Some live forever

Genius, Legend, the Maestro… Ennio Morricone.

Another great artist has passed away and the world will remember him with great affection.
Ennio Morricone, a great musician and composer who made the history of cinema, died at 92 in Rome, Italy, in July 2020.

For me, Ennio Morricone represents an artist to be proud of for being part of the same culture and country as me, Italy.
I remember times when I was so excited to watch western movies. I know today it sounds crazy but I was a big fan of John Wayne … I was around 12 years old and didn’t miss one of his films…but the Italian western films from Sergio Leone, with the music of his classmate Ennio Morricone were at another level. Together they were able to create such tension. As I grew up I forgot about John Wayne but I discovered many other layers of beauty in Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone films. The association of sounds was so unique in the music and gave such a strength to the scenes, they were masterpieces that I was able to appreciate even more while developing my creative passions and abilities like visual art and photography.  

His music is linked to many memories of films I saw as a child and again as an adult but he is so much more.
The news of his death spread all over the world and many musicians celebrated his legacy by playing his most famous and incredible pieces.

Ennio Morricone is considered one of the most, if not the most, iconic and influential film composers of the last 70 years. With over 400 scores for cinema and television as well as more than 100 classical works (according to Wikipedia) to his name, one could easily suggest that he was also the most prolific composer of all time.

Upon his passing in July 2020, artists and musicians from the likes of Justin Vernon, New Order, Massive Attack, Chance the Rapper, Metallica, Hans Zimmerman, and many more spoke out to pay tribute to their late musical hero calling him the “master or melody,”  “timeless,” and “ the composer who changed the sound of cinema.”

Digital Data at work

A critical analysis of the relationship between social media and its users.

Image credit (Ravi Sharma)

The uits team are strong advocates of technology and appreciate all forms of improvement it brings to the wider society and our personal everyday lives.

Who would have ever imagined the lives we live now without the digital expansion that occurred to our lives after the birth of the internet?

All this new found knowledge available at our fingertips, connected with the whole world… unimaginable … but like all things it is important to be aware of all aspects, both pros and cons, that are involved when engaging with the tools of the internet.

We came across an interesting article, ‘Ownership of Content in Your Digital Life – Social Media’ by Jason Cheung, first published in 2018, that touches upon important points around our digital ownership when using social media. Below is an abstract from the article, we feel it’s worth the time to read, pause and think about your interactions with social and digital media.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Most social media users are content with their relationship with social sharing platforms, as long as the service is uninterrupted.
They get to share their lives, see their friend’s stories, and even make comments.
However, a critical analysis of the relationship between social media and its users may change the perspective about the content that is passed between ourselves and the platforms we use.

What is considered user content, what user data?
Everything from text, photos, images, or videos created and shared can be considered content.
Data is created by the act of a user browsing a website, such as their web traffic data that includes their browser type, public IP address, time logs, and cookies.
Typically a user has full authorship and copyrights of content, it’s better to check the terms of service to know to which extent, while data is not authored, or ‘owned’ by a user.

In 1980 Alvin Toffler writes ‘The third wave’.
He coined the term Prosumer: a person who is “part of a new ‘wikinomic’ model where businesses put consumers to work” (Ritzer & Jurgenson, 2010, p.17). Prosumption is the natural evolution of Marxist capitalism, as capital requires continuous growth to capture additional surplus value.

Although some users may be indifferent to the prosumer mode of production that exists within social media sites, others may choose to reassess their relationship with these platforms, especially after a review of the terms and conditions that outline the ownership of user generated content within these platforms. An understanding of a social media platform’s political economy can help users make better judgement as to which, if any, platforms on which they choose to be a prosumer.

From a look at the Terms of Service of the most popular social media platforms in the world, while ownership of content might not seem the problem, the licensing and processing of your data could. Profiling data is created by the social media platforms themselves to increase the accuracy of their profile data about your specific demographics, including your likes, dislikes, habits, wants, and expectations; these are data that are sold to third party firms.

All users have a choice to not participate in this information exchange by electing to not engage with platforms that commodify user generated data.

Read the entire Article from the University of Columbia website, Ownership of Content in Your Digital Life – Social Media By Jason Cheung on July 9, 2018

The Day the Music Burned

This is the story of the 2008 Universal fire.
First published June 11, 2009 in The New York Times Magazine.
Image credit (Mike Meadows/AP)

For most of human history, every word spoken, every song sung, was by definition ephemeral: Air vibrated and sound traveled in and out of earshot, never to be heard again. But technology gave humanity the means to catch sounds, to transform a soprano’s warble, a violin’s trill, Chuck Berry’s blaring guitar, into something permanent and repeatable, a sonic artifact to which listeners can return again and again.

