Friday, February 13, 2015

This Is Why I Buy Dead Tree Books

Print out digital photos or risk losing them, Google boss warns

" Google's vice president has warned internet users to print out treasured photographs or risk losing them.

Vint Cerf, the internet pioneer, said it was time to start preserving the vast quantities of digital data which are produced before they are lost forever.

Warning that the 21st century could become a second "Dark Ages" because so much data is now kept in digital format, he said that future generations would struggle to understand our society because technology is advancing so quickly that old files will be inaccessible.

Speaking at a conference in San Jose, California, Mr Cerf likened the problem to the Dark Ages, the period in Britain between the 5th and 8th centuries where little is known, following the collapse of the Roman Empire."
Early in the digital book era, Amazon reached out and took back a book from all its customers. I don't remember why, and it doesn't matter. The point is that it can be done, ebooks are volatile in a manner which tree books are not. Besides I can and do mark all over my books. I can't do a search for a specific word, but at least I'll still have my books in a prolonged blackout.


Russell said...

I've tried to straddle the two worlds. I have a lot of ebooks, most of them free, out of print books, so the cost is negligible. When I read something I find worthwhile I see if I can get a dead tree version and I save the file locally and off site.

If Amazon loses its collective gourd I have back ups. If something happens to my physical collection, I have digital copies.

It's a work in progress and takes some effort. In the end, I'm just trying to hedge my bets.

Stefani Monaghan said...

I've been struggling with this myself, primarily with my family photos collection. On the one hand, digital cameras free me to take more photos by an order of magnitude or so over 35mm and to share them with family and friends.

On the other hand, preserving them can become a full-time job. I've tried burning them to CDs -- but then the CDs mysteriously become unreadable. I've tried portable hard drives, but then the hard drives fail. I once lost six months of photos after burning them to CD, having the hard drive fail, and THEN discovering the CDs were unreadable.

Currently, I've got a home media server with RAID backup, which automatically backs up everything to a separat hard drive. And yet, I still occasionally discover corrupted photos and, just recently, I've lost all my vacation photos from our Beijing trip several years ago. How, when or why I have no idea.

On the other hand, all my photos from before I went digital are still sitting in their photo albums, unravaged by the vicissitudes of technology.

I could print out at least some of the more important photos - but then what about videos? - but i've noticed that home-printed photos fade quickly; within two or three years at the most.

As to books, I'm more into classics, which are freely downloadable all over the Internet (I don't buy from Amazon because of the whole many-eggs-one-basket issue), so I', not too worried about that.

Stefani Monaghan said...

"...the Dark Ages, the period in Britain between the 5th and 8th centuries where little is known, following the collapse of the Roman Empire."

Not sure who the historicsl ignoramus here is, Cerf or the reporter. But the "Dark Ages" 1) were not restricted to Britain, and 2) never happened.

Rikalonius said...

Thank goodness someone else said it didn't happen. It is just like the myth of the flat earth, and the completely fabricated false depiction of Galileo v Pope Urban.

Stefani Monaghan said...

And don't forget Giordano Bruno who, everyone knows, was executed by the Catholic Church precisely for teaching heliocentrism, not any of that other stuff, like denying the divinity of Christ, belief in reincarnation and the transmigration of souls, flirting with Arianism; and we'll ignore the fact that Copernicanism was never a heresy, or that Bruno's version of it was, by Copernican standards, heterodox.

Stefani Monaghan said...

Oh, and no serious historian has ever uttered the phrase "Dark Ages". And even when the phrase was coined it referred not to any sort of regression in general knowledge, but simply to the lack of extant historical materials from the period; that is, it was "dark" to modern historians.

Phoenix said...

Stefani and Rikalonius

My thoughts exactly.
Here's an interesting question to ask Atheists and the Dark Age proponents:Compared to which countries during the Middle Ages was Christian Europe in the Dark Ages?In other words,what other countries were more advanced than Europe at this time when it was supposed to be in a backward,superstitious,ignorant and violent era?

Atheists could give 3 possible answers:
1.India,because they had advanced mathematical concepts as well as an astronomical model.

-Refutation:India's astronomical models were a direct study of their sacred religious texts,not inspite of it.So using India to prove that religion causing stagnation is a failure.Despite that,the scientific revolution never kicked off in India because they had not discovered the scientific method and a classical Newtonian model of the universe as did the Christian Europeans.

2.Muslim Arabs,because they had indeed invented the scientific method and made significant mathematical accomplishments,which influenced Galileo,Kepler,Descartes,et al.

Refutation:The scientific revolution did not occur in the Middle East despite a muslim by the name of Alhazen inventing the scientifc method.And they did not have anything close to Newtonian physics nor calculus.Oh,and then there's the small problem of muslims' preoccupation with jihad,which meant their priorities relegated scienctific achievements next to 'loving the jews'.

3.China,because they were probably more godless than Europe,Middle East and India.And...they are asian after all.(Ok,maybe atheists won't phrase it as such)

Refutation:True,Chinese were more godless than Europe and India but they also failed to give birth to the scientific revolution even though they had an astronomical model.They were lagging behind the muslims,hindus and European christians in terms of science and mathematics.In fact,up until the 17th cneturythe chinese thought the earth was flat until Jesuit priests convinced them otherwise.

Stan said...

Very interesting comments, thanks guys!

Stefani Monaghan said...


How about the Mayans? After all, they had that way cool calendar!

Robert Coble said...

Gotta love that Mayan calendar!

Too bad that it all came to an end on 21 December 2012.

Or, maybe not; the Mayan classics are a little vague about that.

At least they were a little more definitive than Nostradamus.