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(Newser)   Remember in the 1990s when the compact disc was proclaimed to be a very durable, long lasting medium to store information? Well, that was a lot of rot   (newser.com) divider line 85
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6808 clicks; posted to Geek » on 24 Aug 2014 at 10:12 AM (8 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-08-24 08:48:54 AM  
If only there was some sort of vinyl medium where 90's music could be transferred to.
 
2014-08-24 09:12:50 AM  
Rip to FLAC, wipe hands on pants.
 
2014-08-24 10:16:14 AM  
I first learned of bit rot in the 90's, when my Ozric Tentacles CDs started to not play after 4-5 years.  You could look at the CD and see the problem.
 
2014-08-24 10:25:55 AM  
I remember (back in the '90s) that the manufacturers were talking 20-25 years, max. On the other hand, I've experienced many more problems with newer DVDs.
 
2014-08-24 10:29:21 AM  
I have a metric shiat ton (over 7.5K) cd's and haven't experienced any problems that I'm aware of. I do store them in the jewel boxes but other than that I'm not super careful.
 
2014-08-24 10:33:28 AM  
Good thing I ripped all 800 Of my CDs.
 
2014-08-24 10:34:40 AM  
A friend of mine works with a lot of museum archivists, and most of them refuse to move to digital media just for this reason. Or at least they say that is the reason. I think they just don't want to lose control of the data. After all, if it was all digital, you could have 50 copies all over the planet, and be constantly refreshing/updating it.
 
2014-08-24 10:35:35 AM  
My cdr(w)s from the 90s are basically dead, but the purchased read-only ones are okay.
 
2014-08-24 10:38:44 AM  
Time to give them FLAC

And find a good cloud backup.
 
2014-08-24 10:42:31 AM  
This is all a big scare that's being poorly reported.

Only one company that I know of has had discs suffer from disc rot.  That company is Philips & Du Pont Optical UK Limited (aka PDO.)  They had flaws in their manufacturing process.

They were used by numerous UK labels like Warp, World Serpent, etc. but mostly by classical music labels.

That is why libraries are reporting that their discs are rotting.

We went through all this already in like the late 90s or something when people started finding their expensive NWW and Coil imports rotting.

If you have UK made CDs, all you have to do is turn them over.  PDO will be on the inside ring.  Of course, by now they are probably rotting.
 
2014-08-24 10:42:56 AM  
There was a particulalrly bad run of CD's from one plant in England,  but  that was dealt with years ago.  The dyes are more stable now and if you want to archive stuff to last, you do it on the gold media, though it is more expensive.

We had a guy in purchasing send us a case of dirt-cheap DVD media. He was so proud of how he saved 8 cents on each disc we burned, versus the Taio Yudens we were spec'ing.

A month later, he comes to his office to find his desk covered in about 40 dvd's, and an invoice for the extra disks and man-hours it took to re-burn and re-ship all the failed "coaster" disks that didn't pass Q/C or passed but were found to be unreadable by the clients.  His six cents saved cost us around twice that much to fix.

He's gone now, and we don't use crap blank media unless a client supplies it an insists. Then we warn them but go ahead. They only do that one time.
 
2014-08-24 10:44:51 AM  
images.iop.org

Can we please get some SOLID solid state action up in here?

I want to put all my porn on a crystal that can be found intact 50 million years from now.
You know, so my pet's evolved descendants can see what we all looked like getting our freak on. Or build the Fortress of Doggy Solitude or something. Whatever.

/for SCIENCE!
 
2014-08-24 10:45:08 AM  
Hasn't the "CD rot" phenomena been known since the early 2000s (or even late 1990s)? Why is this suddenly earth-shattering news now?

oldnewsissoexciting.jpg
 
2014-08-24 10:45:43 AM  

enry: Rip to FLAC, wipe hands on pants.


Is it unethical that I download the FLACs of the MP3 I have ripped from CD's I've either lost, had stolen, scratched, or just won't read anymore?  And ditto for game isos because I had to download Morrowind the other day because my bought and paid for disks don't read anymore and Steam doesn't accept the Morrowind CD key.  Was that wrong of me too?

