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One of thoooose friends...


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#1 Mark

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 17:59

So I have a friend who I've been hammering my head against a brick wall with.

 

He is adamant that all digital data degrades over time.

 

He thinks that if you copy a digital file enough times, that it's 'quality' becomes poorer, even if there is no hardware or software fault involved.

 

He claims to have mp3's that have gotten worse over the years because he has copied them from one HD to a new one many times. This is his main belief as well, that digital audio *WILL* degrade when being copied, no matter what method is being used, even if it means copying a perfect flac file. His example is, if it's copied say, 10 million times, you'll notice the quality loss. (not recoded, not compressed, but literally copied)

 

The best example I could come up with to counter this is, imagine a torrent of an application. If it were to loose 'quality', then it wouldn't work after a period of time. If this were to happen in an application, it would simply cease to work at all. His counter argument to this is, the app would install and work but it would become less stable. Whaaaa??!!

 

He also think that file sharing networks will by design degrade the 'quality' of any given file.

 

Now I've tried to point out that if this were the case then computers in fact wouldn't work as they'd be corrupting data constantly and after a few boots, your computer would fail to work any longer because information is constantly getting cached from hard drive to ram and back again, it's a friggin fundamental rule of computing that digital data should not degrade!

 

Can any of you think of better examples to try and get across to this person that the way he thinks about digital degredation is simply wrong?...

 

Then again, this is also a person that claims to have had a hard drive open with the platters exposed for six months, with a copy of windows xp on it, working without any sort of error.... hmmmm.




#2 Hum

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 18:04

Sections of the magnetic discs can degrade on the hard drive.



#3 spacer

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 18:04

Use phone apps as an example. If digital files "degraded" as they're transferred or whatever, then any semi-successful app that's been downloaded several million times would be showing some sort of "aging".

 

However, I would argue that if your friend needs more examples of why he's retarded; you're better off expending your energy getting a new friend.



#4 Lord Method Man

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 18:08

Sections of the magnetic discs can degrade on the hard drive.

 

And that has nothing to do with what the OP is talking about.


Option 1) Ask him how a file that is bit-for-bit identical to another file can somehow sound different when decoded using a DAC

 

Option 2) Find new friends



#5 OP Mark

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 18:08

Sections of the magnetic discs can degrade on the hard drive.

Classes as hardware fault IMO



#6 ShadowMajestic

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 18:08

Its simple, your friend thinks computers are operated by magic.



#7 Thrackerzod

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 18:08

He is completely wrong of course, but he sounds like one of those people where it is better to just nod and smile then to try and argue with.

 

When you copy a file every bit is verified; files don't degrade and lose information. Copy it a million times and the last copy will still be identical to the first.



#8 Hum

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 18:09

And that has nothing to do with what the OP is talking about.

 

^ If bytes are 'lost' over time, you will not have an accurate Copy of those files.



#9 Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 18:15

If the checksum of the file remains the same, then absolutely nothing has changed or "degraded".  Simple as that.



#10 Lord Method Man

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 18:17

And that has nothing to do with what the OP is talking about.

 

^ If bytes are 'lost' over time, you will not have an accurate Copy of those files.

 

The OP is talking about how a file will get degraded has its copied over and over, due to people applying photocopy/cassette tape logic to digital data, it has nothing to do with mechanical hard drive defects.

Digital data does NOT degrade over time due to being copied.



#11 exotoxic

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 18:18

Use phone apps as an example. If digital files "degraded" as they're transferred or whatever, then any semi-successful app that's been downloaded several million times would be showing some sort of "aging".

 

He is of course wrong, but this example isn't what he means.

 

your saying, original --> copy

                                  --> copy

                                  --> copy

 

hes saying, original --> copy --> copy --> copy --> copy



#12 OP Mark

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 18:19

And that has nothing to do with what the OP is talking about.

 

^ If bytes are 'lost' over time, you will not have an accurate Copy of those files.

 

You're right but it is still a hardware fault, if everything is working as designed, this should not happen.


He is of course wrong, but this example isn't what he means.

 

your saying, original --> copy

                                  --> copy

                                  --> copy

 

hes saying, original --> copy --> copy --> copy --> copy

 

Correct

 

 

Another one of his quotes "I got mp3's that are 10 years old and at the time they sounded bad, but jesus, you should hear them now, they're even worse"

 

And I'm there thinking... you've probably got used to hearing higher quality audio over the years and assume that the file quality has become worse, when in fact it's exactly the same, or some of the audio players that you have used have re encoded the originals to a lower quality. But he doesn't see it that way...



#13 Romero

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 18:24

The file itself cannot magically degrade but the storage medium can develop faults leading to silent corruption that might not be noticeable with many formats. Bitrot is real and that's why next-gen file systems such as btrfs and zfs exist (interesting article, check it out). With older file systems you can manually prove a file is bit-identical across generations using a good checksum algorithm.



#14 +Heartripper

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 18:24

I have a friend who claims that a movie will get darker if you copy it around too many times. :/



#15 Houtei

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 18:29

You friend smokes high quality weed.