back to article Gone in 60 electrons: Digital art swaggers down the cul-de-sac of obsolescence

Argh, where did I put that old comic? Someone told me it's a collector's item! It has value! You may be disappointed to learn that I am not hunting down an issue #1 heirloom featuring caped billionaire fascists or drug-pumped soldiers in patriotic catsuits. What I'm searching for has less of the crime bashing and more, er, …

  1. Dr_N Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Tank Girl

    You bought them for the Tank Girl strips/covers. Admit it Mr Dabbs.

    1. Red Ted Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Tank Girl

      That's certainly why I used to nick my flatmate's copies!

      The dressing gown of God, anyone? Bonus points for remembering how the man wearing it died!

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Tank Girl

        Tank Girl's boobs and his happening to have a whale's wossanames IIRC. The combination causing death by blood starvation of the brain.

        No, I didn't look that up elsewhere.

    2. Inspector71

      Re: Tank Girl

      It's true she was the headline attraction but Liz and Pippa from Wired World were always my favourite. Hey, Mr. Philip Bond, where's that collected edition? Still waiting.

    3. CuChulainn Silver badge

      Re: Tank Girl

      He did say 'this is where things get sticky', though.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Music industry all over again

    I had it on LP\45s for the house, I had it on 8-Track for the car, before I had it on Cassette for the car, before I had CDs in both places, thankfully these days, I am using a thumb drive with more music than I can listen to in 10 car trips to work.

    Don't believe the hype!

    1. Howard Sway Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Music industry all over again

      10 car trips? Are you using some ancient 128 MB thumb drive?

      I just loaded up a new 3 quid 32GB micro SD card with music for my phone - about 250 hours worth.

      Yep : I'm afraid it's probably time to upgrade the thumb drive.....

      1. Horst U Rodeinon

        Re: Music industry all over again

        It's obvious you've never commuted to work in or around Los Angeles.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Music industry all over again

          If 250 hours is less than 10 car trips, I'd say that's not a commute so much as a mobile home-office, with fumes.

      2. chivo243 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Music industry all over again

        Actually it's a 2gb smallish form factor. My commute might reach 20 minutes on a bad day. Plus the "player" in my car only plays mp3 files... converting other formats became tiresome.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: Music industry all over again

          converting other formats became tiresome.

          find ~/Music -type f -exec ffmpeg -i {} TheBestOfQueen/{}.mp3 \;

          plus some appropriate options to ffmpeg.

          1. Weeble

            Re: Music industry all over again

            It's not supposed to become "The Best of Queen" until AFTER it has been in the car for some time.

          2. SloppyJesse
            Pint

            Re: Music industry all over again

            Assuming chivo243's using his cars built-in usbstick/mp3 capability it'll probably have all sorts of software limitations because of the manufacturer's half-arsed implementation.

            Mine is limited in number of directories, number of files per directory and doesn't read sub-directories.

            The manufacture will never provide software updates - even though the underlying mp3 software is open source and the bugs were fixed in the source before the car was even manufactured.

            Icon - have a frosty one for the Good Omens reference :-)

            1. Andy A

              Re: Music industry all over again

              The unit in my car plays several formats, but only plays them in two sequences - "shuffled" and "sorted by title". It ignores any folders. It spends 20 seconds reading every folder on my stick before playing the track I've named as "0001...".

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Music industry all over again

      Bugger the music industry with a splintery broomstick lovingly anointed with something carrying at least a 100k Scoville rating. If I have bought a record on Carrier X, I'm free to copy it to Carrier Y to enjoy elsewhere, and I have no qualms about doing so myself. Which has me paying a Copy Tax on blank media anyway.

      The music industry would have a little more of my sympathy if the actual creators were seeing a larger piece of that pie.

      1. H in The Hague Silver badge

        Re: Music industry all over again

        "The music industry would have a little more of my sympathy if the actual creators were seeing a larger piece of that pie."

        Which is why I get most of my music from bandcamp.com The have a wide range of stuff, also classical and contemporary classical. You can download in a range of formats, including FLAC, and you can download your purchases again later if you need them on another PC or something.

  3. juice Silver badge

    > I became fascinated in the ways NFTs enable people to experience art in ways that aren't possible in print." Examples of this experience might include animated artwork, being able to peel back creative layers to reveal original concept sketches, and discover "Easter eggs

    Except... that's nothing to do with NFTs, which after all, are little more than a timestamped confirmation that this particular arrangement of bytes existed at this specific point in time.

