Unplanned Obsolescence

DATE: Thursday, October 14, 1999
SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter via Dow Jones Interactive SUBJECT: UNPLANNED OBSOLESCENCE.
Harley Lond

Before you shell out the big bucks for an overpriced IPO on some new entertainment media company, you might just want to check out the Dead Media Project, science-fiction writer and journalist Bruce Sterling's master list of dead media -- communication technologies that no longer work or have been abandoned despite the millions spent developing and deploying them -- a sober view for today's technology enthusiasts. From preliterate-etched bone-mnemonic devices to the eight-track tape, from pneumatic-transfer tubes to Divx, the projects chronicle those technologies either superseded by more sophisticated methods or technologies that were badly designed and no longer work. So what of the new digital cinema format which is about to take the movie industry by storm? According to George Lucas and the folks at Texas Instruments, optical discs can keep high-quality images from between 50 and 100 years (assuming the recorders and players are still around), making the format a prime candidate for the dead media list s ome time around the start of the 22nd century. Maybe then we'll go back to film, which has lasted more than a century. The Dead Media Project can be found, in various forms, at (griffin.multimedia.edu/deadmedia), (www.well.com/user/jonl/deadmedia) and

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