Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Digital v Analogue

Apparent Technology Luddite warning!
(though, in such a medium as a blog this is a nice irony)

One of the problems with digital is it is very hard to archive long term, which will bemuse future historians I think. We've had computers in the mainstream for how long now? Maybe 30 years tops; and how many operating systems have we gone through? My the original files of my old stories written on my parents Amstrad 664[TM] are gone, baby! The only version of them extant, printed copies.

One day - and maybe the youngest of us here will be alive when it happens, but I am thinking a couple hundred years time - they may well come to the conclusion that paper is the most advanced step for (especially long term) storage of information. I certainly think the complete digitisation of the world is not as necessary as the digitisers would have us think... but that is just me. No one ever seems to think it necessary to really ask "Just because I can, does it mean I should..?"

Having said that, if reading a Kindle[TM] is just like reading a real book, then I am ok with that.

New poll - all very off topic at the moment, hope people don't mind. Just shows we can function on a level other than the Half-Continent.

Also, for those of you who have not read it, please have a squiz (sp?) at my last post regarding the rather troubling developments in the world of publishing here in Australia.

Advice: Letting your porridge go cold then still eating it is NOT the best way to start the day...


Anna said...

Oh, I couldn´t choose more than one option...or else i´d chosen the three first. I´m a real booksniffer.

Zakk said...

MBT2 Hardcover had a real dusty smell when i opened the parcel. Somehow, it's still there.

monday said...

The ladies in my home library and used bookshop have given my sniffing some very odd looks. There is a copy of Holly Black and Tony Ditterliza's The Ironwood Tree [?incorrect spelling?] which I have never read but has a distinct aroma of vanilla extract.

My grandparents used to clean and partially restore fire-damaged items; a lot of the books they garnered from this came to my mother. [i think they're still sitting in the garage, actually.] Some of them are very very nice classic works, all pretty and with interesting old-fashioned covers--only slightly scorched--but I can't concentrate on them particularly well because of THE SMELL. Even the ones in seemingly perfect condition smell like book-corpses. It is very sad.

Dan7el said...

The dusty smell makes me sneeze. Not a big fan here. When I was a kid I loved the smell of open refrigerator units in grocery stores, though. I hate the smell of a new car.

Sam Hranac said...

Sometimes, I let books sniff me back. But not in the bookstore.

RottenPocket said...

Mr. Cornish, it's the same with macaroni. A horrible, horrible thing to have occur...

For the poll, I think the 'Casual Way' was more accurate in my case. If a book I'm reading lets itself waft up my nose chances are I acknowledge it and if I'm in a curious state of mind the nose decides to investigate further. Although I think the thing I like most is the combination of several books and the leather of my bag. on top of the crisper scent of sketch paper.

To monday on the previous post: B-grade movies are awesome! 8D
Heck... Z-grade movies are awesome.

Also I think what's most important is the presence of Hard Copies, regardless of their being paper. For all we know, plastic has a strong silky scent that might be the craze of future generations. After all, didn't we all have mums at tupaware parties?

Unless we all become cyborgs, I don't think hard copies will ever go out - just the material we use currently to make them.

Ferestur: A really freakish creature resembling a cross between a fox, a ferret and a naked mole-rat. Like I said: Freakish.

monday said...

ENR--regarding b-movies--yes, they are. :D
but I cannot bear to think of Tremendous Trifles [G K Chesterton] being wiped out and forgotten in the zombie apocalypse. *sniff*

haviz: the sensation that you've had this varificon word already, several times in fact...

RottenPocket said...

Depends what zombies 8D

There's either REAL zombies, where the corpses are controled by someone - The army that can't die because it's already dead.

Then there's the brainless twit zombie that's been created by Pop culture but in reality it's just the Undead, not Zombies. (I know, it's out of place to have the word 'Reality' in that sentence...)

My excuse is that this is not off-topic because indirectly we're talking about changes the future generations make that we don't like. Concerning stories...


Derhylow: A Verification word I can't justify with anything, so I gift it to Monday.

Although a little Hut came to mind when I read it... but that's all. Actually... isn't it the name of some aquatic mythical monster?... **shrug**

monday said...

well, compared to some of the other conversations we've got up to on here, this isn't off-topic at all...

undead or zombie or golem or other Fiendish Creature of Yore--in any case, when the general population runs and hides from aforementioned flesh-eating monstrosity of nature they don't often think much about what happens to their e-books. [not that i speak for experience or anything.] at least, they don't think until it's...*dun dun duuuuhhh*...TOO LATE. woe, woe.

Derhylow: a gate woven and twisted and glued together from dried water-weed; quite pretty, in a strange sort of way, but no deterrent at all for burglars et cetera

it does sound like a word that already exists...not sure what it is, though.

my real word:
Spreca: a crusty cracker for consumption alongside camomile tea

monday said...

sorry for the comment-craze, but this one is tooooo good to miss--

ingingla: the rattling of terra-cotta flowerpots against each other

Unknown said...

