I Don’t Want To Lose The Past

Unfortunately, the downside is we’ve got a lot of orphaned data. If you saved a photo on a floppy years ago good luck seeing it!

dvd_discs.pngA friend asked me to help him with his website. I spent a few hours transcoding video to “flv” files last night. He gave me the video on DVDs¹. Boy, there’s media that came and is now going in a hurry! I carry 8 Gb of memory with my keys–a lot more than a DVD can hold.

Since I started playing with computers we’ve gone from cards, tape and switches to three separate types of floppy disk, CDs and DVDs. Nowadays you’re just as likely to get movies streamed over the Internet without any physical media.

The floppies are so outmoded they probably can’t hold the documentation for today’s software much less the software itself! CDs aren’t much better.

As technology moved forward our demand for storage has increased. It’s like closet space at home. You never have enough.

Unfortunately, the downside is we’ve got a lot of orphaned data. If you saved a photo on a floppy years ago good luck seeing it! Who knows how long will be before computer manufacturers stop including DVD drives too! They’re bulky, power hungry and expensive.

A tattered copy of an old newspaper is still readable. My 1968 Fortran programming masterpiece (adding 50+5) or a photo from a turn of the (21st) century Sony Mavica camera not so much. Even the archives of the Internet aren’t so permanent.

I just looked for my earliest net posting, November 11, 1992, but couldn’t find it! It had been safely held when Google acquired the entire Usenet archives a few years ago. Where is it now?

I like the expanding abilities of our modern society. I just don’t want to lose everything we’ve done up until now. It seems like that might be happening.

¹ – The video I was given had been saved by a video editor program, then burned in standard DVD format. Bad idea. Even when first used engineers knew DVDs had limited capacity. The format used for DVD movies and the like is lossy and compressed. Video should never be transocded to a DVD unless it will never be used for anything but watching. He should have saved the files then burned them as is–unplayable on a DVD player, but higher quality for my need.

Rebuilding the website

I’m not sure why, but I’ve finally got the bug to build this website correctly. whether I can accomplish that is another question.

I figure the first thing I need to do is establish a style, and that means CSS, something I don’t understand 100%. That makes it a bit more difficult.

I also worked on getting some dynamic weather data, specifically forecast model data. That meant shell programming, in BASH. Again, this is something beyond my expertise. Luckily, I have the guidance of Bob Hart at FSU. His knowledge of ‘ix’ languages and GrADS (which I’m using to produce the graphics) is scary.

There is also a version of HAMWeather running, though not customized at all.

This will take time. But, there is a huge amount of satisfaction (as I got a few minutes ago when a PHP enabled include worked) in writing and debugging code.

My last computer class was 1967… and then in Fortran.