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Digital Domesday Rescued By Emulation

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the good-thing-it-wasn't-palladium-protected dept.

Science 395

eefsee writes "The BBC announced that the Digital Domesday project which had become unusable has now been revived thanks to the successful emulation of a 1980's era Acorn computer. Folks at Leeds University and University of Michigan did the emulation work. This is just one early indication of how difficult it will be to maintain our digital heritage. Note that the printed Domesday Book, on which the digital project was modeled, is still quite accessible after almost 1000 years."

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frist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795614)

frist

Continuing the First Post Quest (-1, Offtopic)

firstpostrobot (628636) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795618)

As my friend [slashdot.org] will be sure to point out, the First Post Robot has not been doing well.
Second post twice in a row! Pitiful!
But Linux was not built in a day, and this Robot is evolving.
Speaking of Linux, should the First Post Robot be open-sourced? Submit your answer in the Journal.

Generated by FirstPost! version 1.0.5

Re:Continuing the First Post Quest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795712)

Give it up man. Getting FPs on slashdot is just one of those things that can not be acheived by AI yet, ya know like beating people at chess and what not.
-Posting anon. because while I am not a Karma whore, I am a karma slut.

Re:Continuing the First Post Quest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795866)

Call your robot "the second post robot" and you'll be ok.

:P (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795623)

1st!

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795625)

fp

first crap post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795626)

first crap post

doomsday?? what? (1)

eegad (588763) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795627)

Whew... glad I read that wrong.

Any Brits out there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795646)

How do the English pronounce this: Domesday ???

Re:Any Brits out there? (3, Funny)

Trusty Penfold (615679) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795684)

It is spelt "Domesday" It is pronounced "Dooms-Day"

Blame the French.

Re:Any Brits out there? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795920)

No, no, no! It's spelled Domesday, but it's pronounced Raymond Luxury Yacht!

Which computer? (2)

red_dragon (1761) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795628)

From the linked BBC article:

BBC Micro was a popular computer in the 1980s (emphasis mine)

So which one is it?

Re:Which computer? (3, Informative)

ryants (310088) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795651)

BBC Micro == Acorn == Acorn BBC Micro.

See here [cybervillage.co.uk]

Re:Which computer? (5, Informative)

gwernol (167574) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795810)

BBC Micro == Acorn == Acorn BBC Micro.

Or more accurately:

The British Broadcasting Company (the BBC) wanted to build a microcomputer in the early 1980s which they could use as part of their effort to promote national computer literacy. The idea was to have a standard machine that they could use in their TV shows - and viewers could buy one of their own and learn to use and program it by watching the shows.

After approaching several UK computer manufacturers they settled on Acorn. At the time Acorn were a leading supplier of micros, notable the Acorn Atom. The BBC contracted Acorn to produce a new more advanced version of the Atom which was designed and manufactured by Acorn but sold as the BBC Micro.

The BBC Micro was never sold as an Acorn machine, indeed Acorn produced their own rival (and much less successful) machine called the Electron.

So your equation is not strictly true, but its close.

Re:Which computer? (2)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795665)

You're probably too young to remember, but they are referring to one of these. [zoom.co.uk]

Both, actually... (1)

mdb31 (132237) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795678)

The BBC Micro (known as 'The Beeb'...) was manufactured by Acorn (who were very successful with it on the UK market, went on to try to push RISC machines in the PC era and are still around in some form today). Also "Which Computer?" was a popular magazine at the time...

Re:Which computer? (2, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795697)

The BBC wanted a computer for its "Computer Literacy Project", and the Acorn was chosen as exceeding specs. http://www.nvg.ntnu.no/bbc/history.php3

Re:Which computer? (2, Interesting)

Brian Blessed (258910) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795750)

What do you mean?
The BBC micro was a 6502 based machine that lots of people in the UK bought because the BBC ran a series on how to use one, and it is pictured at the top of the article.
There were a few types, but I have used the BBC's Doomesday Project and it came with a 'Master 128' IIRC.

Brian.

Re:Which computer? (1)

capnjack41 (560306) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795813)

6502 based machine

Then why did they bother emulating it, instead of just running it on Nesticle?

