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Sunday, March 4, 2007

Life in two dimensions

For a guy who generally doesn't take very good pictures, I do spend a lot of time trying. As a result, I'm buried in photos. The hard-copy versions have petered out, but before they died out around our place, enough of them had accumulated to hurt your back if you ever tried to lift them all at once. And the digital images -- well, they've just exploded.

A while back I began the arduous task of getting on top of them all. I got the hard copies under control from the early '90s through around mid-2003. I've now got some nice albums that make it a breeze to go through the images from those years. But then real life intervened, and the organizing went on hold. There are still a couple of boxes of snapshot prints sitting over my right shoulder for some week when time and ambition coincide.

Meanwhile, one of my New Year's resolutions was to get on top of the digital files, which were strewn all over two computers, a stand-alone hard drive, three old disk cartridges on a Zip drive (remember those?), and even a few stray floppies. There were also copies of most of these on a remote server that I rent space on, although I have no system to know for sure which were backed up and which were missed.

This afternoon, I think I started making some headway. I hooked up a new stand-alone hard drive -- a 500 gigabyte garbage truck -- to the best computer in the house and started sucking photos onto it. I'm still at it. There are thousands of them, many with charming yet unrevealing names like DSC000101.jpg. Because of the way my camera's set up, many of the files have the same name -- all that keeps them distinguishable from each other are the date stamps (if they're accurate) and the file folders that they're resting in.

Once the hours of downloading and copying are through, the actual fun of trying to organize these collections of files once and for all can actually begin. There are going to be a lot of trips down memory lane as I try to get each file labeled with a distinctive and revealing name, and get them all slotted into nice neat files where they'll be easy to find. I can't imagine how long that's going to take, since just setting the stage has burned several hours already.

By the time I'm through, some technological advance will doubtlessly come along that will either (a) eliminate the need for what I'm doing, or (b) render the entire process obsolete. But hey, in the meantime it will keep me busy and out of the pool halls. Wish me luck.

Comments (6)

Then there's (a) scanning around 45 years' worth of old photos into digital files, and (b) using Photoshop to make all of the images look better. I wonder if the free Portland wi-fi cloud makes it into the nursing homes...

I highly recommend Picasa, by your friendly overlord Google.

The early observation that the internet is "... like being in a library where someone has scattered all the books on the floor, attached them together with threads and you are in the dark" now, apparently, applies to our personal hard drives.

Nearly 20 years of using PCs, with ever-larger hard drives -- there's a recipe for clutter and confusion.

But you have to admit the picture you had earlier of the baby was adorable. Back on Halloween your family photo was super also. Go for the best 9 out of 10 maybe.

The nice thing about the new digi-cameras is the "delete" button. Just right for chin-shots.

In my sister's family a new war has developed over teenagers who are sick and tired of their own naked-baby-on-a-bearskin-rug type photos. The kids are ritually destroying them and leaving them in shocking places....like someone left a shredded naked butt shot in the middle of the bathroom counter, another one was mostly burned and stuck with a magnet on the fridge. Take that, randy parental photographers!

Good luck and let us know how it works out, I have a bundle unsorted stored on my computer! Lou

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