Friday, May 27, 2011

If only our brains came with a memory chip...

A question I get asked again and again is - 'What is the ultimate format to store digital photographs and files on?' Unfortunately there is no pat answer to that. The technology hasn't been invented yet that won't go obsolete in a few years and while that doesn't bode well with our plans for organizing and preserving our personal archives for posterity in one swift, effortless swoop, the good news is that there's always a bridge.

The photographs of my parents that began with their honeymoon were Polaroid. There were many that were black and white. Then came color. Then matte and glossy. Then they turned digital. Today, one can even store 30-40 digital photographs on a keychain the size of a folded dollar bill. When the trend began to move toward digital, my father invested in a scanner the size of a coffee table - maybe even a little bigger. First we stored them on floppy disks. Then came CDs and DVDs. Today the scanners themselves are compact, with a processing time of less than half that it took six years ago.

The question was posed to me again at a recent presentation in Round Rock, TX - what is the next big thing and how can we stay a step ahead. I gave the most honest answer I could - there's no knowing what the next thing is going to be. Or the one after it. Maybe it will be 3-D holograms. Maybe our memories will be digitized and stored in our brain's archive the moment they take place. Maybe human beings will have chips implanted in our minds. Who is to say? What is reassuring is that there is always a technological bridge that enables the continuation of our archives. From paper to digital and then who knows what.

The real question is - will we take the time to do the transfer? Till recently, my own family was guilty of hoarding home movies on VCR cassettes. And I bet you anything there are young adults today who have never seen one! It took the dedication and single-minded focus of my husband to transfer those home videos onto DVDS, and then also store a copy online... just in case!

It seemed like an intimidating and impossible task before we sat down to tackle it, but after a few evenings over a few days, we now had digital legacies of his childhood, and with that, all the crazy things little boys do when they're growing up. Climbing on to the roof of the house, imaginary sword fights, terrorizing innocent cats on the prowl... the most endearing part was watching my husband's mother watch these videos for the first time in 25 years. "You did that?"

It's a wonder how little boys survive their childhoods to become men.


No comments:

Post a Comment