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    Just fell off the truck Eb C Dic's Avatar
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    Default Knowledge Base

    Knowledge is power. While there are many books that are utterly worth dragging along in printed/analog style, we're just about fully stuck to digital age information. This very forum - if that EMP bomb goes off, ALL this info is gone.

    Do any of you have plans for digital knowledge bases? Perhaps an old laptop with several thumb drives of hoarded information?

    Understanding that this would be a bug out bag item that doesn't fit in that BOB, and that this item is susceptible to EMP damage, how can it be shielded from damage yet kept readily at hand?

    And digital information relies upon batteries. What contingencies are planned for this?
    Always remember: No matter where you go, well, there you are.

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    TRX
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    I've given some thought to that. The lifetime of consumer electronics is limited; with modern lead-free solders being mandated by the Environazis, the "tin whisker" problem has cut the life of some items down to less than ten years. EPROMs start to die at around 20 years. The official lifespan of a CD-ROM is ten years; for pre-recorded ones I've had them start developing unrecoverable errors at 15 years, sometimes less than 1 for the ones you can burn yourself.

    Paper books in waterproof packaging, cached at some useful location, are better... but many books are printed on "acid paper", where the sulfuric acid isn't completely washed out during the pulp processing. If you have books or magazines that turned brown and crumbly over time, they're on acid paper. Not a damned thing you can do about it.

    The "correct" solution would appear to be microfilm or microfiche, and to rig a mirror to use sunlight to light up the display. But I never followed up on that.


    A thumbdrive or DVD can pack a huge amount of printed information, pictures, and even movies, though. There were plans for a ruggedized laptop with a hand crank to be sold to developing countries for educational purposes; if they ever existed, one of those might be very useful.

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    Citizen, Patriot, Ranger bellson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eb C Dic View Post
    Knowledge is power. While there are many books that are utterly worth dragging along in printed/analog style, we're just about fully stuck to digital age information. This very forum - if that EMP bomb goes off, ALL this info is gone.

    Do any of you have plans for digital knowledge bases? Perhaps an old laptop with several thumb drives of hoarded information?

    Understanding that this would be a bug out bag item that doesn't fit in that BOB, and that this item is susceptible to EMP damage, how can it be shielded from damage yet kept readily at hand?

    And digital information relies upon batteries. What contingencies are planned for this?
    EMP is easily defeated by a triple layer of Aluminum Foil, wrapped and folded on either end. A standard hard drive, properly wrapped in a mylar bag, then wrapped in foil and stored in a standard steel ammo can will withstand a "high-order" EMP event at distances of up to 5 miles or greater. If you are closer than 5 miles of such an event, you have much bigger problems. If you really want to ensure full protection, copper or brass mesh, connected to standard earth ground will protect from "close-order" events. Less than 1 kilometer.

    The DoD has a fairly complete standard for all of this, called "TEMPEST". Once upon a time, I worked in TEMPEST certified facilities. TEMPEST governed both EMP events, and Electronic Emissions.

    A normal Hard Drive, Taken out of it's packaging, and encoded with info then stored properly will maintain it's info for 25-35 years before bit-rot kills it. After 15 years, it is a crap shoot. Magnetic Tape was good for 11 years, and info that needed to be maintained was transcribed and transcoded every 4 years.

    I have CD's that I created in 1992 that are still readable. I have others that were created in 2004 that are now trash. The media is everything.

    Just for what it is worth....
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    Bellson

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    Just fell off the truck Eb C Dic's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies, folks.

    Good luck getting one of those laptops, TRX. It would be just the thing, but you're going to have to roll a young Inuit in Canada to get one. Good point on DVD and USB drives, though.

    Bellson..any estimates for viable storage duration on a USB flash drive? And how the heck does well kept CD or DVD media go bad? I can see a certain amount of oxidization or damage from UV, but can't these be mitigated by hermetic seals, desiccants, and keeping the media from direct sunlight? That sjit should last forEVER.
    Always remember: No matter where you go, well, there you are.

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    Citizen, Patriot, Ranger bellson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eb C Dic View Post
    Thanks for the replies, folks.

