Technology with a Life Span, Pen and Ink

by Mike Shea on 5 November 2003

Nothing lasts forever. Our thoughts, accomplishments, passions, loves, and lives are lost as our physical machines we call bodies finally fall apart and die. We ignore this, attempt to prevent it, and finally attempt to capture ourselves in the minds of our children. Yet the capture of our thought is incomplete, our children are not us. Some turn to the creation of music, movies, or words to capture their thoughts and feelings. But the format and medium of our captured thoughts do not last. Digital data is fragile. CDs and DVDs physically last 10 to 50 years. The drives to read them may last even less time. Only one format has been proven over time to be cost effective, durable, and readable. Ink on paper.

Mainly for an exercise in the idea that someone would actually care what I wrote in five hundred years, I began to search for the right ink and paper. I ended, at least today, on the Moleskine unlined notebook and the Dr. Grip Pilot Gel Pen. Both are acid free, archival quality, and cost less than $15 total. Both can be purchased online or in a variety stores. I picked up my pen in a grocery store and the notebook at Barnes and Nobles.

While my web version of this article may reach a far wider audience, the paper copy (yes, I wrote this longhand) will last far longer.

From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of Doublethink - greetings!