Re:Which computer? (3, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795879)

There are plenty of good BBC Micro emulators - and plenty of functioning computers still out there (I wouldn't be surprised if some were still in use in schools). I think the difficulty comes in finding a laserdisc player.

Re:Which computer? (3, Informative)

jnik (1733) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795761)

Good question. Original slash article says it was a Master system, but the BBC article has a picture of a model B.

My model B is still in fine working condition, thank you very much, but I don't have a laserdisc player for it. Now, I certinaly wouldn't mind getting my hands on the emulator either...mmmm, Elite....

Phew (0, Insightful)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795639)

Good job they're not a US company, otherwise they'd be forced to sue themselves under the DMCA.

Re:Phew (2, Funny)

unicron (20286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795701)

Your karma pimp wants his money.

Re:Phew (2, Funny)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795799)

It's a fair cop, guv.

Re:Phew (3, Insightful)

gorilla (36491) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795767)

No they wouldn't. Whoever currently owns the Acorn copyrights could sue them.

The BBC wanted a micro which they could use in their educational stuff. They went to Acorn, who was a successful manufacturer of the Atom [planet.nl] , and basically they agreed that the next generation computer, which was to be called the Proton could be called the BBC Micro. This gave Acorn exposure and extra sales, and the BBC the machine they were looking for. For about a decade, you saw BBC micro's popping up in BBC shows including Dr Who. Acorn later made the Electron, and then the Archimedies, before going bankrupt.

Therefore the BBC do not own the copyright on the ROM's in the BBC micro.

Yes but (0, Offtopic)

TerryAtWork (598364) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795644)

Can you play UT2003 on the Doomsday Book?

Good thing Java will never decay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795647)

Run out of memory, pehaps, but never decay.

Domesday? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795648)

Pardon my ignorance, but don't they mean "doomsday", and what was the "domesday book of 1086"?

Re:Domesday? (3, Informative)

Bilestoad (60385) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795676)

If you're too lazy or ignorant to use Google:

"The first approach to a modern assessment roll or cataster is the well known Domesday Book."

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/domesday1. ht ml

"The Domesday Book was ordered by William the Conqeror to assess the value of his conquered kingdom 20 years after defeating Harold at the Battle of Hastings."

http://www.villagenet.co.uk/history/1086-domesda y. html

Re:Domesday? (2)

gosand (234100) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795686)

Pardon my ignorance, but don't they mean "doomsday", and what was the "domesday book of 1086"?

Well, your ignorance could be pardoned, except that there is a FRIGGIN' LINK TO THE ARTICLE that explains both of your questions. So some people say that there are no stupid questions, but I disagree. R T F A!

Re:Domesday? (5, Informative)

pknoll (215959) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795696)

From The Domesday Book Online [domesdaybook.co.uk] :

The Domesday book was commissioned in December 1085 by William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066. The first draft was completed in August 1086 and contained records for 13,418 settlements in the English counties south of the rivers Ribble and Tees (the border with Scotland at the time).

The book has nothing to do with the "doomsday" world-ending yadda, it was mainly set up to inform the king of how much tax monies he should have been receiving.

Find out more [domesdaybook.co.uk] .

Re:Domesday? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795773)

From the site linked : "Also, as many visitors will have noticed, the extracts from Domesday entries that were previously on the site have regrettably been removed for copyright reasons."

Copyright? On a book written nearly a thousand years ago?!

Re:Domesday? (5, Informative)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795818)

The book has nothing to do with the "doomsday" world-ending yadda

Excepting that they're the same word, just the language has evolved in the intervening millenium.

I could rape the previous /. thread for the info, but just click on the link in the main story and read it for yourself. Essentially "Domesday" translates to "Day of Judgements" in modern English.

Re:Domesday? (2, Troll)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795797)

Doomsday is the day that Doom III will be released. This may or may not coincide with the end of the world as we know it. YMMV.

Re:Domesday? (0, Troll)

hapoo (607664) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795838)

Doom III? I think you mean Duke Nukem Forever!

