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Old 03-26-2018, 08:50 AM
pengyou pengyou is offline
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Default VHS for backup...



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First thing...I realize that what I am suggesting is not "state of the art" or "cutting edge". I am looking for a way to archive data for "as long as possible". that is hard to explain. DVD and bluray have a limited life span. Tape also, but VHS - even good quality ones - are still cheaper than tapes for designated computer back up drives. I like the VHS idea because it is a common item, has plenty of places to buy takes still, can buy a player for a reasonable amount of $$.

Has anyone done any research into actual numbers, i.e. how many GB of data can you store on a vhs? What is the life of a vhs if it is seldom used, store in an airtight container, etc. the cost of the interface between the player and the computer?
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Old 03-26-2018, 09:07 AM
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I would not archive anything on tape, CD or DVD for the long term. All those types of media start to degrade in 10 years, even when stored properly. A CD or DVD is still better than any type of tape.

Solid state storage, such as USB flash drives or a solid state hard drive may be a better alternative. Solid state storage is not susceptible to degradation from magnetic fields. 64 GB and 128 GB USB drives are inexpensive and prices for solid state drives are falling.

The problem with any long-term storage is that technology changes over the years. If you have anything stored on floppy disks, Betamax tapes or cassette tapes, you are running out of options for devices that will read them. No one knows where storage technology will be 10 years from now or how long devices will last that have the capability to read those types of media. I have a lot of family interviews that were originally done using mico-cassettes. Fortunately, I digitized almost all of them about 10 years ago. I recently found another micro-cassette and tried to play it, but found that all three of my micro-cassette players no longer worked due to dried out rubber belts and capstans. The good news is that I found a dictation machine at Goodwill that still works and can read those cassettes, but I don't expect it to be working 10 years from now.
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Old 03-26-2018, 03:03 PM
BigSlick BigSlick is offline
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Technology is a funny business and formats are constantly changing. VHS would be a bad storage medium (late 1970's technology). It looks like USB is here to stay for the foreseeable future so any device that uses a USB interface should be a good bet. As HomeDefense mentioned the flash drives are solid state devices and some manufactures claim the data can be retained for 100 years without power so important information should safe. A couple of 128GB drives should hold everything you would need. Even if using a different OS on a computer it still should read the information providing you have a compatible program.
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Old 03-26-2018, 04:12 PM
ajole ajole is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pengyou View Post
First thing...I realize that what I am suggesting is not "state of the art" or "cutting edge". I am looking for a way to archive data for "as long as possible". that is hard to explain. DVD and bluray have a limited life span. Tape also, but VHS - even good quality ones - are still cheaper than tapes for designated computer back up drives. I like the VHS idea because it is a common item, has plenty of places to buy takes still, can buy a player for a reasonable amount of $$.

Has anyone done any research into actual numbers, i.e. how many GB of data can you store on a vhs? What is the life of a vhs if it is seldom used, store in an airtight container, etc. the cost of the interface between the player and the computer?
Sure, neat idea for a secondary backup.

But as THE backup...Umm...NO!

As one that grew up with tapes of various sizes and styles of containers...reel to reel, 8 track, cassette, VHS, Beta, Video 8, DAT and DCV, MiniDV, ..I have to say there is NOTHING archival about any of it, unless you have VERY good storage facilities, and VERY good machines to run the tapes.

You have magnetic info layered repeatedly right next to other magnetic info...it simply can't last; learn about bleed through or print through. You have machines that have to do a lot of things very accurately, or they DESTROY the tape. You have a tape with a coating that actually WEARS OUT as you use it.

Yes, it was a perfectly viable way to go for a long time, and some places still do archive on tape, but NOT because it's the best way. They do it because they have this very good quality, high end stuff sitting around, they know it's limitations and how to maximize things with it, while the digital stuff is still a question mark in many ways; it gives them additional copies of things they ALSO have as digital copies, and most importantly, it's cheap, since the investment was made long ago.
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Old 03-26-2018, 06:30 PM
Dazinth Dazinth is offline
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I would take a look at M-DISC's if you're looking to archive data (claim several hundred years before the data degrades).

A pack of 25 on Amazon is $30ish.

Otherwise USB drives would be your second best in this scenario, plenty of small computers that run off extremely low power can read them, even a usb cd-drive is running on 5v or less.
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Old 03-26-2018, 06:45 PM
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VHS is no longer around here in Canada.

Pawn shops and in people's old storage stuff, that's about it.

DVD's, CD's and USB is all anyone uses nowadays.

VHS is far from an ideal storage medium, otherwise it would still be a major player. And we all know it's not.

