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Data Capsule.

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Anonymous
a b D Laptop
August 26, 2004 11:11:07 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

How can I store a laptop and CDs so that it will boot
and read data after, say, 50 years of complete neglect?

In particular, the laptop and data will have to endure:

* Being hermetically sealed.
* Possibly seasonal swings of temperature.
* No maintenance whatsoever.
* Time.

======================================================

Why??

I was thinking of a project, the name of which escapes me,
that attempted to store a vast amount of data for future
generations. The problem was that the computer they used
was some proprietary thing that died out, and they are
rapidly running out of hardware capable of reading the
media they used, some sort of laser disk.

Clearly to have any hope of really long term storage,
one needs to:

1. Use hardware that is as standard as possible.
2. Store the hardware with the data.

I intend to build a time capsule. I will invite all my
friends to contribute data to it in CD-ROM (or 1.44
floppy) format. I will hermetically seal the data plus
a laptop and store it somewhere, possibly underground.

The laptop I have is a Panasonic CF-25. It is ruggedized,
has a proven reliability track record, and features
standard hardware. (IDE, CD-ROM, 1.44 floppy, serial,
parallel). I figure if nothing else, one should be able
to cobble together a serial port decades in the future
to export data.

The laptop will have (at least) four operating systems on
it: Win98, Win2000(server?), WinXP, Linux (a reliable
version). It will also contain programs to read, use, and
export the data (mp3 players, picture viewers, Office
applications) as well as documentation for future users
who may wonder what Windows is.

My time-scale is 20 to 50 years.

My thought is to start with four packages:

Laptop
Power supply, cables, & other hardware.
Spool of CD-ROMs.
Paper documentation to get people started.

Wrap each of them multiple times with plastic
(like saran wrap). Put a layer of iron-based "tin foil"
in between. Put these in a sealable, water-tight, non-rusting
container (pelican case?). Store it or bury it somewhere
safe.

Any suggestions?

..wk.

More about : data capsule

Anonymous
a b D Laptop
August 26, 2004 11:11:08 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

William Korvine <none@hotmail.com> wrote:
>How can I store a laptop and CDs so that it will boot
>and read data after, say, 50 years of complete neglect?

You can't. CD-R disks aren't good for that long.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
August 26, 2004 11:25:53 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

William Korvine wrote:
>
> <absurdities snipped>
>
> Any suggestions?

Get yourself a pen and some paper and start writing. <g>

Notan
Related resources
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
August 27, 2004 1:53:26 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

William Korvine <none@hotmail.com> wrote
> I intend to build a time capsule. I will invite all my
> friends to contribute data to it in CD-ROM (or 1.44
> floppy) format.

Both decay to uselessness in less than ten years. The only
form of mass storage that lasts more than ten years (in fact,
lasts more than 100 years) is flash. Compact Flash cards can
both physically connect and boot as ordinary IDE hard drives
with this adapter:
http://www.tapr.org/tapr/html/Fcfa.html

The cheapest compact flash in the world is here:
http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDesc.asp?descripti...


> I will hermetically seal the data plus
> a laptop and store it somewhere, possibly underground.

You should include chemical desiccants to absorb moisture.
You may want to, additionally, nitrogen flush the capsule
as you are sealing it.


> The laptop will have (at least) four operating systems on
> it: Win98, Win2000(server?), WinXP, Linux (a reliable
> version). It will also contain programs to read, use, and
> export the data (mp3 players, picture viewers, Office
> applications) as well as documentation for future users
> who may wonder what Windows is.

You may want to also set it up as a web server so it can
simply be connected to a network and people can access the
information with standard web browsers.


> My time-scale is 20 to 50 years.

Hopefully, web browsers will still conform to early HTML
standards 50 years from now. Ditto for physical network
connectors.


> Wrap each of them multiple times with plastic
> (like saran wrap). Put a layer of iron-based "tin foil"
> in between. Put these in a sealable, water-tight, non-rusting
> container (pelican case?). Store it or bury it somewhere
> safe.
>
> Any suggestions?

