[Taxacom] Proposed ICZN amendments on electronic publishing

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Thu Dec 4 13:27:22 CST 2008

I don't really disagree with anything you say below, which makes me wonder
what, exactly, you are not so sure about in my quoted text.  I assume you
are referring to my assertion that important e-documents will get carried
forward across changing file formats. I meant this at a much more
fundamental level than anything having to do with keyboards, USB, DVI, or
any other specific technologies.  I no longer have an Apple II+ computer,
5.25" floppy drive, or any of the word processor programs I used to use on
that old machine.  Yet the important documents I created back then are still
accessible today on any modern computer (mostly thanks to the persistence of
ASCII), and I wager they will continue to be accessible on future computers
so long as they (and I) continue to exist -- no matter what future
technology brings.  The fact that my old Apple II+ lacked USB, DVI, and VGA
(and the fact that my current computer has all three) doesn't have any
impact on my ability to access those old files.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Paul 
> van Rijckevorsel
> Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2008 7:42 PM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Proposed ICZN amendments on electronic 
> publishing
> From: "Richard Pyle" <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
> Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2008 3:53 PM
> > 2) Electronic files cannot be read directly by humans; they 
> minimally 
> > require (at least with today's technology) three things: 
> appropriate 
> > hardware, appropriate software, and electricity.
> > I think #2 is the real issue that supporters of e-documents need to 
> > think about. ... Bottom line: important e-documets, and the tools 
> > necessary to read them, will be carried forward.  There may 
> well be a 
> > very real risk that  electricity becomes unavailable for 
> some future 
> > period of time (or, at least, electricity could conceivably 
> become a 
> > LOT more expensive and difficult to access).
> ***
> I am not so sure. Logically I would expect software and 
> hardware to improve as technology progresses, but reality is 
> different. In spite of all this progress it appears to be 
> ever harder to get a computer configuration that actually 
> works. It is very nice to have keyboards and mice that work 
> on USB, but if the operating system decides to stop 
> recognizing USB (apparently common in Vista) and the computer 
> has USB ports only you have a shiny piece of state-of-the-art 
> hardware that does exactly nothing. Not to mention a new 
> computer that has a DVI-I outlet only and that cannot be 
> connected to the DVI-D inlet of the screen by a DVI-cable 
> (except for certain applications) but requires a VGA cable 
> (except for certain applications). Every day I have less and 
> less faith that a piece of hardware, no matter how shiny, 
> will actually work when I need it.
> Paul
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