Pharos-Tribune

Columns

December 10, 2013

VILLAGE IDIOT: Picture's worth a thousand kilobytes

(Continued)

It used to be rare to see a shot of a tornado on the nightly news, or cars sliding down an icy highway during a winter storm. Now we expect not just to see one video of a disaster, but lots of them. If something weird or unusual happens, someone with a phone will be sure to record it. Photographs aren’t just for weddings, vacations, babies and birthdays any more. There are millions of people out there that take pictures of the food on their plates before they eat it. You could flip through a photograph album of families in the days of film and rarely see a picture of the family pet. How many pictures and videos of cats and dogs are out there now?

But when I first started taking digital pictures, they would take up 300 to 700KB of memory. The pictures I take with my new tablet take up 2.6MB of memory — four or five times as much memory per picture. Sure, they’re much better, but one of these pictures couldn’t have fit on one of those not-so-old 3 1/2-inch floppy discs. Which explained the strange “thank yous” I was getting after emailing 150 pictures of my vacation to my nearest and dearest.

“Thank you for tying up my computer for five hours waiting for your crappy pictures to download,” was the nicest and most printable of the lot. I don’t have many friends that I can afford to upset like that too often.

Something had to go, but I am a picture hoarder. Even if it’s a photo with half my finger over the lens, I hate to throw a picture away. I’m storing them in the cloud now to give my desktop a little breathing room. But I don’t like it. What if they lose my picture of last night’s dinner?

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life,” “Baby’s First Tattoo” and “Now in Paperback.” He can be reached at jim_mullen@myway.com.

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