    In fact, I've seen several Marvel comics which include this sort of stuff. E.g. instead of showing a page with several panels, they'll show each panel separately, and may even split the panel into several layers; first, you'll see the background, then the characters, then the text.

    (It's debatable how well this actually works, given that these are generally just converted over from the 2D art for the physically printed comic; it's a bit like the post-processed 3D effects which were fashionable in the movie industry for a while, before they realised that everyone was bored of wearing 3D glasses...)

    And of course, doing all this carries an extra cost.

    But still. It's all doable and it's all got absolutely nothing to do with NFTs.

    1. Len
      Thumb Up

      Agreed, NFTs are not a way to store the artwork, they are a way to store the ownership document.

      Remember when we used to be allowed to enter museums? Especially if they are showing a special exhibition of works that are not in their own collection, the little signs next to them often show you who actually owns the artwork and is effectively lending the artwork to the curator for the duration of the exhibition.

      Somewhere (in the vault of a notary?) will be a document that shows that Family X or Museum Y is the owner of this work, even though the work is not kept with them at the moment. NFTs actually replace this document, not the artwork.

      A benefit of this is that the artist has an opportunity for a continued share of the value. If you're a struggling twenty-something artist you might sell a work for a couple of hundred bucks because you need the money. If, through increased appreciation and smart dealers and traders selling it on, that work becomes worth tens of thousands then it's not the artist that benefits but the new owners. With NFTs you could have the original artist share a tiny percentage of each subsequent sale, long after its value has increased.

      I have dabbled a bit in the crypto space (not so much owning it but launching an ICO etc.) and it has made me quite skeptical of the whole thing. This, however, is one of those areas where I could see it really add value.

      And those artworks themselves? They are probably stored in a PNG file or summat, but that's irrelevant. Yes, it's easy to copy those PNGs. But then, so is a FLAC file of a particular Beatles track. I may have the FLAC file but I do not own the rights to said Beatles track.

      1. juice Silver badge

        > A benefit of this is that the artist has an opportunity for a continued share of the value

        If memory serves, there's already an option for an artist to sell an NFC which includes an "artist gets x% of any future resales, regardless of how many times it's been resold". It'll be interesting to see how that plays out.

        Beyond that, I mentioned the potential for using NFCs to track copyright registration on a post a few days ago - if everything has an NFT embedded in it at the point of creating or updating it, then you could potentially have a system where every item contains a record of the IP which went into it.

        Making a movie? Here's the NFT for the music used for the end credits. And if you follow that back, you get an NFT for the samples the artist used. And the NFT for that leads back to an orchestra. Etc...

        Equally, it'd be great for tracking who's contributed what to a work. E.g. collaborating on writing a script.

        OTOH, this'd mean that NFTs would have to be built into the fundamental fabric of digital media tools. And it's a lot of extra overheads, especially since at the minute, generating a single NFT consumes enough electricity to power a UK home for a week; even when that's fixed, it still takes time and consumes resources.

        But still. It's possible, and I've no doubt that some eager beaver start-up is currently trying to secure angel-investor funding for such a system as we type...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          It's still an over-elaborate and dubiously reliable solution to an already solved problem.

          1. juice Silver badge

            > It's still an over-elaborate and dubiously reliable solution to an already solved problem.

            It's solved? Really? There's a fully automated and transparent solution to clearly identify the creator of all the elements which make up a new IP, so as to make sure the owners of the derived works get appropriate renumeration and/or credit, all the way down to the Nth degree?

            That's good to know.

            Snarking aside, the NFT process seems reliable enough - people's complaints about blockchain-based systems generally revolve around power consumption and processing time, rather than the robustness of the system itself. And it's no more or less elaborate than any of the existing processes which can be used to register copyright.

            Yes, there's definitely a lot of issues and concerns about trying to implement this in the real world.

            But from where I'm sitting, what we have now is patchy at best, and the only real winners are the lawyers who get to sit and argue around what exactly came from where. And equally, I'd expect said lawyers to be the ones who'll shout most loudly about how a fully automated copyright-registration process would never be fit for purpose...

            1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

              It's solved? Really? There's a fully automated and transparent solution to clearly identify the creator of all the elements which make up a new IP, so as to make sure the owners of the derived works get appropriate renumeration and/or credit, all the way down to the Nth degree?

              There could be, if anyone wanted one. The point is it does not need to use the unique, powerful and fantastically expensive capabilities of a blockchain. The traditional way to handle this is contracts on pieces of paper. And significant costs only become involved when someone is accused of violating the contract. In the blockchain "solution", the costs come in to all transactions, just in case.

