Time capsule — no, not that Time Capsule
Written by Chris Oaten Thursday, 15 July 2010 00:01
Personal log. The year is 2087, or UD745.42 if you can tolerate that new world government crap. Me? I like the old ways of doing things. Yeah, that’s right. I’m an old-fashioned kind of guy. I even insist on still using my family surname. But don’t write me off. What I’ve got to share is important. Really important... so listen up.
I’ve been shooting for 90 years now. Yeah, I know that seems unlikely, but the quantum computing watershed of 2016 changed a lot of things, among them the ability to lengthen our life expectancy. At age 124 I’m as fit as I was at age 46 when I wrote that piece in MacTheBlog about putting your precious memories in print.
But I’m getting off track. I’d hoped to come back personally, in the flesh. but the binary boffins have so far only worked out how to send data back in time. Flesh and blood doesn’t travel so well. Proof? Our first attempt was a volunteer. A science academy librarian. We knew her as Sharon. You know her as Lady Gaga.
Anyway, here’s the message. In timeline form. Soak it up. They say those who ignore their history are doomed to repeat it, and this is 80 years of history coming your way before it’s even happened. Squander it, and I’ll rip your arms off when you get here.
Back in 2010, I had a collection of 73,184 images in JPEG form. Not a bad effort, eh? With RAW originals, I needed about 7.5TB of storage for them all. I wish life had always been that simple. In 2014, I decided those images should be backed up to optical disc. You see, the global power grid had become flaky since the fire from the BP spill blackened the skies permanently and cut off our solar energy. We knew those guys shouldn’t have tried burning the oil off. An almost limitless supply of oil, set on fire. The bastards paid no heed and torched it anyway. We had to revert to coal power and ... oh, hang on ... you’ll find out the whole of that sorry tale for yourselves soon enough.
Here’s that timeline
2014: Backup entire image to optical disc as contingency planning due to unreliable (and mega-expensive) global power supply. Cost: $268 in media plus non-billable personal time. Exercise repeated each five years as new image format parameters and non-powered storage media emerges.
2017: Array of hard drives have come to end of life. Finally time to install dynamically expandable multi-disc array. Cost: $2500.
2020 to 2080: Replacement and upgrade of arrays each five years. Cost: $1,632,000 plus annual power supply charges. Inflation’s a bitch.
2047: Bunker storage required. Environmental toxicity has increased to a level that quickly corrodes exposed storage hardware. "Wraps" prolong hardware life, but it's only ever a stopgap. Amazingly, Kennards is still in this business. Good thing I did that contra job in 2038. They gave me a discount rate on the bunker. $2750 a year.
2062: Following the election of a new world government, a collective of global security professionals outlaw the JGIF image format due to its ability to harbour clandestine messages in 2048-bit encryption. (FYI, JGIF replaced the JFEG standard in 2034. JFEG had overrun JPEG 12 years before that). They enacted the law overnight and even though many in the imaging business saw it coming, I still lost 80 per cent of my stock library, which included many of the last known images of the brown pelican, bilby and other extinct species. Also lost the only pictorial evidence of Overseer Gillard before she was fully automated.
2074: At last, a breakthrough in barium vapour encoding means an infinite, secure, and low-cost means of storing images is available to anyone who can cough up the $4,347,000 for the encoding device. I’d explain how it works if I thought you were even remotely ready in your time to handle such a concept. (Remember, as you’re reading this, quantum computing for the masses is still six years away.)
2083: A return to copyright infringement prosecution is finally made possible by unique signatures embedded in randomised electron tracers. The actual ability to enforce payment for copyright infringement catches 17,382 image object hackers with their pants down and I can finally retire with that nest egg I’ve been working tirelessly to create for more than 100 years.
Good thing, too, because on May 24, 2084, the EMF device at CERN finally blows its lid, and the global EMF shockwave wipes out every digital image in existence. The image bunkers don’t fare any better. The EMF pulse took out the fusion reactors, too, and when they finally went back online, an unprecedented voltage surge fried every image bank on the planet. We were only a year away from getting hypernet access to storage bunkers on Mars, too. Shame. Still, I made my fortune just in the nick of time.
But that wasn’t the end of my good luck. As one of nine photographers in the IPA (International Preservation Alliance) who committed to archiving significant images in hard copy format, my travelling exhibition “Life Before the Pulse” is a sellout wherever it goes. $500 a head to marvel at my prints of early 21st century insanity. I’m not sure whether they come to see the images or for the novelty factor of an unpowered image display. Pearls before swine, really.
Many ask if the designs are available as air banners. In your time, it’s the equivalent of asking if Ansel Adams’ prints are available as tea towels. Yep. Prints. That’s where the money is.
My advice? There’s a start-up listing on the ASX tomorrow. Yep, tomorrow, if your editor publishes this on the date I specified. It’s called Bamblue (BBU). The company makes photo-quality paper from bamboo rhizomes. Extraordinary paper. Reminds me of Seagull Pearl. In 2064, when the last of the world’s paper production plantations vanish, Bamblue’s photo paper, a hitherto largely ignored technology surviving mainly through the support of the IPA, is the only game in town.
So do your grandkids a favour. Buy the BBU shares. As many as you can afford. And go have a family portrait taken. Have it printed with the best archival method available (I’d suggest a giclee print) and have it locked away in a vault, because in 80 years time, your descendants will deserve to know what their benefactors looked like.
Go on. Go do it. Now.
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