Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Sep 03.08.d246/w36
The Future of Children’s Technology

Image from http://flickr.com/photos/tanyaryno/975839418/

It’s very hard to know just where children’s technology is headed. We’re living in the Digital Age, with new concepts and ideas popping up everywhere — Nintendo Wii, games like Rock Star, etc. It’s hard to know what is here to stay and what’s only a fad. My mother once told me that when she was growing up, television sets were still relatively new. She and her brothers thought they would be ridiculously advanced and the center of everything come the millennium. Yet, 2001 has come and gone, and while the television set is still around, it is certainly not the centerpiece of technology. Its cousin, the computer, has taken that spot. Computers have come a long way, and now some children are introduced to them before they even set foot in school. Much of the new technology that’s being developed involves a computer of some sort. It’s only natural that when people think about the future, computers are usually involved. But what if computers face the same fate as television? What if they are replaced with an entirely new concept? Even if the medium of new technologies for children is not centered on the computer, they should still serve children’s needs while at the same time, not stifling their creativity and competency.

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Jun 19.08.d170/w25
File Format Obsolescence: Translating (and preventing other formats from becoming) the dead languages of the digital world

The following entry is the highly-condensed, abridged version of a paper I wrote for a class this past semester.

USB Flash Drive

The year is 2038. An archivist working at a digital repository has acquired an old storage device filled with image files from about 30 years earlier. The better part of the past year was spent creating a hardware emulator that would allow current computing devices to read the archaic storage device. Now, the archivist eagerly sifts through the files with the purpose of converting them into a newer format so that the archive can eventually add them to the digital collection. Unfortunately, the original creators of these files had saved them in a proprietary format unique to the software with which they used to create them, in hopes of preserving them for future use. Now, thirty years later, that software no longer exists. The archive has no other software capable of reading the cryptic files. Paper prints do exist for some of the images, but many remain in their original digital form; their information locked away in a capsule that no modern key could open.

This scenario, while hypothetical, illustrates what could occur when file formats become obsolete. File format obsolescence is a silent threat to individuals who manage and preserve digital materials for the long term.

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