              So, it would only be useful if a lot of fraud could be expected and so much value is involved that everyone engaging in the transaction is willing to contribute to the costs of enforcement in advance. And insurance might be cheaper.

              1. Stoneshop Silver badge
                Big Brother

                And significant costs only become involved when someone is accused of violating the contract.

                Well, there are the copyright chaser lawyers, who are not above creating business through unfounded accusations, extremely minor infractions and cases that are undisputably fair use.

              2. juice Silver badge

                I see the copyright lawyers didn't like my post ;) And while it's probably a bit late...

                > The point is it does not need to use the unique, powerful and fantastically expensive capabilities of a blockchain.

                Blockchain is currently fantastically expensive - I've heard it cited (and mentioned earlier) that you could power the average UK home for a week on the electricity needed to produce one NFT.

                https://memoakten.medium.com/the-unreasonable-ecological-cost-of-cryptoart-2221d3eb2053

                OTOH, Ethereum is meant to be switching away from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake. And that can potentially drop the energy cost by a factor of over two million.

                https://medium.com/tqtezos/proof-of-work-vs-proof-of-stake-the-ecological-footprint-c58029faee44

                > The traditional way to handle this is contracts on pieces of paper.

                So... it's a manual, costly and resource-intensive process? Sounds the complete opposite to a fully automated NFT process.

                > And significant costs only become involved when someone is accused of violating the contract. In the blockchain "solution", the costs come in to all transactions, just in case

                The problem with that is that when infringement happens, the onus - and cost - lies with the copyright owner to prove that they own said IP.

                To use a real-life example: I know someone who's music has been "registered" by a US company, alongside many many thousands of other artists. Said US company is therefore earning large chunks of money from the aggregate of these people's works from Youtube etc - and there's been little that the affected artists have been able to do about it, since for 99.9% of them, the individual revenues are too small to justify legal action.

                My friend is one of several getting involved in a class action lawsuit against said company, to finally/hopefully overturn this.

                Would an automated "implicitly register at point of creation" process completely fix this sort of issue? Probably not - after all, the entire point of IP is that it can be traded and sold, and there's always going to be shades of grey involved.

                But I believe it'd help - and in an era where ne'er-do-wells can bulk-register hundreds of thousands of pieces of other people's IP at the click of a button, we need better processes to make sure that smaller IP producers aren't left behind.

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          If the artwork is digital, a suitably timestamped digital signature is almost certainly proof of creatorship. They've been acceptable evidence in courts for decades in some places. If it isn't digital, just take a photo of it.

          (Similarly signed proof of current ownership might be a problem that Ethereum solves.)

        3. doublelayer Silver badge

          "Beyond that, I mentioned the potential for using NFCs to track copyright registration on a post a few days ago - if everything has an NFT embedded in it at the point of creating or updating it, then you could potentially have a system where every item contains a record of the IP which went into it."

          Unless someone wants to violate the copyright, in which case the expensive mechanism does nothing for them. Use someone's sample and don't include the NFT part, and they'll only find out if they hear it. Just like today. Meanwhile, it assumes that all the things that someone might want are already packaged up ready for resale, which would take a lot of chopping out pieces which nobody actually wants. Furthermore, it makes it very hard to figure out fair use uses, such as quoting something which has an NFT stamped onto it.

          The system could work, but it would be more expensive than the current one, no more restrictive of illegal activity than the current one, and more complex than the current one. I don't see much benefit in attempting it.

    2. Tomato42

      Exactly, there are artists that not only give you access to all the intermediate stages of creation of a drawing (as PSDs usually), but who also actually stream the whole process!

      And all that happened before this particular money-laundering scheme was a twinkle in the eye of the parasite that came up with it.

    3. ThatOne Silver badge

      > It's all doable and it's all got absolutely nothing to do with NFTs.

      That's true, but you have to remember that all those fads routinely cover themselves with wild claims to hide their lack of actual usefulness. It's called "marketing" in the vernacular.

      All you can do is wait till the hipsters are done with their hypegasm and go smoke a cigarette, at which point the Next Big Thing™ is usually already arriving.

      1. logicalextreme Silver badge

        They go for a vape, surely?

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          True. Sorry, haven't got used to it yet... *rolling eyes*

  4. b0llchit Silver badge
    Angel

    Technology repeating

    For all the old tech that has been made new again, I'm still waiting for a new form of "blob of clay imprinted with a stick" writings that will last you a lifetime and then some.

