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Sv: digital media

> Fra: Christopher Hicks <chicks@xxxxxxxxxx>
> Til: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Emne: Re: digital media
> Dato: 14. maj 1997 21:11
> On Mon, 12 May 1997, Steven D. Hales wrote:
> > It seems to me that digital storage media is somewhat analogous to
> > languages. That is, the way information is encoded by software is
> > similar to how it is encoded by natural languages.
> I like this analogy.

The one important difference here is, that information encoded by software
change encoding so fast that understanding backward is impossible. I can
actually read an old book severel hundred years old and yet get the
meaning. Danish - as other languages - changes so slowly, that you can
decode the message. This will not apply to digital media. Since I started
with computers (Commodore 64) these formats have change so often, that I've
got files I can't use. This is how future generations would have it with
our computer languages.

> > Even now there are languages that are partially or wholly lost to us.
> > Not everything gets translated into the new languages.
> And noone seems to be upset or worried about THAT.  (Maybe the worries
> mere technophobia?)
Please give an example of this. A culture and the connected language can
disapear, but we are still left with clues on how to translate the message.
A computer can't make a useful translation of eg a book. Nomatter what
medium you'd use, you would have the problem, that language develops.
However, printed on paper you would loose access to the text AND the
language in the same time.

> > A thousand years from now, how many artificial languages will we have
> > run through? And plenty of data will not have gotten translated. We
> > need hundreds of Rosetta Stones.
> This is why standards are /extremely/ important.  Of course talking about
> solutions isn't as fun as poking fun at things we fear.

As computer has shown us, standards are only that as long, as not new
standards are introduced. An example 5 years ago, the standard platform for
a PC would have been MS-DOS maybe with a graphical userinterface eg Windows
3.x. Today a new platform has been seen the standard is moving toward
Windows95. Will the next standard be capable of getting access to the old
DOS encoding? We are only talking about a period of about 10 years.
Standard to change, and no standard is static.

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