Tips from the ‘net… (July 1996)

PDM logs on and learns about handling legacy tapes, and a novel use for hair-spray on sticky tapes.

Whatever you do, remember the originals

When you record on high density media (HDM), do you throw away the originals? (Abdulla N. Hamoodi, on sci.geo.petroleum) and a good answer from Gary Cameron of Union Pacific who pointed out that tapes are often moved to off-site storage after transcription - rather than being thrown away, and that with high density media, it is easy to make and store many versions of the backup. Anyone who has worked with computers knows that the main reason for losing data is the operator rather than the machine. We have an interesting analogue here, in that the remastering and compaction operation can bring both data preservation and, to an extent, data destruction. The latter may be due to a problem involving real data loss through poor reformatting (which should be picked up fairly quickly be good QC), or a much more serious problem of data loss when an information-rich header is migrated into another environment. It would seem prudent to hang on to the legacy data for a while, until experience has demonstrated the reliability of the information of the new HDMs.

New use for hairspray!

Rex Knepp offered some useful advice on how to use hairspray to clean sticky tapes. We've not tried it so try this at your own risk. Here’s Rex "If you're asking how to use hairpray see below. If you are unfamiliar with the word, hairspray is a compound (in aerosol form) that people use to impart extra stiffness to their hair, mainly to force it to hold a desired shape. Until recent years, the most common users were women, however many men now use the stuff (Texas is, BTW, the world’s largest importer of hairspray!). I believe that the main ingredient was at one time a form of lacquer, though I rather suspect that the juice of the lac beetle has been replaced by synthetics these days. Whatever it is, either the substance or the aerosol base is flammable. I suspect that the use of hairspray would coat a tape with a film of the lacquer (or lacquer-like substance) stabilizing the tape long enough for a single read. To do that, though one might be forced to stand there and spray the tape as it spooled out. Sounds tedious.." Yes and we suggest you don't try smoking while you do this.

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