Technology - Data Decay ...  Where are my old pictures?


Data Decay

a very serious problem

Mike Strling for Canadian Community News

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November 5, 2017

A controversy recently arose.  Microsoft proposed to get rid of the iconic program Paint from future releases of their operating system.  A terrific uproar arose.

There are millions of folks who use Paint, even artists.  Does it compete with Adobe Photoshop?  No!  Does it compete with Paint Shop Pro? No!

Paint is easy to use.  It's simple to annotate and rotate, scale, crop and lots of other things. 

It is simply a lightweight, free program with a very simple user interface. It has not changed in decades.  It is one of those programs whose interface is easily remembered.  Some programs, after not using them for some time require a re-learn.  Excel is like that.  If you don't use it for a while, you have to climb the learning curve again.  It's not as steep, but still we all forget. 

Here's a Guardian write-up of the backlash that Microsoft got when the demise of Paint seemed certain.

From the Guardian

by Samuel Gibbs


After the tremendous outpouring of love across the internet for arguably the greatest Windows program ever, Microsoft has announced that it will save MS Paint by putting it on the Windows Store.

Following the company’s announcement that the 32-year-old Paint is now deprecated, meaning that it is “not in active development and might be removed in future releases”, Microsoft put out a blogpost in response to the anguished outcry at the potential removal of an old friend.

Megan Saunders, Microsoft’s general manager of the 3D for Everyone initiative, said: “MS Paint is here to stay, it will just have a new home soon, in the Windows Store where it will be available for free.

“Today, we’ve seen an incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia around MS Paint. If there’s anything we learned, it’s that after 32 years, MS Paint has a lot of fans. It’s been amazing to see so much love for our trusty old app.”


Click the orange arrow to read the second column

So Paint was saved.  Microsoft is moving on to 3D Paint and lots of stuff we will have to learn.  We can count on good old Paint for a while longer. You can get it at the Microsoft Store for free. What about other programs and data?

We see programs deprecated all the time. (strange word)  I have programs that I've used for years and years that no longer work because somebody won't upgrade a library that has disappeared after 'upgrading' to another operating system version.  There ought to be a home for great antique programs that can live on and on with no new features added.  Let the present bugs exist too... just let the program live.

This is a serious problem.  Suppose you have a database of something or other hanging around that you have not accessed in some time.  Bang!  It can no longer be read.  The program in which it was created is long gone too.  So you are stuck.

Silly?  No ... it happens all the time.

It could be that jpeg format will be deprecated in favour of some new format or some existing format.  Maybe in 300 years pictures and the format details will disappear.  What then?  This is a serious problem being treated seriously by Museums and Libraries. It is really an international issue.

Can we be sure that our documents will survive as long as the printed word and pictures have?  At present we cannot be sure.

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Thursday, November 09, 2017