The following is a Plus Edition article, written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Technology is great, but it is never perfect. In today’s fast-changing world, obsolescence can be a big issue. Writing in the New York Times, Farhad Manjoo describes the plight of the person who purchased a Nook e-book reader a few years ago. It certainly seemed like a wise purchase at the time. In 2011, Consumer Reports proclaimed the Nook the best e-reader in the land, saying it surpassed the Kindle in just about every way.
Barnes & Noble has never made a profit on Nook sales, and now the company has laid off nearly all of its Nook hardware engineers. (See the article at http://www.businessinsider.com/barnes-and-noble-hardware-engineering-staff-2014-2 for details.) The future of the Nook is unknown, but the latest news doesn’t look good. In the New York Times article, Farhad Manjoo writes, “… the Nook’s end looks nigh. If you own a Nook, the fate of your books may now be up in the air. Sorry, you bet on the wrong horse.”
Of course, the Nook owners are not the only ones to be left high and dry with obsolete devices.
Do you remember the ZIP drive? Those were very popular for making backup copies of all sorts of things. Today, you cannot buy ZIP drives or the proprietary ZIP disks except perhaps at garage sales or maybe on eBay. If you saved your data on ZIP drives some years ago, that information probably is now impossible to retrieve.
There is a long list of other similar devices that appeared to be the wave of the future at one time but were later dropped as a tsunami of competitive devices swamped the marketplace. Luckily, with a bit of advance planning, any ZIP owner or Nook owner or the owner of any other high-tech device will not be left behind by obsolescence. In fact, your data can be kept safe for generations if you do some planning.
In the article in the New York Times, Farhad Manjoo tells how e-book owners can make sure the books they purchased will be available forever. You can read his article at http://goo.gl/RfbWgr.
I would suggest that the problem and the solutions are not limited to e-books. In fact, similar issues surround almost almost all methods of digital data storage. However, long-term storage solutions are also available for almost all such devices. Whether you are concerned with storing genealogy data, old family photographs, modern videos of your grandchildren, or last year’s income tax records, all digital information can be safely stored for decades, possibly for centuries.
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