    It is a real selling point, stuff that can last longer than the next NFT being destroyed by a crashing storage device. The clay blob may crash, but at least it cannot prevent you from doing a quick glue repair. Positive byproduct is the green image of the blob of clay. It is a purely natural product. (Never mind the burning to finalize the result. You'll plant some weed to compensate.)

    1. J. Cook Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Technology repeating

      Especially when it comes to complaining about the quality of the copper ingots one was sold... (huh?)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Technology repeating

        Nothing new under the sun.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: Technology repeating

          Nothing new under the sun.

          Tell that to the apparently sentient greenish stuff of what used to be coffee under the Ultra10, now hissing menacingly at the cleaning rag.

        2. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: Technology repeating

          Ea-nasir clearly had an awful lot of descendants...

  5. Warm Braw Silver badge

    None of this bothers me

    Looking on the bright side, as I always do, the whole non-fungible planet thing at least means we can soon stop worrying about the tranistory nature of, well, everything.

  6. Dabooka Silver badge
    Happy

    Mutliple formats?

    I've just gone back to my roots and bought some old hifi kit to replace my old stuff I ever chucked out, lost or could never really afford in the first place.

    I've dusted down my old vinyl and CDs, which weirdly actually feel retro (as they were around for so long I guess). Yes I have FLAC, and I stream in the car but it's nice to have these multiple formats.

    However I now find myself inadvertently buying the same thing in the same format. Bored in a Teams meeting sees me on Music Magpie buying random CDs only to find when I later rip them I have a copy already on a shelf or in a box. Maybe it's an age thing.

  7. Chris G Silver badge

    NFT

    Not Fucking Trustworthy, not as a long term investment anyway.

    90% of all art is bullshit, 99% if it is very recent contemporary art, luckily for many contemporary artists there are a lot of potential bridge buyers out there who like to think 'They know art'.

    Having had a little experience setting up exhibitions for a client and looking at ways to promote him, I am firmly convinced of the overriding lack of value and content in much of the contemporary art scene, which does make any genuinely good art all the more valuable.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: NFT

      Indeed. not Frigging Trustworthy. Much like pretty well all of those digital currencies beloved by the likes of Elon Musk. (need I say more)

      I'm sure that there are a lot of crooks/scammers and grifters involved with all of this shite. Like all bubbles, it will burst sooner rather than later and a lot of ordinary people will loose an awful lot of mulah.

      NFM (Not for Me).

  8. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    I convince myself that buying a digital edition ... will ensure longevity.

    The evidence so far suggests the lifetime of ink-on-thin-stuff is at least 1,000 years. I wonder whether 2021 digital technologies will still be available in 3021.

    In my case, the ramp-up process often goes in the opposite direction: reading a paperback, then buying hardback editions of other books by the same author. This is purely motivated by book fetishism, but latterly it's morphed into something different. I read a Kindle edition because it's quick and convenient, but then I have to buy the hard copy because the illustrations, code samples or equations in Kindle are rubbish.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "the evidence so far suggests the lifetime of ink-on-thin-stuff is at least 1,000 years."

      Funny you say that, but I read somewhere else (and sorry, but I dont have time to track it down now), that modern books are not expected to have a shelf life over 100 years. The modern paper and ink used are just too sh%t to last long term. If you buy special editions made on special paper and with better printing methods, then I could believe 1000 years, but your bog standard book shop book wont last anywhere near that.

      Still means it will outlast anything digital no doubt, but I doubt any of our future archaeologists will be digging through our ruins and finding amazing mint condition copies of the great works of the 20th and 21st century - probably for the best, they might think we're all a bunch of weirdos if they came some of the books people buy these days...

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        And yet I have[0] on my shelves books printed as cheap pulp fiction in the 1920s and 1930s - a little the worse for wear, perhaps, particularly the paperbacks, but readable (and scannable, with care) all the same.

        Hardbacks from the same period have fared better. And even my oldest book falling apart though it is from its origin in the late 1700s, is still readable.

        [0]'Had' on my shelves; currently everything is still in boxes after a recent house move.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          There were some changes in papermaking over the years that probably means your 1930s books will soon be in worse shape than your much older books. I don't recall the timeframes, but IIRC paper formulas changed to be acidic (or had ingredients that could become acidic over time). Paper from older than that era has a longer life expectancy.

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Yes, I'm expecting that acid pulp will kill the thirties books at some time in the next few decades; I have a long term project to scan them all hopefully before that happens.

