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Author: Rayvt Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 121061  
Subject: Re: Dividend Reinvestment - A Tax Nightmare? Date: 7/7/2008 1:41 AM
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The programs to read the data will be obsolete in just a few years time.

That's just rubbish.

While it is true that technology will advance and programs will become obsolete, it's not going to wreck your data. Programs don't go out of existence overnight. There is a shift over time from one program to another. Even if you only visit your data once a year, you'll be able to migrate your data from one platform to another, probably while having access to both the older and newer technology at the same time.


Alas, I know whereof I speak. At my job in software development, upgrades of tools & platforms were a major problem. For example, on one large software project we used Interleaf as our documentation tool. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interleaf Thousands of documents and manuals. As that project finished up, the next project was ramping up. For the new project it was decided to use a different package--FrameMaker. It could not read Interleaf files. After a couple of years and a few hardware upgrades, we no longer had hardware that could run Interleaf. So all that documentation was lost forever. Next project, same story but this time we used Microsoft Word. So now we couldn't read any of our Interleaf *or* FrameMaker documents.

Even in the civilian world, this type of thing happens all the time. Remember all the spreadsheet programs that were around before Excel took over the world?

You also aren't thinking about the personal hardware problem correctly. Got any data on floppy disks? Gone---nothing can read them anymore. At work, we had an entire tape vault with a couple thousand magtapes, of customer systems going back 10 years. After a few hardware & software upgrade iterations, we no longer had the ability to read them.

I can't count the number of time that I have (unexpectedly) upgraded my personal computer---because my old system just flat-out refused to boot up one day.

Got any data on hard drives? When was the last time you backed up your hard drive? I personally have 250GB of important data on a disconnected hard drive on my bookshelf. It used to be in my computer until one day.....click click click "Read error on disk". One hardware glitch and all my data was gone. I still keep the drive for sentimental reasons. Ever once in awhile I plug it in on the off chance that I'll be able to read it and copy my data to a good disk.

Heck, do you even have multiple copies of your important data files in different directories or on different physical disks? A write error when saving a modified file can happen, and if you don't have another copy, you've lost your file. Or even make a silly error and accidently delete an important file, and fail to realise it until days or weeks later when you go to open the file again.

Over a time period of decades, it is quite likely that the law of averages will catch up with you and your data files will get trashed.

Luckily, I keep all my *important* data with pen & paper in a 3-ring binder. But if we ever have a house fire or tornado or flood I'll be SOL, because I don't have an off-site backup. Do you?


Anyway, sorry about the off topic pedantic rant. My major opinion about DRIPs is that they are much ado about almost nothing. The benefits are trivial, and they involve a lot of bookeeping. The game is not worth the candle. ("The returns from an activity or enterprise do not warrant the time, money or effort required.")
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