Luckily Steam accepted my New Vegas and Oblivion keys because those disks are damaged too....I had them (my PC game disks) on an old CDR spindle that the cat knocked off the shelf and onto a rock fireplace, after that, a lof of my old game disks are either scratched or damaged in some way that renders them useless....the disks don't even make a good coaster because of the hole in the middle of them.  Would downloading the other damaged games be bad too or would it be OK since I still have the CD keys?  What about my CDs, about 300 or so (everything I had from a child until I was 17) that were stolen when a thief cut a hole through my buddies soft top?  Was downloading things stole from me that wrong (done pre-DCMA for bonus points)?
 
2014-08-24 10:49:30 AM  

Any Pie Left: His six cents saved cost us around twice that much to fix.


I'm sure you meant something else.
 
2014-08-24 10:49:53 AM  
Yeah - this isn't new.  I remember people talking about the different time frames between CDs you burn verse CDs you buy and all that jazz.

If you haven't used it in 10 years, you don't need it.
If you have, you've moved it to something better than a CD-R.
 
2014-08-24 10:50:30 AM  
I stopped using CD-R / DVD-R many years ago, when disks that should have lasted me 10-25 years, would be messed up within the year.

Even with slow speeds, etc, trying many brands, it was the same story overall.. only a few have lasted.

I stopped trusting them at that time, and have simply relied on having multiple copies of the data or either hard drives  or jump drives.
 
2014-08-24 10:50:57 AM  
Aren't USB sticks meant to be less than 10 years?
 
2014-08-24 10:52:57 AM  
I was in a computer related class years ago when storage medium was being discussed.  One guy laughed at me when I mentioned magnetic tape and then he proceeded to "inform" me how CD was a superior medium than tape.  The instructor backed me when I explained how the more dense, heavier grade magnetic tape can damn near withstand anything short of intense heat and (obviously) exposure to magnetic fields.  We both pointed out the shortfalls of archiving data to CD, which included bit rot.
 
2014-08-24 10:56:49 AM  

Fark_Guy_Rob: Aren't USB sticks meant to be less than 10 years?


no... its the read/write that you do that eventually sectors go bad, but software sees this and no longer writes to the area.. so a 512MB USB jump drive from 10 years ago might end up being chewed down to 420 MB at some point, but eventually would die completely.

I have a 512MB drive that I have used anywhere from 20-40 times a day, almost everyday for the last 6-7 years.  (transferring images and documents that I have on one system, need to work on on another machine, then back to the first system).

It's still 100%.
 
2014-08-24 10:56:50 AM  
We've known this forever.   I once bought a Joe Walsh album in the mid '80s that had a scratch on it and tried to exchange it.  They told me Sony never puts out any bad CDs so they refused.  And I've seen CDs - particularly cheap CDRs deteriorate.  I've even got farking BluRay discs that don't play anymore.

I suppose it's time to clean off the heads on my Nakamichi tape deck and conclude an experiment I started in 1991.  A friend of mine plugged a DAT recorder into the soundboard at a concert and I have a copy of that show on audio cassette.  In fact, I have 2 copies of that show - one on Maxell and one on TDK.  I was curious which brand would hold up better.  It hasn't really mattered for years now, but I'm kind of curious.

Back in the day, most people seemed to prefer Maxell.  I'm sure Maxell Points helped.  I think I even still have a Maxell t-shirt around somewhere.
 
2014-08-24 10:57:54 AM  
CDs started  in the 80's
 
2014-08-24 11:00:25 AM  

Gary-L: I was in a computer related class years ago when storage medium was being discussed.  One guy laughed at me when I mentioned magnetic tape and then he proceeded to "inform" me how CD was a superior medium than tape.  The instructor backed me when I explained how the more dense, heavier grade magnetic tape can damn near withstand anything short of intense heat and (obviously) exposure to magnetic fields.  We both pointed out the shortfalls of archiving data to CD, which included bit rot.


Yup. I can pull out old reel-to-reel tracks my dad laid down in '69, rig them up, and listen to some horrendous garage music like it was recorded yesterday.

