Upgrade and Archive: The Ongoing Threat of Data Extinction

An Anonymous Patron writes "Keeping paper documents intact for years and years has become a matter of routine for historians and archivists trying to keep a record of history. But saving digital information is turning out to breed its own set of unique challenges.
Because digital files depend on their context -- such as the operating systems in which they are stored and the applications that create and access them -- users typically must keep all elements of that context to access old digital documents. It is not unusual, for example, for companies to keep old computer systems around just to access old files stored on them.

While software developers do offer some measure of backward compatibility for files created with older versions of their software, almost all software developers eventually stop supporting their earlier formats. If you never update your archived documents to your current software format using the appropriate filters, someday you will no longer be able to access those files.
The full story:
The Ongoing Threat of Data Extinction is from"


'Welchia' virus clogs library's computers

Let This Be a lesson for all of us.
On Monday, computers in the San Antonio city's library system were slowed by the virus that generates so much network traffic that accessing the Internet and other operations become impossible.

By Tuesday afternoon, library computers had become inoperable and librarians lost the ability to check the automated catalog to see if a book was in stock, computers used by the public were shut down, and books had to be checked out manually.


Wi-Fi? Why not!: Public-access wireless Internet service taking off locally

A Story out of Illinois on some new businesses offering Wi-Fi.
They say doesn't take a whole lot of customers staying longer to recoup that cost, and set up can be completed in one day. More and more people are using equipment with the same standards, allowing more

widespread use of public wireless access.

In addition, prices are coming down to where it is actually more affordable for

any type of computer network, whether public or private, to go wireless than to

be wire-based.

WLAN security

This one is quoted from a message sent to the LibWireless list:

A couple notes of interest that might be applicable to libraries looking to secure WLAN access:

Sys Admin Magazine - July 2003 • Volume 12 • Number 7

Securing Wireless Campus Networks

Also, the current issue of Linux Journal has several articles about WLAN security and how you can offer controlled access with several OSS pieces. In their own words:

"Meanwhile, the author of Kismet, Mike Kershaw, explains how to set up your very own access point, with NoCatAuth and a friendly login screen for security, on page 52. If you merely leave your access point open, people might hesitate to use it because they're polite or don't know what your intentions are. Change its name to something with “public� or “open� in it, and put up NoCatAuth so that people can sign in and understand the terms under which they're allowed to use it."

Here are the featured articles:

*Discovering Wireless Networks by Tony Steidler-Dennison
Does anyone nearby have an access point you can use? Find out quickly.
*Linux-Powered Wireless Hot Spots by Mike Kershaw
Put a convenient authentication system on your access point with free software.
*Linux Makes Wi-Fi Happen in New York City by Doc Searls
At parks, phone booths and cafes, hackers are making this city a cornucopia of wireless Net access.

A Review of the RealOne Player (and Associated Content) for Sprint PCS Vision

Will libraries ever provide content for mobile devices? In the mean time, here's a review of mobile content (and its delivery) available now.

This is a self link, but Blake said I should!


Whitepapers from

InformationWeek offers free access to white papers and more if you register (for free). Here is one of the latest.

Wireless LAN Security - What Hackers Know That You Don't.

Link is below in the story.

The Short Lives Of CD-Rs

According to an article on, a test done by the Dutch PC-Active [Dutch Language] magazine showed that among 30 different CD-R brands tested, a lot of them were already unreadable after twenty months, comes via Slashdot.


WIPO Pressured to Kill Meeting on Open Source

Slashdot points the way to a rather sad Article on a World Intellectual Property Organization meeting to be devoted to open-source's place in the intellectual-property landscape.
Lobbyists from Microsoft-funded trade groups were pushing officials at the State Department and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to squelch the meeting. One lobbyist, Emery Simon with the Business Software Alliance, said his group objected to the suggestion in the proposal that overly broad or restrictive intellectual-property rights might in some cases stunt technological innovation and economic growth.

Check out Comments From Lawrence Lessig for some more info.


The hidden dangers of documents

The Beeb Reports Your Microsoft Word document can give readers more information about you than you might think.
There is a function in many versions of Microsoft Office programs, which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint, that means that fragments of data (which Microsoft refers to as metadata) from other files you deleted or were working on at the same time could be hidden in any document you save.

This could be embarrassing for any home workers whose colleagues find out that they have been applying for jobs while working at home or being less than complimentary about their co-workers.


An Anonymous Patron writes "Kind of a Neat Story on the BlitzMail system at Dartmouth College. For nearly 20 years, the 13,000-odd students, faculty and staff members of Dartmouth have communicated by using Blitzmail. Strictly speaking, Blitzmail is a campuswide e-mail system, but it is so fast that it qualifies as instant messaging. And as instant messaging becomes a fixture on college campuses, Blitzmail serves as a signpost for what others might come to expect when most communication on campus is accomplished by way of keyboards."


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