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80-Year-Old Edison Recording Resurrected

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the wizard-of-menlo-park dept.

Hardware Hacking 133

embolalia writes "An 80-year-old recording of a live radio broadcast featuring Thomas Edison has been uncovered and reconstituted. The recording was done on an obscure technology called a pallophotophone — Greek for 'shaking light sound' — that uses optical film to reproduce sound. The archivists who uncovered the canisters tucked away on a bottom shelf in a museum in Schenectady, New York (the city where Edison's General Electric was founded), did not have any machine to replay the films. Two GE engineers — working nights and weekends for two years — were able to construct a machine to replay the old tapes, recorded only two years before Edison's death." There's a video at the link, which may or may not contain some of the resurrected recording, but we couldn't get it to play from the Times Union site.

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133 comments

Link to the video (5, Informative)

endikos (195750) | more than 4 years ago | (#32614996)

Re:Link to the video (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615166)

Where is the audio of Edison, the last few seconds? What about Einstein were his recordings ripped too?

Re:Link to the video (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615882)

Cue Edison's estate's lawyers in 3, 2, 1...

In other news ... (yes, cue lawsuit) (3, Informative)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615900)

Law firm representing NBC has filed suit alleging their client's copyrights have been violated for unauthorized rebroadcasting of the film content. "The audio programs recorded on those films are wholly owned intellectual properties belonging to our client, and their unauthorized rebroadcasting over the web is a willful theft of our client's intellectual properties. We fully intend to pursue this matter for the maximum payou... punitive damage under our law... ahm, the law."

Re:In other news ... (yes, cue lawsuit) (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616300)

But Edison is dead. His copyright should have expired with him. Or 14 years - whichever came first.

And I'm not sure what the big deal is about optical recording on film? That's how most films of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s record their sound and is commonly understood. Maybe it took the engineers two years to decode the precise format.

Re:Link to the video (3, Informative)

manofyunk (122268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616326)

Link to actual recording that was recovered:
http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1407952373?bctid=96943642001

We couldn't get it to play from the Times Union... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615002)

You need the Flash 10.2 beta which accelerates pallophotophone files.

Re:We couldn't get it to play from the Times Union (3, Funny)

NeumannCons (798322) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616144)

They've pulled the beta off of their website. They received a letter from the lawyers representing the estate of Edison. The lawyers clients are claiming ownership of the ip rights to all pallotophone codecs and pallotophone encryption/decryption algorithms. Said counsel for Bubba Edison - Mr. G. R. White, "Mr. Edison is seeking to ride on his Great Grandfathers coat tails -we aim to help him since that's the right thing to do - and the fact that he's paying us lots of money". Mr. White was not immediately available for comment as he was participating in a feeding frenzy.

Re:We couldn't get it to play from the Times Union (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617236)

The "joke" is getting about as old as the reality. Please don't drag it along.

phallophotophone??? (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615012)

Weren't we talking about this in the chatroulette story a few days ago?

Re:phallophotophone??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615688)

Talk into the mic baby.

Re:phallophotophone??? (1, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616464)

Were you holding your dick at the time. If so then yes that was Chatroulette you were on.

Working Video Link (3, Informative)

GoblinSoul (1456863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615014)

Re:Working Video Link (3, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615252)

That's great and all, but I wanted to hear Edison...

(The video is a short clip of the story on what it took to create the machine and there's about 3 seconds of the radio program at the end.)

Re:Working Video Link (1)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615512)

There's a lot more than three seconds---

Re:Working Video Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32618612)

If you would read the actual article, you could listen.

Times Union Audio (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615018)

Now we just need to assign two more GE Engineers 2 years off off time to make the Times Union web site audio play properly...

Neither Only nor Best (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615056)

This is neither the only recording of the broadcast, nor the best. A recording of the broadcast made by Edison's own technicians on his then-state-of-the-art 30 RPM radio transcription system was restored by Professor Mike Biel and released by Mark 56 Records three decades ago.

