Sunday, November 11, 2012

Take a picture

Geek Alert Begins here: Digitizing or digitization is the representation of an object, image, sound, document or a signal (usually an analog signal) by a discrete set of its points or samples. The result is called digital representation or, more specifically, a digital image, for the object, and digital form, for the signal. Strictly speaking, digitizing means simply capturing an analog signal in digital form. For a document the term means to trace the document image or capture the "corners" where the lines end or change direction. A digital camera is a camera that takes video or still photographs by recording images on an electronic image sensor. Most cameras sold today are digital, and digital cameras are incorporated into many devices ranging from PDAs and mobile phones(called camera phones) to vehicles. <End of Geek Alert>

Google eBook - Image Scanned from Paper Book Original

Hurricane Sandy devastated the Northeast. As of this blog post, there are still areas of New York without power. Lives were lost. The damage from Sandy might exceed $50 Billion. Is climate change real? Is this a trend?

When people are interviewed standing among the rubble of Hurricane Sandy’s damage, there is one theme that is common. What was lost that can never be replaced? What is the one loss that is the most avoidable?

We lost our pictures. We lost our documents. We lost our memories.

Buildings can be rebuilt. Cars can be replaced. Even the most serious physical damage can be addressed. But the one thing that cannot be replaced, the thing that no amount of money can repair, the thing that even the most comprehensive insurance policy cannot possibly cover is ironically the most avoidable.

Every photo, every document, every slide, every video can be digitized. Baby Pictures. College Diplomas. Birthday Party Photos. Wedding Photos. Little League Game Trophies. Class Pictures. All of the things that were hung on the refrigerator in the kitchen could be (and should be) digitized.

 Who has a calendar hanging somewhere in their kitchen? Each month, use a cell phone and take a picture. Capture those 30 days of memories. What did that take, four seconds? That one photo will trigger a flood of memories.

We live in a digital world. Paper books are constantly being replaced by eBooks. “Physical” assets are constantly being replaced by digital copies.

When we talk about “backing up your files” we think of hard drives that crash, and laptops that get dropped, lost or stolen. In today’s world, there is no excuse to ever lose a digital asset, not with all of the internet cloud tools at our disposal.

Maybe we can change this thinking.  Maybe we can start thinking of it as “backing up your life”.

Take your cell phone and stand in the corner of the room. Take a picture. Move to the other corner, take a picture, and repeat this process until you have a full image of the contents of the room. You now have a digital archive of that room.  If you did this just a few minutes several times a year, you now have:

  • A time capsule for your family memories
  • An invaluable tool for insurance claims
  • A way to reconstruct and recover after a disaster

Go into your children’s bedroom. Do this before or after cleaning up, up to you. Take a picture of the contents of the room. Take a picture of the handmade art. Take a picture of the school awards hanging from the bedpost. The stuffed animals on the bed, the posters on the wall, the contents on the nightstand. What books were you children reading at the time? Now you will remember - ten, twenty, thirty years from now. You have it all in an archive, safe and secure off-site in the cloud.

Ladies: how long would it take for you to make a photographic digital archive of the contents of your closet? If you lost all of your shoes due to Hurricane Sandy, and you wanted to claim them on your insurance policy, what would such a digital archive mean to you? I understand that one single pair of “Jimmy Choo” shoes can be more than $100 to replace. Can this possibly be true? Do people really pay a lot of money for shoes?

There are many things that obviously should be digitized, backed up and archived in the internet cloud. But it is the non-obvious things that people easily miss. The family pictures. Grandma’s hand-written recipes on index cards. Grade school handmade art saved in shoe boxes from their proud days on display on the kitchen refrigerator. Some things are easier to digitize than others, but once you start down this road, it is amazing what you discover. Make it a hobby, make it as important as changing the batteries in the smoke detectors. Just do it.

  • Take a picture / scan it / copy it / digitize it
  • Backup it all up in the internet cloud

Think of this as your family archive, your family time capsule. Yes, the internet has changed everything, but you need to help it along, to be a hero after the disaster. With or without the reminders from Mother Nature, you should digitize your life. It is the right thing to do.

"For Excellence in Digital Archiving"

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