[K12OSN] Making K12LTSP 'school friendly'

Julius Szelagiewicz julius at turtle.com
Thu Feb 10 15:03:34 UTC 2005

Hash: SHA1

> On Wed, 2005-02-09 at 09:28, Julius Szelagiewicz wrote:
>> Les,
>>  you are so optimistic, so into the bright future :-)
>> I've got some 40+ years old computer tapes. Want to read them and tell
>> me
>> what they contain?
> If the contents mattered, you could easily have copied them every 10
> years onto media that cost 10% of the previous iteration and takes
> 10% of the space.  I'd venture a guess that all the tapes you've
> saved wouldn't fill a 5 gig DVD that costs about a dollar today.  And
> if you had it on a DVD now, the next copy would only take a few
> minutes.
Well, Les, obviously I had other things to do that just came up at the
time I was about to do a 10 year content move to new media and format.
Good advice, and as such usually not heeded :-)
I also have books that are well over 200 years old, perfectly readable,
without copying the contents every 10 years.

>>  Clay tablets survived in readable form more than 400
>> generations. We have computerized data that can not be read within the
>> same generation!
> Only a few tablets have survived that long - generally everything
> degrades eventually.  Would you rather fund the next generation of
> scribes to chisel away or just put your ipod on it's base and have
> 60 gigs (this generation) squirt over the firewire automatically
> for a new, non-degraded copy.  If there is an argument here it
> is against the technology of the bad old days when we didn't have
> cross-platform networking.

Les, if you find an ipod 5000 years from now, you probably won't remember
what the heck it was, it will be somewhat fossilized and the base will be
nowhere handy and there might be some changes in the delivery of
electrical power. Of course, you would have by then diligently moved the
contents to new media 500 times. Btw, your assumptions on time it takes to
move data are widely optimistic - the set up alone can take a while if the
memory of the process is somewhat foggy after 10 years (of course we could
consult the manual and as we know, that takes no time at all).
>>  Books will be remembered as biodegradable nmatter (take a
>> look at perfevctly preserved newsprint in the landfill - 4 generations),
>> computers may get forgotten because they require a functioning
>> infrastructure specifically geared to the technology, and technology
>> changes quickly.
> If people don't bother with the (now) easy process of copying data
> from technology on its way out to the currently cheaper replacement,
> it is probably because no one wanted the content.

That is just pantently not true - we don't have time to mess with copying
data and we tend to wrongly assume that it will be readable "later". You
find out that you need stuff, when you need it and the level on concern
about stuff we might need is much lower that on the stuff we -will- need.
With older tapes 10 year interval was not sufficient and often the copying
process was destructive. I *have* witnessed a self destruction of a DVD
during copy - mechanical failures still happen.

All I was trying to say is that you disdain old, quaint, slow, but well
known, well working and very robust technology and want it immediately
replaced with the new technology that is in its infancy. Don't get me
wrong, I'm just as geeky as the next guy on the list, but I am old enough
and lazy enough to know that the technology is supposed to work for me,
not the other way round. What we have now does *not* warrant the wholesale
abandonment of books, on the contrary - the book learning is now
desperately needed to get kids to actually think and write. Those that I
see on job interviews are most certainly incapable of either. The one
obvious ommission in our discussion is that to use any tool, you need to
know the job you are trying to do. Computers can help in solving problems,
but you better know how to think before you use them, otherwise you end up
with  ... well, you end up with high school graduates that I get to see.

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