Re:Neither Only nor Best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615126)

This is neither the only recording of the broadcast, nor the best. A recording of the broadcast made by Edison's own technicians on his then-state-of-the-art 30 RPM radio transcription system was restored by Professor Mike Biel and released by Mark 56 Records three decades ago.

And the link to this story/media would be where???

Re:Neither Only nor Best (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615448)

And the link to this story/media would be where???

http://www.midcoast.com/~lizmcl/earlyradio.html

"2/11/29--Thomas Edison Birthday Tribute. NBC Blue Network. WJZ aircheck recorded by the Edison Company. Another recording unearthed by Dr. Biel at the Edison Site. According to radio listings of the day, this was an hour-long tribute to Edison on his 88th birthday intended as the first in a series of Edison-sponsored programs. The climax of the program was a short talk by the inventor himself. Approximately forty minutes of the program were recorded on two "Rayediphonic" discs, but an electronic failure in the recording amplifier made it impossible to record the entire program."

Re:Neither Only nor Best (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615658)

Sorry, correct URL, wrong paragraph:

10/21/29--Light’s Golden Jubilee Celebration. NBC Blue network. WJZ aircheck recorded by the Edison Company on "Rayediphonic" discs. The fiftieth anniversary of the invention of the light bulb is observed in this special program from Dearborn. Michigan. An array of luminaries including President Hoover pay tribute to Edison and his invention. Edison himself also speaks, and participates in a re-enactment of the first lighting of the electric lamp. Albert Einstien speaks by shortwave from Berlin, but reception is extremely poor. The recording includes the earliest surviving version of the NBC chimes -- a five note progression very much unlike the standard G-E-C. The complete one-hour program was recorded, but a tape copy is in circulation via the National Archives which has been edited to approximately 32 minutes.

There are some valuable one-of-a-kind recordings in this newly-restored group. It's just that the Edison one isn't among them.

Re:Neither Only nor Best (2, Insightful)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617602)

This is neither the only recording of the broadcast, nor the best. A recording of the broadcast made by Edison's own technicians on his then-state-of-the-art 30 RPM radio transcription system was restored by Professor Mike Biel and released by Mark 56 Records three decades ago.

So I guess there is no value in having a different format and a different physical object with which to gauge the recordings against one another? There is no value in the recreation of a long dead invention of a fabled inventor? Is there no value in restoring one more part of our ever fading past?

Re:Neither Only nor Best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32618238)

So I guess there is no value in having a different format and a different physical object with which to gauge the recordings against one another? There is no value in the recreation of a long dead invention of a fabled inventor? Is there no value in restoring one more part of our ever fading past?

I don't see anyone suggesting any of that. But the article is wrong when it suggests that this is a "lost" recording. Some of the other recordings in this collection are unique and are historically significant, including the second oldest surviving sports broadcast. They just aren't as "sexy" from a reporter's point of view as the Edison broadcast, I suppose.

Re:Neither Only nor Best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617528)

Approximately forty minutes of the program were recorded on two "Rayediphonic" discs, but an electronic failure in the recording amplifier made it impossible to record the entire program."

Is is possible the newly decoded pallophotophone recordings might contain the missing parts?

Re:Neither Only nor Best (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615440)

Even so, they mentioned seven canisters. Assuming 1000 ft canisters at what would be 24 FPS, we get approximately 77 minutes of audio? I don't know how long the broadcast was, but if that is longer than the broacast, perhaps it has additional material.

If not, there still could exist other audio reels in this format someplace or other, which could benefit from the machine designed to recover the audio.

Old technology more lasting (5, Insightful)

Gazoogleheimer (1466831) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615090)

In some ways, it is interesting to think that it is technically easier to recover data from this sort of recording (and likewise, other analog systems like magnetic reel-to-reel tape and records) long after the means to recover the data are lost compared to more modern, computerized formats. I sometimes worry about the 'lasting-ness' of all my JPEG photography compared to my film negatives through this same issue.

Re:Old technology more lasting (1)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615294)

It's probably true that analog formats are more lasting if they're forgotten about for a while, as in this case, because they degrade relatively gracefully.

