back to article What happens when Facebook follows MySpace?

While it may be true that the web has an infinitely long memory, I'm struggling to figure out where to store pictures and anecdotes from the lives of my children. Given how quickly fashions change on the web - from MySpace to Facebook to Instagram to Twitter - it's hard to believe that anything, no matter how dominant it is …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not just...

    Why not print out the photographs and put them in an album?

    Storage solved, no worry about tech decline, and choose the best photos for posterity.

    1. jungle_jim
      Pint

      Re: Why not just...

      I was thinking cave paintings, but photo album works too

      1. tmTM

        Re: Why not just...

        I intend to preserve precious memories as marble statues, so people through the ages can marvel at the time I dressed my dog up in hat, bow-tie, socks and slippers.

    2. Peter Storm
      Thumb Up

      Re: Why not just...

      "Why not print out the photographs and put them in an album?"

      Good idea, but for longevity, it'd be a good idea to use a printer that uses pigment inks and not dye based inks.

      Just sayin...

      1. The Flying Dutchman

        Re: Why not just...

        "... use a printer that uses pigment inks ..."

        If you want good quality prints that will last, real photographic prints (wet process) are still your best bet. And it may be significantly cheaper. I pay 1.50 euro for a a stunning 12" x 8" print on archival grade paper, matte or glossy according to preference. That's very hard to beat for any inkjet printer out there. Postcard sized prints on ho-hum paper (but still pretty good compared with inkjet) are a mere 15 to 20 cents each.

    3. Andrew Moore Silver badge

      Re: Why not just...

      If only there was a way for Matt to buy a website and host a digital photo album on it...

    4. Irongut
      Thumb Down

      Re: Why not just...

      Yeah that's going to work for the over 1,000 photos I took on my recent holiday.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Why not just...

        Do you know what...folks would only want to see maybe 5 of them if they are honest.

        1. RegGuy1

          Re: Why not just...

          Hahaha

          Five of them! That's five more than you really mean.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why not just...

        May I suggest if you had the time to take 1000+ photos on the holiday perhaps you weren't spending enough time on actually being ON HOLIDAY?

        1. Stuart Castle

          Re: Why not just...

          Or, as in my case, you lent the camera to a couple of kids who were in the group you went with, and let them take 100s of photos.

          And yes, I did have a lot of fun on that holiday (which is, after all, the general idea).

          Actually, regarding the article, I am surprised Matt has published this article. Not that there is anything wrong with it, it's just it doesn't show his normal point of view.

          Actually, it's a good article and, IMO, outlines the problems with any cloud based storage and publishing medium. Simply put, how do you know it's going to be around?

          It's all very well uploading all your family photos and videos to a service like facebook, google plus or instagram, but how do you know they will be around in 5-10 years? Facebook is the current top social network site, but ten years ago, Myspace was in that position, with Bebo looking a likely second place. Google will probably be around, but they have a habit of dropping services with little warning if they aren't being used (Google Video, Wave etc). Instagram is currently doing well, but that may get replaced with the next top sharing site.

          Even if their popularity isn't waning, and they aren't replaced by the next best thing, a lot don't have a sustainable business model, and, in some cases, don't have a good system of policing content. Who's to say the bailiffs won't turn up at the datacentre one day and remove the server(s) holding your content because they couldn't afford the loan payments on those servers? Who's to say that the Police won't turn up one day with a warrant to seize servers and disk arrays (thinking of Megaupload here)?

          These comments apply equally to business. While it's horrible if Mrs Smith loses her prized photos of her Son growing up, she can probably live without them. Can a business survive without the information it loses if it's one and only cloud provider goes tits up? Yes, I know that they should have usuable and verified backups, but how many are going to bother with that as a big selling point with cloud services is that they are already backed up.

        2. Tom 13

          Re: you weren't spending enough time on actually being ON HOLIDAY?

          Depends on what your idea of ON HOLIDAY is. When my roomie gets back, she weeds it down to just the 1000+ photos she wants to share with people. Packs about 20 4G memory cards with her for every trip.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why not just...