DRM (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795653)

<sarcasm>

See? This is why we need DRM. If there were proper DRM going on then of course it would have been recoverable! We would just need the exact system(nope, can't change the processor, or the video card, or the hard driver) in order to recover it!

See, doesn't DRM help us all?

</sarcasm>

Frisbee (1)

Funkitup (260923) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795656)

Students at Leeds University (where I am at the computer science department) now have 2 new frisbees. Highly dangerous, they are likely to take one's head off.

Meanwhile, the rest of us doing Informatics their will probably be press ganged into making some sense out of the data. Who can make any sense of how Britain was in the 80s? Not I my friends.

Re:Frisbee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795783)

Must be a British thing, I have no idea what this means.

Re:Frisbee (2)

pVoid (607584) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795834)

Good luck getting any non british person to understand your humour mate =)

See? Big Brother at work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795659)

With the limited amount of technology they had a millenium ago, they've STILL got records of these people! Imagine what they'll have on you in a thousand years!

copyright/DMCA issues? (2, Funny)

tps12 (105590) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795660)

I'm curious as to whether this is technically legal under the DMCA. We all know that emulation is almost always in violation of intellectual property laws (doubly so when it is used to steal video games, as in MAME, Stella, and WINE), and I don't know why this would be any different. The Acorn ROM is probably proprietary. I'd hate to see such a valuable educational resource be marred by the taint of theft. Why don't we just start over and do it right rather than make up for our past errors by stealing?

WINE Is Not An Emulator (1)

Cybrr (535845) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795768)

As it only translates software calls and doesn't emulate hardware.

Re:WINE Is Not An Emulator (2, Insightful)

King of the World (212739) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795848)

Since when did emulation have to involve hardware?

Oh, that's right, it didn't, and before WINE the term 'emulation' was more generic and didn't create ridiculous non-dictionary distinctions.

Let me be the first to say... (1)

Prince_Ali (614163) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795770)

WINE Is Not Emulation.

Re:copyright/DMCA issues? (3, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795794)

Just to react to the dozens of dopey "wine isnt an emulator" answers you're about to recieve, I present the dictionary.com definition of emulator.

Emulator:
1.2. (omitted - irrelevant)
3. Computer Science. To imitate the function of (another system), as by modifications to hardware or software that allow the imitating system to accept the same data, execute the same programs, and achieve the same results as the imitated system.

Yes, Virginia, WINE IS an emulator!

So long as no one involved travels to the US... (1)

jp93023 (84606) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795806)

.. they should be quite safe from the long arms of the DMCA! Just ask Dmitry

Re:copyright/DMCA issues? (3)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795860)

I'm curious as to whether this is technically legal under the DMCA

Well, gee, since the original project was done by the BBC, on a BBC microcomputer, and the emulation of said microcomputer was commissioned by the BBC, I don't think the DMCA applies.

The overall question you ask is a valid one, but the answer is "repeal idiotic laws like the DMCA". Not throw it all away and start over, in which case you'll just face the same problem a few years later.

Re:copyright/DMCA issues? (3, Funny)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795867)

Good point - in that case, shouldn't Apple be able to sue themselves over the "Classic" emulation in OSX?

Interesting to think.... (3, Insightful)

Quirk (36086) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795661)

how badly DRM driven by capitalist proprietory concerns conflicts so inimically with culture, history and knowledge.

So why (3, Insightful)

cybercomm (557435) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795667)

Didn't they just save one of those acorn computers? I mean the voltage hasn't changed, so all they had to do was brong that pc out of retirement, find a way to hook it up to a 486 and transfer the files...or is it more complicated than that?

Re:So why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795740)

Maybe because they never thought that the standards would change so rapidly.

Re:So why (2, Informative)

madhippy (525384) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795899)

a recent visit to the Science Museum in London revealed many Acorn BBCs/Masters still running various demos - as per my last visit about 15 years ago ... (probably not the same machines mind...)

interestingly a large number of NT based demos were not running due to DHCP errors - many of them displaying the errors prominently on huge projectors...