Digital media will be saved by digital virtues, principally the ease of making many perfect copies. You back up your JPEGs, right? Robust digital data is data for which there are many copies.

Re:Old technology more lasting (2, Interesting)

MoeDumb (1108389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615562)

Very true. One need only think reel-to-reel audio tapes. Try finding a deck to play them other than refurbished units on Ebay. I'm currently converting my tapes to lossless audiofiles and storing them on an external HDD. Then back ups of that.

Re:Old technology more lasting (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616406)

That is a silly worry. All you have to do is keep on top of it, and make sure you have a backup. You can change from tape to disk to usb key to whatever else comes along and not lose a single byte of data.

Analog data, including your film negatives, degrade over time, and can never be recovered. If people care about your stuff, it's much more likely to be around a hundred years from now in digital format than in analog format.

Re:Old technology more lasting (1)

josath (460165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616620)

It's a valid worry. Imagine someone famous today made a recording of someone, but it was lost in a closet/attic/junkpile for 80 years. What are the chances of any DVD-R, USB flash drive, HDD made today having any chance of working in 80 years?

Re:Old technology more lasting (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616768)

The chances are low. In fact, a DVD-R would almost be guaranteed to have been ruined by then. But really, the chances of something of any importance being stuck in an attic somewhere and not backed up somewhere are pretty low, too.

Re:Old technology more lasting (1)

beschra (1424727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618662)

But really, the chances of something of any importance being stuck in an attic somewhere and not backed up somewhere are pretty low, too.

Like recordings made by one of the more influential inventors of a century?

Re:Old technology more lasting (2, Insightful)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616890)

I sometimes worry about the 'lasting-ness' of all my JPEG photography compared to my film negatives through this same issue.

What you need is a distributed, persistent, peer-to-peer file system. Luckily, just such a thing can be built cheaply, using commodity hardware and software. Include a 19 year old woman who isn't wearing a shirt in each of your photographs, and you can be guaranteed that you will have 100% retention and worldwide availability of your photography hundreds of years into the future.

Scanner (4, Insightful)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615106)

Is there any reason you wouldn't just make a high resolution scan of the film and attempt to process it from there? Certainly I understand the satisfaction in making a physical machine, but doesn't that risk a lot more damage to the original media?

Re:Scanner (2, Insightful)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615256)

My thoughts exactly. IIRC, for the old wax-cylinder recordings that wouldn't survive a playback, they used a laser "stylus" to measure the exact depth and variation of the grooves down to fractions of a mm, and were able to play it back no problem. They got a higher-quality sound off the drum then even the destructive stylus would've managed.

That's the thing about digital formats going obsolete - as long as the information can be represented as a series of bits on whatever the current computer is, anybody can build or recreate a software 'machine' to decode/convert them. And any guy with a computer can do that... it doesn't need the resources of a couple of engineers from GE.

Re:Scanner (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615326)

Yes and no. While you can do it with a $200 laptop, the skills required to decode something like an mp4 file are going to be far in excess of what these two guys needed.

Fortunately the file specificiations will hopefully be preserved digitally too

Re:Scanner (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615858)

So ... put it on the internet. Somebody will probably do it for free, open source.

A $100 prize to the first person or best reproduction wouldn't hurt, either.

On the other hand, building the machine was probably the whole point, and hopefully quite rewarding for these engineers. That's the same reason someone would probably decode a digital version for free: it's a challenge that's very unique and fun to solve.

Re:Scanner (4, Funny)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616532)

the skills required to decode something like an mp4 file are going to be far in excess of what these two guys needed

Yes and no... In 100 years it will probably go something like this:

"Hey, Computer."
"Yo."
"I found this 100 year old computer file. Can you decode it for me?"
"Sure, just a second."
"Done. It appears to be a video of a caucasian human singing a song from the year 1987."
"Really? What song?"
"Never Gonna Give You Up..."

I suspect 100 years from now reading the data off a thumb drive, CD or DVD will be a bigger challenge that actually decoding the file...

Re:Scanner (2, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616792)

I suspect 100 years from now reading the data off a thumb drive, CD or DVD will be a bigger challenge that actually decoding the file...

