When was the last time you looked through an old, physical photo album. More importantly, when was the last time you put one together? Has your reliance on digital devices made you neglect protecting your memories? If you’re not still in the habit of printing your photos then you should really consider putting together a good data backup plan.
The other day I dug up some old family photo albums that I haven’t looked through in years. It was so much fun reliving my childhood growing up in Levittown. I forgot what a great time the playground at the McDonalds on U.S. 13 by Haines Road was. I remember climbing inside of a hamburger. I remember that the ground itself was, basically, a paper-thin carpet on top of questionable concrete. I started thinking what a safety hazard that place would be considered today. Then I started realizing how lucky I was to have these pictures to stroll memory lane with.
Before the digital age, our film was developed and printed. How patient we must have been! Back then there was more discipline to it. It seemed more important. Now, it’s so quick and easy it’s almost an afterthought. In our family there’s a clear and distinct cut off from when we stopped assembling physical albums that lines up perfectly with the dawn of the digital era. Where have all the digital photos we’ve taken over the years gone? Some have ended up on Facebook or Flickr. Some are lost in some distant cloud. Some disappear when we upgrade our technology. They’re rarely all together for a good, sit-down viewing.
So, how do we make sure that today’s toddlers have a way of looking back and recalling their distant memories of St. Mike’s fair? First of all, store them all in one place. With all the different picture taking devices that we wield, it’s easy to lose track of our memories. Keeping them all together on a central computer or, better yet, an external hard drive makes them easier to view and backup.
Speaking of backup, if you’re storing digitally, make sure to have more than one copy of your picture data. A famous computer scientist once said, “There are two types of hard drives; drives that have failed and drives that have yet to fail.” I once worked as a computer technician and nothing saddened me more than witnessing a client lose everything because they neglected to backup their data. That hurts! Making a redundant backup of your photos to a second hard drive is a great start! Even better if you keep the second drive in a different location. A great solution for this is to open an account on dropbox.com or carbonite.com. They’ll backup your data (often for free up to a certain GB limit) off-site where you can retrieve it anytime.
Finally, barring a fire or defective prints, having your pictures developed and put into an album still seems like the best way to preserve your memories. It’s a tried and true method that has been working for decades. If it wasn’t for the careful storage of vintage photos we might not have as many pictures of gems like the Levittown Shop-A-Rama or the LPRA. Take care of those precious images! It might not seem like it now but, in thirty years, looking back at the birth of the Levittown Town Center will be a great nostalgic trip.