Sure, digital storage is great — barring disk errors and armageddon, all of your files will stay pristine forever. On the other hand, there's something really special about the look and feel of an old photograph, and a new IBM patent application details a system that might offer the best of both worlds – an “aging file system” that could conceivably make prints of all of your 20-year old digital photos automatically look 20 years old.

The patent application covers a file system that would maintain “aged original files” that could visibly deteriorate over time, along with the original files. Management of the aging process would take place behind the scenes, without the need for a separate application, and copies (such as photographic prints) would look as old as the files they were based on. Personally, we can't say we've ever felt our image and document files looked too new, but check back with us in 20 years.