Tag: RAW

Home is…

It’s over six months since I moved into my flat, and it’s only now starting to feel like home.

For a while I was using the old sofa (old as in age, and as in ‘pre-divorce’) but I now have my own sofa and chairs. I have art on the walls, bookcases, lamps and, once I get a couple of plants and some curtain-like things it will really start to feel like mine.

Except it’s not mine, it’s rented. But aside from that… it’s mine. Right?

I’m still scouring shops for a coffee table, and think I might need a rug to really pull things together but I’m in no rush.

I’ve been reasonably smart with my purchases, determined not to buy things for the sake of it and to make sure that anything I buy now could fit somewhere else. My living room is huge, it was what attracted me to the flat, but I won’t be there forever so I need to keep that in mind and make sure the same furniture will squeeze into a smaller space.

Interestingly, it’s this very desire to keep things ‘small’ that has me, once again, pondering whether to ditch my home PC and get a laptop instead. Regardless of that decision, I need to get more storage space (new camera + shooting in RAW = rapidly filling hard drive) and so it seems sensible to get a network storage device first, and then I can make a decision on desktop vs laptop later.

Part of that thinking also found me clicking the BUY button and ordering a certain, well known, tablet computer. It’s called an iPad and, given that the bulk of my use of the computer is centred around consumption and social networking, it gives me a much more mobile system. My TV can handle media files so it will be interesting how my use of my desktop changes as it will mainly only REALLY be needed for doing website development work (something that could easily be done on a laptop, a nice Air-ey one perhaps?).

What has really surprised me is how much enjoyment I’ve taken from pulling together a room, but that’s maybe because I can’t change much in the kitchen, the bedroom only really needs some art on the walls as it’s not really got space for much other than the bed and some chests of drawers, and the spare room is, for now, a bit of a dumping ground. I have plans for the spare room too but I’m keen to keep it sparse, functional and not to rely on the space too much, again, when I move in the future, it might be somewhere smaller.

Turns out I’m quite house proud, and I’m really enjoying trawling shops (online and off) for decorations.

I really REALLY wish I’d bought that letterpress lamp base when I saw it though…

Where do we go from here?

MP3, USB, JPEG, some factors of our technological life are now “standard”. If I get a new gadget and it doesn’t have a USB connection or USB power cable then.. well actually, I probably wouldn’t buy it if it didn’t so that’s a bit of a moot point.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m slowly ripping all my CDs to MP3 (the CDs are now out of the living room and piled 20 high, 3 deep on my desk, which is progress of sorts) and it wasn’t a decision I took all that lightly. Admittedly the bulk of my new music is already in that format and as MP3 is supported widely then it should be OK in the future. Right?

JPEG appears to be safe as well. Every digital camera uses it and it does what it does well enough for the masses.

Ohh and yes, before anyone points out, I KNOW that there are better formats for storing music and photos but ultimately the loss of quality between a 256kbs MP3 and any of the lossless formats is beyond anything I can really detect, and the same goes for JPEG vs RAW images for MY purposes.

Those issues aside I do worry a little about losing these things to the vagaries of time, an issue to which the Kindle from Amazon – an electronic book reader – adds another dimension. One which, for some reason, has me very concerned about where this is all heading.

For some reason, whilst I’m not happy about the prospect, I am resigned to the fact that I may lose copies of photos and tracks. I am reasonably diligent when backing up, but if the worst happens, and I lose both my main hard drive AND my backup drive, then yeah, I’m stuffed. I have considered burning the really valuable stuff onto DVD but that’s way down the “I really should but I just can’t be chuffing bothered” path (a path strewn with many other best intentions and forgotten endeavours).

I’m not entirely sure there is an answer for this. Yes I could return to buying CDs rather than MP3 tracks, but at the rate I consume music the issue of physical space trumps any notion of always having a physical copy. And I can’t do that with photos anyway so I’m still at the whim of various hard drives.

I guess I could invest in a backup for my backup but even then it’s just another thing in the chain that could and, eventually will, fail.

What does all this mean? Well, I’m not entirely sure. Advances in technology means that the vast majority of hard drives can be considered trustworthy and unlikely to fail within a few years of usage (I’ve got two from my old PC which still work quite happily, which reminds me to get an enclosure or something for them).

However, technical issues aside, I’m also wondering if we have become a society where nothing really has value. Everything is replaceable, and we are encouraged to bin the old and buy new. If I did lose all my MP3s then I COULD replace them (at cost). So what’s the big deal? I’d only replace the ones I really missed so it might be a good way to start over and avoid all the dross.

Alas the same can’t be said of photos. Losing them loses the associated memories and emotions, the thoughts and feelings experience can’t be lost but they do dim over time, not forgotten but filed away in the distant recess of my mind. Viewing old photos brings them rushing back into the light, dusted down and ready to relived.

If I lost that there is no price that would can be paid, no way back.

Bloody hell, that’s a scary thought. Guess what I’ll be doing tonight!!

Content in the City

Various recent events have me pondering. At what point does the amount of digital content we have become a burden? In the age of “more”, when does “a lot”, become “too much”?

Why do I have Carrie Bradshaw’s voice in my head?

Leaving the exquisite Ms. Parker (or Mrs. Broderick if you prefer) to one side, for I’ll get back to her later, the topic of digital content is a current constant around these parts. Hell even the name of this blog hints at my general leanings in an age where content = information.

With the presumption that I’m already informationally overloaded, should I continue to consume and obtain, adding more and more digital content in the vague hope that some far off tipping point will be reached when, in the blink of an eye, a sticky idea will come along and all our digital woes will be answered. Apologies to Mr. Gladwell for that last sentence.

One of the problems we face is that it’s so (too?) easy to create digital content. Rip a CD and you’ll have MP3s or WMAs, take photos and you’ll have JPEGs and possible RAW files too, send emails and you’ll likely store a copy of your sent email in some format or another, type up and send a letter and you have a new document to store, and all of that is presuming you are only using your computer for ‘everyday life’ tasks. If your work requires a computer Id guess that you are creating, probably, mega-bytes of brand spanking new digital content every single day (although you might not store it all on your own computer).

But what’s the big problem? As the cost of storage continues to drop, it’s now relatively inexpensive to have at least a Terabyte of easily accessed disk space in your home. I currently have around 850GB of space, spread across three drives (one of which is an external drive used for backup only) none of which are even remotely close to being full, although that’s mainly because I’ve not yet resumed my on-going CD conversion project.
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