        Re: Why not just...

        Yeah that's going to work for the over 1,000 photos I took on my recent holiday.

        You'll not bother looking at 950 of them cos they are crap snaps, probably after you've invited friends round for a slide show presentation of your holiday.

        Note: my sister in law put us through the misery of a 3 hour holiday slide show of 670 pictures and explanations. I let the side down by snorting a snore from the back row. Well in my defence I was bored.

        1. Delbert
          Happy

          Re: Why not just...

          Spot on, even in the days of roll film the best professionals would admit to being as happy as a pig in poop if they got a couple of worthwhile shots on a roll (36 exp) the rest went binwise in fact never got past the contact sheet (thumbnails by todays standard) its a major problem with digital that people save garbage just because they can. Be ruthless bin the bad stuff and keep the worthwhile so you do not look an idiot when you share a pile of badly focussed badly composed over exposed wastes of time and cyberspace. Personally I publish a few of mine on our blog at www.classicrockradio.eu to publicise artists and gigs I willl only use the best three or maybe four I could easily share the two or three hundred taken but we want to have an readership afterwards.

    5. Tom 13

      Re: Why not print out the photographs and put them in an album?

      Because prints and film decay. Some of it more quickly than others. Part of why Lucas put so much work into restoring the Star Wars films was because he discovered how badly the originals decayed when he went to re-release them. The stuff we have from the golden era of Hollywood is mostly because of a quirk in copyright law at the time. In order to copyright a film, they had to print books of b&w copies of the three color reels. From the books they were able to recreate the color masters and then re-print the films without loss of color quality.

      If you want to maintain your family pictures, you're going to have to store them on what is effectively living medium: whatever your current storage device of choice is, and move them each time the media changes. You can bridge one or maybe two significant technology changes, but once you get beyond that it starts to become problematic. Most people these days wouldn't be able to transfer data from an MFM hard drive to a SATA drive.

      1. Charlie van Becelaere

        Re: Why not print out the photographs and put them in an album?

        "Most people these days wouldn't be able to transfer data from an MFM hard drive to a SATA drive."

        I always preferred the RLL drives myself.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why not print out the photographs and put them in an album?

        Except that Lucas didn't restore them, he reworked them as well.

        Piracy tends to preserve things too. Look at all the Dr Who episodes that were returned to the BBC by "home tapers", people who recorded off the TV and then didn't dispose of the recording when they should have done.

      3. nightcoder

        Re: Why not print out the photographs and put them in an album?

        You might say that print and film decay, but we still have copies of the first print photographs ever made. Photographs from the U.S. civil war era are not uncommon. It's hard to imagine any digital medium that will remain that stable for 150+ years, and "you" certainly won't be around to move them when the media changes. They'll quickly reach a point where they're unreadable. You might think of hiring (or starting!) an archiving company that would move them for you, but then you're trusting that company to stay solvent "forever."

        Odd as it sounds in the digital age, print is still the most permanent thing we have.

        On a related note: I just finished reading Einstein's biography by Walter Isaacson. Much of the biography is based on letters that Einstein wrote and received from family, friends, and colleagues. Where will we learn such things in the future? It's hard to imagine a biography based on "the collected emails of John Doe."

        1. The Flying Dutchman
          Boffin

          Re: Photographs from the U.S. civil war era are not uncommon.

          Consider that those glass negatives and silver halide prints of over a century ago are *very* different from today's film negatives and (color) prints.

          A friend of mine, when clearing out the attic of an old house in München, found a packet neatly wrapped in kraft paper, containing a stack of glass negatives: early "tart cards" from the 1920's. They were in excellent condition, even after having endured what must have been considerable temperature and humidity swings for maybe 60-80 years. Modern film negatives or slides would have suffered quite a bit under those conditions: the polyester film base is pretty stable, the dyes that make up the image much less.

          Same holds for prints: in those old sepia toned prints, the image is made up of insoluble metal salts. As long as the paper doesn't disintegrate, the image will remain. Modern prints are dye based, and while the dyes used are reasonably stable, they will only last if stored under carefully controlled conditions.