Mr. Cornish, your statement of the archival advantages of paper over electronic formats draws my sympathetic assent; and furthermore, your preceding writings about Parallel Importation Restrictions broaches the topic of the state of publishing, especially its economics: a troubling issue that obliges me to venture some sentiments.
I opine that the proliferation of digital technology speaks more to its utility in propogating the same, than to its other practical uses. As for the merits of storing information on paper: it's accesible, portable, easy to revise/edit (maybe not as flexible as digital), more permanent; I think it a more direct and spontaneous medium to work on, and it functions without electricity (though it requires energy to make or to be reproduced).
There is much more I want to say, but for now, I will say these things about the effect of technology and economics on books: A) I much prefer a hard copy book over a file on a digital device which I think is an awkward intermediary between me and the book's content; and B) I am skeptical that a sweeping deregulation of trade will make books significantly more accessible, or more inexpensive to me; and C) I am of the mind that intense economic competition (especially from outside) encourages publishers to make, to put it nicely, cautious and dissatisfying choices in what they publish; books whose mass appeal guarantees a large market share. Under such economic conditions, I fear worthwhile but risky books like Monster Blood Tattoo would be passed up by publishers.
A closing rhetorical question: How many of the books billed as "International Bestsellers" are genuinely good?

smudgeon said...

I'm sure books will last. Eventually someone will come up with a suitable digital alternative to books (I'm yet to see one, but it will happen), and paper books will take a hit, but it'll find it's niche.

It's like film: film took a huge battering once digital cameras became more affordable & really took off, quite a few manufacturers closed down, development & film costs increased, etc. BUT - film is still the best quality medium for storing images. It has it's own flavour. Digital still has a long way to go catch up to film in the depth of quality stakes.

And I guess that's how I think about books - it's the best way to experience reading.

Anna said...

There is problems with digital archives. Althougth you can save more stuff, cause it don´t take so much space as usual books, as Mr Cornish says there are all the time new changes in the media.
Archives don´t save everything either cause they can´t. They choose a small portion and the rest is thrown away. As an genealogist I have experienced this.

There might be problems to get hold on older digital books. One possibility is that some kind of second-hand-digital-bookstores exist but there is still the issue of converting to existing media format.

today many older books are in the hands of privat persons who, when they get tired of the books, sell them or give them away, so other interested can buy them. It´s almost like an bookarchive at home.

In the end it can be a very poor bookless society. A nightmare according to me. Perhaps like Fahrenheit something-something.

Unknown said...

Everything tanglbile is slowly becoming obsolete. First, we had records, then casset tapes, then CDs. Who buys CDs anymore? Well, I do.... And now this! But I agree with many of the other people. I think books will always be relevant. What else will teachers force us to read? Have no fear- books are going to be around for as long as humans walk the Earth.

Christiane said...

I would love to make a perfume that smells like old books, mixed with the smell of leather, whiskey and cigar smoke.. ahhhh it would be heaven!

RottenPocket said...

Christiane - If you do, mark me up for twenty bottles.

That shiznet is gonna be the new air-freshner.

portals said...

Back at last. I've been in america for more than a month, and i'm going to try and catch up sometime soon.

D.M. Cornish said...

I fear squaresville that what you say is correct, that in a more economically rationalised publishing world MBT would be passed on by.

I truly hope you prognostication is correct King Ballistah, books are too wonderfully tangible to lose as a technology.

Sign me up for some bottles too, Christiane!

Welcome back Portals!

Anna said...

Portals, welcome back. Hope you had a nice time "over there".

I´m a bit panic-stricken. Someone is going to suggest my research for publication in an yearbook from a local historical society. IT`S NOT FINNISHED YET! And there is so much to cross-reference, and doublecheck and..... I waved around my research for some people who I thought could help, it´s a very difficullt research, not much info to go on, and one of them got excited enough to lean on me to try to finnish it until January/February next year. But I have to travel all over Sweden to find nore information to make it compleate.

I´m so doubtful that the research is any good cause it´s just for fun I´m doing it.

i just have to hope that they close down the yearbook, as they have suggested.

I´m quite ok writing articles for the local genealogical society but this is a level up.

Why did i ever started this stupid madness project?

D.M. Cornish said...

Ahh, Anna, now you know how I feel!

The Half-Continent was only ever for the fun of invention, with a one very short story and 2 bad starts of other stories; but now they have me writing WHOLE BOOKS with deadlines and reader expectation and everything.

If I can, then you can, my dear.

I think the most frightening thing about the chance to grab at something larger is not failing, but having to continue to live up to it once you have started.

Anna said...

The thing that worries me the most is criticism. What if I have written something that´s wrong,or missunderstood something...? I know I´m a bit sloppy when it comes to writing down sources.

Secretly I think I like the idea of being published, one way or the other. If not writing a novel a research is just as good.
But then the doubts come. Am I really that good researcher and writer?

Guess when you start to walk a new path it´s always worries what´s going to happen further out.

D.M. Cornish said...

After three books I still worry if I am that good or not. I think self-doubt is an occupational hazzard.

Anna said...

Any tips on how to go on? Just throw my self out there and hope it will end well or be more careful and try to hold them off?

I was planning to make something of the research, not just at this point. Perhaps in a year or two. Maybe make a small paperback book or pamphlet (?) or just trying to make a genealogical society interested in the material, perhaps even the region archive.

6 months seems to little to complete this.

I´m totally freaked out because of this.

portals said...

So whats going on here?

Zakk said...

Good question. Ummmm. I think everyone is posting really loooooooooooooong comments to get a point across.

D.M.: have you met michael pryor?

D.M. Cornish said...

Anna, you are right 6 months does seem like a very short time. I am really loath to give advice here - what if I am wrong! My thoughts are (not knowing a whole lot of the details) that you might be honest with them of your concerns, they might give you more time...???

Why yes, Zakk, I have met Michael Pryor - a fine fellow with a wise wise head on his shoulders; have you?

portals said...

Ok... does anyone know how the Navajo got water in the desert?