Waterproof containers tend to use rubber or synthetic rubber
to seal the cracks. Over time, both of these dry out (or rot)
and fail. Encasing it in a solid block of glass would work
(dip it in the glass while molten and let the glass harden
around it) pretty well, except that people might be averse
to breaking the glass to open it. A russian-dolls approach
with nitrogen-flushed sealed containers might work alright
since the outside containers would take the brunt of the
corrosion/drying effects and thus hopefully spare the
inner containers and their seals.

Also, contractor suppliers may be able to point you to
weather sealing materials designed to last 50 years.


> Store it or bury it somewhere safe.
Nowhere is safe. See the nuclear waste discussions:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/know_nukes/


You might want to try an abandoned salt mine or a local
landmark, though.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
August 27, 2004 4:31:17 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"William Korvine" <none@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:Xns95519CCC3FDFBnonehotmailcom@66.185.95.104...
> How can I store a laptop and CDs so that it will boot
> and read data after, say, 50 years of complete neglect?
>
> In particular, the laptop and data will have to endure:
>
> * Being hermetically sealed.
> * Possibly seasonal swings of temperature.
> * No maintenance whatsoever.
> * Time.
>
> ======================================================
>
> Why??
>
> I was thinking of a project, the name of which escapes me,
> that attempted to store a vast amount of data for future
> generations. The problem was that the computer they used
> was some proprietary thing that died out, and they are
> rapidly running out of hardware capable of reading the
> media they used, some sort of laser disk.
>
> Clearly to have any hope of really long term storage,
> one needs to:
>
> 1. Use hardware that is as standard as possible.
> 2. Store the hardware with the data.
>
> I intend to build a time capsule. I will invite all my
> friends to contribute data to it in CD-ROM (or 1.44
> floppy) format. I will hermetically seal the data plus
> a laptop and store it somewhere, possibly underground.
>
> The laptop I have is a Panasonic CF-25. It is ruggedized,
> has a proven reliability track record, and features
> standard hardware. (IDE, CD-ROM, 1.44 floppy, serial,
> parallel). I figure if nothing else, one should be able
> to cobble together a serial port decades in the future
> to export data.
>
> The laptop will have (at least) four operating systems on
> it: Win98, Win2000(server?), WinXP, Linux (a reliable
> version). It will also contain programs to read, use, and
> export the data (mp3 players, picture viewers, Office
> applications) as well as documentation for future users
> who may wonder what Windows is.
>
> My time-scale is 20 to 50 years.
>
> My thought is to start with four packages:
>
> Laptop
> Power supply, cables, & other hardware.
> Spool of CD-ROMs.
> Paper documentation to get people started.
>
> Wrap each of them multiple times with plastic
> (like saran wrap). Put a layer of iron-based "tin foil"
> in between. Put these in a sealable, water-tight, non-rusting
> container (pelican case?). Store it or bury it somewhere
> safe.
>
> Any suggestions?
>
> .wk.

I don't think the Battery for the laptop will be good in 50 years time, and
might leak and damage the other archive material.

Why not just put this important data onto CD-R's have have a routine of
making fresh copies each year?
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
August 28, 2004 4:16:45 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Amusingly, someone created a data data-capsule.
It used Digital Video Disk (I think) and when they dug it up some years
later the problem was finding a drive still in existence to read the thing.

So basically, longevity re data is changing with technology.
Sure, MO may give a 50yr or 100yr life - reality is your piece of media
may not and getting a drive in 50yrs may be somewhat difficult. There
are not a lot of punched tape readers around the Internet for example.
So data is as much that required to access the thing, which in turn is
also the software & hardware to interpret the data formats & such.

As for thermal cycling, hermetically sealing etc.
That's basically data stored in an oil-rig stainless pipe - with silica gel
or arguably the stuff that maintains a humidity level vs counters it.

