Computerized lab notebook?

Tom Dulaney dulaney at
Sat Jan 16 21:03:00 EST 1993

  For those of you that seem to be worried about the trustworthiness of 
magnetic media, I'd like to point out an alternative.  WORM drives (write 
once-read many) could provide the longevity you desire.  Though I have no
direct experience with WORM drives, Jerry Pournelle, science fiction author
and contributor to Byte magazine, raves about them fairly regularly.
Evidently, you can set one up to mirror a hard disk.  In this way, all data
written to the disk is copied to the WORM drive more or less simultaneously( 
WORM drives are slower than magnetic drives).  The data written to WORM drive
disk is, according to Dr. Pournell, acceptable as permanent record legally. 
Since DOS time stamps file writes, I suppose those time stamps would be
acceptable as well. The disks are as sturdy as standard compact disks (which,
I would wager, weigh in somewhere above standard paper lab notebooks) and hold
enormous amounts of data.  When you fill up one disk you can remove it to a
safe location and start another.  The biggest drawback seems to be the cost. 
I don't have any figures but my guestimate would be that a WORM drive costs
$1000-$6000 and disks probably $50-$200.  Again, I have no real info on costs,
I just remember the last time I looked at prices (about a year ago) I
determined them to be WAY out of _my_ price range (I'm a grad. student). :)

Tom Dulaney
Dulaney at

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