Friday, January 6, 2017

Star Wars Storage Media

At Motherboard, Sarah Jeong's From Tape Drives to Memory Orbs, the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck is a must-read compendium of the ridiculous data storage technologies of the Empire and its enemies.

Its a shame that she uses "formats" when she means "media". But apart from serious questions like:
Why must the Death Star plans be stored on a data tape the size of four iPads stacked on top each other? Obi-Wan can carry a map of the entire galaxy in a glowing marble, and at the end of Episode II, Count Dooku absconds with a thumb drive or something that contains the Death Star plans.
absolutely the best thing about it is that it inspired Cory Doctorow to write Why are the data-formats in Star Wars such an awful mess? Because filmmakers make movies about filmmaking. Doctorow understands that attitudes to persistent data storage are largely hang-overs from the era of floppy disks and ZIP drives:
But we have a persistent myth of the fragility of data-formats: think of the oft-repeated saw that books are more reliable than computers because old floppy disks and Zip cartridges are crumbling and no one can find a drive to read them with anymore. It's true that media goes corrupt and also true that old hardware is hard to find and hard to rehabilitate, but the problem of old floppies and Zips is one of the awkward adolescence of storage: a moment at which hard-drives and the systems that managed them were growing more slowly than the rate at which we were acquiring data.
the destiny of our data will be to move from live, self-healing media to live, self-healing media, without any time at rest in near-line or offline storage, the home of bitrot. 
Just go read the whole of both pieces.

1 comment:

David. said...

David Portman of Preservica has a preservationists take on the same issue.