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Old Nov 17, 2012, 12:51 PM   #1
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Default The Meaning in a Drawer Full of Old Family Snapshots

I've been back online for close to a week now, my cyber activities having been curtailed - nay, halted - by Hurricane Sandy. We were lucky enough to have sustained no damage to our home (we're about 20 miles from the beach) but we were without power, Internet and cell service for about a week. But Sandy's effects here on the Jersey Shore allowed at least one New York Times reporter to make some observations about photo prints and their role in our culture. From today's (November 17, 2012) edition, the Business Day section:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/17/yo...l?ref=business
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 1:08 PM   #2
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Not only will there be a problem finding the digital images there will be a problem reading the files as CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, JPEG, TIFF, PDF may no longer be supported in the future. Contrast that to century old negatives that can still be scanned and printed.
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 2:07 PM   #3
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While there may be changes in physical media, and migration to new formats, the trend of computing has been to preserve old formats. It's easy to to, as things advance, memory becomes cheaper, and that is really all it takes. My BD player can play all the formats my earlier DVD player could, which could also play everything my CD player can. Take a look at (for example) Irfanview's list of supported formats - it keeps growing. No need to drop support for something that is already there.
Biggest problem I foresee with digital is that people will forget that the charge on solid state memory needs refreshing, and that burned discs don't last forever.

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Old Nov 17, 2012, 2:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VTphotog View Post
While there may be changes in physical media, and migration to new formats, the trend of computing has been to preserve old formats.

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Unfortunately this has not always been the case. There are horror stories about computer backup up media that is unreadable because the drives to read it no longer exist, can't be connected, or the software to read it doesn't run on current hardware.

For example, Current PCS don't come with floppy drives any more, either 5 1/4" or 3 1/2". If you have files on that media you could be scrambling.
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 3:14 PM   #5
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I do, but I also have the drives to read them, though they have also been backed up to HDD. I Can play 78 RPM records, too. As I get time, I have been migrating my analog music to digital, but will still have the equipment for it. I don't have drives for 8" floppies, but wouldn't have much trouble locating someone who does. A simple dongle can be used to access the older style parallel ATA drives for reading via USB. There are businesses which specialize in converting older digital tapes.
Looking at an older computer, it seems I can copy everything on it to one small partition on a newer hard disc, which I will likely do fairly soon, and then be able to boot from that OS and use it as I would the older computer. The way storage is growing, there is really no need to discard anything digital. (at least until we have used up all the bytes in the universe - then we're in trouble)

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Old Nov 18, 2012, 3:42 AM   #6
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Negatives and prints degrade over a period of 50-100 years. Slide film a lot faster. Leave a kodachrome in the sun for 8 hours for example.

All the people who had ,their files stored on Amazon S3 or Flickr lost none of them in Sandy, and how well do you think a drawer full of slides stands up to salt water?

Digital media can be destroyed just as easily, but it has one key advantage, it can be copied easily and cheaply without damaging the original.

Subscribing to cloud services gives you massive redundancy and effectively unlimited lifetime, BUT you have to keep on paying. Digital has the potential to last to the end of the human race, but it is more complex and requires more management.
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Old Nov 18, 2012, 9:52 AM   #7
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For me, the article and this discussion are a reminder to not put all my eggs in one basket when it comes to my photos. While I have some on CDs, DVDs and hard drives, I should investigate using a photo website as well. I also really need to print more (but not all) of my favorites - even if only at the local Target or drug store.

If something happens to me, many of the luddites (young and old) in my family will have no idea where to look or how to retrieve most of my digital images. I suspect most wouldn't even bother - even if they would likely be delighted by what they might find.

As an aside, while this won't solve the problem of changing digital formats or the need to migrate one's images periodically, here's one source of discs that promises to eliminate the fear of corrupted or failed CDs and DVDs in the short-to-medium term:

http://www.mam-a.com/

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Old Nov 18, 2012, 11:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post

Digital media can be destroyed just as easily, but it has one key advantage, it can be copied easily and cheaply without damaging the original.

Subscribing to cloud services gives you massive redundancy and effectively unlimited lifetime, BUT you have to keep on paying. Digital has the potential to last to the end of the human race, but it is more complex and requires more management.
Potential, yes, but cloud storage isn't foolproof either. Some sites have gone suddenly out of business, and some, like Megaupload have been taken down. Anyone who hadn't backed up elsewhere, lost data.
I feel the answer is redundancy and migration to new media periodically.

brian

edit: Of course I don't keep up with things as much as I should. My attitude is a lot more laissez faire. I also think that keeping every picture I ever took is actually going to be counterproductive, as no one is going to want to go through them all. I start out by taking very few pictures, then cull, then cull again. I hope I can leave a manageable number that someone will actually look at, rather than just dump.

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Last edited by VTphotog; Nov 18, 2012 at 5:20 PM.
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Old Nov 18, 2012, 4:31 PM   #9
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i started off by scanning all my photos onto CD's then any new ones i also burned onto CD's. when DVD arrived a i copied all my photos from CD to DVD and now i use blurays, but i still keep the original dvds and cds as well.
i also have 3 harddrives with copies of my photos
one tip i can give to people is something i do, i give copies of my disks to relatives, just in case, oh and i also have my really old photos stored online at various free cloud storage sites, however a word of warnig about these sites, i hadnt used a site for ages and when i logged in was surprissed to see all my pictures gone, i contacted them and they could not give me an explanation as to why it was empty.
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Old Nov 18, 2012, 8:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazuya View Post
i started off by scanning all my photos onto CD's then any new ones i also burned onto CD's. when DVD arrived a i copied all my photos from CD to DVD and now i use blurays, but i still keep the original dvds and cds as well.
i also have 3 harddrives with copies of my photos
one tip i can give to people is something i do, i give copies of my disks to relatives, just in case, oh and i also have my really old photos stored online at various free cloud storage sites, however a word of warnig about these sites, i hadnt used a site for ages and when i logged in was surprissed to see all my pictures gone, i contacted them and they could not give me an explanation as to why it was empty.
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You're not the first to report such experiences and it's a shame. That's why it's good to use all of the storage resources available to you: CDs, DVDs, hard drives, cloud storage and hard prints.
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