Those CD's I burned back in '99 for the car? They make fine coasters for my beer.

//Christ, '99 was fifteen years ago....
 
2014-08-24 11:01:37 AM  

skeevy420: a lof of my old game disks are either scratched or damaged in some way that renders them useless


Depending on the value, you might consider getting a  disk repair machine.. a real one and not a cheap crappy sander.

I had many disk that were a problem, so I bought one that uses three types of disks, 4 types of creams and I've managed to save almost every disk with it, 1-2 that were past any saving.
 
2014-08-24 11:03:21 AM  

imfallen_angel: I stopped using CD-R / DVD-R many years ago, when disks that should have lasted me 10-25 years, would be messed up within the year.

Even with slow speeds, etc, trying many brands, it was the same story overall.. only a few have lasted.


That's because they are pretty much all made by same manufacturers.  Different companies slap their brand on them.  They are made as cheaply as possible.

I do know that there was one manufacturer that was prized for archival, one of the last plants in Japan that made CD-Rs, IIRC.

But it's been a while now, and I have no idea if that's the case any more.
 
2014-08-24 11:03:23 AM  

gfid: We've known this forever.   I once bought a Joe Walsh album in the mid '80s that had a scratch on it and tried to exchange it.  They told me Sony never puts out any bad CDs so they refused.  And I've seen CDs - particularly cheap CDRs deteriorate.  I've even got farking BluRay discs that don't play anymore.

I suppose it's time to clean off the heads on my Nakamichi tape deck and conclude an experiment I started in 1991.  A friend of mine plugged a DAT recorder into the soundboard at a concert and I have a copy of that show on audio cassette.  In fact, I have 2 copies of that show - one on Maxell and one on TDK.  I was curious which brand would hold up better.  It hasn't really mattered for years now, but I'm kind of curious.

Back in the day, most people seemed to prefer Maxell.  I'm sure Maxell Points helped.  I think I even still have a Maxell t-shirt around somewhere.



Only on Fark can you find people with the same strange curiosities as you...

Gave up on similar a while ago, but I think the end result was that TDK sounded better for some reason, but Maxell held up better.
 
2014-08-24 11:07:28 AM  
Back in the day, most people seemed to prefer Maxell. I'm sure Maxell Points helped. I think I even still have a Maxell t-shirt around somewhere.

Eh, there was no real difference if you compared cassettes of the same quality, i.e. metal/metal, chrome/chrome etc. I preferred the Maxell XLII-S and MX tapes just because the mechanisms seemed sturdier then the TDK's, but they all sounded pretty much the same on my Nak.
 
2014-08-24 11:11:31 AM  

Dinki: A friend of mine works with a lot of museum archivists, and most of them refuse to move to digital media just for this reason. Or at least they say that is the reason. I think they just don't want to lose control of the data. After all, if it was all digital, you could have 50 copies all over the planet, and be constantly refreshing/updating it.


It's not their jobs they care about.

The archivists are thinking in centuries when it comes to maintaining information. Once you print something in an archival quality way and put it in an environmentally controlled room it will last for 500 years. How much effort will it take to keep digital information in an easily readably way for 500 years? Tape and HD's have finite lifespan so the information will have to be transferred every decade, plus the data integrity and format will have to be checked and most likely changed to keep it readable. That is a major undertaking when you could just print it.

Now distributing the information digital is the way to go but for pure storage then nothing is as cost effective as print.
 
2014-08-24 11:19:06 AM  

imfallen_angel: Fark_Guy_Rob: Aren't USB sticks meant to be less than 10 years?

no... its the read/write that you do that eventually sectors go bad, but software sees this and no longer writes to the area.. so a 512MB USB jump drive from 10 years ago might end up being chewed down to 420 MB at some point, but eventually would die completely.

I have a 512MB drive that I have used anywhere from 20-40 times a day, almost everyday for the last 6-7 years.  (transferring images and documents that I have on one system, need to work on on another machine, then back to the first system).

It's still 100%.


In addition to the sector write cycle limit, flash has a retention time limit that's relevant to data archival.

