On Saturday I was on a panel at Boskone on “Dataliths: Digging the idea of the programmer/archaeologist,” along with Vernor Vinge, Charles Stross, Dana Cameron, and Janice Gelb. As you’d expect at a science fiction convention, the discussion got very speculative at times, with ideas like “life recorders” that keep a complete record of each person’s activities and “data diamond” that stores 1’s as carbon-13 atoms and 0’s as carbon-12 atoms. Vinge brought up some interesting ideas about how to provide bootstrapping information for an archive that might be read after the collapse of civilization, and Stross showed he’s quite an expert on computer issues. This was my first opportunity to show off the cover of Files that Last and give out promotional cards at a convention.

The high point for me came later on, when Vinge thanked me for inventing the term “datalith.”

The advance version for people who pledged at the $25 level will be available this week. Those of you who’ve seen the pre-advance version, I’d appreciate it if you could send me any comments on it as soon as you can.