Quote Originally Posted by wiltw View Post
How easy it is to make such statements, when the scope of experience does not span 20-30 years, and the accompanying lack of realization that harddrive controller technology and motherboard buss connectors that they plug into all have evolved multiple times...
so that it would be very hard for the average consumer to read the data written on harddrives from 30 years ago unless they still owned a PC from back then!
In fact my background is in Electronics/IT and dates back to the early 80's, ie just about the time the IBM PC was released. That's about 30 years of direct experience with IT/technology obsolescence so I think I can speak with some experience in the field. I think my first digital files date to about 2001 and I have ALL of them, in their 640x480 perfection!

Quote Originally Posted by jjphoto View Post
...It's also wise to upgrade to current HDD's periodically, with greater capacity.
The reason I said the above is exactly for the reason that you describe, ie because technology does become unreadable eventually and you do have to 'keep-up'. That's all part of the procedure and if you upgrade your drives every so often then you are not only keeping up with technology but probably also reducing the number of drives you have to keep too. Who knows what the next 'data-storage-method-of-choice' will be but eventually you'll have to have your data on it otherwise you WILL loose it. In some respects you are more likely to keep that data than with film, as long as you can keep up to date (ie 2 copies, with one in a second location) but I agree that most people probably won't, in the long term anyway.

It's true that to some extend you will always be able to print film, even if you have to scan your trannies and print digitally instead of printing Cibachromes or similar chemical prints. However film is not completely immune to degradation/damage either. I have plenty of film (B+W and trannies) dating to the early 80's, all kept carefully in storage sleeves, which have stuck to sleeves to varying degrees and done some minor damage (maybe this can be cleaned/dealt with, I don't know, maybe the sleeves I've used where not adequate, maybe the storage conditions, maybe, maybe...). Ironically the B+W films wrapped in sheets of plain paper are just fine.