You can get "unusually rugged" laptop drives - Hitachi do some for vehicle
use (original design brief) that tolerance -20oC & 85oC *operating*. They
are limited to 20GB in capacity, there's a feebler 60oC op-temp version.

Paper, oddly enough, is still favoured for long-term archiving since it is
machine readable (with effort) & easily maintained in human readable form.
Where you can upgrade the technology around the data every few years,
then technology wins out - re density, speed of retrieval and so on.

I think the IT industry has given up trying to create a storage device
that creates data readable for 100yrs - since there are so many other
factors involved in being "readable" 100yrs from now. Thus it is more
a metric of the ability to still read data some time into the future, in terms
of safety factor - although like CDR claims & DVD claims "it varies". So
many other factors come into play - your storage device may be great at
writing & reading your disk, but other drives can't read it. Your media
may be that one that is defective - so redundancy in types of media is
very important as you start to extend the storage life.

If the data-capsule can be "tech refreshed every 5yrs" it's cheap, stick
a DVD or MO in the thing - in 5yrs a DVD2 or something and so on.

A lot of people have lost data on obsolete media technologies not due
to the reliability of the technology, but obsolescence - no readers left.
Data Recovery make a living out of that segment, not just HD failures.

Age testing, HALT, isn't too good at predicting data-capsule apps since
the distribution of results & confounding factors makes it impossible. It
is worth noting the pyramids etc still remain - but it took quite some
time for all the enscription methods to be fully identified & translated :-)
--
Dorothy Bradbury
www.stores.ebay.co.uk/panaflofan for quiet Panaflo fans & other items
www.dorothybradbury.co.uk (free delivery)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
August 29, 2004 8:53:57 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"Dorothy Bradbury" <dorothy.bradbury@ntlworld.com> writes:
> So basically, longevity re data is changing with technology.
> Sure, MO may give a 50yr or 100yr life - reality is your piece of media
> may not and getting a drive in 50yrs may be somewhat difficult. There
> are not a lot of punched tape readers around the Internet for example.

That's a myth; while most people don't have punched tape readers on
their personal computers these days, there's tons of them around and
anyone who suddenly needed some punched tape could locate a reader
with a phone call or two, or could make their own with easily
available parts.

> I think the IT industry has given up trying to create a storage
> device that creates data readable for 100yrs - since there are so
> many other factors involved in being "readable" 100yrs from
> now.

Try this: http://www.rosettaproject.org/live/disk
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
August 30, 2004 1:13:39 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Paul Rubin <http://phr.cx@NOSPAM.invalid&gt; wrote:
>Try this: http://www.rosettaproject.org/live/disk

Great idea, any recent news? /*We are printing the 1.0 Version of the
Rosetta Disk in Fall 2002*/ and /*If you would like to be notified
when disks are available*/

I want a few disks, and maybe even the containers, though I suspect
that if you have to ask about the price you already can't afford it.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
August 30, 2004 3:29:21 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

callen@efn.org (Chris Allen) wrote in
news:698c89aa.0408262053.2dd6bdd1@posting.google.com:

> William Korvine <none@hotmail.com> wrote
>> I intend to build a time capsule. I will invite all my
>> friends to contribute data to it in CD-ROM (or 1.44
>> floppy) format.
>
> Both decay to uselessness in less than ten years. The only
> form of mass storage that lasts more than ten years (in fact,
> lasts more than 100 years) is flash. Compact Flash cards can
> both physically connect and boot as ordinary IDE hard drives
> with this adapter:
> http://www.tapr.org/tapr/html/Fcfa.html

I didn't know a lot of that information. I'm surprised about the
10 year shelf life of CD-ROM anbd floppies. In fact, I have shoeboxes
full of 20+ year old 5.25 that have surprised me by working flawlessly.

Do you know the shelf life of modern hard disks???

