Keeping the keepsakes safe

Shannon Hurst talks about precious memories in this week's My Town column.

Twenty years ago parents, family and friends would pack into the auditorium or gymnasiums to watch their children sing or perform in the annual Christmas pageants and concerts. Both the children and the parents would dress in their best clothes and once in awhile you might have seen an old camera with the big flash or, as the times progressed, perhaps a parent had a Polaroid camera.

Those were the days when cameras were not common and were a costly hobby to have after buying film and paying to have it developed — only to learn you had one or two great shots. Unless of course you were a professional.

However, the digital world and technology blitz is now upon us all and so many things have changed. First and foremost, you do not need to be a professional to own or afford a camera anymore. Second, the learning curve is minimal as you can see right away what went wrong or if you have that perfect shot and it doesn’t cost you anything. Third, they are everywhere! At any given concert or performance involving children, every other body seems to be holding a camera, phone, camcorder or even an iPad.

In the past, moms used to keep scrapbooks and baby books and while moms everywhere continue that tradition, there are many who have now added photos and videos to their collection of memories.

Yet, there is one very big downside to all that the wonderful world of technology offers. Computers, phones and technology can break, crash or go missing and all of a sudden those great memories are gone.

Unlike the hard copy of a scrapbook, digital copies are far more vulnerable. That is not to say you can’t to your best to ensure this doesn’t happen, it’s just that many people I talk to don’t back up their data.

People download photos to computers but if your computer crashes you’re in trouble. The best alternatives are external hard drives or online data storing such as cloud or mobile me types of options, but that is not foolproof either. One of things I found shocking is that the shelf life of a CD or disc is about five years and most can get double that with an external hard drive. Then there is the issue of where to store CDs, DVDs and hard drives. It seems the number one recommendation is a fire proof safe.

And do keep in mind that every five or 10 years you need to copy everything again to make sure you don’t lose it. You could of course print off you photos too, a process which has stood the test of time to some extent.

A few decades ago we had photo albums and scrapbooks and of course we could still call it Christmas too and now we have video libraries on our phones, computers and iPads and ‘Happy Holidays’. So this year when you are capturing great family, friends and children moments, make sure you take the time to safe keep your keepsakes.