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#253 :: Syquest disk

October 18, 2004

Quick – what were you storing data on 10 years ago? 15 years? 20? Which medium is still in wide general use today? Right. Ink on tree pulp. 3-¼-inch floppies are dead. Old, slow, small external hard drives are dead. Until someone figures out a solid, archival solution for digital storage, we’ll trust in hard-disc, but back up on paper. CD-RWs – those shiny cynosures so rich with promise and integrity – disintegrate in five to 10 years. Oh, sorry, did that scare you? I’m still trying to figure out the way to transcribe some old magazine articles of mine into pixels from the dot-matrix printouts I made 15 years ago,just before I sold off my old Kaypro II computer and abandoned the 5½-inch floppies that held the data. This Syquest 88MB is much the same. When I fired up my old SCSI-linked drive, they just wouldn’t boot. Now, I have I have about half a dozen of these techno-chic bricks on the shelf, gathering dust against the day when I’ll hail-Mary them at a data-retrieval firm on the off chance I can retrieve old Photoshop experiments, early digital articles, and fiction experiments I might some day want to continue. The hard discs ride fast and whiny on the drive’s bearings, the tiny drive light flickers, and the content stays locked up, as if in little bank vaults whose keeper has gone blind and mad.

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