How many generations can your old media survive?

About a week or two ago, I picked up a cable to convert my old VHS tapes to digital format on my laptizzle. Most of my tapes that I’m converting are pretty old. I guess when I have time, I will also convert my cassette tapes via audacity and share them on sound cloud; and my videos on either vimeo or youtube. I’ve scanned as many old pictures that I’ve run across from cleaning out my old house I grew up in. Now I just need to burn them to DVD or continue my quest to move my digital memories online.

My actions of converting ALL of my dusty artifacts to digital format are due to the need of safely archiving (and sharing my treasures with family and friends) and the fear of magnetic media degradation which I’ve experienced with an old 8mm reel-to-reel that I paid Wolf camera to do for me.  (Also, I am not getting any younger). As we get deeper in the new millennium, the urgency to duplicate magnetic tape media becomes more critical due to limitations of magnetic media shelf life. I guess it really depends on how you store the contents of your stuff whether or not if the need to convert is necessary. So, how many generations can your media survive?

What tha heck is a comptometer?

Here is one of my rainy day posts.

 A few weeks ago, I had a enlightening discussion about calculator usage with one of my fellow mathematicians. She stated that we were actually considered software to the contraption to left. 

This image is identified as a comptometer. Being the nerd that I am, I though I knew of every vintage calculating machine that ever existed to man. However, I learned something new that day. You actually had to be a trained comptometrist to touch this machine; and if you were trained, you were in high demand due to its high learning curve.

My collegue, a trained comptometrist, demonstrated the arithmetic operation manuevers; which to me seems to require great manual dexterity to crunch numbers with speed this way. I recorded it and have it here to share with you. In regards to calculator technology, we have really come a long way. This would be great to share with students to see how easy they have it now and we should not take that calculating device for granted; or even let them do research on this device and other vintage calculators.