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Old 11th March 2019
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Bit Rot

Friend of mine found in his desk drawer two rolls of undeveloped film exposed over 25 years ago. He was pleasantly surprised to see that the latent images had survived and came out quite usable for scanning. (Stand developed using Rodinal.)

By comparison an SD Card has a shorter life, up to 10 years, depending how often the card has been formatted.

Reference: https://www.quora.com/How-long-can-d...SD-memory-card
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Old 11th March 2019
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Re: Bit Rot

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Friend of mine found in his desk drawer two rolls of undeveloped film exposed over 25 years ago. He was pleasantly surprised to see that the latent images had survived and came out quite usable for scanning. (Stand developed using Rodinal.)

By comparison an SD Card has a shorter life, up to 10 years, depending how often the card has been formatted.

Reference: https://www.quora.com/How-long-can-d...SD-memory-card
Thanks for the post Steve - interesting article. Certainly makes me consider NAND Flash (SD cards) are suitable only for short-term transfer of images. Of course, SSDs use NAND Flash too, but I understand that they have a shelf life measured in decades rather than years. Magnetic storage (spinning hard disks) are also considered to have a good shelf life - probably 50 years or more. However, the bigger problem with SSDs and HDDs isn't decay of the storage medium itself, but the interface technology. Who can read/write IDE drives from their computer today?
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Re: Bit Rot

Edit - it seems that SSDs are not guaranteed for long-term retention beyond a few years, ten at the max - and then only if they are relatively lightly used before the retention starts. Best option for long term retention are write-once BD-R HTL optical disks:

https://www.pcworld.com/article/2984...your-data.html
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Old 11th March 2019
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Re: Bit Rot

I tend to download the contents of the SD card within a week or so of shooting and then format the card once backed up successfully. Deleting files from the card is another option, but this leads to fragmentation.
Although the cards have an inbuilt control system to cycle memory cells to even out 'wear', reliability will be an age related issue, so if we are to circumvent possible corruption it may be wise to replace the card after a year or so. Compared to the cost of film, replacing an SD card every year or so is a small outlay.
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Old 11th March 2019
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Re: Bit Rot

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... disks) are also considered to have a good shelf life - probably 50 years or more. However, the bigger problem with SSDs and HDDs isn't decay of the storage medium itself, but the interface technology. Who can read/write IDE drives from their computer today?
Me!

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Old 11th March 2019
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Re: Bit Rot

The only way to be sure of keeping things on magnetic media of any form is to move it from disk to disk every few years - most of us do this as we back things up and as we upgrade from small disks to larger ones.

As very large media gets cheaper people will need to think more carefully if they want to keep things.

most people won't be bothered and some things will inevitably be lost to history - but that happened with film as well, I have loads of old B&W pictures handed down with nothing on them telling me who or what they are, when I'm gone I suspect they will be binned ... as will my hard drives

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Re: Bit Rot

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Originally Posted by pdk42 View Post
Edit - it seems that SSDs are not guaranteed for long-term retention beyond a few years, ten at the max - and then only if they are relatively lightly used before the retention starts. Best option for long term retention are write-once BD-R HTL optical disks:

https://www.pcworld.com/article/2984...your-data.html
The industry standard for long-term data retention and archiving is the LTO tape which seems to be guaranteed for at least forty years given suitable storage conditions. (Don't expose them to mobile phones for instance!)

WORM cartridges are available (Write Once Read Many) which cannot be overwritten and are widely used for archiving legal documents.

Best of all, LTO tapes are very cheap for the storage provided whilst read and write speeds are fast.
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Re: Bit Rot

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Deleting files from the card is another option, but this leads to fragmentation.
Fragmentation is not an issue on SSDs or SD cards Steve - there is no penalty in "seeking" to a memory location a long way from the original. In addition, the wear-leveling algorithms in the card's controller will scramble things up so that even locations that the OS thinks are close together will be scattered to the winds.
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Re: Bit Rot

Back in 1950 who predicted digital cameras?
Back in 1960 who predicted correctly the future of image storage?
Back in 1970 who predicted mirrorless cameras?
Back in 1980 who predicted the internet would change the world?
Back in 1990 who predicted cloud-based storage?

Answers - ?.

As far as digital image storage is concerned today I think Paul is correct it will be about the interface. Who knows - ?
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Old 12th March 2019
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Re: Bit Rot

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As far as digital image storage is concerned today I think Paul is correct it will be about the interface. Who knows - ?
It is interesting to note that interfaces, software and indeed hardware tend to change far more rapidly in consumer systems than business systems.

Likewise storage systems which have come and gone. Does anyone remember the 120 MB floppy disk that was around for a year or two?

The LTO tape system that I refer to has been around since about the millennium and keeps evolving with no end in sight. The original LTO1 tape had a native capacity of 100 GB. The current LTO8 stores 12 TB IIRC.

These is some backwards compatibility in this standard so that two previous generations of tape can be read, but only the previous generation written to.
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Re: Bit Rot

The best way to preserve your photos is to make prints and keep them in a dark drawer!
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Old 12th March 2019
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Re: Bit Rot

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The best way to preserve your photos is to make prints and keep them in a dark drawer!
I've just been talking with Geoffrey Cox and he assures me the negs will endure if stored in acid-free sleeves, away from light. As for the prints, Geoff recommends the use of archival paper. I trust Geoff, as he likes to be called when we meet up in the pub.
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Re: Bit Rot

I quite agree about negatives Steve, I keep mine in archival sleeves and boxes. I was thinking more of digital photos, if you print them they'll always be accessible however the technology changes. Some modern inkjet materials have a claimed lifespan in excee of 100 years.

My tongue was in my cheek though .
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Old 12th March 2019
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Re: Bit Rot

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I quite agree about negatives Steve, I keep mine in archival sleeves and boxes. I was thinking more of digital photos, if you print them they'll always be accessible however the technology changes. Some modern inkjet materials have a claimed lifespan in excee of 100 years.

My tongue was in my cheek though .
But would you want to look at them, or subject others to the ordeal, if the prints are of some crazy HDR process during capture?! The results look so unnatural but it's the craze right now.
Digital photography has its own language, one I choose to ignore. For instance on this forum I read someone mentioning HDDDDDR - WTF is that?!
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Re: Bit Rot

What's in the image doesn't affect how long it lasts, which was the original premise. Unless of course somebody takes exception to it and rips up the print!
Photographs have always been manipulated, take for example Michael Langford's "The Darkroom Handbook". And surely, a black & white photograph is an extreme example of manipulating colour?
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