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<nettime> Formalising the obsolence (Re: Goodbye Classic ?)
Morlock Elloi on Sat, 10 Nov 2007 03:57:25 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Formalising the obsolence (Re: Goodbye Classic ?)


I wonder if a reliable metric can be established so that each medium can be
properly labelled with the O-factor (obsolescence), that would give anyone
using that media some clue as to how long will the media be functional. The
units should probably be halflife in years.

The more human behaviour influences O-factor, the smaller it is.

If we start with the rock-pile media (you pile the rocks, producing pyramids,
stonehenges etc.), the O-factor is in the range of thousands, because you
depend on gravity, wind/precipitation erosion and humans stealing the rocks.

With paintings, you depend on dye permanence (sensitivity to light etc.) and
environment, and humans abusing the canvas for various reasons. O-factor is
less than one thousand.

Computer-based media depends on silicon fabs and all economy behind
semiconductors, assembly lines, high-tech trade patterns, software
manufacturers etc. There are probably several millions of humans directly
involved in maintaining your typical computer-based media engine (although the
computer seems to be a solid object on your desk, it's more realistic to think
of it as a daily-publishing mechanism: you send an ad and the payment to your
daily paper, their accounts receivable processes it, production integrates it,
files are sent to the printer, paper distributed and tomorrow you see your art
on the newsstand - that's the reliability of the computer performance, but with
computers more things can go wrong.)

O-factor is less than 10.

So I'll propose a rough formula for the O-factor, bearing in mind that
non-people influences are almost irrelevant compared to the people-influences:

Of = 100 / log(H)

where H is number of people on which your medium depends on.

end
(of original message)

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