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Three Questions About Those Online Pictures

May 1, 2013

Sure, I want it both ways. Yesterday I explained to you “Why I’ve Abandoned Physical Media.” And yet the day before I wrote a post explaining “Why I Still Use Physical Media.” I’ll admit that I’m not even consistent, since I talked about books, especially our family Bible, being something that should be physical and then I talked about books being some of the things I’ve started using digital versions of.

So, it’s not about the media. It’s about

– What’s the content?
– What’s the purpose?
– How long is the content valuable?

So, it’s how we use the information that determines the media, not the other way around.

What’s the Content?
I’ve talked about the fact that I love books. But, unless it’s an autographed copy, I’d just as soon have it on the Kindle or the iPad. Encyclopedias? I don’t know if libraries even have them much any more. Google and Wikipedia not only have more content, but are constantly updated. It brings up the authentication dilemma, of course. When I wrote my first book, Microsoft Exchange Connectivity Guide, it was published by Microsoft Press. We had editors and tech reviewers. MSPress wanted to make sure that the information was complete.

The book I’m currently working on will be published online. I’ll release it through Caledonia. Danita, the publisher will expect that I know what I’m talking about. I’ll be responsible for tech reviews. It will most likely be an eBook and if it sells well, we’ll consider bringing out a print edition. Even then, gone are the days of a 10,000 copy print runs. We’ll do print-on-demand.

I love to write. Much of what I write is online, of course, but occasionally I also write for me.
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There’s something therapeutic to taking pen in hand and recording the news of the day. I don’t always write as often as I should. Whenever I travel, I take this journal and write at least a single page from whatever location I’m at.

What’s the purpose?
And that leads to the second question. Why? For what purpose are you creating or using this content?

This is why I don’t mind moving to virtual media for music. The purpose is to listen to the music. Putting all the music online, means it’s that much more accessible. . .if I’m online. I still have CDs in my truck since it doesn’t have a Bluetooth, or an input jack. The White Album is still going to be the same whether you listen to it on vinyl, cassette, CD or streaming. Oh sure, there are those purists who will talk about the snaps and pops of the old phonographs. Great. If that’s the reason you are listening, then go ahead. For most of us, we just want to know what happens to Rocky Raccoon, and exactly why Gideon left his bible.

Unless I’m buying a book to be autographed, I just want to read the story. There are some books I have both on my Kindle and in paperback. I read the Kindle. The form is better. Even the Bible, I read on my iPad much more than I do the hard copy version. The LDS Church recently updated their version of the scriptures. I know that sounds weird. They didn’t change the actual scriptures. They updated the chapter headings and some of the footnotes. Not only did the iPad update, I didn’t realize it until we were reading the book of Exodus as a family and my chapter heading was different.

Most of our pictures fit the same category. I used to be a reasonably good photographer. I had a Pentax K1000 and shot hundreds of shots through it. I had to adjust the focus, the f-stop and the shutter speed manually.
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Now? I take pictures with my iPad. The resolution isn’t great, especially in low light. There’s no way to adjust the f-stop or shutter speed, as far as I know. These pictures don’t look nearly as good as the pictures I took with my old Pentax. But, what’s my purpose? I’m not trying to create art. I just want a snapshot of my kid opening their Christmas present.

How long will you keep this content?
Answering the final question is less clear cut. That snapshot of my kid at Christmas? Yeah, I probably want to keep that. My Beatles songs? I don’t really care. I’ll probably end up buying them at least a couple more times.

But, those family Bibles, both mine and my wife’s? Yeah. We want to keep those for a long time. My journal? I’ll want to keep that, and hope that my kids find value in it after I’m gone. My autographed book collection? I doubt anyone will really care about it after I’m gone, but for me, it’s valuable.

And there is content that is important, or at least desirable in multiple media. I’ve talked before about my friend Howard Tayler, and his award winning comic Schlock Mercenary. I’ve joked to Howard that he’s the only man I know whose business plan is to draw a comic everyday and give it way for free on the Internet. All 12 years of his stories are available in the archives. Clearly that doesn’t provide much of a return on investment for him. However, I also buy the collections he releases in book form.
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It’s the same story, with an added bonus to incent me to buy it.

So, while I’m a technologist at heart and more than happy to store much of my life in digital form, I’ll always have a library full of books, and for certain things, I’ll stay old school.

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