100 years from now we will probably have desktop universal disassemblers that can record the position of every atom in an object. That will take care of thumb drives. CDs and DVDs will be even easier, use that high-resolution ultraviolet scanner to read the surface.

Re:Scanner (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615928)

Is there any reason you wouldn't just make a high resolution scan of the film and attempt to process it from there? Certainly I understand the satisfaction in making a physical machine, but doesn't that risk a lot more damage to the original media?

I used to live down the street from John Schneider (one of the engineers who worked on this). He's actually a multi-millionaire who started his own company a few years back and it's pretty cool that he's still getting his hands dirty with things like this.
Here's a bio.. http://www.spoke.com/info/pOzZMi/JohnSchneiter

Although he's a really smart guy, he's not really super computer savvy - as is common for a lot of MechEs so it makes sense that he would try to solve this problem using hardware since that's what he knows. Naturally myself (and likely most software guys) would get a high resolution scanner out and write some code to "playback" the stored audio. I've seen similar applications for playing old records that don't require actually touching the record with a needle. Regardless, you really only need to play it once and digitize the audio so the concern of multiple playbacks ruining the film isn't that big of a concern.

All in all a really cool hack!

Re:Scanner (1)

dubbreak (623656) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616250)

Exactly. It's optical. If it was magnetic you'd probably need some specialized head to read it, but since it's optical you can just use a scanner then go straight to processing it with software. Seems like the most cost effective and easiest solution. Not as cool as building a machine, but what's the point?

Re:Scanner (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616712)

Not much fun for a Mechanical Engineer though.

Re:Scanner (1)

jnaujok (804613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617262)

The machine they built winds the film onto reels, and then plays it back in front of a light source, that's shining onto some sort of photocell that re-creates the sound. The sound is clearly put into a digital computer feed (note the obvious sound wave on the monitors in the background of the video.) Likely, each reel was only run through once, or maybe twice, and converted into a useful, digital version.

In other words, they scanned the film and then decoded it.

In fact, I wouldn't doubt that they duplicated it from the 80 year old film to fresh film before running the fresh film through the playback machine. That would be a typical archival move to save the original.

Re:Scanner (2, Interesting)

Bryan3000000 (1356999) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618502)

My thoughts as well. However, judging by the opinions of the archivists at the Library of Congress, photographic media are a terrifically better long-term preservation strategy than magnetic tape or magnetic media of any variety: http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/09/gallery-digitizing-t.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+boingboing/iBag+(Boing+Boing) [boingboing.net]

It seems to me that you could get incredible fidelity and preservation characteristics for audio recordings by using photographic media, which could then be played back either with a machine or as you suggest, by scanning. I'm sure it would be possible to construct a continuous feed scanner that could output either to an image file or process directly to an audio stream.

Either way, it seems like these guys took the long way through the problem, essentially trying to re-create an original machine rather than using modern technology to read what was on the tape. I'm guessing a continuous-feed scanner with reels attached could be hacked relatively quickly from mostly commodity parts, and the doing the rest in software would be far more interesting and hold far more long-term usefulness. I'm betting you could get it to produce an image plus simultaneous analog and digital data-streams from one sensor.

go kdawson (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615134)

There's a video at the link, which may or may not contain some of the resurrected recording, but we couldn't get it to play from the Times Union site.

Why am I not surprised that kdawson wasn't able to figure out how to take the javascript popup link and add it to the base url of the Times Union site?

why 8 tracks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615198)

(The Times Union link to the video is just malformed. It's easy enough to fix in your browser, or use one of the links people have posted here.)

What I couldn't figure out is WHAT DO THE 8 TRACKS DO? Nothing in the article or video explains that part. They didn't have the technology to split or digitize the signal, and I doubt a single 1929 radio speech was mixed in surround...

Anybody know for certain?

Any reasonable guesses (other than 8 separate passes back and forth, because they didn't need the full width of what looks like 35mm unsprocked film and wanted to save stock and rewind time)?

