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Old 08-29-2008, 11:50 AM   #50
Ralph Sir Edward
Gentleman & Cynic
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Posts: 5,585
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: 5 generation native Texan
Device: BeBook/Openinkpot, CYbook 3rd gen awaiting RTF software upgrade
Quote:
Originally Posted by nekokami View Post
I recognized it... though I've never known the tune. It was featured in one of the volumes of the Cherry Ames series I read, long and long ago (my mother's copies, at that).

We still have those p-books. It's an unfair comparison, because there are no digital media that have been around that long, but I do sometimes wonder how well my various ebooks will hold up over time.

That's a difficult one to answer. They're both very fragile and very durable (at the same time!). Software is potentially immortal. As long as there is hardware that can execute it. The main risk is random ionization. However if it's stored in multiple copies, and is checksumed, and is stored on error correcting storage, the odds of it going bad become very small indeed.

But will there be hardware to execute it on? Hardware changes rapidly and formats change as well. It doesn't matter how perfect the storage is if no hardware will read the files. The best you can hope for on this front is using a format that is very common, and plan on changing to a new format when it becomes dominate. Whenever this occurs, there is alway a commercial market for software to change from the old format to the new format. Look at the number of CD to MP3 rippers, for example. (Or WAV to MP3 rippers, although they both tend to serve different markets.)

That's why I believe in using the most common available formats. In music, it's WAV and MP3. In video, it's VOB and IFO (in MPEG2), and possibly DIVX. In the e-book world, it's either HTML or PDF. Operating systems are Windows and LINUX. This is not to say that there are not functionally better formats in all the categories out there, but they are more specialised, and that makes them less likely to have ready-made conversion software when they bcome obsolete.

If civilization collapses, P-books are definitely better, but even their long term existence is not good (read the histories of the Alexandria library and the Constantinopal library....)
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