The BBC Lives! [nvg.ntnu.no]

Re:So why (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795901)

There have been articles on the same subject before. In Acorn related magazines etc. The 16 years unreadable are exxagerated. The first Acorn Archimedes that replaced the BBC/Master systems was introduced 14 years ago and the Master was then still available new. The Archimedes + Risc PC systems that run Risc Os can emulate BBC models till this day. The new Iyonix, X-scale ARM, Risc Os system that is launched this weekend will probably emulate a BBC as well if necessary. It could be that the Philips video disk readers went kaputt too soon and can not be repaired. But that's another story. BBC's and Masters that are still running after 15 years of school abuse are nothing special.

I am guessing... (1)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795668)

It will be pretty crazy in many years to come to 'preserve our digital heritage'... Think of all the emulation that will be needed over time.

I don't understand why you would need to emulate everything though, shouldnt it be the data that actually counts?

Re:I am guessing... (2, Insightful)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795781)

All the more reason to be very careful what storage format you archive your pr0n collection on.

What's so hard (1)

Tri0de (182282) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795672)

About keeping two or three of whatever devices are used to read the media? Or has anybody ever heard of schematics?.

I mean sheesh, put your data on a few CD-ROM's, invest in a few cheapie PC's with readers and you're set. I still have a doorstop PCXT around somewhere, and can easily get data off any 180K floppies if need be.

And they could find a laser disk reader on EBAY if need be, there are 9 on ther right now.

Re:What's so hard (1)

xsbellx (94649) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795782)

And the schematics were recorded on what?

Re:What's so hard (5, Interesting)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795788)

Only problem is that devices can age and wear out just sitting on the shelf - electrolytic capacitors can dry out, transformers can leak PCB's, metals can corrode, etc.

A schematic does not contain all of the information needed to build a device, either. Seeing, for example, that a 2N2222 bipolar NPN transistor is required for an amplifier isn't going to be too useful in the year 2100, I would bet. And the paper those semiconductor companies use for those big thick spec books? that crap turns yellow and falls apart in 10 years!

nice! (2)

newsdee (629448) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795675)

It's indeed a good idea - the original hardware can still be kept as a museum piece (the two "indestructible discs", for example), but everybody would be able to access the content via emulation.

I hope that they also make the content available online and that they donate the source and content to the different websites that would be interested (e.g. Project Gutenberg for the text, and emulator websites for the program).

use open standards, damnit (1)

bandy (99800) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795830)

Hm. What would be a good portable format for multimedia content that is readable by nearly everyone who has a computer these days?


What could it be, what could it be?
Could it be, I dunno, maybe HTML ?


Use open standards, and port your data as better-supported, better-performing storage formats, electronic (gif->jpg) and physical (LD->CDROM) appear.


Is it really that hard?


Yes, a paper copy would be nice, too, assuming it was all static data. But seriously.

Re:use open standards, damnit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795881)

Don't we want History to be static?

Our digital heritage? (3, Funny)

Chester K (145560) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795692)

This is just one early indication of how difficult it will be to maintain our digital heritage.

If something is truly of importance, it will be ported forward to new technologies before the existing technology becomes so out of date that recovering it becomes a Herculian effort, or it will also co-exist in a more future-proof medium. Otherwise it's simply dead data that's more than likely never going to have a need to be accessed again.... not every bit needs to be held forever.

Would the world have stopped turning if this little chunk of history gone unrecovered? No. Are there other forms of media (books, videos, music) from the 1980's that would have answered the same questions about culture and society that the data in this archive answers? Definately.

What is truly important (2, Interesting)

Cardbox (165383) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795744)

What is truly important to people in 100 years' time is often what seems unimportant to people today. That is why a 16th-century 4-page pamphlet is more valuable than a 400-page leatherbound book of the same date.

Re:Our digital heritage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795819)


If something is truly of importance, it will be ported forward to new technologies before the existing technology becomes so out of date that recovering it becomes a Herculian effort, or it will also co-exist in a more future-proof medium. Otherwise it's simply dead data that's more than likely never going to have a need to be accessed again.... not every bit needs to be held forever.


Well... that depends. Is the person that values the data the copyright holder? If not, he/she/it could get into a lot of trouble porting the data to other media. There may even be some form of DRM on the original data that would be illegal to circumvent.

