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Re: digital media



On Mon, 12 May 1997, Steven D. Hales wrote:
> It seems to me that digital storage media is somewhat analogous to
> languages. That is, the way information is encoded by software is
> similar to how it is encoded by natural languages.

I like this analogy.

> The big difference as I see it is that languages change slowly and
> software changes incredibly rapidly.

Depending on the language and your thoughts on slowly.  Few would have
trouble telling the difference between someone using 60's English and 90's
English.  A decade even makes a significant difference.

> Even now there are languages that are partially or wholly lost to us.
> Not everything gets translated into the new languages.

And noone seems to be upset or worried about THAT.  (Maybe the worries are
mere technophobia?)

> Without the Rosetta Stone, where would we be in our understanding of
> hieroglyphics?

Nowhere.

> A thousand years from now, how many artificial languages will we have
> run through? And plenty of data will not have gotten translated. We will
> need hundreds of Rosetta Stones.

This is why standards are /extremely/ important.  Of course talking about
solutions isn't as fun as poking fun at things we fear.

</chris>

Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to buy Microsoft products.


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