Keep your digital memories safe

Photo on a tripod, facing sunset

How many digital memories have you made in your life? Just how much is there jamming your phone, your tablet, your laptop, your computer, your hard drives? How crammed are they really?

So the question, the real question, is what do you plan on doing with it? Another question here is how are you looking after it? There is little as transient as the digital environment where nothing is guaranteed.

The printed page, your precious words, are safe from most things if you keep it in a drawer. Fire, water and bugs are the greatest threats so if you can avoid those problems, you’re pretty much guaranteed your scribblings will last until the ink fades.

The same can be said for old photographs and paintings as well. Some basic care and caution is all that’s required to keep them in decent shape, even if not pristine. What of digital files though?

First of all, where are your digital images from a decade ago? What of 20 years ago? The files stored on stiffy disks, then those on CD and DVD, what about hard drives, does the device still work, is it still readable and if it is, do you even have software still capable of accessing it?

Then there’s the question of backups, for those times a storage device might fail, where do you keep yours? Put a second drive in your computer, there’s no guarantee it will survive whatever happens to the first one. Put it in a removable drive and that’s no better, what about a server? That’s still on a hard drive, so two copies isn’t enough – but is three? SD cards are equally vulnerable and then you’ve got to consider that backups at the same location as your original document are also a problem in cases of fire or theft.

We haven’t even covered the topic of organisation yet. Do you even know where your images are located? I’ve always been reasonably organised with my files, but have recently had cause to work on one of my servers as it was due for some maintenance. There are photos everywhere! From data recovery sessions and duplicates folders from reinstalling operating systems, things have gotten quite confused.

It gets complex, trying to hang on to your digital memories, and it requires a level of planning and preparedness that isn’t immediately obvious – until you need something or lose something.

Spare your digital files a thought and put a plan in place – even if it is just getting a free account with an online storage service for the most important.

On a final note, Dubbin is a popular way of keeping leather waterproof, while also maintaing its suppleness to prevent cracking. It has been used for this purpose for a long time, since medieval times to be precise. Dubbin is beeswax, fish oil and lard, in some variations also mink oil. Dubbin gets its name from the action “dubbing” which is “applying wax to leather”.

Author: Morné Condon

Automotive journalist in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, following new models, old cars, car clubs and motorsport. My interests are not restricted to the automotive environment, although this is where I am mostly to be found.

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