Burriss on Media: Archived Media

Jul 13, 2012

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS)  --  How many of you still have, and use, 8-track tapes? What about 5-and-a-quarter-inch floppy discs? Zip drives? Perhaps a more important question is, what did you do when those media forms fell out of favor and you had to start using a new format? Did you convert your old media or buy all new?

But now we have to ask, “how stable are new media formats?” Ask a dozen people about the stability of optical discs or USB drives, and you’ll get a dozen different answers. Even the experts are divided on the question.

With the latest, certainly overblown, threat about the Internet crashing, questions have arisen about how we save data, particularly data that relate to restoring the myriad of computer services that have become so essential.

Now, I’m not a doom-sayer or a survivalist, but I do wonder about the safety of all of those pictures, music files and financial data that seems more and more susceptible to disruption and hackers. And every time my bank and back-up service tell me my data are safe, I read another story about stolen identities and passwords.

Now, I’ve been told that if the “system goes down,” all I have to do is go to my backup. But if there’s no power, how will my backup work?

But you know what? There is, in fact, an almost foolproof back-up system. It’s called the “Portable And Powerful Encryption Resource,” sometimes called “PAPER,” multiple units of which are often organized into “Bio-Optical Organized Knowledge,” frequently known by its abbreviation, “BOOK.”

I’ve seen copies of those things called “books” that are several hundred years old, and they are still readable. And best of all, they don’t seem to require a power cord or battery.

“Ah,” you may be saying. “What if there is a fire and your 'paper' is destroyed?” Well, the really important stuff is kept, as they say, “off site.” After all, how often do you really want to read your insurance policy or will?

Nope, if I had my way we’d go back to stone tablets. Now that’s permanent, even if a little lacking in portability.

I’m Larry Burriss.