>> I will hermetically seal the data plus
>> a laptop and store it somewhere, possibly underground.
>
> You should include chemical desiccants to absorb moisture.
> You may want to, additionally, nitrogen flush the capsule
> as you are sealing it.

Yes, I thought of both of those (or close, I was thinking Argon).

> Encasing it in a solid block of glass would work...
> (dip it in the glass while molten and let the glass harden
> around it) pretty well, except that people might be averse
> to breaking the glass to open it. A russian-dolls approach
> with nitrogen-flushed sealed containers might work alright
> since the outside containers would take the brunt of the
> corrosion/drying effects and thus hopefully spare the
> inner containers and their seals.

Actually, we're getting a little more expensive that I'd prefer
for what amounts to a hobby project.

>> Store it or bury it somewhere safe.

> Nowhere is safe. See the nuclear waste discussions:
> You might want to try an abandoned salt mine or a local
> landmark, though.

Actually, I'm leaning towards just chucking it behind the
wine-rack in the cellar.

Thanks for your help.

..wk.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
August 30, 2004 3:57:28 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Paul Rubin wrote:
>
> "Dorothy Bradbury" <dorothy.bradbury@ntlworld.com> writes:
> > So basically, longevity re data is changing with technology.
> > Sure, MO may give a 50yr or 100yr life - reality is your piece of media
> > may not and getting a drive in 50yrs may be somewhat difficult. There
> > are not a lot of punched tape readers around the Internet for example.
>
> That's a myth; while most people don't have punched tape readers on
> their personal computers these days, there's tons of them around and
> anyone who suddenly needed some punched tape could locate a reader
> with a phone call or two, or could make their own with easily
> available parts.

I actually found some old tapes, not too long ago.

Old, yellow(er), brittle, cracked, etc.

You'd have to make sure they were kept in a *very*
controlled environment.

Notan
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
August 30, 2004 5:44:09 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

William Korvine <korvine@hotmail.com> wrote:
> callen@efn.org (Chris Allen) wrote in
> news:698c89aa.0408262053.2dd6bdd1@posting.google.com:
>
>> William Korvine <none@hotmail.com> wrote
>>> I intend to build a time capsule. I will invite all my
>>> friends to contribute data to it in CD-ROM (or 1.44
>>> floppy) format.
>>
>> Both decay to uselessness in less than ten years. The only

I doubt this too.
I have a largish number of CDs recorded in 97, all of which read just
fine.
If they were all (or even most) going to die before 10 years, I'd
expect some not to read now.

>> form of mass storage that lasts more than ten years (in fact,
>> lasts more than 100 years) is flash. Compact Flash cards can
>> both physically connect and boot as ordinary IDE hard drives
>> with this adapter:
>> http://www.tapr.org/tapr/html/Fcfa.html
>
> I didn't know a lot of that information. I'm surprised about the
> 10 year shelf life of CD-ROM anbd floppies. In fact, I have shoeboxes
> full of 20+ year old 5.25 that have surprised me by working flawlessly.

Try 3.25" disks.
I have shoeboxes of disks that won't read or format without errors.
>
> Do you know the shelf life of modern hard disks???

This would worry me.
Mechanically, they are likely not to start up.
I'd go with flash.

I'd also be wary about laptops, there are some fairly stressed capacitors
in the power supplies.
Even unused, these may dry out, or become useless enough not to start
the laptop.
Other concerns would be gasses leaking out of and into the backlight tube.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
August 30, 2004 5:44:10 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Ian Stirling <root@mauve.demon.co.uk> writes:
> This would worry me. Mechanically, they are likely not to start up.
> I'd go with flash.

I wouldn't go with flash. Data leaks out of flash over the years.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
August 30, 2004 7:33:24 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Paul Rubin wrote
> Ian Stirling <root@mauve.demon.co.uk> writes:
> > I'd go with flash.
> I wouldn't go with flash. Data leaks out of flash over the years.

13,700 web pages say differently:
http://www.google.com/search?q=flash+memory+%22100+year...

