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Data Storage Media

Synthetic Stone DVD Claimed To Last 1,000 Years 416

Posted by timothy
from the will-your-progeny-the-warranty dept.
Lucas123 writes "A start-up launched a new DVD archive product this week: a disc that it says will hold its data for 1,000 years. The company, Cranberry, says its DiamonDisc product, which can be used in any standard DVD player, is not subject to deterioration from heat, UV rays or material rot due to humidity or other elements because it has no dyes, adhesives or reflective materials like standard DVD discs, and its discs are made from a vastly more durable synthetic stone. Data is laid down on the platter much in the same way as a standard DVD disc, but with DiamonDisc the burner etches much deeper pits. Cranberry said it is also working on producing a Blu-ray version of its 1,000-year disc."
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Synthetic Stone DVD Claimed To Last 1,000 Years

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  • by s0litaire (1205168) * on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:35PM (#30082728)
    ..."The 10 commandments" Remastered Special Edition.
    It's the 2 (Synthetic) Stone DVD Version...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Al Dunsmuir (758685)
      Nope.... Flintstones!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SEWilco (27983)
      The director's commentary is to die for.
  • 1,000 years? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:36PM (#30082734)

    You know, when CDs and DVDs came out, they claimed they would last 50 years. I have yet to find one that lasts longer than 5. So I'd say, 1,000 years translates to about a hundred years, tops. Also, it may not be vulnerable to humidity in a controlled environment, but in the outdoors, a few seasons of freezing/melting and it'll be shot. Water beats rock every time.

    • Re:1,000 years? (Score:5, Informative)

      by batrick (1274632) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:43PM (#30082790)
      I have music CDs that are over 10 years old still working perfectly.
      • by Philip K Dickhead (906971) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:58PM (#30082896) Journal

        What are they recording?

        The Rolling Stones?

        The Stone Roses?

        The Stone Temple Pilots?

        Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I have some 20-ish year old CD's that work great.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tyrione (134248)
        I have CDs from the mid 80s. What most people fail to notice is that the thickness of those old CDs did allow one to skip them on the road and be able to put them back into the player and read correctly. They are thicker than today's CDs. Like all stuff in technology they hook you at a reasonable price, jack you up on costs later and cheapen the product so it fails sooner, rather than later.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by FireFury03 (653718)

          What most people fail to notice is that the thickness of those old CDs did allow one to skip them on the road and be able to put them back into the player and read correctly. They are thicker than today's CDs.

          [citation needed]

          Philips specify the thickness of a CD - if it doesn't match the spec then it isn't a CD and can't carry the CD logo.

          In any case, the robustness of the polycarbonate is rarely the problem - the easiest way to damage a CD is by scratching the aluminium layer, since it is only protected by a thin lacquer. By contrast, DVDs have a much better design, sandwiching the aluminium between two polycarbonate discs.

    • Re:1,000 years? (Score:5, Informative)

      by stinerman (812158) <nathan,stine&gmail,com> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:43PM (#30082794) Homepage

      Burned or stamped?

      My stepfather has an extensive collection of CDs he bought in the mid-to-late 80s that play as well today as they did back when he bought them. I ripped a Cars album without need for any cdparanoia correction. The resulting file played fine.

      • by ducman (107063)

        Yikes! I have collection of CDs that I bought in the mid to late 80s. Thanks for making me feel old!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by maharb (1534501)

      *Currently playing an 8 year old burned CD with no issues*

      • *Currently playing an 8 year old burned CD with no issues*

        First, there are people who have experienced no problems, and there are people who have. Saying that you belong to one group or another contributes nothing useful.

        Second, a music file like an mp3 with a few flipped or unreadable bits may be playable, and the music may sound fine. But that certainly doesn't mean the file isn't corrupted, or that the CD hasn't degraded or won't start degrading in the future.

        Third, I'll wager that a CD bought 8 years

        • by maharb (1534501)

          Fourth: I presented a fact that debunks this statement: "I have yet to find one that lasts longer than 5"

          I would say that comment contributes something useful.

