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News arrow Opinion arrow Columns arrow At the Helm: Drowning in a sea of data

At the Helm: Drowning in a sea of data Print E-mail
Written by Scott Graves, Pilot staff writer   
September 21, 2012 08:59 pm

 

Those of you who have or are about to dip your toe into the digital domain, wait!

Step back and take a moment to ponder whether you really want to follow your fellow human beings into an ocean wallowing in smartphones, Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, emails, digital cameras, iPods, wi-fi and all things  digital.

Take it from me, it’s a brave, new, scary world out there – and I don’t even own a smart phone!

Let’s take photos, for example, Like many people with digital cameras you’ve no doubt downloaded the photos to your personal computer without giving a second thought to the fact that your computer’s poor hard drive is quickly being filled with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of digital images. 

When was the last time you went through and looked at any of those photos?

Exactly!

The number of photos is mind-boggling. 

It was tough enough when you had just two or three shoeboxes filled with polaroids.

And let’s face it: Maybe a dozen of those 658 vacation photos you took this summer are worth saving. Right?

You probably have photos stored on several different computers or mobile devices.Some of you are paying good money to back those files up on an external hard drive or Internet back-up service. You aren’t? Boy, no wonder you can’t sleep at night.

Today’s technology makes it so easy to take photos – of anything! 

A close up of my dog’s nose hairs? Got it. 

That funky toenail on my left foot? Yep. 

And the digital age makes it so easy to share such photographic delights with our friends and family, not to mention all 1,256 psuedo-friends on Facebook. 

And then there’s all the photographic manipulation software that can entertain and delight you for hours (hours of your life that you’ll never get back, may I remind you).

There’s software to remove red eye, remove wrinkles, remove nose hairs and transform that photo of the funky toenail into a psychedelic, 3-D calendar photo that can be emailed, Twittered and posted for the world to see.

Just trying to keep track of all these photos and other digital information is overwhelming. 

How many songs are on your digital music player? 

Me? My iTunes shows 2,006 songs and 275 podcasts.

I guess I’ll quit my job now so I can listen to all that music before I die. If I’m lucky, I might be done listening to songs that begin with the letter H by the time my 9-year-old daughter graduates college.

Like many folks, my digital life is a mess. How do I even begin to consolidate all those photos, music, documents, invoices, notes and other digital riffraff into one location.

The truth is, I can’t.

When, not if, the computer crashes for good, then what?

Ten or 15 years of my digital detritus gone. Poof!

Scary, isn’t it?

All this new-fangled, digital technology hasn’t necessarily given us a means to manage our messy and somewhat cluttered lives. It’s only made it much easier to create  messier, more cluttered lives.

The digital domain is an ocean without end, and we’re drowning in data!

Maybe I should start using shoe boxes again.

The space under the mattress looks promising.

Now, where did I put that photo of Fido’s nose hairs?

 

 

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