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Data Storage Hardware

Hitachi Creates Quartz Glass Archival Medium 116

guttentag writes "Hitachi has announced (original press release in Japanese, translated to English) a new storage medium that uses a laser to imprint dots on a piece of quartz glass that correspond to binary code. The dots can be read with an optical microscope and appropriate software. The company says this medium is resistant to extreme heat, radiation, radio waves and should still be readable after a few hundred million years. It's intended as an archival format with data density similar to a music CD (40MB per square inch with 4 layers)."
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Hitachi Creates Quartz Glass Archival Medium

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  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:39PM (#41453297)

    The problem with long term data archival isn't just the storage medium -- it's being able to recreate the reader mechanism from scratch. Tomorrow world war 3 happens. We're bombed back to the stone age. Thousands of years from now, humanity has returned to the level it is today, but with no knowledge or intact examples of previous technology. How do you explain how to build something, when the language, the words, and the understanding of physics and technology are all different (and possibly wrong or incomplete)?

    We've been trying for a long time to come up with a universal language; Partly in case we ever contact E.T., but also because of the problem of language fragmentation. Human language tends to diverge, not converge. How do you manage to tell someone how to construct a complex device from scratch, without any linguistic foundation and scientific understanding to build from?

    Civilization in a bottle: Not as easy as it sounds.

  • Re:Problem... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @02:59PM (#41453625) Homepage Journal

    Thousand years from now, someone looking at computer data storage devices might be completely oblivious to what they were meant for.

    "Ah, those crazy ancient people, obsessed with making ornamental plastic/metal boxes!"

    I would say from an archeological perspective, any digital archive that requires a computer to read is a big no-no. Stone tablets are good, as even in the worst dark ages people will understand their purpose (even if they can't decipher the text). However stone tablets are limited in data density, so you can't write much on them.

    I propose writing on titanium or aluminum sheets. Most of the writing would be in tiny microscopic font to get some decent data density -- like microfilm of the 80's, but with better long-term durability.

    On the first page we could put normal-size writing as sort of a primer. Then the text would get progressively smaller until it's microfilm-sized, so the reader would get the point that the rest of the tablet is in tiny letters. We could put a diagram explaining the properties of a magnifying glass, and how to make one.

  • by handy_vandal ( 606174 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:18PM (#41453935) Homepage Journal

    The Rosetta Disk fits in the palm of your hand, yet it contains over 13,000 pages of information on over 1,500 human languages. The pages are microscopically etched and then electroformed in solid nickel, a process that raises the text very slightly - about 100 nanometers - off of the surface of the disk. Each page is only 400 microns across - about the width of 5 human hairs - and can be read through a microscope at 650X as clearly as you would from print in a book. Individual pages are visible at a much lower magnification of 100X. The outer ring of text reads "Languages of the World" in eight major world languages.

    Link []

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan