09 February 2006

4 terabytes and counting

That's how many operabytes I have. (What's a tera? Read here.) A significant majority of them are CD-R's, so imagine my panic this morning upon reading this article, which proclaims that "'(u)nlike pressed original CDs, burned CDs have a relatively short life span of between two to five years, depending on the quality of the CD'". Two to five years, what the f ... First thing I did was to reach for one of my earliest CD-Rs: a live Traviata from 1950 with Albanese, Tagliavini, and Silveri, produced circa 1998. It's more than 7 years old, and playing as we speak ... Licia sounds fine; a bit over-the-top sobbing while writing her little note to Alfredo (Annina, get the doctor, she's choking!), but more to the point: complete.


A little more google reveals that expert opinion on this matter varies widely. Some indirect evidence pegs the lifespan of well-kept CD-Rs at 50 to 200 years. Of course, we'll never know if their theoretical extrapolations are accurate till we actually reach that point in time and observe massive degradation (and mass suicide at Lincoln Center plaza?). My own plan is to check in with Licia periodically (about three or four times a year), and the moment I observe my canary fade, I shall embark on a colossal rescue project of a magnitude this universe hasn't seen before. (A petabyte? Possibly.)