A life in bits and bytes

ID: Festa (2006) News.com PDF: (afstuderen:Festa (2006) News.com - A life in bits and bytes.pdf|)

*“Consider a future device for individual use, which is a sort of mechanized private file and library,” wrote information technology visionary [[Vannevar Bush]] in the July 1945 issue of the Atlantic Monthly. *Jim and I ([[Gordon Bell]]) wrote an article on the 50-year outlook for computing, and that’s when we realized that the amount of storage was so vast that we in principle could capture everything–everything you read, every picture you’ve ever taken, everything you’ve said. We’re past the point where your laptop can capture everything somebody’s read. With digital photography coming in, it allows you to easily store all that stuff, and everything you’ve heard in terms of music. *I started this in 1998. I had all this material, and was even moving around with boxes of stuff, some of it going back to Digital Equipment days, and I thought, I’m going to start capturing it. Jim humored me, and we ended up with all this material, and we thought, this is starting to get interesting, and this is something that people should naturally do in their life. *Why? I break this problem in a two-by-two quadrant. There’s personal information, then professional information, and there’s today. *There’s really so much material, but the only thing I really trust is my computer. We really need machines to help us search, organize and hold and to be able to retrieve the vast amount of information that’s come into our visual cortex. *All I’m doing is making it damn efficient for someone to go in. *what value would compensate for the substantial privacy risk involved… *I treat paper as a screen dump. That’s all it is. It has no significance by itself. The only paper that has any value now are money and stock certificates. I have to keep those as originals. Anything else is in the machine, and on paper only as a screen dump. *when do you turn this thing off? When do you turn off the browser and say, gee, I’ve been visiting a lot of porn sites and I probably don’t want that in there? (Laughs.) It’s true, a lot of our guys are a little bit queasy now, thinking every time we open a file, that’s going to be in there, too. *“The technical challenge is ensuring that this information will be readable by future devices.” How are you going about this? We’re not really addressing it seriously enough at this time. For now what I’m doing is putting a small number of what I hope are going to be golden standards. Right now I’m depending on HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) as being there. Also on .doc being there – Microsoft Word. *TIFF is a nice format because it’s such a low-level format, and one can imagine that it will always be readable. So a small number of formats. What I don’t depend on is Money 2003, Intuit 2003–anything that has its weird own database that I don’t think will be readable over time. *The Greeks had an idea of Lethe being this very desirable river because drinking from it would allow you to forget. Aren’t there some virtues in forgetting some things, of letting our limited memories act as filters for some information? (iets voor [[Gifbeker Essay]]?) I feel the opposite, which is that there are times when I think I did something or invented something and I can go back and look at it. It makes me very humble because I can go back and say there was nothing that great about it, I didn’t invent that! I am finding it very humbling. This helps you deal with that reality. And I can imagine in another 10 or 15 years, I will get joy out of it. I’ve observed that people will sit for an hour or so mesmerized by these 8,000 photos that come up. I want to get a screensaver that deals with PowerPoint, anything with images, things that are visually pleasing. Maybe I want to remember it. I don’t know–I’m thinking I’ll want to remember it, not forget it.