Photography Article Background

Technology – History & Today

Yesterday’s technology

When Mike, a good friend of mine, handed me an article about technology and it’s past it really struck a chord with me.  The article  talked about how some of our old technology that we may have used many years ago, is not relevant or even available today.  Let’s take a look at some of these (clearly my age is going to be a dead give away when you see the list):

  • VHS tapes
  • Betamax tapes
  • Casette tapes
  • 8 track tapes
  • Super 8 video
  • Slides
  • Kodak or Fuji film
  • 33’s LP albums (google it if you must)

What is the issue with this?  It’s the very fact that there is media of some sort stored on these mediums that could potentially be lost forever.  The reason this really struck a chord for me is because I’m in the final stages of sorting, selling, packing and pitching items from my home as Jackie and I are off on a multi-year adventure and have sold our house.  During the sorting stage I found several VHS & camcorder tapes that were stored in a box.  I said whatever is on these tapes we’ll likely want to keep.  So luckily I had devices that could read these tapes and I started on a multi-hour project of downloading all the video and music onto my Mac Pro.

BUT, what if I didn’t have the original camcorder anymore, or access to a VHS tape deck.  Would these hours of video be lost forever?  Worse yet, what if I did have devices that could read the media but the aging process of the media itself made it useless due to cracking or the brittle nature of the low humidity environment I live in.  Luckily for me I was able to retrieve all the video amounting to multiple Gigs of video on my computer.

The next stage is to make a visit to my parents as I know they have multiple hours of Super 8 video film exposed and getting old and brittle while sitting in a closet somewhere I’m sure.

Today’s Technology

We still use Compact Disks (CD’s) and BlueRay disks to store media (music, video, & pictures) but these too will have an end date.  Do you have a backup plan for the technology you currently use?  While I was able to download multiple hours of video from VHS and camcorder tapes what do I do to ensure its long term viability?  Today, it is current while it sits on my hard drive, but what is the life of a typical hard drive.  What about the software solution that I’m using to view the video.  Will iMovie or Final Cut be around in 10 years time from now?  What about the various formats current in use? (.MOV, MPG4, WMV, JPG, TIF, CR2, NEF, etc.)  Will these formats still exist in 10 years, or how about after we have died and our children are digging through our possessions and find them?

Do you have a technology transition plan?  Do you keep current in all your software and ensure all your media is updated to the most current version, the most current media format?

Something to think about… keep current and keeping your historical archives of media current can be a chore but worth the effort to ensure it isn’t lost due to the progression of technology.

~RoTP team



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