Overcoming Obsolescence

Media Obsolescence

Do you store favorite voicemails on an old phone? Keep your photos on a USB? A look at the number of device changes in our recent  history shows how quickly formats become obsolete, and difficult to access. For example, data stored on a Blackberry or Uniservo cannot easily be read today. Most people don’t have a means to see information on a 3.5-inch floppy disk or even a disc drive for more modern CD-ROMs. We have all kinds of tapes from 10+ years ago but the drives are long gone. Not to mention trying to find cables and drivers that are compatible with todays systems. Even the cloud is dating itself.  How many hardware changes will your memories need to go through over the next 300 years?

In addition to websites, social media is a major source of file storage. Photos, memories and videos are stored on the profile pages of billions of people. As social media trends shift and cancel culture grows, millions are already struggling to access the lost memories from accounts suspended, from accounts of lost loved ones, or to recover their data from sites that shut down entirely.

Social Media Shifts

Hard Use & Bugs Decay

Do you regularly replay a favorite video. Does your computer or software regularly crash? "Hard use" or frequency of use of a file will increase the pace of data destruction.  Software introduces errors. Hardware introduces more errors. Firmware introduces errors. Errors creep in everywhere and absolutely nobody and nothing can be trusted.

Topic #3

Your archive can be linked to your maternal and paternal grandparents, your parents and yourself.  Prepare your data on their birth and death dates and locations.

Topic #2

Create a consistent organizational structure and naming convention for your files.  Save your files in the highest possible resolution and open formats always  Finally create a list of “inventory”  describing exactly what is in each item.

Deliberate Destruction of Your Memories 

Hackers develop malicious "attack"  software developed to infect and corrupt your media and expose your privacy. There are different types of malware including spyware, ransomware, viruses, adware, worms, Trojan horses.   Even the most modern systems with the very latest in encryption and security technology, fail from time to time - the odds are high that your legacy will be impacted by malware sometime over the next 300 years.

Software Obsolescence

There is no guarantee that the sites or programs you have used to store your memories will exist 300 years from now. There  are thousands of software programs created to read and process your stored media and many of them choose not to use open formats, instead creating their own file formats which cannot be read by other programs. This makes it difficult for you to switch your media to another program. Trying to unwarp these formats 300 years from now might be impossible Programs that can’t correctly hold and read information is a form of digital decay called versioning..

The Nature of File Corruption

These include video cassettes, floppy discs, audio tapes. Like a magnet that loses strength over time, your memory "bits" lose their magnetic orientation. Life expectancy: between 10 and 20 years.  In warm/humid conditions these media, especially those poorly protected against ambient air, are prone to physical decomposition 

Memories Stored on Magnetic Devices

Devices include flash memory, memory cards, USB flash drives, solid-state drives, feature phones, mobile/ smartphones, computers, PDAs, digital audio players, digital cameras, synthesizers, video games. Life expectancy : The electrical charge holding your memories charge will last around 10 years and then it will begin to slowly  "leak" from the device.

Photos on Computer Gear and the Cloud

Is your wedding video stored on a DVD? Optical media, such as CD-R, DVD-R experience digital decay from the breakdown of the storage medium. We do know of many examples of optical media that have survived 20 or 30 years. We also know of many examples of optical media that have become unreadable within a year of their creation. The causes include sunlight damage, scratches,  de-bonding of the adhesive used to adhere the layers of the disc together. oxidation of the reflective layer, reactions with contaminants.  Life expectancy can be anywhere from 2 to 25 years.

DVD, CDs and other Optical Devices

Silent but Deadly Data Corruption now "widespread"

In 2021 both Google and Facebook called on the global developer community to come together work on the  widespread issue of silent data corruption ie data corruptions that go undetected and cannot be caught before they have infected an entire application. In essence we need to update our belief about CPUs not having errors.  Is an industry-wide issue impacting not only long-protected memory, storage, and networking, but also computer CPUs. Hardware can contribute to data loss and corruption. It occurs when an impacted CPU inadvertently causes errors in the data it processes. For example, an impacted CPU might miscalculate data (i.e., 1+1=3). There may be no indication of these computational errors. This is especially devastating at Facebook scale

Prepare Family History

Your archive can be linked to your maternal and paternal grandparents, your parents and yourself.  Prepare your data on their birth and death dates and locations.

Organize Media

Create a consistent organizational structure and naming convention for your files.  Save your files in the highest possible resolution and open formats always  Finally create a list of “inventory”  describing exactly what is in each item.

​So many people these days are amassing huge collections of digital photographs. It is important to think about how those photographs will survive into the future. While there are many benefits to information being kept in a digital manner, there are some issues. All media will decay and and become corrupted over time. Internet hostility, including hacking and malware are  concerns, but another threat looms over every bit of digital information – namely, digital decay

Digital decay is a term to describe any degradation, obsoletion, or breakdown of computerized information.

The Solution

The Problem

➔ Format Rot

Overcoming Obsolescence

➔ Bit Rot

The Nature of File Corruption

Stopping Digital Decay

The Mission

Expert Assistance

Self Assemble

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