Wait thirty years... (1)

John3 (85454) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615210)

and you'll be reading a story about engineers building a machine to play old 8-Track recordings, or old CD's they found in the bottom of a desk in a museum.

Re:Wait thirty years... (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615298)

I doubt that. The widescale use of technology will pretty much ensure it can be read well into the future.

Granted i have nothing in my house that would play an 8 track recording or a vhs tape, but I could find one in a day or two on ebay or craigslist.

I'm sure in 30 yrs, CD players will be far more obtainable than 8 tracks are now

Re:Wait thirty years... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617170)

My parents have both, but the 8-track player has been sitting in my dad's shop office for a few decades. It may need to have a couple of kilos of sawdust and spiderwebs blown out of it.

Re:Wait thirty years... (4, Funny)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615366)

Dont worry, those engineers obviously spent two years working on breaking Edison's DRM, I hear hes planning on returing from the dead, and suing for 150k.

Re:Wait thirty years... (1)

rattaroaz (1491445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616060)

I believe that is quite possible. When you play his recording backwards, I'd swear I hear Edison saying "worship the devil!" I could be hearing things, but you never know . . .

Re:Wait thirty years... (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616222)

150k per person who listened to it

Oct 21, 1929 (4, Insightful)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615244)

And a week later, the markets crashed.

Content still under copyright? (5, Insightful)

linebackn (131821) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615280)

1929? So the entirety of the content from those things would still be under copyright, right?

Eh, torrent link plz.

Re:Content still under copyright? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615528)

I would think that ownership of the recording gives them the copyright as well. This isn't a case where these things were sold in their millions, after all.

Re:Content still under copyright? (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615642)

I own a few music CDs, and some of them sold less than a million copies...I'm glad to hear that I'm the copyright holder.

Re:Content still under copyright? (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616710)

Nope. Copyright was 28 years after the date of publication back then.

Re:Content still under copyright? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617550)

It was extended before 1958, so unfortunately any corporate-owned works published after 1924 will still be in copyright for a few more decades. If it's owned by Edison's estate, then it would be in copyright until 2021 (death+90).

Re:Content still under copyright? (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618030)

Disagree. Source [cornell.edu]

Re:Content still under copyright? (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618488)

Copyright of a radio interview is more likely owned by the radio station.

Zippity do dah gone forever! (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615304)

It is during instances and moments like these that we should be reminded of exactly how bad it is to protect content and patent data processing methods. These are the surest ways for us to lose the historical data we are creating today. Already, losses of great works have been lost due to lack of republication because copyright has not expired before the last copies were lost forever. If it were not for a few brave individuals, Disney's "Song of the South" would be lost forever today as they will never EVER publish it again and it is not available for sale anywhere.

And more and more, we are seeing technologies phasing out... floppy disks... anyone got an 8" floppy drive laying around? What about 5 1/4" No? I still have a few USB 3.5" floppy drives but that was only to make a floppy disk RAID for fun. We might find some paper tape somewhere in an archive out there in a dark closet, but will we find a reader for it?

The push for "open formats" is precisely about better guaranteeing that data will be available in the future and so few people are willing to listen or understand. "DOC" is the standard right?

Re:Zippity do dah gone forever! (2, Informative)

kommisar (166705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615596)

Patent rights only last 20 years from filing. Copyright however, is much longer. Don't get your IP protections schemes all tied in a bunch!

Re:Zippity do dah gone forever! (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615804)

Old file formats are a problem for individuals too. I booted up an old computer and copied some old stories and papers I had written which were in Multimate or ProPrint format. I was lucky enough to be able to recover the text of one of them, but some of the others might take a lot more effort. If these were in OpenDocument format, I'd be able to decompress them and pull the XML-text (worst case scenario). Since they are long-forgotten proprietary formats, though, I'm forced to piece together what text I can see and hope that the gobbledygook is just formatting information being lost. (Of course, if someone knows how to import Multimate or Proprint into OpenOffice.org, I'd love to hear it.)

Re:Zippity do dah gone forever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32616354)

Multimate? Google it, apparently $1 per file...

