Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beware the Loss of Digital Information

Tilmon from I.T. held the flashlight under his chin as he said the words mysteriously: ….”beware the loss of all digital information.” We sat in the dark at his cube, as a power outage had left the office completely dark with dead computers. Everyone who needed a digital fix turned urgently to their smart phones.

“Even those lie in jeopardy,” prophesied Tilmon. “Imagine a massive solar flare wiping out all digital information, Imagine in the future, all our investment and reliance in digital media becomes so supreme that all our libraries, all our government records are digital….a complete abandonment of paper…and with one catastrophe all our digital information is erased, forgotten, only to find ourselves flung back into the dark ages.

“Are you gonna eat these?’ I didn’t wait for an answer and tore open the bag off chips that was on his desk “So then, what technology can we turn to?”

“Paper! The greatest medium of communication. Come follow me. “

We descended the back stairwell. Tilmon led the way with flashlight guiding us down the dark stairs until we reached the basement. We wandered past storage cages, suddenly caught in Tilmon’s beam of light and then vanquished to the darkness as we proceeded further. A dim oasis of light appeared ahead. We came upon a large man resting comfortably in a desk chair at the entrance of one of the storage cages. A battery powered light shone down on him where he had hung it from the cage. He sat with his arms crossed.

“This is the record keeper.” Tilmon announced.

“Quit the nonsense Tilmon, what are you looking for?” He said. I could see on the nametag that he was Gus.

“I what to reveal the power of paper. The longevity and endurance of the almighty parchment.”

“What?” Gus said,

“I think he wants you to show us how we keep records in the event of a digital apocalypse,” I said eating my chips.

“Oh why didn’t you say so?” He opened the gate behind him and Tilmon shined his light as Gus led the way.

“Most of our records go into the Bankers Box Drawer system, StaxOnSteel. The higher you stack them the more space you save. The drawers are reinforced so you can always open them easily and slide them back in. He demonstrated. “It literally creates a wall of records.”

Tilmon shined his light elsewhere. “What about that?”

“Well for some records we use your classic Bankers Box, an individual box with strong handles and a secure lid. But then sometimes there are unique record-keeping situations and we need certain types of storage.”

For example, here we have the Hang N Stor specially designed storage for hanging files. It lets you transfer the files from active to inactive storage. Over here we have the Divider Box, this one has built-in dividers so when the box is partially full, the other files don’t fall down and become disorganized. And over her- this is my favorite-the Binder Box. A lot of files and information are kept in binders, which don’t fit easily into most record storage containers. This one is specially sized to hold binders.

“You’ve shown us the light, Records Keeper” Tilmon shined his flashlight in Gus’s face until he squinted. There was a sudden whir of power and the room became illuminated. The lights were back on.

“Well I guess we avoided a digital apocalypse,” Gus said.

Tilmon saw his flashlight start to flicker. He tapped it, but it went out. “For now, “he warned, “for now.”