The fire that swept across the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood on Sunday, June 1, 2008, began at 4:43 in the morning. Hundreds of firefighters responded, but they were not able to stop the fire before it reached a 22,320-square-foot, Building 6197, known to backlot workers as the video vault. The archive in Building 6197 was UMG’s main West Coast storehouse of masters, the original recordings from which all subsequent copies are derived. A master is a one-of-a-kind artifact, the irreplaceable primary source of a piece of recorded music.

The master of a recording is that recording; it is the thing itself. The master contains the record’s details in their purest form: the grain of a singer’s voice, the timbres of instruments, the ambience of the studio. It holds the ineffable essence that can only truly be apprehended when you encounter a work of art up-close and unmediated, or as up-close and unmediated as the peculiar medium of recorded sound permits.

According to UMG documents, the vault held analog tape masters dating back as far as the late 1940s, as well as digital masters of more recent vintage. Among the incinerated Decca masters were recordings by titanic figures: Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Nirvana, Soundgarden, R.E.M. and Elton John. The fire most likely claimed most of Chuck Berry’s Chess masters and multitrack masters, a body of work that constitutes Berry’s greatest recordings.

Music from many masters destroyed in the Universal fire has not vanished from the earth; right now you can use a streaming service to listen to Coltrane and Cline records whose masters burned on the backlot. But those masters still represent an irretrievable loss. When the tapes disappeared, so did the possibility of sonic revelations that could come from access to the original recordings. Information that was logged on or in the tape boxes is gone. And so are any extra recordings those masters may have contained — music that may not have been heard by anyone since it was put on tape.

Eternal Data Storage

“I have files, photos, writings that I would like to store forever. I would like them to be available for all generations to come, as a way to remember me for what I have done, learned and created in this life. I would also like these important memories to be stored safely and shared only with designated people.” – Giuseppe Persiani, CEO & Co-Founder of uits

These are very common human needs, especially in these changing times, a need to transfer assets from material to digital. 

Storing information on a physical digital device (e.g CD, Hard Drive, Solid Star Drive, USB) has become the standard form for keeping our lifetime creations saved in an easy and practical way. The downside of this is the life expectancy of digital devices is relatively short. 

Hard Drives we have in our computers and laptops usually have a life expectancy of 4 years while Solid State drives life expectancy is around 10.

CDs, if you remember, were launched on the market as the ‘eternal storage device’ – now if I go back and try to read some of my CDs that are 10 years old, many of them are unreadable, meaning I’ve potentially lost invaluable content!!! 

Of course, today you can also use Cloud Storage, e.g Google Drive, Dropbox, where you keep and backup your data.

But what if the information you want to store is private?

What if it is of financial importance and you don’t want to save it in a place that can be accessed without your consent? Cold storage systems are a possible solution? This is how are defined system designed for the retention of inactive data.

The easiest example of cold storage can be your USB Key. The life span of a USB Key, that is not used, often can go up to 10 years. Still, we are a long way from a device whose life can be extended ‘forever’. 

5D optical Data Storage, also known as ‘Superman Memory Crystal’, is a technology developed by the University of Southampton. We can read in their studies and from the article published in February 2016 that ‘Eternal 5D data storage could record the history of humankind’. 

The research study claims that the memory crystals can store in a single device up to 360 terabytes of data for billions of years. The device can withstand extreme temperatures up to 190°Celsius. 

Arch Mission Foundation is the first maker of the ‘Superman Memory Crystal’ and has the aim to create many redundant repositories of human knowledge and has the objective to send them in Satellites around the solar system. 

One of the disks made with the ‘Superman Memory Crystal’ technology has been sent into space on Elon Musk’s red Tesla Roadster in February 2018. The car is in an elliptical orbit that extends 243 million miles from the sun at its farthest point. 

Another disk has been sent on the Moon, from which the name ‘Lunar Library’. It contains scientific, cultural and historical information in almost 30 languages. Several encyclopaedias including Wikipedia are included. The Lunar Library was set to arrive on the Moon on the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet, but it crashed while attempting to land on the Moon in May 2019. Despite this, the 30-million-page Lunar Library survived due to the strength of its construction.

It will be interesting to see in the future this amazing technology available to the masses. Giving people the opportunity to save all their digital legacy, forever! 

In our project we aim to create, store and share your digital legacy, possibly using technologies as the ‘Superman Memory Crystal’. This will make possible for you to store all your valuable digital assets in secure failure proof cloud storage, a place where only you have access.

Once the ‘Superman Memory Crystal’ technology will be available to the general public you will have the chance, if needed, to download all the amazing years of your digital assets you have stored on the cloud or instead delete from there and share your cold memory with the future generations.