Computers, media storage and security
With the heightened popularity of digital cameras, camera phones, video cameras, scanners and digital audio, the amount of data we store on our computers is growing rapidly. A look though the media content of a hard drive is often sufficient to gain a good idea about one’s hobbies, friends and family.
This is great in a sense. Gone are the days of the ‘family photo album’. Why bother with something so cumbersome with minimal effort, a family history’s history can be viewed on a computer or television screen. Digital storage, when used effectively, minimises or eliminates the possibility media loss or degradation, and new technologies allow data from our external world to be captured with greater ease.
Photographs, video and audio can be distributed to a wide audience with much less effort and monetary cost due to e-mail, digital storage media (CDs, DVDs, flash drives), file sharing networks and lower bandwidth costs. Information about one’s self can be shared with friends and family regardless of their position on the globe.
Having said that, people generally feel more confident about being able to keep tangible CDs and photographs safe and free from unwanted access, while 1’s and 0’s on a drive seem to some extent out of one’s control.
As we store increasingly personal and valuable information on our machines, the priority we give to computer maintenance, security and backup procedures should rise. Passwords, firewalls, anti-virus programs, anti-spy ware programs, backup utilities and so on may appear pointless to some, but sadly their importance is usually realised only when something goes wrong. If we value our photographs, video files, and music, lets not blindly fill our drives hoping the data will look after itself indefinitely.