            1. bartsmit

              low cost book scanner

              Same here; a book scanner does not need to cost much:

              https://www.instructables.com/Bargain-Price-Book-Scanner-From-A-Cardboard-Box/

              1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                Re: low cost book scanner

                If you have a pile of books that you want scanned but don't care much about them as an object to put back on a shelf after you've done so: get an ADF scanner, slice off the bindings and feed them in. Maybe not the cheapest, but photographing books one page at a time gets very old very fast, which is extremely likely to have you never finish that task.

                Jason told us there are just two types of book scanners that actually work sufficiently reliable and precise to process a book without a lot of handholding and postprocessing to allow the result to be OCRed, and sufficiently easy to operate so that you actually care to do more than just two or three books before giving up. One is some commercial rig that costs on the order of 100k, and the other is one built mainly from PVC tubing and plywood. That one should be on Instructables, but it's not in my bookmarks so I'll have to search for it.

                1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                  Re: low cost book scanner

                  This one.

      2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        I have no device to read my old floppy disks that I still own. That stuff is 30 years old.

        So if paper is going to survive 50 years, it is good enough for me.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          We do. After we've finished moving.

          8", 5.25", 3.5" (up to 2.88MB, as well as LS120) and 3". I'm not sure if we have one of those 21MB Floptical drives; I think we don't.

          Paper tape, various formats.

          Bernouilly and SyQuest cartridges.

          5.25 and 3.5 MO.

          Zip, Jaz and Clik.

          DLT, MLR/SLR and LTO; open reel only after we've fixed the drive. The speed sensor is b0rked, the replacement is already there but as we're in the middle of a move now repairing stuff is somewhat down on our priority list.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      I wonder whether 2021 digital technologies will still be available in 2031.

      FTFY

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        20th century digital standards like JPEG, PNG and MP3 (date?) are fully documented, still widely supported by modern software, and likely to remain so for ages. I think old PDFs are still ok.

        Smarter/richer standards like DOC or flash from that era are now occasionally unreadable by the modern software. You may have to resort to a VM and "now you have two problems".

        Actual media from 20 years ago might not be readable. You definitely need a rolling program of copying to new media. Fortunately, sizes appear to be growing faster than the years are adding new content, so this isn't a problem until civilisation has one of its every-millennium-or-so resets and we lose both the industrial means to support the media and the cultural means to understand the language/format.

        The latter may not seem like a big problem until you realise that, despite all the clay tablets from 1750BC, we have no idea what any music sounded like prior to the late Middle Ages.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      I convince myself that buying a digital edition ... will ensure longevity.

      The evidence so far suggests the lifetime of ink-on-thin-stuff is at least 1,000 years. I wonder whether 2021 digital technologies will still be available in 3021.

      Well the evidence so far gives us works like Peter Gabriel's XPLORA1 indicate the 2021 digital technologies won't be mainstream in 2031 and largely inaccessible by 2051...

  9. CuChulainn Silver badge
    Happy

    Maplin Electronics

    I've got the original 'Electronics' mags published by Maplin - from issue one (when it contained actual circuits and projects) up to when it became a joke, and simply showed photo after photo of how many wires someone had hanging out of a patchboard on a synthesizer.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Maplin Electronics

      Ooh, I did have a few of the early ones as well. I blame marriage on why they had to go.

      I'm sure I won't be the only grateful person around here if you scan your copies to CBZ or PDF and upload them to archive.org or similar!

      1. CuChulainn Silver badge

        Re: Maplin Electronics

        I'll get on it.

        1. Spoobistle

          Re: Maplin Electronics

          Check out

          https://worldradiohistory.com/Maplin-Electronics.htm

          They're not all there - I'm sure the site would be grateful for scans of missing copies!

          Loads of other pre-millenium radio/electronics literature too.

          1. CuChulainn Silver badge

            Re: Maplin Electronics

            Thanks for that link. I'd not seen it before.

            Those magazines are different to the 'Electronics' magazine Maplin did, but I hadn't previously been aware of these collections (other than the 5600 synthesizer, which took over the Electronics mag and ruined it). If I remember, the 'Electronics' mag was rechristened 'Electronics and Music' or somesuch, and then dealt exclusively with music, and electronics related to music.

          2. DJV Silver badge

            Re: Maplin Electronics

            Fantastic! Thanks for that link! I know what I'll be doing over the weekend!

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Maplin Electronics

        I'm sure I won't be the only grateful person around here if you scan your copies to CBZ or PDF and upload them to archive.org or similar!

