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[BKARTS] Dead-Media bogeyman



Interesting article that goes a long way towards explaining why we can be
certain that, unlike some other digital media,  CD media will be around for a
long time.


http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1612643,00.asp


There was also a short story on CNN about how the government is now using CDs
for an estimated 80% of their information storage.   Because of this, the
National Institute of Standards and Testing (I think that's right - I used to
live right next door to the main facility of NIST in Washington, DC) is finally
getting around to conducting longevity tests of CDs.

Of course, at the end, CNN had to add the dead-application bogeyman.   The
truth is; there are plenty of application-independent file formats that can be
read by any computer made now or in the future.    jpg, tif, txt files will be
readable as long as pesonal computers exist.


Dean's CD tips:

1) use the best media. I go to a local pro music store for CD-Rs.  They have
bulk CDs with no printing on them.  This also provides a form of quality
control.  If they had any problems, a pro shop will usually hear about it and stop
carrying the problem media.

2) Change up the media source.  This spreads the risk of any single source
having a problem. When I get a new batch of CDrs I make backups of my key
materials (books, etc) that I cannot afford to lose.

3) Distribute important stuff world-wide.   At a minimum, I like to get CD
copies of the really key stuff into safe hands in Europe, Australia, New
Zealand.  I would like to get more distribution, but I don't give this stuff away.  I
make people pay for it. That's the only way to make sure that they appreciate
it and are sure to keep it safe.

4) no labels.  no printing.

5) use CD-safe markers.  There are several brands.  I like the TDK one.

6) for extreme cases, think of using the Kodak medical CDs.  The best thing
about these, other than a known quality standard, is that they have individual
serial numbers.  With serial numbers, there is no need to label or mark the CD
in any manner.

7) Don't fill up the CD with data.  CDs write from the center toward the
outer edge.  The outer edge is the most likely area to get handling damage. I like
to put only about 500-600mb on an important CD.

For storage, my method almost certainly deviates from the suggested norms.  I
like to make my own CD folders out of archival quality Epsom enhanced matte
paper.  These prints are rated to last a hundred years, so I figure why not use
it for CD folders?   It's also a whole lot simpler than making the inserts
for standard CD holders.

Paper is usually not recommended for storing CDs, because of possible
scratching.  However, I've been making these paper CD folders for years and have yet
to see any evidence of scratching.  Note: even if the CD surface gets
scratched, the data is not lost. The data is on the label side of the CD.  A CD with
too much scratching can be resurfaced and read again.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Dean

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