Trons and Paper

I’m an old-fashioned, conservative sort of guy; I cannot see the day when electronic files and the internet will render books and papers documents entirely obsolete.  I spent many hours of my boyhood in a library containing books whose pages were as crisp, bright, and legible (if you read Latin!) as the day they were printed 500 years ago; on the other hand, I have seen documents composed on electronic media within the last thirty years go to the dumpster because the computer devices that played them are broken and unfixable, or the programs that previously read them are obsolete and incompatible with today’s programs.  With the increasing popularity of “cloud computing” where you let some else’s server store your documents for access over the internet, you rely on the continued corporate existence of the businesses that own those servers, and on the physical integrity of the servers — but even the water vapors of clouds have more tangible existence than the stored electro-magentic arrangements we rely on to preserve our work!

Certainly being written on paper (or papyrus) is no guarantee of survival — think of the Royal Library of Alexandria.  When I write something that I hope will have lasting value, even if I initially publish on a webpage, I ensure that it exists on paper with enogh copies to, at least, promote its chances of survival over the next few millennia.

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