Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baby Boomers and the Scourge of Bit Rot

Here's another reason to miss us Baby Boomers when we cash in our chips (assuming we can ever afford to) and move to retirement haciendas in Central America: Bit rot.

Bit rot is akin to the Y2K problem in that it describes a ubiquitous problem lurking in legacy software systems. According to Gary Beach writing for, the computing term describes either gradual decay of storage media or the spontaneous degradation of a software program over time. "Millions of lines of legacy code that have operated smoothly for decades and then one day just don't work. Often this happens because obscure, latent code embedded deep within a strategically important legacy application doesn't play nice with new software you are installing."

These problems can be dealt with as long as the Baby Boomers, who mastered fusty old programming languages like Unix, Cobol and Basic, stick around. But when they're gone, there could be hell to pay. Companies that fail to take preventive action could see their IT infrastructure fall apart "bit by bit."

If Boomers with antiquated programming skills decide they can't afford to retire, bit rot may be the key to their continued employability... Or better yet, maybe they can sit by their tropical seaside pools in Nicaragua (See "Retirement Bliss for Retiring Lefties") and hire themselves out by the hour.
(Photo credit: AMD.)

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Valuable Insights into the Hearts, Minds and Wallets of Today's Baby Boomers

This blog is by the authors of Boomer Consumer: Ten New Rules for Marketing to America's Largest, Wealthiest and Most Influential Group, on sale now.

Here is where you'll find information referenced in the book, as well as updates, news and perspectives from Matt Thornhill and John Martin, founders of the Boomer Project.