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The Digital Dark Age Cometh!

kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, Feb. 16, 2015

Does everyone remember floppy disks?

This morning, the top trending topic was the warning issued by Vint Cerf, vice-president of Google, that we must create tangible back-up copies of all our digital works or else we may lose everything, every memory in a “digital Dark Age”. So I read about the pressing issue of this topic from various sources and Cerf is not warning everyone about another Y2k or an immediate danger to all of our digital files. Instead, it is a warning that our technology will continue to evolve until the methods we use to save our digital files may go obsolete.

This issue directly influences webcomics and the method we have used to save our files. It should be a reminder that we should not only save our comic files on internal and external hard drives, USB sticks, and online servers. One of the suggestions to keep all of our digital files forever is to print paper copies of our written works and photographs as a reminder to future generations of what we have accomplished before they are inaccessible forever. Although, printing all of our comic files is a double-edged sword because it would destroy a lot of trees and paper is not guaranteed to last over centuries of wear and tear.

When I was actively updating my comic, I used to keep a physical binder of a printed copy for each page so I could read it like a book and the cost of colored laser ink added up. I also have moved a lot since that time and having to carry around boxes of paper is not the ideal. I prefer to simply carry around an external hard drive to hold all my files.

The idea of a Digital Dark Age is interesting to me because websites are not around forever and one day the Internet as we know it today will be vastly different. If we continue to save everything we have ever drawn, all the pictures we have ever taken, and all the emails we have ever written in a digital-format. Then we risk having all of those important memories quickly disappearing at the click of a button.

Then I remember that a human life lasts for about a century, at most, and that the simplest memories that mean the world to us might just be half a blink of an eye for a future descendant. I would really not want to leave boxes filled with a sentimental paper trail for the future generations to weed through and possibly discard. So I take a drink of hot tea, think about the Lorax, who speaks for the trees, the real loser in this whole printing fiasco, and I think about all the memories that are important to me and back-up my digital files in the most current format.

Important Note: Please remember to back up your webcomic files in various formats and hard drives as a safety measure. It is just a smart thing to do, even without the danger of a digital Dark Age.


Denizens! Attention! Published

The Duck's very own creative genius MadMindInk of the gorgeous webcomic, Denizens! Attention! has just published a paperback version of her comic and it is for sale.

"To escape their suffocating home life, Alicka and Winston get themselves sent to Winterkill Boarding School for Juvenile Delinquents. Winterkill turns out to be not what they expected, but just as they are settling in, their safe haven is threatened. The Great Dragon, who guards the worlds has abandoned his duty and the world sphere is in grave danger. Something must be done."
Price: $35.00


What about BODY SHAPE? - Quackcast topic, please contribute.
This week's topic discussion is going to piggyback on the topic on Body Shape in webcomics that ozoneocean and Banes discussed in Quackcast 205, but this time, they would like everyone's contributions!

Oz and Banes would love to know what YOU think about bodyshape in comics! Ones that YOU draw, read, or have just seen. Time is running out, so get those contributions in the forum posted by this Friday, February 20th, at Midnight (PST)


KAM would like to announce that his comic The KAMics hit its 1525 page milestone last Friday. Congratulations on your page count mileage, KAM!


What's Quacking?
Do you have any original art to contribute to our stock image database, announcements, community projects, ideas, news, or milestones to report? Please leave general comments below or send a PQ to kawaiidaigakusei. Email me at kawaiidaigakusei(at)gmail(dot)com.



kawaiidaigakusei at 1:31AM, Feb. 19, 2015

plymayer-How in the world were machines built large enough to even have a slot that fit an 8" disk? The earliest floppy disks I can recall are the 5.25" and even then, I was just a toddler, so I ended up stacking them and building houses. Abt- Pretty much everything I mentioned about comics can be applied to everything else we own. One day we will go away and everything we hold near and dear will go away with it. But what is life if we are unable to enjoy the things while we are alive?

kawaiidaigakusei at 1:30AM, Feb. 19, 2015

FC-For shame! That is an outrage that anyone would throw away any original commercial artwork you had produced. I would hang up commercial art on my walls. If I saw that happen to my work, I would have salvaged it. That is one reason I am happy for digital works because we're able to print as many copies of a drawing set and not worry what happens to the print.

