Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We've Got It, But Can We Play It?

There probably still is a lot of good music on 78rpm records, but (as the new talk says) we can’t access it very easily. The average person couldn’t play a 78 if the Holy Family appeared in his living room, pulled up chairs and asked to hear some old Bing Crosby Christmas carol. Pity; your big chance and you blew it.

I have some information on floppy discs. I don’t have a computer that will read them and allow me to transfer the stuff to some other format.

Some yearbook companies are putting high school and college books out on one or another type of disc which, if I am right, will not be readable by the time a significant reunion year rolls around. “Anybody got a DVD player?” might be answered by, “Wow, I haven’t seen one of them in decades.”

That’s why I like paper dictionaries over online. Well, that’s just one reason; I also like the feeling of pages under my fingers and the ability to instantly go from one word to another, which you don’t really get online. The same with an atlas: there is a quality of having the print in front of you, actual print on actual paper.

Paper is a format that does not change very often. We had tablets a long time ago, then scrolls, then flat paper. I can still read Noah Webster’s first dictionary, which I have in facsimile form, from 1828. I don’t need out-of-date software to access the information. But the yearbook discs may well be useless in the next-generation data storage.


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