April 16, 2004

Low-Tech Archival Medium

There's been a renewed interest in plaintext storage devices in the Kern household as of late. You may know these devices as "Books." It's a fairly archaic medium for backing up text-based data, and the publishing costs must be astronomical, compared to the practically-free electronic distribution of HTML or PDF files. As anachronistic as they may appear, however, Melissa and I are very fond of them.

I've just finished "Neuromancer" by William Gibson. Everyone recommends this guy and Neal Stephenson if you enjoy reading science fiction dealing with computers, and rightly so, they are the best in their field. One Amazon reviewer referred to William Gibson as "Old School" science fiction, so I thought that this net-hacking story was written in the "early days," like 1992, when MOSAIC was still top of the heap. I thought it was fairly innovative, but nothing seriously ground-breaking, as technological predictions go. There were virtual communities, hackers on the internet, all your usual post-internet age Sci-Fi stuff.

Then I read the book jacket, which shows "Copyright 1983".

That changed everything. This book accurately predicted the state of technology and the internet, back when there was NO INTERNET. This book was probably written on an Apple IIe, a high-tech box, in it's day, when the Macintosh, the world's first mass-marketed GUI, was still being invented. This fact changed my whole perspective about the book. I may have to re-read it later, with this in mind.

But I have another book on my plate now. Melissa just finished "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," and true to my word, I've started on it. (In exchange, Mel agreed to get her Sable's oil changed, which was 5000 miles OVERdue.) Apparently, the Hogwarts gang is now 15 and in the "angry young wizard" phase. Say what you like about the phenomenon, but the books are very engaging and well-written.

I remember trying to convince Melissa to start reading the Harry Potter books a few years back, and she flat-out refused, on the basis that "everyone else was doing it." I've gotta respect that about her, she has to blaze her own trail in life, be her own individual person. Me, I'm content just to fit into a comfortable stereotype, with my fellow Coder/Graphic Designer/Blogger/A Cappella Singer/Movie Hound/PS2 Gamer compatriots.

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