At one point I read there was the concern that a black hole could lose bits of information. Then a theory arose that showed that all the bits in a black hole were to be found on the surface of the black hole. Thus if there were let's say 1000 particles in a black hole each of which could be described by 3 states, the surface of the black hole would have all the bits that this counted up to so that information bits could never be lost. What is not clear to me is how is it that the surface has anything other than the total number of bits of information - it has no detail on them. It seems to me that if I had a spreadsheet for the 1000 particles in the black hole and all their states at an instant in time and it occupied x number of cells - each cell being a bit - that the surface might tell me I had x bits but I don't see how that would tell me very much about how they bits were arranged. So if I had information about each particle in the black hole, it's position and momentum - 3 bits - the surface would tell me I had 3000 bits of information in the black hole but not anything about what those were - what particles, what positions, what momenta. It seems to me that something has been lost in translation. If anybody can clear this up, where I might be on the wrong track it would be appreciated.