If the copyright holder can't be bothered to update media because it is only important to a niche market, then the data/program will die (unless it is pirated)

Re:Our digital heritage? (5, Insightful)

budalite (454527) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795856)

My initial reaction was very similar to yours. "Well, gee." Upon further thought, I realized that I am familiar with quite a few cases where a set/bunch of info was initially thought to be useless, allowed to go "fallow" (become forgotten, etc.), and later re-discovered and found to be of "ground-breaking" importance. One of the best examples might be the "losing" of just about everything really useful that was written by the ancient Greeks. The "saviors" of this "technology" were the Arabs. The rediscovery of the Greek philosophers (et al). helped usher in the European Reformation. :})||

This is one of the reasons why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795693)

Open file formats should be used. If a company went under and their file formats were properitrery a lot of people will be screwed in the future. Come on. In 2050, will i still be able to dig out my old school work from 2000 to show my grand children? Currently im being showed tattered schoolbooks, but i will just have a meaningless void of 0s and 1's to show.

What about next time? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795694)

From the article:

'The software and hardware needed to access the Domesday discs is to be deposited at the Public Record Office once the project is completed.'

This is all fine and good, but it has already introduced the problem we'll face in approximately 2015:

We're going to have to create an emulator for the emulator.

And so on, ad infinitum. What we really need is some universally acceptable method to store digital data that isn't likely to decay or fall out of favor in the next ten years. That, I'm afraid, is a difficult proposition.

I just hope the emulator's emulator works.

Re:What about next time? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795754)

they could try this advanced technique of just WRITING THE SHIT DOWN IF ITS SO FUCKING IMPORTANT!

Seriously, the original book lasted close to 1000 years. Some ass-hat professor thinks he's going to do better, and it lasted - what - 2?

Write the shit down. Keep whatever you wrote it down on in a safe place.

Re:What about next time? (2)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795798)

I have +1 so hopefully this will help preserve this post as the great wisdom it is

Re:What about next time? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795831)

That book was written using black ink made from tree fungus and red ink from lead on sheepskin parchment. I don't think your Bic or Parker on Hammermill paper is going to even cut 300 years.

Re:What about next time? (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795820)

Yeah, the article just says "we read it, now we're going to put it in a museum". Aren't they going to copy it to CD-ROM in a known data format? Who will have access to this data?

Re:What about next time? (5, Informative)

Jester99 (23135) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795852)

"What we really need is some universally acceptable method to store digital data that isn't likely to decay or fall out of favor in the next ten years."

Project Gutenberg's done it for a while.

It's called "ASCII."

Readily convertable to dead-tree format by every printer. Ever. Backward and forward portable on every 7- and 8-bit machine in existance. Ever. Readable on any screen by well over 1/3 the world's population. Can convey an immense amount of information.

(They didn't have images in their records for the last 2000 years; frankly, if something's really So Important That It Must Be Saved, it can be done in the good queen's English.)

If you just take a disk and don't do any crazy filesysteming, just write one big honking text file sequentially to it, and mark down somewhere on the top that it functions in 8-bit units, well, it doesn't take too much effort to figure out how to write a driver for it to port it to the next media that comes along.

(Or just print it out. After all, high quality acid-free paper, stored in a vault somewhere, has a shelf-life measureable in centuries. Not too shabby.)

Re:What about next time? (2)

donutz (195717) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795857)

We're going to have to create an emulator for the emulator.

Not necessarily. If we have the source code for the emulator, and if it was fairly portable, we can just tweak it and recompile it on future systems. The real difficulty is probably the medium that the data is stored on: sure it may be indestructible, but you're not going to be able to read it on today's DVD drives, or the future's even better drives.

So maybe the problem isn't a software or hardware or medium problem. Maybe the problem is that we just assumed that it would "just work" in the future like it just works now, without putting together a recovery plan. Sure we've got it backed up, but in this case, we need a long-term recovery plan, probably one that requires regular maintenance in order to ensure recoverability.

parent makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795880)

rambles a little, but has a good point

I want my boner back boner back boner back... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795862)

In Soviet Russia, we have no boners.