    Good luck getting one of those laptops, TRX. It would be just the thing, but you're going to have to roll a young Inuit in Canada to get one. Good point on DVD and USB drives, though.

    Bellson..any estimates for viable storage duration on a USB flash drive? And how the heck does well kept CD or DVD media go bad? I can see a certain amount of oxidization or damage from UV, but can't these be mitigated by hermetic seals, desiccants, and keeping the media from direct sunlight? That sjit should last forEVER.
    My Background: Electronics Engineer. 113 Patents. 46 Motherboard designs that sold over 250,000. Research Fellow, Watson Research Center; AT&T. Engineering Fellow, Intel. 28 years of that kind of thing. Two specific statements:

    1. Theory. Theory states that a USB drive will hold it's information forever. Chemistry states otherwise. Whenever you mix more than one element together with another, they react, they change, they do things in an unpredictable way given time to react. That is reality.

    2. Reality. CD, DVD, "Static" memory, Tape, Hard Drives, paper, rock, clay. All of these have a realistic life span. That life span can be extended by the media used to store it. The "Dead Sea Scrolls" are how old? 4,000 years? (just a guess on my part) I seem to remember that they pre-date the birth of Christ.

    They media that is used in any modern storage media has a finite life span. CD and DVD media is actually a liquid strata, and each layer of the strata has a different viscosity. You burn a CD or DVD, and you are simply burning holes into a liquid that will eventually flow again. Environmental influences will in part determine how fast or slowly that flow occurs. Magnetic media does not flow, it oxidizes, it reacts to the other metals present, and it looses it's magnetic energy to processes both chemical and physical.

    SSD Memory is slightly different in the mechanism, but very similar to the same kinds of forces; Magnetic, chemical, and physical.

    Just before I started typing this message, I took out my oldest USB thumb drive. A 128MB unit that cost perhaps $110 back in 2002. The bee's knees in it's day. I did a quick analysis of the media and compared that to the sample taken when I wrote the device back then. There was a readable deviation of 0.005% between the two samples. That is not much. The real answer will come sometime next year when I re-sample the media to find a deviation. History and industry norms dictate that the decay will accelerate over time. They question is how much and how fast.

    When I store information for a long term, it is encoded, encrypted, and has available parity archives to assist in rebuilding and restoring any information lost to bit rot.


    I am not sure if I have made any of this any more clear, but the above is a near text-book answer.
    Imagine whirled peas

    Peace, Love, And Superior Firepower






    Bellson

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    GuncoHolic BBill's Avatar
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    Bellson, I always heard Taiyo Yuden media was the best and have tried to buy it exclusively. I hope I haven't been wasting money! They advertise archival discs at 25+ years. Bill

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    Just fell off the truck Eb C Dic's Avatar
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    Ok - so I need to use USB flash drive media. Thanks much.
    Always remember: No matter where you go, well, there you are.

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    TRX
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellson View Post
    The "Dead Sea Scrolls" are how old? 4,000 years? (just a guess on my part) I seem to remember that they pre-date the birth of Christ.
    Something I wrote a few years back:

    [snip]

    7/07/2007:
    I saw the Epic of Gilgamesh going by on alt.binaries.audiobooks. Just this morning I was reading an archeology book telling how a single schoolteacher in England managed to decode Akkadian cuneiform writing, and spent his nights deciphering the story... only to find the last tablets were missing. So he managed to organize an expedition to the diggings in Persia, and actually found the missing tablets. And so we have the story of Gilgamesh.

    The Akkadians predated the Egyptians; the epic was written somewhere round five thousand years ago, at the dawn of known human civilization. hey would surely have been astonished that anyone would deliberately dig out ancient cities to learn about their cultures; before the Germans and English started in the early 1800s, nobody had any use for such knowledge, even of the classical Greeks or Romans. Plenty to do already, who cares about dead wogs anyway?

    Five thousand years. Close enough to forever... using technology they could not have imagined, I can pluck it from the networked aether, and have the voices of the djinni read it to me.

    And who claims there is no such thing as progress?

    [/snip]

    No doubt about the durability of fired clay tablets, but the information density isn't so hot.

    "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes going down the freeway." - Arthur S. Tanenbaum

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