        We[0] had Jason Scott pop in one day, and after hearing of our fairly impressive stash of vintage manuals and similar docs he told us to scan it at the highest native resolution our scanners[1] would manage, save as .TIFF, file names sufficiently related to the item at hand of course, and upload it like that. They would take care of the rest, having it OCRed, and turned into the various common publishing formats (including ebooks).

        [0] hackerspace/computer museum in NL

        [1] for most of the time we had four auto document feeder scanners chewing through the pile, two or three evenings a week. It still took nearly a year to work through most of it; still left are the larger than A4/letter documents

      3. CuChulainn Silver badge

        Re: Maplin Electronics

        If you're still following this, I uploaded Issue #1 this evening to Archive.org.

      4. David Hicklin

        Re: Maplin Electronics

        They are also part of long term project for me as well along with ETI, Computing Today.

        Rather selective scanning, I'm only interested in the index, features and projects.

        Something for the long dark winter evenings

  10. Juanguanomo
    Pirate

    Comics with DRMs and apps? Whatever next? Surely that's what CBZ and CBR files are for?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Coat

      SFTWS - NFT

      Vulture Marketing may come up with a cunning plan to monetise SFTWS a bit more by offering NFTs - first dabs on Dabbsy as it were

      They've dabbled in crypto before...

      https://www.theregister.com/2018/05/22/register_ebook_micropayments_trial_satoshipay/

    2. b0llchit Silver badge
      Joke

      Yes, the paper in the book will check every 30 words if the license is still valid. A callback mechanism is embedded in the cover and powered by page-flip energy harvesting. The book will automatically remain shut when the used language goes offline. It is also known to happen when a dialect is updated.

      The yellowing of the paper is not caused by bad paper. It is the intended effect of the internal functioning of the DRM mechanism. When the paper is read too often, it will automatically disintegrate. More so when read in broad daylight, where multiple users are able to see the book's content and the license expires faster.

      1. stiine Silver badge

        I don't know if anyone remembers, but Stephen King released a limited edition of a novel where exposing the pages to ligtht triggered the page to erase itself after some relatively short time.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Joke

          It was printed on thermal paper like till receipts?

  11. Dinanziame Silver badge
    Devil

    That's a feature, not a bug

    The fact that you end up buying the same thing over and over gives more money to the content creators, and relieves you of money that you obviously don't need. It makes money circulate, which is good for the economy! Are you against the economy? Are you a pinko commie liberal?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's a feature, not a bug

      That's a cliché, not a title

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: That's a feature, not a bug

      "gives more money to the content creators"

      Maybe. To the publishers, certainly.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: That's a feature, not a bug

          Today's entertainment industries don't take risks anymore. In the olden days they were run by carnies (in the good sense), who did have an eye for what was good and knew when it might eventually sell.

          Nowadays those industries are run by accountants who demand profits, immediate, big profits, which is why everything looks/sounds alike as everyone is blindly copying some once successful recipe till another one appears...

        2. Grunchy

          Re: That's a feature, not a bug

          The industry may cheat songwriters, but I have a problem finding anything entertaining enough I would feel compelled to pay for!

          Most “entertainment” seems to me self-indulgent garbage that is, incidentally, also not entertaining.

          You know what I like about Project Gutenberg, they have some genuinely interesting material, it’s in open PDF format, and the price is right.

  12. Evil Scot

    And you'll never find a Blue Ray of the Star Wars that you used to know.

    Sorry not sorry about the Gotye Filk

    Guilty of owning three different versions of the first ^w Original three films on three different disk formats.

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: And you'll never find a Blue Ray of the Star Wars that you used to know.

      If you want a fourth, you probably already know about Harmy's Despecialized Edition.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: And you'll never find a Blue Ray of the Star Wars that you used to know.

        There are only 4 or 5 storm troopers, and Han shot first!

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: And you'll never find a Blue Ray of the Star Wars that you used to know.

      Guilty of still having the first trilogy in two VHS versions, plus the DVD version, obviously.

  13. Willy Ekerslike
    Flame

    Not quite as bad

    This has reminded me that my attic contains a trunk holding all the printed English copies of Elektor magazine from issue #1 (issued in 1975, if my memory is right) until they went digital in 2013. My wife has threatened to use them for my funeral pyre if they're still there when my foot strikes the pail.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Not quite as bad

      There's probably suitable circuits in those magazines to come up with a suitable electronic gizmo for your wife to trigger the fire

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Not quite as bad

        Several. Enough to build a most elaborate Heath Robinson Funeral Pyre Incendiary Trigger Contraption imaginable.