I want to see your asshole

The Curse of History (5, Interesting)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795708)

The politcal implications of this are interesting.

It is very much easier to educate a person according to the curriculum you desire if contradictory information is not available, especially regarding the history of a place. The extreme example is that of the Pol Pot regime. But you also see it in a newspaper when they fire all of the old hands who know where the bodies are buried, and only the young bucks are around who can be easily stampeded. No institutional memory.

On another note - if you want to damn a politician to history, make sure to get those stone obelisk and stelli erected with heavy engraving. Make sure some are out in the desert so that they are properly preserved.

Archeologists will come by centuries later and will take what you say as truth. Or at least very seriously. Have a field day.

the digital data will have disappeared, and the testimony on your stone monuments will be one of the few surviving original source records from the era.

Re:The Curse of History (2)

MrEd (60684) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795765)

But you also see it in a newspaper when they fire all of the old hands who know where the bodies are buried, and only the young bucks are around who can be easily stampeded. No institutional memory.


Heck, you see it even if they keep all the old hands around! Here's a good case in point, concerning weapons inspectors and Iraq. [fair.org] And like the archaeologists, most people take what is said for truth. Even super-reputable magazines like the Economist are parroting this lie from the State Department. Nobody's rocking the boat.


The irony is that this is sourced from a web-site. Heh.

This is why... (2, Insightful)

core plexus (599119) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795716)

you need to back up regularly, and to a format that is useable by something else. And don't start in proprietary formats. Couldn't access the data for 16 years! Imagine if you had to try and explain that to an IRS auditor.

What the hell is this? (-1, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795718)

I RTFA, and I don't know what the hell this domesday unit is. Some sort of time-capsule thing?

Judging by the other posts, noone else does either, and just see another chance to spout their anti-[everything to do with the US or IP law] views.

I mean, they emulated it - good for them - but what in the blue hell is it?

The 1086 book too - excuse me for not knowing (or caring) about medieval british history.

Re:What the hell is this? (3)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795779)

I RTFA, and I don't know what the hell this domesday unit is. Some sort of time-capsule thing?

No.. no you didn't RTFA. Because if you had you would have seen this:

By contrast, the original Domesday Book, an inventory of England compiled in 1086 by Norman monks, is in fine condition in the Public Record Office in Kew, London.

And, also this:

The video discs feature about a million people in the UK. They contain video clips from the BBC and ITV companies as well as 200,000 pictures and tens of thousands of maps.


So, what it is is an inventory of England. People and culture. Please don't say you RTFAd if you didn't, and then don't ask for more information when you say you don't care.

Re:What the hell is this? (0, Flamebait)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795846)

>> By contrast, the original Domesday Book, an inventory of England compiled in 1086 by Norman monks, is in fine condition in the Public Record Office in Kew, London

An inventory of what? Lutes? Bear-baiting posts? DIY witchburning kits?

>> The video discs feature about a million people in the UK

Which people, and doing what, and for what purpose?

Ok, its an archive. But an archive of what, and for whom?

Whatever, mod me down as flamebait again.

Just more time spent trying to decipher slashdots crappy report of the BBC's shitty, uninformative coverage.

Re:What the hell is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795882)

Just more time spent trying to decipher slashdots crappy report of the BBC's shitty, uninformative coverage.

Not so shitty to us Brits who remember the BBC micro and the Domesday Disc. And who pay for the BBC.

Re:What the hell is this? (2)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795913)

An inventory of what? Lutes? Bear-baiting posts? DIY witchburning kits?
England maps, English people, English buildings.

Which people, and doing what, and for what purpose?
English people, doing English things, to inventory English life.

Ok, its an archive. But an archive of what, and for whom?
English people, doing English things, for English people who want to document English life.

Whatever, mod me down as flamebait again.
I'm $rtbl'd, and there is no -1, Stupid mod so I wouldn't bother.

Just more time spent trying to decipher slashdots crappy report of the BBC's shitty, uninformative coverage.
Have you thought maybe just reading what they write? Maybe... just an idea.

