[vcf-midatlantic] Could a Blockchain based file system be the answer!

jsalzman at gmail.com jsalzman at gmail.com
Thu Dec 21 11:43:16 EST 2017

I still think torrent is the better idea *IF* there is a want to have
redundancy (other than traditional backups) in the collective archive of
older digitized media. Internet Archive and the like are great resources,
and I support their works, but they are still a "cathedral entity." If they
disappear, we lose a LOT! If for some unfortunate reason they collapse,
we're stuck with a lot of rebuilding of the archive as a community.
Volunteers keeping torrents would not only distribute many recoverable
duplicates of the overall content, but will also allow for a quick recovery
of the whole. But I would like to suggest an additional failsafe...

Does anybody remember QuickPar? It was used as a recovery tool to recover
missing segments of group files. At the expense of some additional overhead
in file space, if one or more files, like those in a torrent, happened to
be unrecoverable or unable to be downloaded, a set of QuickPar files
originally generated from the group content can be used to rebuild the
missing pieces and files. It's kind of like a RAID system for distributed

Just my 0.02

On Thu, Dec 21, 2017 at 11:23 AM, william degnan via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vintagecomputerfederation.org> wrote:

> On Thu, Dec 21, 2017 at 11:02 AM, Herb Johnson via vcf-midatlantic <
> vcf-midatlantic at lists.vintagecomputerfederation.org> wrote:
> > This discussion thread, was/is about using some kind of "blockchain
> > technology" to preserve vintage computing data, programs, PDF's, photos -
> > you know, the digital bits - with some kind of distributed file system
> like
> > "blockchain".
> >
> > I'm afraid that in my stone-age 20th century opinion, this is all besides
> > the point, in any number of ways.
> >
> > 0) I refuse to engage in discussion of "blockchain" as per preservation
> of
> > vintage computing content. Blockchain is a means to an end. I'll address
> > the "end".
> >
> > 1) The issue of preservation of digitized content, is mostly about
> > physical archives. Either one has physical media (say, CD-ROMs) or one
> has
> > a physical presence for accessable data (some file server on a Web
> domain).
> > A number of people and organizations do this; they should be supported.
> If
> > someone wants to add themselves to the crowd, save and distribute copies,
> > that's up to them. If someone wants to create a new organization, they
> can
> > do that.
> >
> > Otherwise, show some love to those digital archives that you USE for
> > vintage computing. Every day. For free - except someone is paying someone
> > for your "freedom".
> >
> > 2) The issue of saving CONTENT does not preserve *physical artifacts*. I
> > have worked for decades to support and preserve S-100 physical systems,
> > root out their history, support their restoration. Real cards, real power
> > supplies, real diskettes, real paper documentation. All the emulation in
> > the world is not the same as a "ugly box of boards", sitting on your
> desk,
> > roaring fans, clunking floppy drives, blinking lights, toggling switches
> > (if any, that stopped in 1979 or so), and so on.
> >
> > The challenges of preserving physical artifacts are enormous. Physical
> > space and collecting them is only the beginning. Putting them *back to
> use*
> > is challenging squared. There's many "museums" which are stacks of
> > computers on a shelf. They have "don't touch" policies, and few on-staff
> > who know how to plug in an AC power cord. The legacy of use, and the
> > capacity to read old data and programs, depends on *use* of vintage
> > computing devices.
> >
> > Emulators succeed in running recovered data and programs. They are very
> > useful in reverse-engineering programs and data files (even on audio
> > cassettes) which are already (re)digitized. They simulate computing on a
> > screen, on modern computers: this at the very least, encourages interest.
> >
> > But there was a time when personal computing was NOT about images on a TV
> > screen! Preserve *that*!
> >
> > Regards,
> > Herb "Flintstone Computing" Johnson
> >
> >
> >
> Very reasonable.  As far as what's in electronic format now, blockchain's
> big thing is security and verification, not file distribution. A
> VCFed-sponsored or privately managed bit torrent server would be more apt
> to what you're talking about.  There are Tandy, Commodore, PC, Apple, CP/M
> collections that would be perfect for such things.  Also useful for ISOs of
> workstation build CDs.  I have used bit torrent to capture these.  If 5 or
> 10 of us kept a bit torrent session active with some of these collections
> that would be the functional equivalent of what I believe you're talking
> about.  We could set up an internal password for VCFed members I suppose to
> keep it within the group.
> Bill

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