    • by onemorechip (816444) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:16PM (#30083038)

      Water beats rock every time.

      No, paper beats rock. There's no water in the game.

    • Water beats rock every time.

      So you're saying we should be making our CDs out of water?

      • by aquabat (724032)
        While water is the purest of analog formats, I don't believe the technology would be applicable to digital media.
    • Re:1,000 years? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bcwright (871193) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:23PM (#30083092)

      Also, it may not be vulnerable to humidity in a controlled environment, but in the outdoors, a few seasons of freezing/melting and it'll be shot. Water beats rock every time.

      I really don't care if my archival storage can stand being left outside for several years, because I don't intend to do that. I'd be quite happy if it were at least as durable as a book, which if well made and with reasonable care can last at least a couple hundred years, possibly over 1000 under ideal conditions. So what if it can get ruined if it's left in the rain? If I care enough about the data, I just make a few copies and put them in different places and hopefully if I've chosen well at least one will survive. Right now it's not at all clear that typical CD's and DVD's are even as durable as cheap pulp paperbacks.

    • You know, when CDs and DVDs came out, they claimed they would last 50 years

      I've had one music CD fail on me, out of several hundred. My oldest is from 1987.

      CD-R's do have high failure rate, in my experience. Most of my "Kodak Gold" discs from 1996 are filled with errors. My newer (post 2002) discs are all Taiyo Yuden, and knock on cyanine they're still all good (but not as old).

    • by isny (681711)
      Paper covers rock. Rock beats scissors.
    • by krou (1027572)

      So I'd say, 1,000 years translates to about a hundred years, tops.

      Don't worry, we've been told by some futurists and scientists that people born today will be able to defeat ageing, so it's likely that in 1,000 years someone, somewhere, will be able to sue them for false advertising when their Britney Spears album stops playing correctly.

    • Then let's make the DVDs out of water! Oh wait...

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by AlamedaStone (114462)

        Then let's make the DVDs out of water! Oh wait...

        I was going to suggest dihydrogen monoxide, but that stuff is probably too toxic [dhmo.org] for consumer use.

  • First Prior Art (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bigattichouse (527527) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:37PM (#30082740) Homepage

    Wonder if they applied for a patent before April 22, 2004 ?

    http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/Ever-Disk [halfbakery.com]

    • by jd (1658)

      Sorry, prior rock art [wikimedia.org].

    • by slamb (119285) *

      Wonder if they applied for a patent before April 22, 2004 ?

      The government doesn't issue patents for half-baked ideas; it issues them for actual inventions (IIRC it even used to require a physical prototype be sent for examination). www.halfbakery.com is not prior art.

  • Presumably... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by popo (107611) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:37PM (#30082742) Homepage

    ... they also make a DVD player that lasts 1000 years?

    • by The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:00PM (#30082922)

      ... they also make a DVD player that lasts 1000 years?

      At $4995 for the burner it better last 1K years too.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by fm6 (162816)

        Tightwad. You can afford to buy a new burner once a century.

    • Re:Presumably... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by glyn.phillips (826462) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:08PM (#30082976)

      Presumably all DVD readers made for the next 1000 years will be backward compatible. Have you tried to read an 8-inch floppy disk lately? And they're only three decades old!

      When the equipment for reading these starts to become museum pieces people will migrate the data to whatever the state of the art is at the time. Then these stone DVD's will last a long time in the landfill.

      It does raise some fun things to speculate about though.

      There are some ancient writings which no one knows how to read anymore. Will future archaeologists wonder what the microscopic pits in our coasters with holes in them are all about?

      Will they suffer from data overload?

      What will future archaeologists, with PhD's, think when they read what you, personally, wrote in a forum? Now that's scary.

      • Re:Presumably... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:15PM (#30083026)

        Presumably all DVD readers made for the next 1000 years will be backward compatible. Have you tried to read an 8-inch floppy disk lately? And they're only three decades old!

        The nice thing about he optical disc form factor is that it decouples the encoding and retrieval technology from the moving parts involves in loading, unloading, and spinning the disc. It's very easy to support additional optical media formats by simply including another kind of laser in the read head.

