What am I doing?

Last week I purchased a new memory card for my camera. This is a 2Gb card and is my third (fourth if you include the one that came with the camera).

For some reason, I got it in my head to simply buy new memory cards when the old ones fill up (it is one way of keeping backups - aside from the ones on the hard disk). My reasoning is simple - the cost per shot, is cheaper than film. At a maximum resolution of 3.1 megapixels, I get about 2500 shots on a 2Gb card. At $70 for the card, this works out to 2.8 cents per image. Even if I buy film from the dollar store (which I have, but stopped because the film has sometimes been exposed to light), it works out to 4.2 cents per image (or 25 cents per image if you include processing costs of $4.99 per roll). Never mind that I can eliminate bad photos from the memory, but cannot retake poor film shots.

As I slipped into the driver's seat and laid my purchase down on the passenger seat, I had one of those "What am I doing?" moments. Unless my hard drive crashes, I am not going to review those memory cards. They will just sit in my drawer, aging, eventually becoming obsolete (like my 5-1/4 and 3-1/2 inch diskettes, my 5Mb tape backup system, and any number of obsolete bits of computer hardware).

Image nabbed from here.


I know someone who does this and it surprised me too. Could you not store My Pictures files on a memory stick? My niece gave me one and I have yet to figure out how to use it. We have a few files on disc because you can also view them on a tv screen but the quality is not great...kind of grainy. I have not had too many prints made from my digital.
You could create a photo blog for special pics I suppose and that would be a bit of a backup, albeit just for the excellent ones.

I have a memory card that just holds 16 pics which is perfect for downloading a few for blogging.
Ulysses said…
If you're going to buy stuff like that, why not go big? Buy yourself an external hard drive to back up your hard drive. That way, when it goes obsolete you can lose everything all at once and in one place instead of in cards scattered hither and yon.
Richard said…
MOI: I am glad to hear I am not the only one who does this. Sure, I could save it on a memory stick, but it is just trading one form of memory for another. I find I take a more pictures now with the digital camera (I used to take a lot with the film camera too) since I can erase the truly awful ones. The memory card that came with my camera was 16Mb and could hold 17 or 18 photos. Sofia complains that there are so many photos yet to be organized in albums.

ulysses: I do have a 300Gb external drive I use for backups and notice that there are now 1Tb external drives available. All told, I have a bout 800Gb of active storage right now (and a lot of that is free space). I also have a large number of older hard drives that I should probably turn into clocks or other artistic works (after all, who is going to use a 1.2Gb drive or worse yet, a 20Mb MFM drive?).
Barbara said…
I have serious concerns about how any photos will be preserved for future generations. We seldom print pictures and put them in albums any longer. No one going through our things is going to think seriously about loading up memory cards and selectively saving photos. What's the solution?
Richard said…
barbara: you know very well the problems with long term data storage. I still print out my pictures. Though I do have a backlog of a 1000 or so to still print. I find the self serve kiosks are fine for printing pictures if you only have a few of them, but when you start printing hundreds, it really bogs down.

Paper is still the best option (in my opinion). However, the Internet is also a good place to store stuff - so long as privacy is not an issue. There is no way data is being purged from all the servers, because I am pretty sure everything is backed up (for redundancy and fault tolerance) and when they migrate to better servers, they just copy all the old stuff along (that is what I do whenever I get a bigger hard drive - I create a folder called C-Drive and copy my old C-Drive into it. So I have C-Drive folders nesting back several hard drives).

Even with Google, Microsoft and Yahoo saying they will purge search records after 18 months, I don't believe it. I don't think it can be done - there will always be some backup somewhere.
b said…
ah, technology. i know...sometimes i find myself going about doing things a certain way and then realize that there is now an easier way that i've been overlooking for quite some time.

as much as i enjoy and appreciate technology, i try not to get too invested in it. but as i look around at my laptop, my desktop, my cell phone, flash drives, iPod, etc....i realize i already am!
Richard said…
breal: I can do without technology, it is my books I have more trouble parting with. Yo know how there are crazy old cat ladies? I am probably going to be some crazy old book guy.
b said…
haha. yes, the scary image of the single woman alone with her dozens of cats! fortunately i don't care for cats.

i too will be the old lady with her books. as much as i like my beautiful iMac and enjoy my fun little iPod...i could part with those, especially as i get older. but never refuse me my books. and what a great way to end one's life...in the company of wisdom that you can more deeply relate to and appreciate.

to keep it exciting though, maybe we should go for eccentricity in our old book age. i could see you with a strange bird as a pet...always sitting on your shoulder as you read, with a mocking expression on its face. :)

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