Let's develop an open-source media archive standard

From: Antonio Carlini <a.carlini_at_ntlworld.com>
Date: Wed Aug 11 18:53:44 2004

> And if you want to get really crazy, there's Jerome Fine's
> methods of reconstructing faded magtapes by digitizing and
> DSP-ing the raw data, or the obscure emulator tools that
> can read the data from digitized cassette images of programs
> and data.

Similar to the idea of recording C64 cassettes via a
soudcard and storing as WAV (or whatever) for later
playback to a C64 (which thinks the noise if coming
in from a cassette player). Sounds perfectly reasonable
to me :-)

> I wish there was a mechanism like this for recovering
> video from 8mm video tape; I have some munged tapes I'd like to
> recover someday. Certainly others in the future and present world
> could benefit from videotape recovery schemes. And then there's
> the NSA's methods of reading erased data from hard disks.

Lots of places can do data recovery from dead and erased
disks. But doing it for a disk that has had a proper
security erase done (i.e. every data-storing physical
overwritten with the appropriate multiple patterns) is
very hard. I know that it was possible a decade or two ago
to go over the platter with an STM and effectively image
the off-track remnants of the data. But even then it was
time-consuming and not terribly reliable. These days
the disks have a hard enough time guessing at what is
on the platter :-)

> I vote for ASCII and not binary or compressed binary in
> the files. Compression is for afterwards and outside.

Hear, hear.

> With the right code, an emulator could keep the
> offsets to the "blocks" and rewrite the hex as needed
> in-place. :-)

This format should just be a way to preserve data. There
will be, of necessity, much more flexibility than any
emulator would ever need. The way to avoid complexity
for an emulator would be to produce a utility that
converts from the archive format (which may contain
a bistream or whatever) to an image format which the
emulator is happy with. Information is lost in the process,
but it's not information the emulator wants or needs.
(But don't throw the archive away afterwards :-)).


Antonio Carlini arcarlini_at_iee.org
Received on Wed Aug 11 2004 - 18:53:44 BST

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