Re:What the hell is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795801)

You're just jealous 'cause we have mediaeval history.

Paper is cool (1)

rtstyk (545241) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795726)

This only shows how cool paper is. (It's probably much cooler in its original state as trees but still pretty cool).

Someone might say that languages die as well but as you know from the Rosetta stone, it is possible to decipher even the most archaic writing with some luck and perserverence. Digitally written media, because of the huge amount of data that can be crammed and the 1 and 0 as the only two letters are much more difficult to read.

Wonder if there ever be software that would be able to look at piece of 1s and 0s and interpret them into what they mean...

Re:Paper is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795826)

Paper would have been so cool at storing the video and audio. Flick books anyone?

Re:Paper is cool (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795851)

Not paper, parchment (kill a sheep, not a tree!) is what they used! Paper turns yellow then black as it oxidizes into dust, usually in 300-400 years.

Emulate? (2, Insightful)

Vladislas (537527) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795729)

Why didn't they just go to the Flea Market or the local Community College trash bin? That's where I find all my obsolete equipment...

Whew... (2)

ZoneGray (168419) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795743)

Let's hear it for preserving our digital heritage! I'm so relieved to know that my descendants will be able to read my blogs centuries from now.

The firsts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795745)

"Note that the printed Domesday Book, on which the digital project was modeled, is still quite accessible after almost 1000 years."

Yah, but I wonder how well paper held up when they first started making it?...

Abandonware (4, Funny)

slipkid (442316) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795748)

The Domesday Project is now officially abandonware...

Rumor has it that MAME 0.7 [mame.net] will support it.

domesday book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795757)

the original domesday book wasn't "printed" because printing hadn't been invented; it was handwritten.

I remember Arcons (1)

Lossenelin (627008) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795778)

My old school was using 1980's Arcons (and one PC with Windows 3.11 and an old Mac or some sort, these two were the 'good computers') The school didn't upgarde the computers untill 2000 (the year after I left)
All that I ever really saw them used for was playing Lemmings. Although I thought Textease was a good program.

Major reason for open source! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795790)

Thanks to emulators and backwords compatibillity. Its still possilbe to run programs orginally made 40 years ago. Think about it. If Microsoft Palladises the future, over 25 years worth of x86 software will be rendered useless! Only open source will be able to keep digital history preserved. In 2986 we will look back at this digital doomesday (if computers as we know it still exist) and say, thanks to the open source heros, we can still see what life was like back then.

Discuss this story via telephone (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795835)

To discuss this story on the telephone, call
1-800-555-8355, then dial 1-878086. To leave your own comment, enter code 2622.

Original Domesday is not quite accessible (5, Insightful)

sheldon (2322) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795837)

"Note that the printed Domesday Book, on which the digital project was modeled, is still quite accessible after almost 1000 years."

Not really. I saw one volume of the Domesday book at the White Tower back in 2000. It was sealed under a sealed glass box, and you could only look at the two pages it was turned to. I would have tried to get access to it under the box, but there were these guards that looked quite intimidating and they kept saying "Move along..."

Even then, I could barely make out the cryptic scribbles. Sure didn't look like English to me.

At least with a digital version they can make infinite copies of it and distribute it to anybody interested, unlike the paper version locked up under a glass box.

Re:Original Domesday is not quite accessible (1, Redundant)

sheldon (2322) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795849)

"It was sealed under a sealed glass "

Talk about redundant redundancy. Bleah.

Analog Rules the Archive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795840)

This is why I still shoot film. Resolution will cease to be an issue in a few years, but I still want to be able to make prints of my work in twenty years.

The Professor (5, Funny)

Flamesplash (469287) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795877)

Acorn Computer

Damn, and I thought the Professor was all that by making a radio out of a coconut. A computer in an acorn? DAMN!

Not lost, simply requires translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795919)

Well, the 1086 Domesday book is really not easily accessible. It's physically present, yes, but unless you're fluent in Middle-English, it's pure gibberish. Hmm, kind of like the BBC digitial archive. Once we got around to translating it, it is perfectly accessible.

Much ado about nothing.
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