Sit down. Relax. Take a deep breath. You are about to hear something that is sure to annoy you.

According to Natalie Ceeney, the chief executive of the UK National Archives, there is a "ticking time bomb" about to explode due to ever-changing digital file formats. Basically, in a few years time we won't be able to open most of the old files that hold all sorts of useful data that we and future historians will want to look at to understand our age.

Ceeney says society faces the possibility of "losing years of critical knowledge" because today's PCs can't always open old file formats.

This is worrying, but hardly annoying... until you learn that she was speaking at the launch of a partnership with Microsoft to ensure the Archives can read old formats.

Yes, Microsoft - which for years has been locking users out of old formats with its dazzling ranges of new formats to 'encourage' us to upgrade to its latest versions.

Microsoft's UK head Gordon Frazer even had the gall to warn of a looming "digital dark age".

"Unless more work is done to ensure legacy file formats can be read and edited in the future, we face a digital dark hole," he told the BBC.

We agree, Mr Frazer. Next we'd like to hear how all future Microsoft software will be backwards compatible with everything that preceeded it.

(More worrying, was Ceeney's desire for digital information to "be as resilient as paper"...)

Next week, listen as Apple CEO Steve Jobs demands that legal downloads should play on any MP3 player.