The precarious state of classic software and hardware preservation

Tapley, Mark B. mark.tapley at
Sun Nov 21 14:42:27 CST 2021

On Nov 21, 2021, at 1:39 PM, ben via cctalk <cctalk at<mailto:cctalk at>> wrote:


On 2021-11-21 9:45 a.m., Adam Thornton via cctalk wrote:
On 11/19/21 9:33 PM, Steve Malikoff via cctalk wrote:

And what happens when you wake  up one morning to find<> is
gone, too?

Fundamentally, eventually we're all going to be indistinguishable
mass-components inside the supermassive black hole that used to be the
Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies anyway.
Smoke 'em while you got 'em.
Who knows what lay ahead.
The Last Question by Isaac Asimov © 1956

The last question was asked for the first time, half in jest, on May 21, 2061, at a time when humanity first stepped into the light. The question came about as a result of a five dollar bet over highballs, and it happened this way:

Alexander Adell and Bertram Lupov were two of the faithful attendants of Multivac. As well as any human beings could, they knew what lay behind the cold, clicking, flashing face -- miles and miles of face -- of that giant computer. They had at least a vague notion of the general plan of relays and circuits that had long since grown past the point where any single human could possibly have a firm grasp of the whole.

Multivac was self-adjusting and self-correcting. It had to be, for nothing human could adjust and correct it quickly enough or even adequately enough -- so Adell and Lupov attended the monstrous giant only lightly and superficially, yet as well as any men could. They fed it data, adjusted questions to its needs and translated the answers that were issued...

I actually remembered the ending of that story without looking. If you don’t, it is worth a read.

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