It's an important issue in the embedded microcontroller world for parts that are flash based because the typical usage for many products is to program once and forget it after passing it on the end user.

A rewrite of a sector effectively resets the clock on retention time, which is effectively what your usage pattern of consistent use will do.
 
2014-08-24 11:19:08 AM  

imfallen_angel: skeevy420: a lof of my old game disks are either scratched or damaged in some way that renders them useless

Depending on the value, you might consider getting a  disk repair machine.. a real one and not a cheap crappy sander.

I had many disk that were a problem, so I bought one that uses three types of disks, 4 types of creams and I've managed to save almost every disk with it, 1-2 that were past any saving.


The disks in question wouldn't be fixed by that, these are literally cracked, have the top art missing (so there isn't any reflection for the laser), and are genuinely fubard (farked up beyond all repair dude).  The fireplace was dangerous to use (in a hundred year old house) so I placed my TV stand and widescreen over that area.  My PC at the time sucked ass for gaming so I placed my disks behind the TV on the stand one day when arranging my media layout.  I forgot that they were there, about six months later when doing some deep cleaning, I moved my stand and TV to find my old PC games broke, trampled, and covered in cat prints.

Plus I already had what disks fixed that could be fixed.  The guys at the local Game eXchange are cool and let me bring in all my messed up disks to be fixed, for free mind you, if they could be.  Some were fixed, some weren't.  Now my choices are to rebuy or download.  Some I've rebought, some downloaded; depends on encryption used (if I lost the key/book/case), multiplayer servers (I'll pay for that, no problem), an unreasonable price after 10-20 years of being released, or if Steam will accept my old keys.

I do have ethics in piracy.  I normally only download what I either already own (or have owned) or am supposed to be able to have access to but can't (like HBO or AMC streaming stuff; customer of both but cable company sucks so no GO or AMC online).  Sometimes I'd just rather use my CPU for gaming rather than rebooting into Linux, ripping a disk, and running Handbrake to transcode a DVD or BluRay iso over to matroska....just taking the easy way out...I said the same thing about people who eat at Taco Bell over making tacos from scratch at home :P
 
2014-08-24 11:42:06 AM  
Archivist here:

There's three separate problems with digital media.

1) Data integrity - how do you know the punch cards/tape/disc/disk you have will be readable in 25-50-100 years?

2) Data interpenetration - how do you know the punch cards/tape/disc/disk you have will contain data in a readable format (Hey, I just handed you a 5.25" floppy with a document written in ,awk Appleworks on an Apple II in 1982. Get working!)

3) If I do manage to open it, and I convert it to, say, PDF, have I fundamentally altered the document, removing its significance? if I just gave you a Penguins Classic copy of Shakespeare's folio rather than the original documents is it the same?
 
2014-08-24 11:46:09 AM  

MurphyMurphy: [images.iop.org image 400x153]

Can we please get some SOLID solid state action up in here?

I want to put all my porn on a crystal that can be found intact 50 million years from now.
You know, so my pet's evolved descendants can see what we all looked like getting our freak on. Or build the Fortress of Doggy Solitude or something. Whatever.

/for SCIENCE!


media.tumblr.com
 
2014-08-24 12:07:37 PM  

gfid: Back in the day, most people seemed to prefer Maxell.  I'm sure Maxell Points helped.  I think I even still have a Maxell t-shirt around somewhere.


Maxell had the nasty habit of getting eaten by my car cassette deck, I used to stick with TDK or Memorex.
 
2014-08-24 12:10:10 PM  
I still have the very first vinyl album I ever bought,
Black Sabbath's "Paranoid", original US release, WB Green Label, 1971.
It's still playable.
Most of my CDs from just a few years ago are full of skips now.
 
2014-08-24 12:13:14 PM  

Norfolking Chance: Once you print something in an archival quality way and put it in an environmentally controlled room it will last for 500 years.


Assuming the room lasts for 500 years, which given the paucity of 500 year old rooms, isn't a likelihood. So they will have to be transferred to another newer room at some point. Which if you have thousands of volumes may be a bit of an undertaking. Whereas if it is digital, you could set up an automatic copy of all the data to happen whenever you wanted.
 