Or print it with the old computer and then ocr.

Re:Zippity do dah gone forever! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32616650)

Old file formats are a problem for individuals too. I booted up an old computer and copied some old stories and papers I had written which were in Multimate or ProPrint format. I was lucky enough to be able to recover the text of one of them, but some of the others might take a lot more effort. If these were in OpenDocument format, I'd be able to decompress them and pull the XML-text (worst case scenario). Since they are long-forgotten proprietary formats, though, I'm forced to piece together what text I can see and hope that the gobbledygook is just formatting information being lost. (Of course, if someone knows how to import Multimate or Proprint into OpenOffice.org, I'd love to hear it.)

I believe that Multimate was one of the filters supported by StarOffice 5.2. You should still be able to find a version of it as Sun offered it for free (as in beer). You can then save it as a star office format file which openoffice can read in directly.

This is how I was able to bring in my wife's Masters Thesis which was written in Word Star.

Re:Zippity do dah gone forever! (2, Informative)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615988)

Song of the South was released commercially in the UK on PAL VHS. So by brave souls do you mean "the people who bought it when it was commercially released on home video who happen to not be American?"

Re:Zippity do dah gone forever! (1)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618602)

AFAIK it was also released on LaserDisc in Japan. I'm pretty sure I've seen it up on EBay in the past and I'm sure there are people selling laserdisc dubs onto DVD.

Re:Zippity do dah gone forever! (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616132)

Already, losses of great works have been lost due to lack of republication because copyright has not expired before the last copies were lost forever.

Wouldn't losing a loss be a good thing?

Re:Zippity do dah gone forever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617594)

I could easily find any of the technologies listed if I had a real need to have them. Let's not get out of hand here. This isn't to even mention that the "open format" doesn't matter if you don't have the hardware to read it in the first place but I think you tried to cross a blurry line and it certainly weakened your arguement.

There'd be no problem with punched tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32618390)

its a physical represention of the data, just like the optical film recording. In fact it would be rather easier to read paper tape as it wouldn't even require a hi-res scan to recover the punched patterns. Of course, once the binary data is recovered, THEN the fun begins!

OTOH I've a stack of 5.25" floppies in a box at the back of a cupboard, together with a 1.2Mb drive, which may or may not be able to read the majority 360Kb floppies. If I can get that 386SX to boot Windows 3 off its old 420Mb drive. I could try the 720Kb MSDOS 5 emergency boot disk in the 3.5" drive. Some of those floppies have Windows 1 on them.....

Re:Zippity do dah gone forever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32618652)

All I hear is a bunch of whining. You want to know some terrible things? Isaac Asimov used to burn his letters and notes when he was running out of space. None of this stuff was protected, plenty of people would be interested in it, but he never thought about keeping it.

Then there's all the content the BBC junked rather than archive.

Sorry, but something being protected or not? Doesn't stop it from being lost.

Re:Zippity do dah gone forever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32618760)

It is during instances and moments like these that we should be reminded of exactly how bad it is to protect content and patent data processing methods.

Duh.

The whole point of the patent system is to have people document their inventions so that they don't fall into oblivion.

The patent system is probably broken beyond repair, but, please, don't bash it in the one case where a patent would actually be usefull to everybody!

Link to the audio (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615382)

Thanks! (2, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615544)

Finally, the full audio. Really exciting to think of all the audio they can save this way, and bring forward for more permanent storage.

pallophotophone.com is not registered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615502)

Woohoo!

A real anolog buff (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615648)

Does this mean that the true anolog audio buff should only listen to pallophotophone film recordings? Because I think exposed film may be the best way to create true anolog audio reproduction. Records probably miss a huge portion of what this film would capture.

Re:A real anolog buff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32615786)

No, a true analog audio buff would have a Philips-Miller Film Recorder.
http://www.btinternet.com/~roger.beckwith/bh/tapes/pm.htm

It's an interesting device as it combines spooled film, optical recording, and a stylus a bit like a record cutting machine! These devices were reportedly quite good quality for the time. They also did not require photosensitive film, and thus no development process before the recording could be played back.

