Have you ever tried moving a large 20GB file from one computer to another without a network-attached storage drive? It’s a painful, slow process with a substantial chance of failure. Also, seeing a Windows or Mac computer progress bar estimate that it’s going to take a little over a year to finish the data transfer doesn’t exactly help.
The earliest recorded evidence of migration of data from one media format to another goes back to ancient Greece, when shortages of papyrus forced the Greeks to seek an alternative medium, in this case parchment, which in addition to being both readily available and inexpensive, was far more durable than papyrus.
The most common file formats used today for photographic applications include JPEG, TIFF, DNG and an assortment of proprietary RAW formats. There are others including PNG, GIF, BMP, PSD, PSP and a few more, but for archiving purposes it’s more sensible to stick with JPEG, TIFF, DNG and RAW.
Your choice of storage media is an equally important part of the archiving-process equation, and here too there are choices to be made. Among the options currently available are CDs/DVDs, portable hard drives, larger-capacity flash drives, RAID systems, and your computer’s hard drive, which should be viewed as a short-term solution.
The first three chapters of this series had to do with storing and archiving digital image files, which aside from a collection of electronic “ones,” “zeros” and whatever form of storage device they’re housed in, are intangible. You can’t pick them up in your hands, feel their surface textures, or hang them on the wall.
Ordinary people can use ordinary flash drives. But those involved in infantry, demolition, deep sea diving, espionage, smash-up derby, ultimate fighting and other rough-and-tumble activities will want a more rugged flash drive. It can’t hurt if the drive holds 64GB, either. Of course, anyone who likes cool gadgets will find the LaCie XtremKey appealing.
There are many ways to back up a computer, and lots of devices for this purpose. Most such devices are a nuisance for mobile users because they add to the bulk and weight of everything that has to be kept in tow. But Lexar’s new backup solution for netbook and notebook computers is no bigger than your thumb nail.
How things as mundane as backup drives became objects of desire says as much about sleek design as the value we place in digital storage. Under the glossy black finish of HP’s SimpleSave hard drives – two portable and three desktop models – sits the stuff we care about: our documents, photos, videos, music, and more. They may be copies of files, but we’ve learned – sometimes the hard way – that there’s safety in redundancy.