Sunday, November 20, 2011

Kodachrome And Floppy Disks: A Minor Musing

I don't think I'm a Luddite, but this paragraph from Roger Ebert strikes me as an important reminder that some of our technological advancements and reliance on electronic storage may have an unintended consequence.
Speaking of my fears, I have a final one. Film on celluloid has proven remarkably resilient. Not long ago, invaluable missing footage from Lang's "Metropolis" was found surviving very nicely in Argentina. If we had the missing reel from "Magnificent Ambersons," we could watch it together tonight. How long will the digital file of a new movie survive and be readable? I have memory discs of pretty much everything I've ever written on a computer, but have no idea what format they were created in or how to read them. I also have carbon copies of everything I wrote for the Sun-Times from 1966 until around 1977, when we got computers in the newsroom. I made them on my typewriter. You remember those.
I'm in the same boat; I have 5 1/4 floppy disks in a cupboard in my room, and I have some 3 1/2 floppies lying in various desk drawers along with a zip disk or two.  I don't have a single machine that can read the older, larger disks, and I'd be hard pressed to find a working computer that can read the more recently created smaller disks.  I don't even know if the word processor that I used to type my M.A. thesis still works.

Maybe none of these concerns bother members of the Facebook generation, but to those of use who grew up with "Kodachrome," either the film or the song, the situation seems a bit sad.
When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school

It's a wonder I can think at all

And though my lack of education hasn't hurt me none

I can read the writing on the wall
Kodachrome

They give us those nice bright colors

Give us the greens of summers

Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah

I got a Nikon camera

I love to take a photograph

So mama don't take my Kodachrome away
If you took all the girls I knew when I was single

And brought 'em all together for one night

I know they'd never match my sweet imagination

And everything looks worse in black and white
Kodachrome

They give us those nice bright colors

They give us the greens of summers

Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah

I got a Nikon camera

I love to take a photograph

So mama don't take my Kodachrome away
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama don't take my Kodachrome

Mama don't take my Kodachrome

Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama don't take my Kodachrome

Leave your boy so far from home

Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama don't take my Kodachrome

Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

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