OMG! What happened to my family memories?

Last week I was invited back to present “OMG! What Happened to My Family Memories!” at the Cuyahoga County Public Library. Preparation entailed reviewing my slide deck from five years ago and it was a trip down memory lane. It feels funny using that phrase since it was “only” five years ago – a testament to how internet years are akin to dog years!

Back in 2012, photos and videos taken with digital cameras were mostly copied to one’s computer. The computer became the primary target to be backed up to an external hard drive for contingency planning. Backing up files is like ordering “double prints” when developing 35mm film rolls (remember those?), tucking away one copy in a safe place.

In 2018 not everyone may agree that images and videos produced by top-shelf smartphones are comparable in quality than those produced by dedicated photography devices such as a DSLR or digital video cameras. Yet I have a feeling that many hobbyists, and even professional photographers, can warm up to the idea of flagship smartphones being able to pull double duty as their backup camera.

Smartphones have, in my opinion, become that good in producing images and videos with high fidelity and detail. In five short years, smartphones have become the “go to” devices to capture everyday family memories. Not only because of image quality but also the ubiquity of the smartphone that is always with you. You’ve surely heard the anecdote that people won’t go back home to fetch a forgotten wallet but they will if they forget a smartphone ... even if that means being late for work!

This now cultural norm to use cameras on smartphones, an example of a device always connected to internet, has made it easier to preserve family memories; many times without even owning a computer. Mobile devices can do the backing up for you, via connection to the internet (aka cloud):

  • Both Android (non-Apple) and iOS (iPhone) smartphones require a Google or Apple iCloud account during initial setup. Why? So memories taken with the smartphone can be backed up automatically, when configured properly, to an account in the cloud when connected to Wi-Fi (and plugged in AC power for iPhones). Alternatively, you can initiate a manual backup using mobile data instead of Wi-Fi to backup photos and video, which can become an expensive proposition due to mobile data usage metering. Given the nature of mobile data, being connected to a public Wi-Fi and manually initiating a backup may be an option.

  • iPhone users can also use Google’s “Photo” app from the App Store. Google offers unlimited storage for pictures and videos in Google’s high quality setting and that is better than nothing when facing phone and primary backup (iCloud) loss. Remember to enable “Background Refresh” for the app to backup your photos.

Everything in this article also applies to iPads and Android tablets from non-Apple manufacturers.

Tak Sato

Strategist with over 25 years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder for the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, and Founder of geek with a heart with the service mark "Hand-holding You in the Digital World", Tak helps people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 9:23 AM, 03.06.2018