Losing the loss

weekly roundup I consider myself an easy-going person, but if there's one thing I can't stand, it's losing my belongings.Even if it's a pencil I've used for three days, I grieve to no end when it's not where it's supposed to be.

weekly roundup I consider myself an easy-going person, but if there's one thing I can't stand, it's losing my belongings.

Even if it's a pencil I've used for three days, I grieve to no end when it's not where it's supposed to be. Presents that I've received but never used or given away are still tucked away in some corner or cupboard, simply because over the months and years they've become a part of me.

I've also lots of "treasures" stored up in the digital realm. Photos, e-mail with heartfelt messages or inspirational PowerPoint presentations that I've downloaded--these are my chicken-soup-for-the-soul mementos. They are information that are not only a part of my identity during my lifetime, but they also serve as a record for my children, grandchildren and other generations after that.

But what happens if one day they're no longer accessible due to obsolete file formats, for example? I shudder to think.

So it's good news then that the European Union and the Planets (Preservation and Long-term Access through Network Services) consortium have embarked on a four-year journey since June to ensure that digital content don't end up in a black hole, where they can't be accessed due to the obsolescence of computer hardware or software.

In our increasingly digital world, to say digital content volumes are or will be phenomenal is an understatement. Within the EU, it is estimated that 2 million out of the 100 million documents worth archiving are at risk of being sucked into the black hole. About 5 billion documents are produced every year, and that's only in the EU.

In the words of the British Library's head of e-architecture Adam Farquhar, more are agreeing "on the need to act now" to avoid a gaping hole in the world's cultural and scientific record. Now, the laudable effort only begs the question: Shouldn't it be a global effort?

In other news this week, Sony pays a dear sum to end the rootkit saga, while Microsoft earns a handsome keep from the unauthorized copying of its software. Find out also what exactly caused a scare in the use of Skype, as well as how your laptop could have a lower risk of being overheated in the near future.