everhack Stuff I've been messing with, or just thinking about.

30Sep/130

The Impending Digital Photo Apocalyse

poof

The impending "digital photograph apocalypse" that I've been anticipating since 2003.. Googling the subject you can find articles and blog posts every year since then warning about it (but not many).

(see archiving, digital vs. film)

As digital photography displaces film photography, while at the same time bitrot and lax backup strategies slowly and quietly destroy those precious zillions of photos of cats, delicious meals-about-to-be-eaten, and Kayden/Aidan/Kieran's first tentative finger paintings in poo.

People will one day wake up and realize it's all gone.

Their CD-Rs tossed in a shoebox don't read anymore..

that new computer doesn't support that old Photo-CD format,

The budget online backup service got bought by some startup and then went bankrupt two weeks later after the CFO stole all the money and went AWOL...

Just check out the lengths a small dedicated team from NASA had to go to recover some early lunar orbiter tapes: Lunar Orbiter data recovery

Those boxes of film negatives? Just fine unless they got mildew on them.

It hasn't happened on any large scale yet, but as the transition slider moves ever further into the "all digital" realm and we get more and more casual with our terabytes of data, the risk rises ever higher in my opinion.

It seems so obvious to me that a high speed, high quality consumer grade film recorder, and accompanying "cloud to film" backup provider would make a mint.

Go ahead, search eBay for any such thing. All you'll find are machines that are ten years old or more older, with SCSI interfaces and software that's no longer available or supported on modern OS's.

The services out there (if you can find them) are ridiculously expensive. ($2.50-$4 PER IMAGE!!)

What if you could designate a particular folder in your Carbonite or Amazon or Backblaze backup as "backup to film and mail me the negatives for 0.10 a shot?" (see Pro Photo Connection) - ironically, this works out even cheaper than doing it yourself (my back of the envelope calculation works out to about 0.12 cents per exposure...)

Or have a nice desktop unit that you drop a roll of film in, push "print" and within 30 minutes (or better yet, 30 seconds), have 32 exposures safely ready to send out for development. Very affordable if you don't bother getting them printed, or maybe just a contact sheet.

Then again.. I suppose all of this requires a little planning and forethought, and if you had the benefit of those things maybe you wouldn't be one of those unlucky millions of people facing the "digital photo apocalypse" to start with.

🙂

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