kawaiidaigakusei at 1:30AM, Feb. 19, 2015

Corntown, I used to work mainly on Bristol board (windmill-powered vellum) it was really expensive! But yes, all post-production work like screen tones and text bubbles takes up so much time, it is just worth backing up to not lose the time spent doing it. Oregon Trail- pretty much all of the time spent in the computer lab in elementary school was on that game. The game play is way too fast if you tried installing it in a computer today, which makes appreciating the Oregon Trail and hunting portion a real bummer.

kawaiidaigakusei at 1:30AM, Feb. 19, 2015

Oz, you would need to print poster-sized sheets of your Pinky TA pages to preserve the resolution. An 11"x17" book, minimum. KL, it is awesome to have the original watercolours in your keeping. Any tangible art is worth keeping for the long term because they can always be framed or displayed. usedbooks, I agree that reliable servers and hard drives are so important in the present. In ten years, we may look back and think about how ancient our modern webcomic technologies look.

Abt_Nihil at 2:32PM, Feb. 17, 2015

The most interesting point to me is the paradox of wanting to see art preserved, while at the same time having to acknowledge that either interest or the human species altogether is going to go away... Well, maybe it's also more interesting because my comics are accessible in print via indyplanet, and there are always a few copies around ;)

plymayer at 8:56PM, Feb. 16, 2015

Having lost hardrives over the years I would say, back up back up back up.

plymayer at 8:55PM, Feb. 16, 2015

Remember the Man with the Golden Gun? Some of the computers I worked with in the begining had cassette tapes like in that movie. Later 8 inch, 5.25 inch and 3.5 inch floppys. After that CDs. I still have some unused 3.5 discs.

fallopiancrusader at 9:39AM, Feb. 16, 2015

@CornTown: I used to have stacks of those 5-1/4 inch floppy discs to save files from my IBM 286. I remember delivering drawings to one of my illustration clients back in the 1990's, and seeing some of my previous original artwork in their dumpster on my way out. Once my commercial art had served its purpose, it was worthless and got tossed. That taught me a lesson about the impermanence of art, even in the pre-digital era.

CornTown at 6:23AM, Feb. 16, 2015

In terms of webcomics, the originals drawing are done on Bristol board while word bubbles, colors, and screen tone done on the computer. Everything is then backed up to an external drive. Funny though because if I lost either digital files or the drawings, I would only be losing an incomplete comic. While I try to take care of the media, comics, especially webcomics are perhaps the most disposable medium there is. Even with long runners and story driven comics, most readers new and old will never bother to read or reread old archives. The + side is that maybe because webcomics are so disposable, printed comic will rise in price Love floppy disk. Remember how with the old macs, if you wanted to run a program, you had to insert the boot up disk, take it out, insert it upside down, take it out, insert your program disk, type in the boot up code and finally, you could play the Oregon trail. You still had to take out the disk half way through the game and put it in upside down play again.

usedbooks at 6:10AM, Feb. 16, 2015

I use pencils and paper for my linework (edited and colored digitally), and I keep everything, like all my many scripts and drafts. It´s practically a fire-hazard. I live my printed books the most. I only make one every coupld hundred pages, but they are nice to have. -- But I don´t do any of that for posterity. The truth is, I don´t give a damn about future generations. I´m not even relevant NOW in the big scheme of things. My work is precious to me, but honestly, JUST to me, and I´ll be dead in 50 years. The imminent threat of server crashes, computer crashes, fires, and thefts worries me more. I have to remind myself to make digital back-ups frequently. I also recommend having at least one or two mirror sites for your comic. Those help a lot in the short term with brief server outages, so you can continue an uninterupted update schedule.

KimLuster at 4:48AM, Feb. 16, 2015

Well... since my stuff is already done primarily on traditional medium, I've sorta good... but I do shadow and enhance colors once I've scanned in, plus I put in my words balloons digitally, so I would lose a good bit...! I do keep things backed up on an external harddrive too...

Ozoneocean at 1:17AM, Feb. 16, 2015

Interesting! It probably IS a good idea to have a physical copy of your work with you. Just in case. I should do that finally with Pinky TA. Maybe when I finally finish chapter 8 in 100 years time.

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