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Data Storage Technology

New DVDs For 1,000-Year Digital Storage 274

Posted by kdawson
from the you-must-remember-this dept.
anonymous cowpie sends word of a Utah startup that is about to introduce technology for writing DVDs that can be read for 1,000 years after being stored at room temperature. (Ordinary DVDs last anywhere from 3 to 12 years, on average.) The company, Millenniata, is said to be in the final stages of negotiation with Phillips over patent licensing and plans to begin manufacture in September. 1,000-year "M-ARC Discs" are expected to retail for $25-$30 at first, with the price coming down with volume. "Dubbed the Millennial Disk, it looks virtually identical to a regular DVD, but it's special. Layers of hard, 'persistent' materials (the exact composition is a trade secret) are laid down on a plastic carrier, and digital information is literally carved in with an enhanced laser using the company's Millennial Writer, a sort of beefed-up DVD burner. Once cut, the disk can be read by an ordinary DVD reader on your computer."
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New DVDs For 1,000-Year Digital Storage

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  • players? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 17, 2009 @08:57AM (#28728365)

    As if DVD players will be around for 1000 years?

  • by localman57 (1340533) on Friday July 17, 2009 @08:59AM (#28728391)
    I don't know. But it's interesting to think that people watching the DVDs 1000 years from now will probably find our speech as odd and different as we find Beowulf now...
  • Re:players? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:07AM (#28728477)

    As if DVD players will be around for 1000 years?

    Mechanically printed books haven't been around a 1,000 years. The real point is they'll be accessible for the next 20 years so they are archival for professional and important family use. Most people don't care about anything after the next 50 years.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:31AM (#28728765)

    I can list many more reasons why a 1000 year disk is a waste of time

    I think you are missing the point.

    Let's say you are an engineer working for DiskCorp, and your boss tells you to develop a compound that will last for 100 years to sell to people worried about archival. In the persuit of 100-year life, you happen to come up with something that lasts 1000 years.

    Do you: (a) decide that you failed and go back to the drawing board, or (b) tell marketing they can run with the 1000-year life?

  • by Locklin (1074657) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:33AM (#28728795) Homepage

    It's a psychological trick. No one will take their word for it that their disks last 1000 years. Instead, people will assume they are exaggerating, but anchor their estimate of the "real" lifetime of the disks to the 1000 year number (even though it's obviously fictitious). Half, a third, even a tenth of the advertised lifetime is still longer than a human lifetime -so people will buy it.

  • Re:players? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:46AM (#28728981)
    No problem. Store them in a vault with 10 plates of instructions for building a DVD player and 100 plates showing how to crack the various layers of annoying DRM that have been added by the Hollywood studios.
  • Why mod Troll? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:50AM (#28729041)

    It's a perfectly legitimate question.
    They used to say writable CD-Rs would last 50 years, then next thing we knew, we discovered "disc rot" (or whatever it's called) in CD-Rs that were barely a couple years old.

  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday July 17, 2009 @10:08AM (#28729301)

    While I agree with the technical criticisms, I cant agree with the attitude of "future people will be so rational and alien to us they wont understand fiction or care about history." Humanity has always cared about stories, its where we learn things as children and as children we demand stories. We have also always have cared deeply about our roots and our understanding of history.

    Even in some uber-technological future the tools that make us smart in engineering are the same tools that make us curious. Curious and smart go hand in hand, and we will always be curious about the past.

    Just because the future is unpredictable doesnt mean we should care about preserving the culture and history of the present.

    >>They may well be pissing on our graves for having ruined the planet, and these disks may simply be destroyed as examples of the evil Evil EVIL petroleum age

    Wow, angsty much? Are modern people sitting and seething in anger over the dodo bird and other species hunted to extinction? No, we're interested in the motivations and history of the period.

    >>the cultural interest in such behaviour (sitting and watching a screen)

    How old is the collection of christian myths? People are still interested in reading it and usually in the form of a book!

  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Friday July 17, 2009 @10:48AM (#28729869)

    I'm always confused as to why people get hung on this point so often. Why would someone in 1000 years (barring some apocalyptic situation), or even 20 years need a specific player to read a DVD, floppy disk, hard disk, or anything? All of these can be examined with more generic laboratory inspection equipment now, why is it unrealistic that 10 years from now you might have an optical disk scanner that reads just about anything? Even the encoding that the disks use isn't very complicated, we crack much more difficult codes all the time.

    There is precedent. Hieroglyphs written 2000 years ago were undecipherable until the 1799 discovery of the Rosetta Stone and its subsequent study in the following decades. Reading technology was available the entire time (the paintings, writings and carvings were all visible to the unaided eye). Hieroglyphic writings weren't encrypted in any way -- other than being in a coding scheme (language) that fell out of use. The only real apocalypse that occurred over the ensuing eons was the cumulative effects of time. Nations and empires came and went, but we never had to rebuild the totality of the human population and civilization from scratch.

    And in 1000 years, before you decode a disk, you've got no idea whether it contains Chinatown, Quadrophenia or some guy's backup of qdata.dat.

  • Re:players? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:18AM (#28730307)

    No problem. Store them in a vault with 10 plates of instructions for building a DVD player and 100 plates showing how to crack the various layers of annoying DRM that have been added by the Hollywood studios.

    What twats modded this insightful? It's quite clear we are talking about DVDs containg *your own data* which will *not* be subject to CSS or *any* DRM.

  • by Belial6 (794905) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:23AM (#28730383)
    Forgetting that they didn't have carmeras... If someone popped up with a bunch of photos from little Octavius's birthday party from the height of the Roman Empire, TONS of people would be interested in seeing it. From the way they were dressed, to the kinds of gifts they gave, to the way they had their home decorated. Many people really are intersted in the past, and the past is often lost because only extrodinary situation get recorded for the ages. Day to day life is much harder to get a view of.
  • by polymeris (902231) on Friday July 17, 2009 @07:27PM (#28736355)

    From what I have heard they were able to make cd's like that. The only reason they didn't (in a time where recordable cd's were just a consumer's wet dream and cd's were only used for music) was that the replacement market would disappear for the music industry. [...] Maybe for very specialised purposes for high prices, but not in any ordinary shop.

    Low cost CDs take long enough to degrade as it is. You don't want millions of 1000-year-lasting CDs or DVDs piling up in the garbage dumps. It's ok if they are available for a higher price (10x at least) to archivists, people will think twice what they put on them.

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