Sunday, January 30, 2011

Storage Devices

I talked about chimney fires a few blogs back.  I've always had a healthy respect for the vulnerability of personal possessions.  Okay, perhaps it is more of a paranoia.  Don't get me wrong, I'm really not all that hung up on material things -- they can all be replaced should I lose them to fire, famine, flood or pestilence.  Well, that may perchance have been a tad poetic, but I think you catch my drift.  The things you really cannot replace are records and photos.  By records, I am not referring to the vinyl disks (the mention of which dates me somewhere in the far reaches of the Dark Ages) but to diaries, journals, letters etc.

important papers and documents

Because I am the keeper of the family history, I always fret what might happen to all the photos, letters and other historical documents, should we ever suffer a fire or any other destructive force hit. 

Photos -- early on, I had colour photocopies made of most of the old photo cards.  I took the originals, put them in plastic, acid-free sleeves and tucked them away in sealed boxes -- my own version of archives.  I then took the coloured photocopies and organized them into photo albums for others to enjoy.
This is my 'yet-to-organize' box
The open binder on the left is the archived photocards.  The second and fourth are refurbished vintage albums and the rest are just plain binders containing all the more recent photos and photocopies of various family lines
Then along came scanning.  Suddenly I was able to take all the pictures and quickly place them on the scanner bed. All the computer had to do was to collect the data and save the photos in a digital format as jpeg folders.  These files, initially were huge (well really they still are, but storage device capacities have expanded exponentially since), so the most precious, I saved to 3" floppy disks and stored them in boxes out in the garage.

 I was just going through my 3" floppies the other day (yes box after box) and decided that this technology is obsolete, by about three generations.  Let's see, there were rewriteable CD's that you burned (that phrase always worried me) data to.  Then there were jump drives or thumb drives or flash drives or memory sticks, depending on which hamlet you heralded from.  I guess you could throw your Blackberry or IPOD into this mix as well, if you were young and upwardly mobile.  Since I really qualify as neither, I did decide to leap ahead just one small step. I went out and bought myself a couple of 4 mgb thumb drives (two 4's were cheaper than one 8!) and transferred everything over onto something smaller than a bread box. Now the issue will be, not to lose or misplace something so tiny.

Evolution of storage systems - what's next?

The next storage venue, that I'm hearing murmurings over, is on-line.  I gather this is a system, where you upload or download (depending on the direction you are standing and which way the wind is blowing) all your valuable files to a remote cyber bank, pay a monthly or yearly fee, and your files are stored for perpetuity, or until you forget to pay your perpetual care fund.  At this point, I guess they'll be assigned to cyber-purgatory, doomed forever to be analogue flotsam and jetsam.

So because I'm frugal, I don't see that option becoming reality for me in the near future, so it is back to the thumb drive storage with the back up files on my computer.  Now if I could just remember where I put them.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.


  1. I know where you put them: in the fire-safe with your birth certificates and will.


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