simple, pure, and

And as soon as you do that you've degraded the quality of the recording
irretrievably. Earlier in this thread I linked to an article on the BBC
website about the problems with old sound recording being lost to
degradation and improper storage.

> When asked what the most endurable method of saving music was, his
> response was to keep the score on paper, because properly preserved,
> it can last for hundreds of years. Simple, pure, and beautiful.

Ahhh. But in that sentence is one VERY important caveat: "properly
preserved". But of course you lose all expression and interpretation
storing music that way.

Similarly, many papers and films self destruct over time. Others are prone
to moulds and being eaten by bacteria. Some combinations of
ink/dye/chemical and media degrade to acidic compounds that speed the
destruction of archives.

> It used to be that you could take photos, make prints, and a hundred
> years later, your ancestors could sit down with a photo album and
> flip through a family history. Very simple and user-friendly.

Not so. Some methods/processes are/were much better than others. The best
is undoubtedly the glass negatives used by early explorers.

> People are so busy documenting experiences that they aren't really
experiencing them...

You've got my full agreement there. I tend to rarely take pictures because
I'm too busy enjoying the view. buy the tourist book and postcards once
the trip is over. ;)

> People are going to have to reproduce their personal archives every
> few years for safety, as well as any time the technology changes
> AGAIN... and then you need a special and probably unportable device
> to view it all anyway.... you can't just sit down in the garden
> with grandma and flip through pictures.

You have to do that no matter what medium you use. My dad rescued a box
full of photos from his father by re-photographing them. Now they're
preserved for a while longer, but the yellowed and faded images can never
be brought back.

Many heirlooms survive more due to luck and circumstance than the
suitability of the storage medium.

> My point being: sometimes, in the long run, new isn't always
> better, so its wise to be leery about buying the hype.

True. Stone tablets were far superior to papyrus scrolls. :)

If the data is important it's complacency and blind faith that are

Eric L. Dunn
Senior Technical Writer


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CD Life: From: Wright, Lynne

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