Monday, November 17, 2008

A Texas Funeral and Legacy Technology

Got back Sunday from Texas where my wife’s extended family gathered to lay her late grandmother to rest. Helping to sort through her stuff, I found the old 35mm slides and 8mm home movies that she and her husband had made over the decades. The slide projector worked for a bit, but the cord was frayed and was going to short out, so we stopped messing with it. But the 8mm projector was in perfect condition, the bulb worked, and we had a great time watching old movies that none of them had seen in, probably, over twenty years.

The movies themselves dated from the early to mid sixties through the early seventies, and though they were just haphazardly stored, they were in good condition and worked fine in the projector. The old spring-driven 8mm camera was also in working condition and with film would have been able to take new movies (is 8mm movie film made any more?).

Fastforward to today. My wife is on her third iPod because the screens keep going bad on her and I’ve had at least that many VCR and DVD players die on me in the past fifteen years, and my DV camcorder has a bad tape drive. In forty years, if some of our descendants dig out a thumb-drive of digital pictures, or a laptop with a powerpoint on it, or a DVD with home videos burned onto them, will they be able to fire up such ancient technology in 2048 and enjoy such a comparable treasure trove of lost memories like we were able to do? Doubtful.

Oh, and at the cemetery, a few rows down from the burial service, I saw the model for the tombstone I want:

Well, perhaps except for the tennis racket and the “little redneck” part. I don't play tennis and I haven’t figured out how to put a gun rack on the back of my bicycle.

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