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Millenniata M-Arc Disc and M-Writer

Product ships in December when exact prices will be announced. Price: TBA

The story sounds almost too good to be true, but the technology behind Millenniata’s “1,000-year” archival system got its genesis from a visit by a Brigham Young University professor and a troop of Boy Scouts to a Utah cave with Anasazi Native American petroglyphs.

Years later, when he heard about the problem with deteriorating long-term data storage, the prof remembered how the petroglyphs were made—the Anasazis carved the darker surface rock to reveal lighter rock underneath—and came up with an analogous process to develop what’s now the Millenniata approach to long-term storage.
But in this case, a more powerful laser sitting in a standard DVD burner (OK, the company tweaked the optics, too, to create the M-Writer) burns data pits in what the company calls an obsidian-like substance coating the plastic M-Arc Disc.

Since it doesn’t use the organic dyes glued to a typical plastic substrate, the Millenniata M-Arc Disc doesn’t deteriorate, although no one has really tested the 1,000-year claim yet.

Data, as you may or may not know, is relatively unstable over time. While we can read papyrus from thousands of years ago or watch a print of a 100-year-old 35mm film, hard drives lose their magnetism, DVDs/CDs lose their data, and solid-state storage has no track record.

The discs aren’t cheap at an expected $25-$30 each, although if you factor it over the hoped-for product life, it should even out. The M-Arc Disc holds 4.7GB like standard DVDs do, and it can be read by standard players.

The Department of Defense is said to have approved the process as the only potential long-term storage system, and the Library of Congress can’t be far behind. If you need secure storage for your final elements, this deserves a look.

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