Saturday, February 14, 2015

Vint Cerf: Hide Yo Pics, Hide Yo Scans

Vint Cerf (yes, the father of the Internet, I know it's ironic what with "surfing" being an old Internet term) is quoted as saying:
"Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science this week, Google Vice President Vint Cerf warned of a “forgotten generation, or even a forgotten century” that awaits us when "bit rot" takes hold and our digital material gets lapped by the new hardware and software racing around it."
In other words...

He even recommended printing out your favorite photos. What?? Look, I understand, the guy's a futurist and I think his point is that the technology to read digital archives is moving much quicker now.

If anybody knows the pain of trying to digitize and convert one's Quantified Self, it's me, I've been working for years to digitize my own stuff, my father's art & music, and my family's photos. And yes, it's hard to get photos off old floppies or VHS tape, but it's not impossible. CDs that were produced 25 years ago still play. Yes, I remember when GIF animations came out in the mid 1990s, but everybody still uses them.

I think Cerf's point is that it's not a commercially viable project to make sure digital files survive in the future. While that may be true, I don't think that will cause the death of photos. There are enough corners of the Internet that will still keep those things running, as long as we stick to major image formats.

And a weird AP Photo to go with that? Sure.

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