Photos to paper
Posted by isilanes on August 21, 2006
Today I walked by a photograph development shop, and was struck by an ad they had showing:
Watch out for viruses! Put your digital photos to on paper, lest you lose them to computer failures.
Now, with the advance in popularity of digital photography, it is evident that development shops need to find (or invent) new incentives for attracting fleeing customers, who make do with watching their pics on the computer screen.
However, I think they miss the shot here (see the pun?), and for two reasons:
Paper is a bad format
Hard disks can fail, and digital contents (e.g. pictures), can be lost. However, putting them on paper is hardly a solution. The convenience, comfort and flexibility given by a digital format can not be matched by a paper copy. What if I want to manipulate a picture (say, with the GIMP)? What if I want to send a copy to a friend by e-mail? What if I want to make an arbitrary number of copies for free and with no quality loss?
One could argue that paper is indeed good in some cases, e.g. if we want to be able to watch the pics without turning the computer on. But then, those reasons should be called upon to suport the development shops, not the backup excuse!
Viruses don’t ruin digital content
OK, this is not completely true. With MS Windows, viruses can damage the contents of your hard disk. However, that poor excuse of an OS is hardly the only OS out there, and most others (all others?) are impervious to viruses. Taking care of potential (eventual?) errors in that lame plataform is like putting an airbag in your car because it doesn’t have brakes. Well, yes, the airbag is great (and would be a great improvement, even in a car with brakes), but who in her right mind would drive a car without brakes in first place, for god’s sake!?
Anyway, as mentioned above, hard disks do fail, regardless of the OS they run under, so some backup is highly desirable, that’s true. It just turns out that paper is not suitable for such a task.
The way to go is, obviously, backing up your photos (or whatever) into other digital media, such as another hard disk, a CD, a DVD, etc. No virus or critical error of my stupid OS can delete the photos in a CD sitting on a shelf. The CD can wear out and fail, but it would be too big a coincidence to have it happen the same day your hard disk is also damaged by your (if you use Windows) or your computer’s (if the HD wears out) error.
And if you are paranoid, just make TWO CD backups.