Unless you're living in a 3rd world **** hole
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Old 03-27-2018, 04:55 AM
rmaples rmaples is offline
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Makes me think of those guys who had 500 VHS cassettes cataloged in their media rooms and after DVDs came out they digitized the stuff so everything they had would fit into a small box. Also important to remember that you can store everything you own on a few thumb drives and then store them in a cheap fire safe. Try that with VHS tapes.
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Old 03-27-2018, 11:36 AM
ncbill ncbill is offline
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Magneto-optical (MO) never really caught on here in the U.S. (very slow, best for overnight backup) but I'd trust it over run-of-the-mill CD/DVD backup.

M-DISC might be better, but is fairly new.
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Old 03-27-2018, 12:14 PM
zebra007 zebra007 is offline
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Punch cards

Lazer disks and DAT drives were cutting edge for a while but they are gone for a reason. Thumb drives and memory cards and external hard drive have my vote. No reason today not to have multiple backups that can be easily moved, rotated and rewritten and read when needed.
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Old 03-27-2018, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pengyou View Post
First thing...I realize that what I am suggesting is not "state of the art" or "cutting edge". I am looking for a way to archive data for "as long as possible". that is hard to explain. DVD and bluray have a limited life span. Tape also, but VHS - even good quality ones - are still cheaper than tapes for designated computer back up drives. I like the VHS idea because it is a common item, has plenty of places to buy takes still, can buy a player for a reasonable amount of $$.

Has anyone done any research into actual numbers, i.e. how many GB of data can you store on a vhs? What is the life of a vhs if it is seldom used, store in an airtight container, etc. the cost of the interface between the player and the computer?
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeDefense View Post
I would not archive anything on tape, CD or DVD for the long term. All those types of media start to degrade in 10 years, even when stored properly. A CD or DVD is still better than any type of tape.

Solid state storage, such as USB flash drives or a solid state hard drive may be a better alternative. Solid state storage is not susceptible to degradation from magnetic fields. 64 GB and 128 GB USB drives are inexpensive and prices for solid state drives are falling.

The problem with any long-term storage is that technology changes over the years. If you have anything stored on floppy disks, Betamax tapes or cassette tapes, you are running out of options for devices that will read them. No one knows where storage technology will be 10 years from now or how long devices will last that have the capability to read those types of media. I have a lot of family interviews that were originally done using mico-cassettes. Fortunately, I digitized almost all of them about 10 years ago. I recently found another micro-cassette and tried to play it, but found that all three of my micro-cassette players no longer worked due to dried out rubber belts and capstans. The good news is that I found a dictation machine at Goodwill that still works and can read those cassettes, but I don't expect it to be working 10 years from now.
I worked in Electronics in the later half of the 80's and till the early 2000's. After a few years the adhesive binding the magnetic media to the tape starts breaking down resulting in "Errors" in your digital backup meaning it could be worthless.

The original CD discs were considered good for long term storage because they were made differently than they are now, they were made with an actual thin aluminum disc imbedded in plastic. As long as the plastic wasn't damaged the disc would retain the information.
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Old 03-27-2018, 12:39 PM
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You should think about parchment scrolls. They have been found thousands of years after 1st being written. Thats some data storage!! :-)
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Old 03-27-2018, 12:41 PM
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USB drives are cheap, provide huge amounts of storage space, and are easily accessible as long as you have a computer. Why go to something like VHS that requires a device which is becoming obscure and will likely disappear within a couple of years? I don't see the advantage, only disadvantages to VHS.
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:10 PM
ajole ajole is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob3rd View Post
.
The original CD discs were considered good for long term storage because they were made differently than they are now, they were made with an actual thin aluminum disc imbedded in plastic. As long as the plastic wasn't damaged the disc would retain the information.
I remember the first time I got some of the later cheaper discs with no plastic on top of the metal foil layer. I put a Post-it with some info on it on that layer, so I could label the thing later with a marker...and when I took it off to start writing, the adhesive stripped the "foil" right off the disk.

So much for that idea.

After that, I was suddenly aware that EVERYONE seemed to want to lay the disks down with the read side up to keep it from getting scratched...which meant they were laying the actual data layer on a surface to get scratched. Made sense with the old thick disks, but not such a good idea with the crappy ones.
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajole View Post
I remember the first time I got some of the later cheaper discs with no plastic on top of the metal foil layer. I put a Post-it with some info on it on that layer, so I could label the thing later with a marker...and when I took it off to start writing, the adhesive stripped the "foil" right off the disk.

So much for that idea.

After that, I was suddenly aware that EVERYONE seemed to want to lay the disks down with the read side up to keep it from getting scratched...which meant they were laying the actual data layer on a surface to get scratched. Made sense with the old thick disks, but not such a good idea with the crappy ones.
LOL So, it got you Too! I was working on a customer's CD Player that had discs stuck in it, I stuck a PostIt Note on top of the stack to make sure they didn't get misplaced and had the same experience. Was NOT funny! LOL
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