We live in a digital age, or so they keep telling me. While flying cars aren’t our everyday reality, there’s one thing we can do now that we couldn’t have done over 50 years ago. And that’s storing digital copies of your precious memories. No I’m not talking about scanning your brain for data in some Matrix scenario, but instead preserving photos and documents for your peace of mind.
I am in the midst of creating my own digital collection. It’s not something you do in a week. The more junk you’ve collected the longer it will take. But if you keep at it every day, you’re bound to get there eventually.
Here are two reasons why you should digitise:
1. You should have an online backup of your most precious memories. Physical material can deteriorate, be lost, stolen, or destroyed. Don’t leave it to chance.
2. You want a clean house right? Well, here’s a way to go about it.
Backing up photos with Google’s Picasa Web Albums.
A backup to another hard drive is always a good idea. But for even greater protection you need an online backup. Send it off to the cloud — as they call it these days. My friend Joe introduced me to his method of choice; Picasa Web Albums.
1. Download & install Picasa 3. Having the software on your machine makes the process a heck of a lot easier.
2. Once Picasa has retrieved all your photos you will need to sign in with your Google account. Click Sign in to Web albums in the top right hand corner. Enter your login details or create an account if you’ve managed to evade Google’s grasp all this time.
3. Browse through Picasa & select the folder(s) you wish to backup.
4. Click the Upload icon at the bottom, the one with the upwards green arrow.
5. A box will pop up asking you what you’d like done. I’d recommend choosing the original size. And set Visiblity as Private if you don’t want the world seeing your business. Not that I’m implying you have photos of an explicit nature! You can set the default settings under Tools, Options, Web Albums.
6. Click Upload and after it’s done a little green arrow will appear on your folder and all the photos within it. This signifies it’s backed up to that Google cloud in the sky*.
* Most likely it’s a server somewhere on the ground of Planet Earth.
– Uploading photos will take up a big chunk of your bandwidth. So if you’re a kiwi like myself, be wary!
– If you want more space than Google’s allotted 1GB you can pay for more storage. 20GB for $5 USD a year is not bad at all for a little piece of mind.
Scanning documents & taking photos.
Like me you probably have #&%*load of a lot of sentimental items lying around, which you most definitely haven’t used over the last five years. Now the main reason I don’t want to throw away said item is that it holds certain memories for me. But that’s ridiculous. Your memories are quite literally all in your head. You don’t need the actual item to jog your memory. A simple photo and caption will do. Which is why I’ve started scanning and photographing these items.
1. Take a digital photo of the item or use a scanner to scan in the image into a .jpg. I won’t go into specifics here. Every scanner is different. Just make sure you have an image file sitting on your computer somewhere.
2. Write a caption, save it as the filename or edit Comments under Properties, Details. Or by far the easiest option; use Picasa. Double click on the photo and click the Make a caption! box.
3. Donate, or throw said item away.
4. Backup the photo to an external hard drive in your weekly backup. I recommend SyncBack. Or again you can use Picasa if it’s just the photos you want to keep safe.
4. Make an online backup to Picasa Web Albums (using the above method) or your cloud storage of choice.
So that’s about it. I hope this wee guide helped. The digitising process can be a chore, but once your back catalogue is all squared away it really does give you a sense of relief like no other – well, maybe only second to the relief from avoiding a fatal car crash on the way to work.
If you have digitising methods of your own, especially if they’re better than the methods I outlined, please share them with me below.