Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Photo Scare

My husband bought me a digital camera for Christmas 2002. He had dreams of no more film processing and printing costs, it was done out of a desire to save money. I had made it clear I wanted no part of a digital camera. Giving to me as my Christmas gift was an affront as it was imposed on me against my will.

I barely took any photos in the beginning, still used to being thrifty with how many pictures I snapped. I also still was using film in that first year. Don’t tell him that though. Back then I didn’t trust digital cameras.

The photos from 2002 and 2003 were put onto CDs and taken off my husband’s hard drive at some point in time.

Two weeks ago my husband installed an update onto his computer. Suddenly he had no space on the disk. He decided to take the photos from 2004-2007 off his hard drive. First he backed them up to our external hard drive. I then told him if anything happened to that thing and all our photos were lost I would kill him. Literally. He then took CDs and put copies of all of those photos onto CDs.

I asked where were the CDs for 2002 and 2003 and for the week we spent in the Outer Banks which was for some odd reason, not on his hard drive. He found the old CDs, popped them into his pretty new PC and found out that, whoops, the newer computer could not read those old CDs. Actually when it happened he didn’t even tell me. I’m skipping forward too quickly, sorry. What happened was he started to act all twitchy and I could see his body language was indicating some problem was happening. At first I ignored it and kept on folding the laundry but out of the corner of my eye I saw him getting more and more antsy. Then he said something in a bad tone of voice. I then said, “Tell me what is going on. Now.”

He then admitted he could not retrieve the old photos from 2002 and 2003. I was about to lose it. Really lose it. I mean, really lose it. I took deep breaths. I walked away and busied myself doing something or other. I needed to get away from him to avoid freaking out.

He then pulled out the old laptop of his and lo and behold that CD could be read on the old laptop. He said something about the speed of the computer being too fast on the new one to read the old slow CD or something technical that I don’t understand.

He then took the oldest photos on the slow CD and put them onto our external hard drive. I asked him to put all the photos onto CDs as a second back up. So he did that. It took a long time because he had to split up the photos in odd ways to get the most photos on each CD.

Then he hit the delete button on all those photos from his hard drive. That made me nervous. Really nervous.

This is what I feared about digital photography. I feared that our technology would change so rapidly that someday we’d not be able to view those old photographs. See, my fears had a foundation; they were not a figment of my imagination.

Here are two other horror stories are that once my father-in-law only had his photos on his hard drive. Then his computer crashed, the hard drive was broken and all those photos were lost. Another time my husband’s uncle did something and lost all his photos. Fortunately my husband was able to retrieve them with a special program called Restorer 2000. The lesson in both cases is that it is a better idea to back up your photos, possibly in two places.

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