Originally posted on 1-22-2011
I want to point out something you might not have thought about. What’s going to happen to all your digital stuff after you leave this world? As much as I love computers, electronics and saving paper I wonder about what will happen to all the stuff that I have created after I’m gone.
We know paper with information can be around for hundreds of years, electronic version can be gone in an instant. What I’m thinking here is that you can go into an attic and find news paper clippings, pictures maybe a diary etc. that your grandparents left behind and see what it was like back then. But what about now for us or our kids? Everything is digital or going digital. How will future generations of our kids be able to look at what we did, how we felt and what pictures we took?
Lets take a look at digital storage. Remember the floppy disk? Right now it’s hard to buy a computer with a floppy drive what about in 10 or 20 years? If you had left behind floppy disks with pictures and a journal how are our grand kids going to look at them, they probably wont even know what it is when they see the floppy. OK, what about CD or DVD disc? That will go end up the same way as floppy. You can see where this is going, no matter what medium you put it on it will, over a short period of time, become obsolete and probably no way to read it. Plus you have to keep moving the stuff from the old medium onto new one. Another question is how long will keep the data before it degrades beyond readability?
What about online storage? Do you seriously believe that a online storage company is going to be around for any long period of time? Maybe you’ve uploaded family pictures to MySpace and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be around too much longer. Do you think Flickr will keep your pictures decades after your gone, if the company is still around?
What about the family tree that you have been working on, is it in a proprietary format that only that program can read? There is a very good chance that program will not be around decades after your gone.
Digital is great, we can take tons of pictures very cheaply and easily and no waiting to get it developed. It can be quickly copied and sent or distributed quickly and easily. But it has a big downside as well, if you don’t have several copies in different location you can loose it all, or a good chunk of it, in an instant. Your hard drive could crash taking all the pictures you moved off your camera with it, gone forever. You have pictures on your camera, on your cell phone, computer(s), Facebook, Flickr and where ever else. What picture is where? Since it’s so easy to take pictures and copy them and move them it’s easy to get lost or keep track off. Maybe your selling an old computer and forgot that you had pictures you needed off there before you went and reformatted the hard drive. Digital also saves a lot of paper, you don’t need use a single sheet of paper, which saves trees, to share a picture or even be in the same physical location with the person your sharing it with. I rarely print anything anymore and try not to. For personal use I might have printing 4 pages in the last several years and at work maybe 20 pages in the last year.
All this digital information, where will it be in 50 years? In silicon heaven. Right now you might not care if anyone see your pictures, journals and what have you, but imagine what it would be like to read what your great-grandfather thought about something or what it was like during his life or a picture from that time period. It’s more important to us when it is relative instead of a stranger and it provides a connection to the past.
Paper doesn’t require any special device to be read or looked at, other than your eyes. You don’t have to worry if it can be read 50 years from now.
We have at our means to supply future generations of what it was like during our life-like never before. Pictures, videos and blogs can be produced at ridiculously low price. Our parents had to pay for film and then pay for processing and not being sure how the pictures turned out until they got them back. They spent $3 or $4 dollars for the roll and get 12 or 24 pictures for another $9 printed (been a long time don’t remember the exact prices). Now you can take hundreds of photos and see them right away, all for the price of batteries or recharging the battery. Same goes for video, they used film and didn’t even have sound. Now we have small devices, color and sound for the same low-cost. Since cost and time is not an issue we generate many magnitudes more than our parents did.
How great would it be to hear from someone who actually worked on constructing the Pyramid, better yet a video of it being worked on? It’s nice to speculate and think about how or why it was done, hearing and or seeing how it was actually done, priceless. Someone might not take the time to write down their thoughts but it’s easy to pick up a device and do a quick vlog about something.
Create a scrap-book, print out your blogs and print those pictures for future generation to see, imagine, marvel and laugh at. It will be around a lot longer than the electronic media will be. Keep both. If you have a Mac, it is really easy to have a book printed with your pictures. It’s is hard bound and professionally produced. Something our parents could never do
As for video, all I can say is transfer to the latest medium that comes out. You might have to convert it to a different format as well. One day they may come out with something that will be around for a long time.