Paperback is Fascinating, Exciting, and Funnily Funny

I just learned about Paperback (Paperbak?), an open-source (GPLv3) program by Michael Mohr for producing paper-based backups of files at (apparently) 500KB to 3MB per sheet of paper. It turns a file such as this:  into a series of images like this: Backup Image 1 Backup Image 2 And you can print those images. Paperback will allow you to scan the printed files later. From those scans, it will then reconstruct the original file.

Every person to whom I’ve shown this so far has laughed, possibly because the idea is so novel it’s startling. For small but important files, however (pre-encrypted notable correspondence, or binary files of password stores such as from KeePass, perhaps), this seems potentially very helpful for good data management planning. I’ve tested it, and it works (although Paperback is finicky about the .bmp files that it will accept — I was not able to get ImageMagick working to convert a .jpg from a scanner to .bmp, nor GIMP, but rather found that images saved from Eye of Gnome were all that I found would work. I’m working to figure out why.

The source code and Windows .exe file can be downloaded from the website above. Paperback v1.10 (the current version, as of this writing) works perfectly with Wine in Linux At least in openSUSE 13.1 with Wine 1.7.2 — just run wine /path/to/Paperback.exe from a Linux terminal. A neat tool!