I do have devices that can read tape written 20 years ago. 8-track was from the 60's and 70's by the way, making it a bit more than 20 years.
First CDs came out in early 1980's. That's 30 years and the drives are still backwards compatible -- I can still put in my old Pink Floyd CD into my Blue-ray drive and the computer will play it. There is no reason to believe that won't continue for another 10 years or so as music is still being released on CD in commercial quantities. Despite the hype optical disks are far from dead.
Archival quality optical disks have a good chance of continued support because there is a substantial effort being put into them in the background by people like the National Archive, Library of Congress, and others looking for means to maintain long term records storage. It's not guaranteed that they will be around in 100 years. Maintaining any system that long is difficult, even simple paper. It's got as good a shot as any though.
With a trade-off of about 3-5 times the processing power required to decode. I learned that the hard way when trying to play movies on my old netbook with an Atom N270.
That's why you offload video decoding to the GPU. A weedy Atom 230 (or even the ARM-compatible core in a Raspberry Pi) is more than up to the task of shoveling 1080p H.264 into the GPU, which handles decoding, scaling, etc. Even the lowest-end nVidia or AMD GPUs are more than up to the task. I have OpenELEC running on an Acer Aspire Revo and a Raspberry Pi, and neither have any issues with anything I've thrown at them. (A third box runs on a Core 2 Duo E8400, which would be sufficient for software decoding of just about anything, but a GeForce 210 uses less power (fanless heatsink!) and adds HDMI output.)
What's that? Your netbook doesn't have a proper GPU? Well, isn't that special?
RAID-5 uses up 1 disk worth for striping, so net space in an 8-drive array is 7-drives worth (about 27TB using 4TB drives). The problem with RAID-5 is that you are 2 disks away from failure and rebuilds often kill the disks.
RAID-6 uses 2 disks worth for striping, so net space in an 8-drive array is 6-drives worth (about 23TB using 4TB drives). Is able to survive a double-disk failure before data loss. Still has some of the same issues as RAID-5.
I use Greyhole for media and document storage. It handles disks of unequal size (currently running one 3TB and two 1.5TB drives), and you can choose the level of redundancy you need. In my case, movies, TV shows, etc. get a single copy (one file exists on one drive), while documents and photos get two copies (one file exists on two drives). If a drive goes bad, you only lose the files on that drive...and only for the files for which you selected no redundancy. With redundancy, extra file copies are recreated on the remaining drives from the surviving copies; this process is most likely less stressful on the disk set than a RAID rebuild.
My movies, TV shows, and music are backed up to BD-R, stored in a binder at work. They hold ~20GB each, as I'm using dvdisaster to guard against media errors. When a 2TB drive failed, I brought the backup (currently about 190 discs) home and restored the files that had gone missing. Backup and restore are managed by scripts, with information about what files are on what discs held in a MySQL database that gets periodically backed up off-site as well. The initial backup took several months (on and off) to finish, and the last time I needed to restore, it took about a week, but now I just burn a disc when I have about enough new data to fill one. Burning and verifying takes a few hours, but it's something you can start and walk away.
I'm pretty sure Zombie's a woman.
You pretty much got it - the core of Microsoft's argument was 100% vindicated by history. It's one of the little quirks of nature:
1. Bundling DOES help the consumer. Apple is the proving point. The users crave a unified bundled approach. Even to the level MS never envisioned, hardware, service and software.
2. An upstart competition could arrive at anytime and take MS's market share, because unlike natural monopolies on resources, the human capital needed to fight MS was readily available to competitors. Google, Apple, Blackberry, all came from nowhere to drink MS's milkshake.
3. The browser is a natural part of the operating system and it's unfair to force MS to accommodate competitors who someday would be more profitable or powerful than MS.
4. MS doesn't have the ability to set prices which is a critical part of the monopoly power. This is so obviously true. MS exerts almost no price pressure on the market these days.
Your politics are backwards. Nationally, the car dealers are associated strongly with the conservatives in the GOP. Many, many, many car dealers are owned by Republicans.
Nate Silver correlated the data nicely back when the major makers were on the verge of bankruptcy.
It's better than 8-to-1 correlation (i.e., a fairly strong correlation).
The problem is that, adjusting for inflation, it should be dramatically less. That's the trend. The major outlier is for raw materials which are more costly to extract and process for use.
In the 1950's a decent Westinghouse consolve TV cost about $1000. Inflation adjusted to today, that's about $9000. You'd be hard pressed to spend $9000 on a TV today unless it was a big theater setup or was quite exotic. That's because technology has replaced the need for many expensive raw materials, improved production (including moving it overseas), and driven out the excess.
Auto manufacturers have a problem, and they are the ones driving cost inflation, trying to convince Americans to spend more and more of their income each year on automobiles. For the last two generations this has been through fictionalization of automobiles - you are buying a payment, not a product. That has started to lessen, but record low interest rates have prevented a major crash in sales, and actually led to some good years against a trend of decline.
There is a large untapped market for a car marker who builds the same model of car, with no changes other than manufacturing refinements, for 7-15 years, direct to consumers. From a manufacturing theory perspective, there are something like 7,000-10,000 drivers in an auto production line. 10 years is about what you could expect to optimize the supply chain for each driver, maybe half that if you are very good at managing supply chain. This type of company is stymied by three things:
a. cheap credit money which makes it cheaper to buy a new car than to maintain and run older cars,
b. regulatory creep which increases requirements continually and
c. consumers willing to spend a large slice of their income on flashy cars and status symbols.
And in the end, car dealerships do deserve to undergo a radical change in their structure. They are inherently bad for customers.
For one - they make money in ways that customers are not aware of. The most insidious being "point spread". You walk in, buy a car, and they make money selling the car (fair), future service either under warranty or direct to the consumer (fair), and more importantly, on the financing. You might qualify for a certain rate, but they get a big chunk of the difference between your best qualifying rate and what they convince you to pay. So you qualify for a 3.5% rate, but they get you sign on the line for 9.9%, and they get roughly 50% of the point spread between 3.5% and 9.9%, which on many financing arrangements, is far more than the profit involved in selling the car to begin with.
Second, they do an only okay job with service. They do not typically do as a good job as independent shops, and for warranty work, face little competitive price pressure.
Finally, they are effective local monopolies and do not always respond to market pressure. Because of brand monopolies, there is not as much competition as they would have you believe. The car market is deeply segmented, and so there are not as many brand choices in a price/demographic band as you might think. On paper there are 15 manufacturers selling through dealerships in a market. But for a single random consumer, there are likely 3 or 4 options that meet the basic criteria of type and price range.
In many small towns or areas, the local car dealer is the wealthiest person in town. There is a lot of profit standing between the car maker and the consumer. And in the end, this excess is needs to be wrung out of the system. Manufacturer's should not be able to prevent car dealers from selling and servicing cars, but long-term, the concept of a franchised car dealership needs to be scaled back. Channel conflict is inevitable.
No offense to you or your coworker, but is there any reason to accept your theory just on your say so?
(And your sig is accurate, btw)