        On the other hand, an eight-inch floppy needs a custom loading mechanism that isn't cost-effective to build anymore, so of course we don't have anything that's backward compatible.

        As long as we have optical media at all (and I don't see the idea fading any time soon), the readers will be backwards-compatible all the way back to Red Book audio. I would be amazed if we couldn't read CDs in 100 years, and only moderately surprised if we couldn't read them in 1,000.

        • by mosb1000 (710161)
          "and I don't see the idea fading any time soon"

          Flash media maybe? I wonder if they can some up with an archival format for that.
        • by wisty (1335733)

          Omnipresent wireless internet with cloud storage might kill off portable storage (except for special uses) in the next 20 years. Maybe longer, given that consumers would want to hang onto their old media. I wouldn't make any bets on the next 100.

          But that's a good point about optical disks lasting longer than mechanical systems. Even if becomes a specialized technology, the few remaining readers could read the disks.

          • Omnipresent wireless internet with cloud storage might kill off portable storage (except for special uses) in the next 20 years. Maybe longer, given that consumers would want to hang onto their old media. I wouldn't make any bets on the next 100.

            Eh, I fully expect corps to screw the pooch and constantly mess with consumer's or their data. Which means that portable storage will still be alive and kicking because the cloud simply isn't reliable.

            (Now, if you're talking movies / TV... I fully expect that
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DerekLyons (302214)

          Presumably all DVD readers made for the next 1000 years will be backward compatible. Have you tried to read an 8-inch floppy disk lately? And they're only three decades old!

          The nice thing about he optical disc form factor is that it decouples the encoding and retrieval technology from the moving parts involves in loading, unloading, and spinning the disc.

          The read/write head moves too - otherwise you wouldn't be able to read anything but the small portion of the disk directly above the read/write head. The

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Assuming anybody in the future cares more than a tiny bit, I'd strongly suspect that the file formats(and possibly the disk layout) will be a bigger challenge than the lack of compatible drives.

        The surface details on DVDs just aren't all that small, since they have to be easily accessible to ~$50 worth of cheap, mass-market optics, even after some kid gets greasy fingerprints all over them. Unless the future belongs to degenerate savages and murderous rat-men, rigging up a spindle, an optical microscope,
      • DVD is a consumer electronics media, 8" was a computer media. You can still read Vinyls without having to look to hard... the first commercial one was released in1946. that's 63 years, and counting.

      • Re:Presumably... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:42PM (#30083230)

        There are some ancient writings which no one knows how to read anymore. Will future archaeologists wonder what the microscopic pits in our coasters with holes in them are all about?

        That's an interesting thought experiment. Let's say civilization fell and rose again, and that future archaeologists came across some of our optical discs. They wouldn't need much beyond 19th-century technology and mathematics to decipher them.

        Once cleaned, 1,000-year-old discs would still shimmer the way they do today. Under a microscope (well-developed by the 19th century), pits and lands would be visible. A pit [freepatentsonline.com] is approximately the same size as a bacterial cell [wikipedia.org], after all. The pits and lands would form a recognizable pattern. That pattern looks nothing like binary, being a clocked encoding [wikipedia.org] of it. But it's obvious that a CD would spin, so eventually someone clever will realize that information is encoded at clock boundaries.

        That having been figured out, these future archaeologists will see repeating patterns of eight units. Presuming that our language came down intact (much like Latin has to us), 19th century cryptanalytical [wikipedia.org] techniques could determine the correspondence of the mysterious 8-pit repeating units to letters. (After all, what is ASCII except a simple substitution cipher?)

        ECC information would be gibberish, but it could be ignored. (And once even one Wikipedia backup were deciphered, the ECC information would be understood.)

        Of course, there's a huge amount of information on each disc. It'd take a long time to go over even part of one by hand, but it could be done. After all, even in the 17th century, huge logarithm table [wikipedia.org] books were produced.