--
Data retention is rated at greater than 100 years
--
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
September 3, 2004 5:16:58 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Paul Rubin <http://phr.cx@nospam.invalid&gt; wrote:
> Ian Stirling <root@mauve.demon.co.uk> writes:
>> This would worry me. Mechanically, they are likely not to start up.
>> I'd go with flash.
>
> I wouldn't go with flash. Data leaks out of flash over the years.

I'd rate it as unquestionably better than floppies or hard drives,
which may well not survive even 10 years idle.
And combined with ECC, it may work quite well.

The alternatives are pretty much worse.
A CD may well be readable after 50 years, if it's not succumbed to the
various maladies they can, but will the CD drive start up after 50
years of sitting in the same position?

I'd also be worried about taking a standard motherboard or bit of
general consumer electronics and expecting it to work after more than
10 years.
I'd want to first audit it for stuff likely to fail, such as
cheap electrolytics/..., and replace them with more likely to be
durable ones.
As long as you keep it nice and dry, almost all of the other
components apart from batteries, that arn't moving should be fine.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
September 9, 2004 4:44:07 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

William Korvine <none@hotmail.com> writes:
> How can I store a laptop and CDs so that it will boot
> and read data after, say, 50 years of complete neglect?

Forget it.

> I was thinking of a project, the name of which escapes me,
> that attempted to store a vast amount of data for future
> generations. The problem was that the computer they used
> was some proprietary thing that died out, and they are
> rapidly running out of hardware capable of reading the
> media they used, some sort of laser disk.

See http://www.rosettaproject.org

> 1. Use hardware that is as standard as possible.
> 2. Store the hardware with the data.

Forget the computer, it will not work. Use something like the Rosetta
disk, or ordinary microfilm and an optical viewer.

> Any suggestions?

Don't count on the computer still working. It won't. Why do you think
a computer will do any good anyway?

The right way to make sure data stays around is to make lots of copies
and distribute them all over the place, not take one copy and bury it
super-securely in some hole in the ground where nobody will find it
anyway. You're much better off just setting up a script to post the
data on usenet once a year and putting it on a web site, so it will
get indexed and archived by search engines.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
September 9, 2004 4:46:29 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Paul Rubin <http://phr.cx@NOSPAM.invalid&gt; writes:
> > I was thinking of a project, the name of which escapes me,
> > that attempted to store a vast amount of data for future
> > generations. The problem was that the computer they used
> > was some proprietary thing that died out, and they are
> > rapidly running out of hardware capable of reading the
> > media they used, some sort of laser disk.
>
> See http://www.rosettaproject.org

Oh yes, the thing you're thinking of was the Domesday Book. The Rosetta
project does it the right way, without computers.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
September 9, 2004 4:24:54 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

On Thu, 26 Aug 2004 19:11:07 GMT, William Korvine <none@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>How can I store a laptop and CDs so that it will boot
>and read data after, say, 50 years of complete neglect?
>
>In particular, the laptop and data will have to endure:
>
>* Being hermetically sealed.
>* Possibly seasonal swings of temperature.
>* No maintenance whatsoever.
>* Time.
>

Possibly write it to a PROM chip (not sure if they make these anymore
as EPROM and E2PROM have made it obsolete. That'd last quite a few
years in a good environment.
EPROM and E2PROM would have 'memory leak' after many years.

I had a 'time capsuale' I put about 2 feet underground with hand
writen notes, Photographs and section of audio tape.
All this contained in many layers or tin foil, plastic, electrical
tape, more tine foil and more plastic.. The plastic and foild was
about twice as thick as the capsule itself. Used Silca el inside the
capsule to keep it moisture free after closing it.

Opened it up 12 years later...
A few layers of the outer casing had begun to rot slightly, but
inside. The Hand writen notes were very easy to read. Photographs were
still in mint condition (considering the way they were stored) and
audio tape was still readable though a bit more noise and flat
frequencies, but expected after stroage like this

Johan K
!