    6. Matt Asay

      Re: Why not just...

      So, we've done that, but photos actually don't last forever, or even very long (particularly if you store them the way we do :-). I really want everything digital so it's searchable, but....

  2. gerdesj Silver badge

    Click on the FB "Like" button

    ... at the top of the article. It seems somehow fitting.

  3. Arrrggghh-otron

    Run your own server?

    I run a server at home that stores photos etc and is accessible over ssh. Then I have a cheap and cheerful virtual server for hosting content I want to share. There are plenty of content management systems that aren't that hard to install.

    Call me cynical but I've never really trusted any of these sites or services to be around for long so prefer to do this stuff myself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Run your own server?

      or you could do that ^

      1. SuperTim

        Re: Run your own server?

        I do that. No bandwidth issues and accessible from wherever I want.

        Also backed up in case it all goes wrong.

        1. Lord Voldemortgage

          Re: Run your own server?

          All good but still, I wonder how many times you will (have to) move that data over the next 30 years.

          It's an interesting article - I have photographs that were taken by relatives that died before I was born, leafing through books of those is fun and if I had kids I'd pass these on to them but is anyone going to be bothered to trawl my home server and look at my pictures when I've kicked the bucket?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Run your own server?

      ain't no "really like" about it... host your own and then you are the only one to blame when things aren't like you want... my first response to the article was along the lines of "geez... you chose to place your data there... if you don't like what they are doing, that's your fault. host it yourself with your own chosen software." this isn't rocket science, ya know? the only holdback is those ISPs that don't allow one to host their own servers on the standard ports but there's ways around that, too... in the old days, in another network before (d)arpanet became the commercial mess that it is, we were told to vote with our feet... and that still stands today... there are too many sites that have fallen to this... myspace is but one of those :P

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    easy

    1) Build a website

    2) put all of your stuff (photos, docs, et cetera) on it

    3) let google, et al, index it.

    4) congratulations, it is permanent

    1. auburnman

      Re: easy

      I am still of the opinion that a service that simplifies (1) enough that the non-IT masses can do it and adds in 2A) Allow your friends who have similar websites to post on your news feed automatically when they post news on their website (with some form of authentication obviously) Will be the next Big Thing. After all, Facebook is basically a collection of blogs under a common interface that simplifies sharing. This interface has been done before, but not as well as FB does it I don't think. Once FB loses it's lead in that area all it has left is the momentum of having a pre-existing userbase, and the cracks are already starting to show there.

      1. Arrrggghh-otron

        Re: easy

        What happened to Diaspora? <goes off to check>

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: easy

        sorry, but isn't Matt a techie? If he isn't, we've all been conned.

  5. Daniel Bower

    No need even for your own server

    Buy a domain name, by some cheap wysiwyg web editor (or if your skills extend far enough buy or write your own template or use one of the free PHP scripted online photo albums), pick up a cheap hosting package and do it all yourself.

    You stay in control, you've not agreed to some slightly dubious T&C's with vague policies over image ownership and if your hosting company ever closes just find another one...

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: No need even for your own server

      However when you're pressed for time as you often are when you want to share family photos (kind of comes with having a family) you kind of need to be able to drag, drop, and upload (if you've not got a home server) and let it take care of orientating and optimising photos, optimising videos, logins, tags, and comments. iWeb was sort of half-way there apart from it generated code which didn't work well on anything apart from Safari.

      I'm still not sure if there's anything out there which does this, and less so open source which is generally developed by people who haven't got to that stage in life yet so simply aren't aware of just what's needed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        Re: No need even for your own server

        Joomla (and no doubt Wordpress) website with a couple of plugin.

        Most hosting companies will build the site for you with something like softilicous via your cpanel and bish bash bosh, up and running in no time. Quick search for a free template iof you want to give it a nicer feel and away you go. Use Akeeba to back up to your pc and if you move hosts, you just upload your backup to them.

        Best thing is YOU control access. Set all pages except home to restricted, give your friends a user name and password and jobs a good one.

