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28th April
2010
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I’ve been getting lots of attention and emails about my recent article titled When to Use Film.  One of the main questions or debates has been about the comments I made about losing bits during storage of digital media.  So, I’ve been doing some more research on Bit Rot and how it affects digital data and if it really poses a risk to long term file storage.  I’m not that tech savvy and a lot of the information that I’ve read is over my head.  There seems to be a consensus though that over time Bit Rot occurs in files whether they are opened frequently or just sitting dormant in your hard drive.  What essentially happens is that the 1′s and 0′s get switched.  Depending on where this happens in a file, it can render an entire file unreadable.  To me, this is a serious problem.  I realize that the chances are low that this could affect the files that are the most important to me.  But frankly, I don’t want to take those chances.  It might be just as likely that a house fire or flood could just as easily ruin my negatives.  Either way, I choose film for my most important memories.  It’s easily stored and has a proven track record of over 100 years.  I just want to make it clear that in no way do I ever want to come across as a film snob.  Digital has it’s place in the world of photography.  There are countless beautiful photos captured digitally every day.  It’s the final picture that’s important, not how you got there.  I love photography… All of it!

Here is some further reading on Bit Rot.  I encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions. 

http://www.enterprisestorageforum.com/article.php/3850951

http://www.docucrunch.com/bit-rot-the-new-problem-threatening-companies-archives

http://www.petapixel.com/2009/09/24/digital-photographs-for-a-lifetime/

Example of Bit Rot on a photo

Example of Bit Rot on a photo

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