        Once technology advanced a bit, it'd be possible to build an electromechanical system to read and print the contents of CDs. Even Babbage had a workable printer design [bbc.co.uk], and printing telegraph machines emerged by 1910. The hardest part for our future archaeologists would be reading the discs at high speed, for which (I think) they'd need a laser. But maybe the problem would stimulate them, and they'd build lasers before we got around to discovering the things.

        Of course, this is just idle speculation, but it's fun!

        • Re:Presumably... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:54PM (#30083306)

          By the way: if you think this is an interesting thought experiment, you'll love A Canticle for Leibowitz [barnesandnoble.com] by Walter Miller.

        • Of course, there's a huge amount of information on each disc. It'd take a long time to go over even part of one by hand, but it could be done. After all, even in the 17th century, huge logarithm table [wikipedia.org] books were produced.

          Deciphering the MPEG-2 stream might turn out to be the hard part. But if they're human and have some clue it's porn, the grad students will get it done sooner or later.

        • CDs and DVDs are a lot weirder than that. Bytes aren't stored verbatim: they're swizzled around and mixed up to improve error performance (that way a scratch kills many distant bytes that can be corrected, instead of a bunch of nearby ones that can't) and they are also converted to a self-clocking encoding (EFM) before writing to disc.

          However, an explanation of this isn't that hard to write and fit into a small-ish book (you don't need all the details and specs, just a guide of just how the data made it ont

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Theovon (109752)

          CDs aren't encoded in a straightforward manner. Data is stored as a composition of Reed-Solomon codes and 10-8 codes, and the RS encoded bits are interleaved. Without detailed knowledge of the encoding, it might as well be encrypted. You're expecting to see plain data interleaved with parit. You'll see nothing of the sort.

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      Will we have the ability to make DVD players that last 1000 years? Factories retool often, so components which are in easy supply for DVDs right now may not be available in 20-50 years, similar to finding wax cylinder needles or heads for reel to reel tapes.

      Also, will we have the ability to decode the pits on a DVD? If someone doesn't know the exact error correction, parsing of Gray codes, and other stuff, the DVD will be completely unreadable.

      Trick is... make a DVD player model that can be made as techno

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Is that really interesting outside of the post-apocalyptic scenarios? I'm thinking the point here is to have something you can throw in a vault and actually pick up in a few centuries and use. Unlike pretty much all things magnetic or solid state based, this is more a competitior to digital microfilm or something. For data that's constantly changing this it's easier to just migrate it to new HDDs, but there's a helluva cost to that over a 1000 year perspective. Perhaps the rapid improvements in technology m

    • ... they also make a DVD player that lasts 1000 years?

      Maybe some will be around in 100. To turn marketing speak into 4D space-time, divide claims by 100. My 100-year Kodaks lasted 10, so maybe these will be around in 100. By which time, all of our collective information ought to fit on one USB-key-sized widget. (I'm kidding, but Moore may not be).

  • by icebike (68054) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:39PM (#30082756)

    Coasters have come full circle now.

    I remember my mom's ceramic coasters (bone china she called it, which as a 5 year old, creeped me out).

    They were pretty durable, and lasted my mom all here adult life. The writing on the bottom was still readable after all those years.

  • Jeeez, it took long enough to come up with a practical alternative to hieroglyphics carved in stone. So far, that was the best technology for millennial storage. I just want to be certain that I get that 1000 year warranty, in case its just a bunch of empty promises. I don't want to be disappointed 800 years down the road.
    • I'd be interested to see, actually, how "practical" hieroglyphs in stone could be made to be, if somebody did a completely straight-faced interpretation of the idea, using fully modern techniques.

      With all the research that has been done for barcodes, and the resulting wealth of fairly high density, surprisingly robust, and monochrome printable data encoding systems, plus modern CNC gear and a dash of robotics, you should be able to produce a device that would swiftly, automatically, and (comparatively) e
    • As it stands, you might want to get a solid five-year warranty on existing recordable DVDs, because the odds are you'll be disappointed as little as two years down the road. I have 5.25" floppy disks from the 8-bit Apple II era that have a higher data retention rate than a lot of DVD-R discs.