2014-08-24 12:22:29 PM  

DogBoyTheCat: Most of my CDs from just a few years ago are full of skips now.


If you treated CDs like you treated vinyl, they wouldn't be skipping, assuming you don't use vinyl as a coaster like you do your CDs.
 
2014-08-24 12:29:58 PM  

Dinki: Norfolking Chance: Once you print something in an archival quality way and put it in an environmentally controlled room it will last for 500 years.

Assuming the room lasts for 500 years, which given the paucity of 500 year old rooms, isn't a likelihood. So they will have to be transferred to another newer room at some point. Which if you have thousands of volumes may be a bit of an undertaking. Whereas if it is digital, you could set up an automatic copy of all the data to happen whenever you wanted.


"Paucity of 500 year old rooms"

American-like typing detected.
 
2014-08-24 12:30:43 PM  

gfid: I suppose it's time to clean off the heads on my Nakamichi tape deck and conclude an experiment I started in 1991. A friend of mine plugged a DAT recorder into the soundboard at a concert and I have a copy of that show on audio cassette. In fact, I have 2 copies of that show - one on Maxell and one on TDK. I was curious which brand would hold up better. It hasn't really mattered for years now, but I'm kind of curious.

Back in the day, most people seemed to prefer Maxell. I'm sure Maxell Points helped. I think I even still have a Maxell t-shirt around somewhere.


In my own experience back in the cassette era, I found that Maxell and TDK were both good, and I bought whichever was cheaper.

My CD collection is ripped to FLAC, stored on a ZFS storage pool, the server has ECC RAM, and the storage pool gets backed up. Still, there's always the risk of losing everything... but ZFS offers several lines of defense, at least.
 
2014-08-24 12:35:08 PM  
I still use my CDs from the 90s. What rot? Oh, you mean when you leave them sitting in a hot car or throw them around on a desk etc.?

Take care of your shiat and it will last.
 
2014-08-24 12:36:48 PM  

Fubegra: gfid: I suppose it's time to clean off the heads on my Nakamichi tape deck and conclude an experiment I started in 1991. A friend of mine plugged a DAT recorder into the soundboard at a concert and I have a copy of that show on audio cassette. In fact, I have 2 copies of that show - one on Maxell and one on TDK. I was curious which brand would hold up better. It hasn't really mattered for years now, but I'm kind of curious.

Back in the day, most people seemed to prefer Maxell. I'm sure Maxell Points helped. I think I even still have a Maxell t-shirt around somewhere.

In my own experience back in the cassette era, I found that Maxell and TDK were both good, and I bought whichever was cheaper.

My CD collection is ripped to FLAC, stored on a ZFS storage pool, the server has ECC RAM, and the storage pool gets backed up. Still, there's always the risk of losing everything... but ZFS offers several lines of defense, at least.



That's why I transferred all my music to the Aether. The material world is too suspect.
 
2014-08-24 12:41:19 PM  

saintstryfe: Archivist here:

There's three separate problems with digital media.

3) If I do manage to open it, and I convert it to, say, PDF, have I fundamentally altered the document, removing its significance? if I just gave you a Penguins Classic copy of Shakespeare's folio rather than the original documents is it the same?


You're only using digital media to preserve data -- i.e. the actual words being used. If the words of the Peguin Classic and the folio are identical, the question of whether the PDF is one or another is meaningless.

Now, if you're talking about preserving a physical item, like the folio, you're not talking about digital preservation anymore.
 
2014-08-24 12:44:54 PM  

Fano: Good thing I ripped all 800 Of my CDs.


Same. I have found old CD's in my personal archives which no longer work, but it doesn't matter because I long ago transferred everything to hard drives (in a raid). And backed those hard drives up to other hard drives (also in a raid).

Over the coming decades I will continue to build new machines with ever growing capacity as storage prices continue to decrease and will transfer my collection to the new machines. Hard drives fail too, sometimes within just a few years, but if I keep everything backed up to machines that have fresh drives every few years - and protected by raid so individual drive crashes don't hamper me - I should be just fine.