  14. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    I keep my comic collection in shoe boxes...

    The irony is after hunting down the boxes (Transmetropolitan isn't going to re-read itself afteral) I also found my minidisc collection hiding in there too... only I couldn't remember where the hell my player or deck has wandered off to.

    Turns out a mate had a minidisc player and was all setup to lend me it. Until we found out it's stupidly rare and really sought after (going rate is about £200-£300 depending on condition) so he thought better of it.

    All turned out alright though as the missus decided to finally clear the basement out and found the errant MD deck hidden in a box so vast it had it's own ecosystem and so lost that it had both VHS and betamax tapes lying in the bottom as well.

    Now if only we could travel, I could get more esoteric and bring back her laser disc collection (including some 80's films so unknown that I don't even think IMDB has a footnote for them) from her parents house... about 8,000miles away.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: I keep my comic collection in shoe boxes...

      I also found my minidisc collection hiding in there too... only I couldn't remember where the hell my player or deck has wandered off to.

      As I've recently started the excavation[0] of Mount BoxesStillLeftFromMove[1] to at least get the hifi set up[2], I first found two dozen or so MiniDiscs, then the portable player in a box otherwise stuffed with books, then a bunch more disks with at least ten still wrapped, and finally the mains adapter in a container together with the remnants of a computer upgrade. Still unaccounted for are the MiniDisc deck and an Uher 6000 portable tape player.

      And in the 'exceedingly rare' department, there HAS to be a Sony WM-504 walkman in Mount BSLFM. Pristine items complete in their box (which this one isn't) go for 600..700 Euros. It was maybe DM200 back when I bought it.

      [0] triggered by trying to locate a bunch of Atari ST floppies. Still no dice there.

      [1] 10 years back, but that's probably not yet worthy of a Guinness Book of Records mention by a long shot.

      [2] after which I'll probably still be listening to .ogg from a laptop played over a pair of Quadral computer speakers on the windowsill behind my monitors.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: I keep my comic collection in shoe boxes...

        If you've got tape deck then I suspect your setup is of a vintage flavour, in which case I can highly recommend re-capping them (that and replace your tape belts).

        Did this to my '70s amp and found the main power caps busy leaking rubbery electrolyte all over the main board. The sound difference made its more than worth the evening spent sniffing solder fumes. My only regret is I didn't upgrade the various board connectors to terminals rather than 'wrap wire around pin' used currently.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: I keep my comic collection in shoe boxes...

          I'm fully aware of that.

          ALL audio stuff older than 30 years or so gets recapped, carbon resistors replaced with metal film while I'm in there, low-noise transistors and opamps instead of the factory ones, belts and idlers, the lot.

          No Japanese gear pre-1980 even gets switched on before ALL electrolytics are replaced.

          And I have a (small, but sufficient) solder fume extractor on a goose-neck.

          1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

            Re: I keep my comic collection in shoe boxes...

            In fairness the pioneer amp I last worked on, the carbon slides still work fine (after a squirt of cleaner) and the mosfets drive better than most sub-£1,000 kit. As for its caps about half had drifted off their values, the rest were still within spitting distance. Replaced the lot anyway, but will change to connectors next time I'm in there too make it easier to maintain.

    2. Grunchy

      Re: I keep my comic collection in shoe boxes...

      I’ve got just about every single Whizzer & Chips Christmas annual, plus I’ve got two complete copies of all the Doc Savage pulps also. Luckily it looks like The Rock isn’t ever going to follow through on his threats to remake the original 1975 movie (which featured Ron Ely, famous for portraying Tarzan in the 1960s, but sadly could not replicate Weismuller’s iconic whooping call).

  15. Franco Silver badge

    Synchronicity

    I was at my Mum's house last weeked setting up a TV for her in a bedroom that doesn't have an aerial point, and needed an extra cable to run the standalone aerial from the window ledge to the back of the TV. Upon rummaging in the cupboard of junk (and not finding a cable, had to go out and buy one) I DID find my old VHS boxset of the Star Wars Special Edition Trilogy along with a VHS player that mercifully still works and my own TV has a SCART port to plug it in to. The remote doesn't work (batteries had been left in it and had destroyed much of the PCB) but I did still get to watch them on Star Wars day this week.

    1. CuChulainn Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Synchronicity

      I have to say I'm impressed that you could find a UHF aerial cable in a store to buy as easily as you imply!