    • We've just entered the Neoneolithic Age.
  • 1000 years? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Obliquitous Cowherd (689384) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:41PM (#30082772) Journal
    We'll see.
  • Expensive (Score:2, Interesting)

    by techrolla (902384)
    It's going to be really hard to convince average computer users who think their data will last forever that it won't. And after 50 years no one might even own dvd players.
  • Recordable DVDs don't use pits, do they?

  • by turing_m (1030530) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:59PM (#30082906)

    ... seems to have been designed to linger.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Did you have to?
  • What are the odds the company's around to sue if they're wrong in 100 years let alone 1000? I can tell you the odds of the guys who made the claim being around are zero. If you're going to put your faith in this nonsense I have a bridge to sell you.

  • Stone DVDs? (Score:4, Funny)

    by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:02PM (#30082940)

    They'll come in several varieties:

    • Mafic
    • Felsic
    • Pornographic
  • Curious... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:17PM (#30083044) Journal
    TFA quotes temperature resistance of 176 degrees. Fahrenheit. For a "synthetic stone" product that is supposed to be super durable, that is chickenshit. It's barely warmer than parked-car-in-summer-sun.

    I have to wonder, did some journalist fail at accuracy, or are these things actually pretty painfully unexciting in terms of temperature resistance?
    • > For a "synthetic stone" product that is supposed to be super durable, that is
      > chickenshit.

      That's because they are actually plastic.

    • Re:Curious... (Score:5, Informative)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:39PM (#30083208) Journal

      http://cranberry.com/faqs.php [cranberry.com]

      How is the Cranberry Disc(TM) different from regular DVDs? ... Instead [of organic dyes], the Cranberry Disc's data layer is composed of rocklike materials known to last for centuries. The Cranberry Writer(TM) etches the Cranberry Disc's rocklike layer creating a permanent physical data record that is immune to data rot.

      What temperature can the Cranberry Disc withstand?
      The Cranberry Discs can withstand temperatures of 176F indefinitely with no effect to the data or the readability of the data in a standard DVD drive.

      Can the Cranberry Disc withstand UV rays and prolonged exposure to the sun?
      Cranberry Discs can withstand the full spectrum of the sun, including UV rays, indefinitely with no effect to the data or the readability of the data in a standard DVD drive.

      The data layer is their synthetic material.
      Presumably, they still sandwich it between plastics that are vulnerable to heat.

    • by Zalbik (308903)

      TFA quotes temperature resistance of 176 degrees....It's barely warmer than parked-car-in-summer-sun.

      Where the hell are you parking your car? Mt. Vesuvius?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098)

        When the outside temperature hits 115 degrees with full on sun, the inside can hit 150+ within 10 minutes or so. Make it nice and black inside, and surfaces will probably be hitting 160. Soooo.... yeah. Don't leave stuff inside the car in Arizona or Death Valley.

  • Sounds like "Conan The Librarian" when after the Mayan apocalypse of 2012, 1000 years later when the vestiges of humanity finally rediscover metalworking, Conan goes on a mission to find the mythical Stone DVD which a shamanic priest who has access to a pre-apocalypse technology, inserts it into the player only to find porn.

  • How did their marketing department miss this?

    "DiamonDisc archive solutions... it's the pits!"

    Sometimes this stuff just writes itself... where do I send my resume?
  • by bitt3n (941736) on Friday November 13, 2009 @12:34AM (#30083514)
    The Thousand Year Rock
  • by Foggiano (722250) on Friday November 13, 2009 @12:34AM (#30083518)
    I'd recommend going straight to the company Cranberry is licensing from, Millenniata [http]. It looks like you can purchase identical products for about 1/3 the price. Cranberry's got one heck of a mark-up.
  • "...but the media is unharmed by heat as high as 176 degrees Fahrenheit, ultraviolet rays or normal material deterioration..."

    In short, it still cannot survive a simple house fire or the complete leveling of a major city by fire, historically the single greatest threat to information storage.

    I am curious what it does in a microwave oven though.

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