Re:A real anolog buff (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32617630)

Don't joke. Electric recording was invented in 1926, and resulted in reasonable sound which we would consider "not awful" today, but this recording has far superior sound quality to 78 records of that era.

ancient sounds in dried paint or pottery? (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#32615920)

I remember some long-ago speculation that drying paint could capture sounds. Some guy was going find Michaelangelo coughing or something like that. I couldnt find a reference on google.

Re:ancient sounds in dried paint or pottery? (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616264)

I remember some long-ago speculation that drying paint could capture sounds. Some guy was going find Michaelangelo coughing or something like that. I couldnt find a reference on google.

I'm pretty sure that's some April Fool's Joke by a scientific journal (Nature?) being run amok by "journalists".

Re:ancient sounds in dried paint or pottery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617658)

Mythbusters tried it. It was busted...

Nathan

optical sound still in use every day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32616040)

The 8-tracks-on-one-strip-of-film concept is unusual, but variable-area optical sound tracks exist on every motion-picture film print made today, and every movie theatre in the world has the capability to reproduce such a track. I can pretty much guarantee that anyone who has ever been to a movie has heard analog optical sound. In newer or upgraded theatres, the audience typically hears digital sound, but the optical track is still there as a backup and for compatability with older equipment or in the event that the digital track is damaged or the decoding equipment fails. With Dolby SR noise reduction (as used on modern optical tracks), it can actually sound quite good.

Other Edison recordings (1)

Powys (1274816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616136)

The following are recordings (even older) that Edison made, but not of himself. Still, very interesting:

Ada Jones [archive.org]

Link to actual project at General Electric (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616150)

Link to actual project at General Electric [gereports.com] , including access to the Edison audio.

Re:Link to actual project at General Electric (0, Troll)

RodRooter (1835462) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616822)

Let me guess, it's him ranting on about the "great jewish conspiracy" for half an hour.

Him and Ford were quite the pair.

Re:Link to actual project at General Electric (2, Informative)

RodRooter (1835462) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618574)

The mods here need to read history. Perhaps I can say something sympathetic to the flat-earthers to get modded up?

Perhaps something kind to the 9-11 truthers. Wow Slashdot, you've gone crazy yo.

More Informative Video (2, Informative)

ryanleary (805532) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616292)

A more informative video can be found here [youtube.com] with one of the engineers describing its function while it plays back some old recordings.

Who cares... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32616494)

Edison was a dick.

Nice recovery job but... (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616528)

Nice recovery job but some talkie movies were already in theaters by then.

Re:Nice recovery job but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32618048)

Why do you believe this has any relevance to talkie movies which were just starting to become prevalent at the time of these recordings?

This is about recovering historically significant recordings of radio broadcasts from a recording medium of which there was no surviving reader.

Hello? Hello? (1)

NetServices (1479949) | more than 4 years ago | (#32616560)

"Can you hear me now?"

except for those 18 1/2 minutes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32616666)

...that seem to be missing on one of the cylinders. The only thing one can make out is "that mucksnipe Tesla" and "make it happen, quietly now, Bill."

That funny.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617266)

...Especially when he told Tesla and Fermi to each pick a cheek and kiss his ass.

Wow, just barely! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32617932)

And they JUST fell out of copyright! (8 years ago.)

Think about that one.

Its Edison.. who cares? (0, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618158)

Edison was a scam artist that took credit for other peoples work. His own personal work was mediocre at best. Now, if this was a lost Tesla recording or something, THAT would be news worthy.

And ya, i expect to be modded down, but if you are objective and do some research, you will see I'm right.

Re:Its Edison.. who cares? (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32618728)

Edison was a scam artist that took credit for other peoples work. His own personal work was mediocre at best. Now, if this was a lost Tesla recording or something, THAT would be news worthy.

And ya, i expect to be modded down, but if you are objective and do some research, you will see I'm right.

No. If you are objective and do some research, and then make a lot of money from it like Edison did, you can be sure that some worthless troll will come along and claim that you stole their ideas.

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