Life is a Mind Bending Puzzle has an interesting post asking ‘if you have an obsolescence recovery plan for PC games?’
Thanks to emulators, games from 30 years ago can still be played on modern hardware. However he notes that:
This unusually fortunate circumstance may not persist forever though. Technology will probably move on eventually to devices that are sufficiently different in form that even emulation is no longer feasible. Many are now predicting that mobile tablet computers will replace desktops and that closed architectures will prevail over the open general purpose architecture of current desktop PCs. Emulation may no longer be possible on these devices.
I’m not sure that the death of the PC is on the cards anytime soon, but it’s a good point that alarmed me somewhat. After all, we take our digital memories and content as being permanent when in reality they’re incredibly ephemeral as anyone who’s suffered a harddisk crash without a recent backup can attest to.
Then it struck me. “Atwood’s Law“. Based on the Principle of Least Power from Tim Berners-Lee (the creator of the web) that
The less powerful the language, the more you can do with the data stored in that language.
This principle was part of the reasoning behind HTML to be simple and not a programming language and latterly a similar design of RDF for the sharing of data.
Jeff Atwood proposed an extension that:
The web: continuing to deliver on Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of openness!
Correction: that’s a NES emulator, not SNES emulator.