      Around this way, you'd have a job finding any store which sold anything other than USB cables (and we used to have two Maplin stores).

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: Synchronicity

        Screwfix, Wilko and Argos all sell them so not obscure shops.

  16. Stevie

    Bah!

    But gosh, doesn't "non-fungible" mean "cannot be turned into cash"?

    So these would be like bitcoin(s) that only ever have an onramp.

    Not seeing the point/value here.

    Of course, I'm old so I'm not supposed to understand it.

    Bring on the EMP.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      "But gosh, doesn't "non-fungible" mean "cannot be turned into cash"?"

      No. Non-fungible means that individual tokens are not identical to one another. If both of us have one and we exchange them, we each leave with different things. It is different from cash because cash is fungible, but nothing prevents you selling a non-fungible item for fungible cash. We do that all the time and people do that with these as well. They're mostly worthless, but you have the reason wrong.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Bah!

        I thought it just meant that fungus couldn't grow on it.

  17. ArchieTheAlbatross

    But how.....?

    I have little interest in the latest Non-Fungible Tokens, (digital bollocks being foisted upon the gullible with too much money), but as these are Non-Fungible, one question has presented itself....

    How does one Funge?

    1. Psmo

      Re: But how.....?

      Carefully, with full regard to local laws and consent.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Gene Cash Silver badge

    youtube-dl

    This is why, when I find something on the i'ternit that I really like (rare) then I download it. If it's "in the cloud", it'll probably not be there next week.

    Seagate loves me.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: youtube-dl

      If it's "in the cloud", it'll probably not be there next week.

      With the more amusing and/or impressive cases being presented here on El Reg.

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Re-incarnation

        Some (most?) digital content dies only once. But some has multiple lives.

        I submit the case of bobbemer.com. Lots of cool articles about computing history told first hand.

        Then Bob died and the domain was bought by a guy who turned into one of those "shopping guide" sites. You know, where it consists of a whole page of mini-banners for sites to get you the very best prices on high quality shoes, garden tools, whatever. Presumably for the "link juice" of a gazillion links from various other bloggers and kibitzers. Remember when people created and hosted personal sites that were not just appendages of Social Media?

        Hooray! When the spam site gave up, some hero bought it and re-populated with the previous contents, courtesy of the Internet Archive.

        Just checked. Now it's a page of dire warnings about deprecated PHP.

        For now, or course, the Internet Archive still has a mostly working copy. It's going to be a race among various causes for its next disappearance:

        Rabid DMCA abusers

        Climate change

        scarcity-driven WWIII,IV,V

        Pissed-off E.T.s finally stopping that beacon of advertising we've been spewing into space for over a century.

  20. Blackjack Silver badge

    Usually I buy the print version then read it either after a few days or five years later.

    Oh and I don't buy digital comics, ever.

  21. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Problem with Digital (F)Art...

    ...if the producer goes, your purchase also goes.

    Or if DRM decide to give you a good shafting and make your purchases disappear.

    Sites featuring the Jolly Roger *cough* will still be in demand for people wanting DRM-free content. Or who can't be arsed to create a backup copy of their puchases.

    Just another way to make money. Arrrrr me maties!

    1. David Hicklin

      Re: Problem with Digital (F)Art...

      Its the same with software that has to authorise itself at installation and the support servers no longer exist....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Problem with Digital (F)Art...

        Recently I managed to get a copy of Office 2011 for Mac activated for an elderly relative in New Zealand, via the UK...

        The software reports an error on activation (most probably the servers are not reachable), and the phone numbers have been reassigned to some other company.

        I searched for and rang the UK activation line and whilst the software is out of support, the operative kindly offered to try to help - I read out the installation ID, and he gave me the activation ID over the phone

  22. Grunchy

    Totally Mad

    Yup, I too have Br0derbund’s (C) 2006 set of 7 CD-roms including every single issue of Mad... er, up to 2006, that is.

    https://www.amazon.com/Broderbund-Totally-Mad/dp/B00113N12E

    I actually still have my Sony Vaio UGN-VX50 Ultra Mobile PC (that runs Windows XP), sadly it never could play a CD-rom (being physically smaller than a CD-rom).

    I did make CD images, which are on the HDD somewhere, but then why do I keep the CDs anymore?

    What, me worry?

  23. Blakey

    Now, now, NFTs offer something truly unique - the opportunity to burn the whole world down around our ears in exchange for the shockwave enhanced comic strip!

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