18 January 2007

MP3 history

I browsed across an old WAV file (converted to Ogg) today, & this is what came up:

[tuning noises]

[sung theme] “All Hit Radio”

All right, you’re listening to All Hit Radio, and it’s 53 degrees [fahrenheit?] at 30 minutes past the hour.

And right now, on our all-request line I have Mike Wedgewood on the line. What would you like to hear?

[faintly] We are observing your Earth.

He, Babe, I’m sorry, I can’t hear you too well. You’re going to have to speak a little closer into the ’phone. OK, Babe? What would you like to hear again?

We are observing your Earth.

Hey, Mike, I’m sorry, Babe, but that is not on our play-list! And by the way, you sound great over the ’phone. Anyway, if you give us your request, we’ll be glad to play it for you, Babe, so let’s hear it!

We are observing your Earth.

Uh, listen Mike, I’m sorry, Babe, but we can’t...

...and we’d like to make...

...I'm sorry, Mike, but we can’t... there’s...

...contact with you...

[pause]

...Baby.

In your mind,
you have capacity, you know
to telepath message through the vast unknown
Please close your eyes
and concentrate
with every thought you think
upon the recitation we’re about to sing...
“Calling occupants of interplanetary craft”
[etc]

Weird. I’d completely forgotten this existed. Mind you, I’ve also discovered Yacco Warner singing the names of every country in the world, & his mates singing “I am the very model of a cartoon individual”.

Oh, there’s a few others like Thomas Dolby singing “Airhead” & “My brain is like a sieve” & Jethro Tuul’s timeless classic “Thick as a brick” — all 43 minutes of it — & who knows what else?

Bananarama... Sunshine on Leith... 99 Balloons... Truly Madly Deeply... Underneath the Radar... some of these, I’m struggling to remember the CDs for, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be so functional any more, & certainly if I took them back for a warranty claim, I’d get some strange looks. “This must be the Light version — I can see right through it!”

Some of these I backed up more than 13 years ago (onto a 160MB Seagate IDE drive), so they’d be pushing the limit for being the oldest intact files I have. Other things of similar age come on 5.25" floppy disks — chances of reading those being about zilch by now.

So I guess the answer to long-term data retention is multiple copies on old hard drives, & keep enough hardware around to spin the drives up every so often, & again when a new generation arrives. Which in this case would include ATA-buss disk controllers. The files barely escaped being written into RLL-encoded full-height drives, & I’m guessing that the next step (if I valued these files) would be SATA2 drives.

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