Thursday, June 07, 2007

Obsolete Formats



Don't click there because nothing will happen...

Thanks for the nice comments on Sado Air. When I read the requests for further chapters, I got sort of sad. (Sad, not sado!)

I started the long Charbucks saga somewhere around 1998, or maybe earlier. It was when Starbucks were just starting to appear everywhere. It was just gifs, one episode at a time, with the characters repeating their lines over and over, until you clicked the next button.

I started looking for ways to make it livelier, found some script that allowed the girls to say things randomly, which seemed wildly wonderful.

Then a mysterious fellow in the Netherlands contacted me to beta test a web program he'd created himself, which simplified using JavaScript to create web animation and break out of the gif format. I should have been looking to Flash...

I built a long story about Whinsey and Anita travelling on the Titanic Two, after their plane crashed in Mesquite, Nevada. (And the plane crash too was in an obsolete form of code.) A very cool composer, Peter Drescher, provided music for me in the Beatnik format. Beatnik had some amazing code which made midi files sound like real music. This was before there were alternatives like mp3!

Beatnik is now obsolete, and the files don't play. The Titanic Two files also no longer play, because of changes to web browsers. I suppose I could recreate them, but not easily, as there were just masses and masses of code and engines in this program of Sada's. (That was his name.) He's completely vanished from the internet world as well.

Recently the New Yorker profiled Gordon Bell,
who's basically scanning/digitizing his entire life. But he says it's all dependent on the jpeg and word docs still surviving as valid formats. Don't count on it, bud!

10 comments:

Sally said...

I am so sorry; I didn't mean to make you sad. That is one of the saddest stories I have ever heard. I know all of the new things you make will be wonderful, too, though.

sally g. said...

I wonder what was on all those old Jazz cartridges I threw out....

prolific sal said...

oops maybe that's JAZ cartridges

Sally said...

Don't be sorry! This topic really interests me. It's just that it's very frustrating... And will affect everyone in the future with their digital family photos, etc.

My way-out crackpot belief is that somehow scientists will create a self-duplicating biologic hard drive, in which chromosomes somehow merge with the off/ons of the digital basics, and those slime bio hard drives will continue to replicate in a basic form. Or maybe saving data doesn't matter at all? (perhaps this is off course but where stem cell is heading?)

Our friend who visited this past week said all the libraries in his county, (including Ashland, Oregon) have been closed. Blew my mind.

Sally said...

I still have a jaz setup on my old comp in Colorado. In fact that's my only hope of reviving the Charbucks saga.

I remember when 20 mb zip drives seemed like the hottest thing.

Sally said...

I even threw out my Zips!

Your ideas don't sound too crackpot to me; actually for years I've said that eventually we'll just communicate by telepathy with no need for email, etc.

linda said...

I was going to ask if you could ship me the computer you made the Sado Air movies on.

Zip disks. Jaz cartridges. That's nothing. I have a shelf full of SyQuest disks. (Reserve my room at the retirement home now.)

If we're going to be communicating by telepathy I'm going to need a giant firewall.

Anonymous said...

Slime bio hard drives? Dick Francis meets The Matrix? The slime bios will need to preserve or extend their power, politics and sales will rule. What can't be outsourced across several oceans will be turned over to some silly task force or PR dept, and the anarchic collaborative pleasures of using computers will belong to quirky human memory.

Sally said...

anonymous, you mean you don't think we'll be flying over the throbbing mind slabs of Nevada?

Even though kids have grown up in this consumer/corporate pr culture, they're also growing up with this odd
anarchic buzzing hive thing of the internet. Wonder where it's heading...

Years ago I was walking to lunch in San Francisco and a guy walked up to me and handed me his business card which said he was from the Time Travel Institute.

which reminds me...

Anonymous said...

Well Sally, I give up. I meant Philip K Dick, not Mr Francis. Must have the mysteries of chance and the racetrack on my mind, more so than nefarious computer futures.
Throbbing mind slabs of Nevada....now that I like.