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Why I’ve Abandoned Physical Media

April 30, 2013

“Looks like I’m gonna have to buy The White Album again.”
– Kay

Yesterday, I explained “Why I Still Use Physical Media.” Today, I want to turn the tables and explain why I’ve abandoned physical media.

I love music. Growing up, our house was always full of music. My parents split up when I was very young and I remember my mother dating country music musicians. She dated Buck Owens a couple of times. But, I learned to love all genres. I was introduced to The White Album via my brother’s record collection. I still remember the day I dropped one of the records and it created an irreparable scratch across one side.

I don’t have any of those anymore, but I do still have a few of these.
This is the Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy radio program. (Probably why I still have them.) In high school I had stacks of these, including The White Album. I skipped the 8-track phase, but eventually, along with everyone else I moved on to CD’s. Where I again bought The White Album. Fortunately, I now had more income and I at one point owned over 500 CD’s.

My tastes as you can see in this picture of a few of the cases, range from Classic Country to Quiet Riot. I owned the entire Beatles catalog and everything that Billy Joel ever recorded. And I do mean EVERYTHING. (BTW, The Hassles? Terrible. Trust me!)

I don’t use these much anymore and if it weren’t more trouble than letting them sit in a box, I’d go sell them at E.F.Y while they still hold some value. I put all of those CDs and dozens more on this.
And I’ve got room for movies and plenty more songs. Now that I’ve moved to an iPad, all the music has followed me to the new platform. I haven’t moved to Rhapsody yet, but that’s probably coming soon.

Yesterday you saw some of our library and we love books. We don’t open these much anymore.

Even my Kindle is starting to look a little old fashioned.
For reference, no bookshelf in the world can hold even a fraction of what is available on And even for novels, I can take my iPad or Kindle and have more books than I could read in a hundred hour plane trip, or a month long vacation spent lolling by the pool.

We can tell a similar tale with movies. We invested a lot in VHS tapes when the kids were young. We still have a couple hundred titles. Here are just a few.
We moved to DVD, along with the rest of the world.

We will most likely skip the BlueRay format. It’s just too expensive to try to replace our library when Netflix is $8/month. Last month we upgraded our internet connection to 50MB, (Why Did You Switch and What Took You So Long?) At that speed, we can stream movies as conveniently as playing the disk. And for less than the cost of a single DVD we can have access to thousands.

We have stacks of pictures.
Most of them haven’t been unpacked in the last three or four moves. See those brown strips? Yeah, back when you had to use film, you had to consider a picture carefully. Was it worth the cost of developing? And to think that we had to wait for days to find out that someone had photobombed our picture of that cool girl at school.

Today, instead of boxes of prints and negatives, I carry this.
It’s 32GB and holds many times more pictures than are in that bin. Sharing a picture with the kids’ grandmother is as simple as sending an email. Making a backup of every picture is as simple as dragging and dropping to a new folder. And rather than be stingy with exactly which photos to take, we take dozens and simply delete the ones that got photobombed too badly. One other benefit is that it won’t be long before all photos will be tagging people automatically. No more wondering who that person with the lamp shade on their head was. Well, so long as they don’t wear it over their face.

So, while some things should be on physical media, there are definitely items that work best in a virtual form.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what makes the difference.

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