And storage only gets cheaper as the years go on...
 
2014-08-24 12:47:31 PM  
If you have a large collection of data on a 20 year old hard drive you're going to have a bad time too. Maybe we should all go back to tape drives?
 
2014-08-24 12:51:58 PM  

saintstryfe: Archivist here:

There's three separate problems with digital media.

1) Data integrity - how do you know the punch cards/tape/disc/disk you have will be readable in 25-50-100 years?

2) Data interpenetration - how do you know the punch cards/tape/disc/disk you have will contain data in a readable format (Hey, I just handed you a 5.25" floppy with a document written in ,awk Appleworks on an Apple II in 1982. Get working!)

3) If I do manage to open it, and I convert it to, say, PDF, have I fundamentally altered the document, removing its significance? if I just gave you a Penguins Classic copy of Shakespeare's folio rather than the original documents is it the same?


I agree with everything you've written although when it comes to music recordings it's impossible to not fundamentally alter what you're hearing when listening back to it. Unless you're hearing the master tape* in the studio it was recorded in at the time it was finished then it's impossible to experience it in the way it was produced. (Of course the act of recording fundamentally alters the music anyway, but that can become a silly discussion.)

I've had more than a few conversations with the owner of the studio I work at on how we should be properly archiving projects that have been produced there. Tape is expensive, especially for using purely to archive with rather than to record on, although there doesn't seem to be a much better option. If you have just kept the project files, (which we also do) then digitally it gets annoying when your version of your preferred recording software has changed significantly or whether or not you are able to utilize the same plugins for your reverbs or compressors for example, and whether or not they will react the way they did originally. So bouncing to different file types is the third thing we do but then you have to deal with degradation of whatever you're storing them on.

*or master whatever medium you're recording to.
 
2014-08-24 01:04:57 PM  
Well, since I'm about ready to take all my CD's of photos off the shelf and update my storage system, this is a timely reminder.

Would be nice if there was something besides Paper that would last more than 100 years, but by then the very data format will be obsolete - word perfect files anyone?
 
2014-08-24 01:06:26 PM  

Fark_Guy_Rob: Aren't USB sticks meant to be less than 10 years?


That would be better than a lot of hard drives I've had.  I was using 3 USB sticks for backups of critical files.  One mysteriously disappeared.  Now I'm down to 2 and I don't store one offsite so if my house burns down I'll lose those important documents.  Then again, I store the USB sticks on the other end of my house than my hard drive so it really would have to completely burn to the ground to lose them.

I'm too stubborn to use the farking "Cloud" as a backup.  I'd want to encrypt it and I don't want to memorize another password.
 
2014-08-24 01:06:57 PM  
Well sure! If you live in a  climate where it's near-saturation point humidity 12 months of the year, there could be issues. We've known about things like CD rot as far back as 1999.
 
2014-08-24 01:09:22 PM  

Glitchwerks: That's because they are pretty much all made by same manufacturers. Different companies slap their brand on them. They are made as cheaply as possible.

I do know that there was one manufacturer that was prized for archival, one of the last plants in Japan that made CD-Rs, IIRC.

But it's been a while now, and I have no idea if that's the case any more.


Nah.. those I tried too.. Taiyo Yuden, probably still have some.

Not a single brand has not given me disks that didn't fail.

For CD-R that i still use for the car's stereo (as it reads MP3/MWA and doesn't have USB/SD card support), I found one brand (ProDisk Tech inc.) that works perfectly, compared to every other brands of CD-R that would die within a month or two.. just the heat/cold in the car destroyed all of them except for these so far after a couple of years.
 
2014-08-24 01:11:47 PM  

gfid: I'm too stubborn to use the farking "Cloud" as a backup.  I'd want to encrypt it and I don't want to memorize another password.


We here at the NSA encourage everyone to use cloud-based storage as much and as often as possible.

www.dvorak.org
 
2014-08-24 01:19:00 PM  
my pre-recorded reel to reel tapes lasted about 35 years and then started to get brittle and squeaky
 
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