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Data Storage Technology

New DVDs For 1,000-Year Digital Storage 274

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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  • by NervousNerd ( 1190935 ) on Friday July 17, 2009 @08:54AM (#28728339) Journal
    How do we KNOW that they'll REALLY last 1,000 years?
  • Sure. 1000 years. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:10AM (#28728513) Journal
    And this assumes that in 1000 years there will be:

    1. a player to play the damn thing
    2. the resources to build a player to play the damn thing.
    3. a screen to view it on
    4. the resources to build a screen to view it on
    5. the cultural interest in such behaviour (sitting and watching a screen)
    6. the cultural capacity to decode and understand what the hell they're watching even if they do decide to watch it, assuming they have the ability to do so. For an extreme example, there is a non-zero probability that in 1000 years, the notion of "fiction" may well not exist, in which case an episode of "Friends" or "Seinfeld" become biographical portraits of stupid foolish people, as one needs to have the fictive distance to decode what is happening.
    7. that anyone will give a rat's ass about us in a 1000 years. 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.
    8. Reverse engineering NTSC (SD or HD - just getting 29.97fps with rectangular pixels is fucked up enough) from a disc filled with microscopic pits strikes me as impossible and or pointless.

    I can list many more reasons why a 1000 year disk is a waste of time, those are just a few off the top of my head.

    Frankly, I think we are the civilisation that in 1000 years will be a great and tantalizing mystery. Their world will be filled with our garbage, telling them how we lived (like wasteful pigs at the trough) but they won't really know that much about what we think (because it was all digital and the technology disappeared in the die-off).


  • by cashman73 ( 855518 ) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:17AM (#28728603) Journal
    The problem is, after we've evolved several generations, our porn won't be nearly as enticing to future generations as it is to us. They'll be wondering where the extra pair of titties is? ;-)
  • Re:Disc Lifespan (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tgd ( 2822 ) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:25AM (#28728699)

    You don't have to violate the DMCA to copy a DVD. Just copy the files to a blank disk.

    CSS is about player licensing, not copy protection. (Which there are a lot of people that *still* don't get...)

    You can't play a DVD back on a player that isn't licensed by the DVD consortium. Thats what CSS prevents. (And thus, you can't format shift.)

    Making a backup works just fine, and is perfectly legal. In fact, you can make a backup to a harddrive and it'll work just fine as long as the program playing it on your computer is a licensed DVD player. No decryption needed, no DCMA violation, no breaking of copyright.

  • Re:Only 7-12 years (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:26AM (#28728721)

    I have CDRs in my collection that are now more than 14 years old, and DVDRs more than 8 years old - all working fine.

    Through observing friends' and foes' constant problems with burnt discs going bad after months, weeks, days - and sometimes even hours (yes, for real) - I found that they all had one thing in common: they all burnt their discs at the fastest speed the media allowed. I have never burnt a disc faster than half its maximum speed, and so far not a single (again: not a single) disc has gone bad with time, not even discs made with the cheapest Ritek dyes.

  • by CarpetShark ( 865376 ) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:36AM (#28728835)

    rain forests


    For rests?

    Fascinating. Just 2,000 years ago, rain was a torture method. And just 1,000 years later, it seems to have developed into some the much-mentioned but never seen "rest and relaxation". So much of our past is yet to be discovered.

  • Re:Wondering (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:40AM (#28728889) Journal

    You mean fewer.

    From the musical Big River*

    She's got one big breast in the middle of her chest
    And an eye in the middle of her nose
    So says I, if you look her in the eye
    You're better off looking up her nose

    (* This post is for cultural research only. No sales of Hulu(tm) ads have been created out of contract by this post. This does not constitute a song.)

  • Re:Sure. 1000 years. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:52AM (#28729067)

    Don't give them any ideas.

  • by DutchUncle ( 826473 ) on Friday July 17, 2009 @10:12AM (#28729365)

    (And exactly what are you going to be archiving that you think will still be relevant or usable in a thousand years?)

    We still read classic books, watch classic movies, view the originals of artwork. We still reference old records, particularly census and immigration and other genealogical information. We build whole societies around books that are hundreds, or thousands, of years old.

    True, anything in constant contemporaneous use will be moved to updated media on an ongoing basis (like those books); but it's always good to check with the originals for authenticity. Imagine if we could see what various famous authors ACTUALLY WROTE instead of what succeeding generations chose to copy.

  • by pmaccabe ( 747075 ) on Friday July 17, 2009 @10:16AM (#28729423) Journal
    is behind this technology, I remember hearing and talking a little to him about the research he was doing. It has been a few years since I graduated now. It is pretty cool to see something coming to fruition. The Information Technology program at BYU was the perfect place for a person like me and largely because of the amazing professors who were putting it together when I was there. Of course this technology may not last 1000 years but if it doesn't it will be able to do so because something better came along, not because the media went bad. I haven't read up on the details of their recent developments yet but I can't think of anyone more likely to figure a tricky problem like this out than this professor. He was one of the toughest and sharpest minds I had the pleasure to learn from at BYU.
  • by MindKata ( 957167 ) on Friday July 17, 2009 @11:06AM (#28730111) Journal
    Talking about 1000 and 2000 years in the past, I prefer to think about what it could be like when we are seen as the distant past.

    It seems very likely the changes in the next 1000 years are going to be much bigger than the changes in the previous 1000 years simply as we have so many better tools today, including far better information tools which helps to accelerate creating new technology.

    I hope in 1000 years from now they will look back at us as if we are some kind of very early version of what they see as their technological dark ages. Although I would like to hope in 2000 years from now, the people then would be able to ask some of their oldest friends what it was like 1000 years ago.

A quarrel is quickly settled when deserted by one party; there is no battle unless there be two. -- Seneca