        Hell you can even go further and use something like Community Builder to do your own mini facebook.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No need even for your own server

          A good CMS will have a good gallery or album type module.

          I use ImpressCMS myself - with it's very nice "album" module... combined with a useful tagging plugin to help organise them.

          Add a simple module to make a blog - and who needs facebook... except to tell your facebook chums where to go :)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No need even for your own server

          joomla and wordpress... riiiight... they continually show up on the @RISK list and if it isn't them directly, it is their mods that haven't been checked and validated... this goes for almost all CMS and blog systems out there... sorry, thanks but no thanks...

      2. Jonathan Richards 1
        Thumb Up

        Re: No need even for your own server

        > not sure if there's anything out there which does this

        Check out piwigo.

        It was offered as a plugin service on my web host, and does a lot of the things you mentioned. Works for me.

      3. paulll
        Meh

        Re: No need even for your own server

        "let it take care of orientating and optimising photos,"

        Fair enough - if by, "optimising," you mean, "destroying."

    2. Goldmember

      Re: No need even for your own server

      Indeed. You can get single domain hosting for £5 for two years, .co.uk domain names for around £6 for two years (maybe less if you can be arsed looking). Even easier than a WYSIWIG editor, a decent hosting provider will generally have idiot-proof Wordpress installation packages, and Wordpress itself is very easy to pick up if you're prepared to invest a bit of time learning where everything is.

      You have the freedom to move pages around, update the theme (styling) with a few clicks, set the security and of course, it's permanent. A much better option than volatile social network blogging/ storage, and not THAT much more technical.

      1. NogginTheNog

        Re: No need even for your own server

        To everyone suggesting hosting his own website: you're working on the assumption that browsers 20-30 years in the future will still talk HTML then?

        Anyone ever heard of Gopher...?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No need even for your own server

          "Anyone ever heard of Gopher...?"

          The difference being that Gopher was never particularly big in absolute terms, even at its peak, and hence never that important to a large number of people. It was quickly overtaken by the web, and even *that* has probably grown hugely (both in terms of users and usage) since the mid-90s.

          If we define "usage" (and hence importance) in terms of the number of users multiplied by the amount of activity (clicks, views, etc.) per week (*), how much do we think HTML and the modern web outweigh Gopher (at its peak) by?

          I'd be willing to guess it's in the tens of thousands at the very least.

          That said, running one's own website isn't the same as archiving, and requires active maintenance, so it's unlikely that even if HTML and the web were becoming obsolete that the owner would blindly keep it going in the same form without changing it.

          (*) Note that this metric excludes bandwidth, as I don't think a twofold or tenfold increase in that area necessarily indicates a comparable increase in importance, and would probably count against Gopher when judging it against a modern, bandwidth-heavy site.

        2. keith_w
          Joke

          Re: No need even for your own server

          Anyone ever heard of Gopher...?

          yes, he was the purser on the Pacific Princess and then became a US Senator ;)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No need even for your own server

          gopher? that's 20 years old itself... as are archie and veronica, too... and you expect them to be viable long after HTML has passed? riiiiight...

  6. Joseph Lord
    Alert

    I don't put any pictures of my son on Facebook

    In case they are still around in 20 years. He should make his own choice about that when he can understand the consequences.

    Well backed up (USB drives) rotated to offsite locations (relatives houses) every couple of months. My upstream bandwidth is too slow to do it over the network.

    1. Aqua Marina Silver badge

      Re: I don't put any pictures of my son on Facebook

      I created my son an account, to which I've been adding photo albums from birth. None of the albums are public or viewable by anyone outside the immediate family. When he's old enough I'll let him have the password, and he can choose what to do with the documentation so far of his life.

      1. Reue

        Re: I don't put any pictures of my son on Facebook

        Except he cant really chose what to do with it as Facebook has already chosen for you with their Ts+Cs.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't put any pictures of my son on Facebook

        Well done you've broken FB's T+Cs on your son's behalf so now the internet police will be after him.

        And the stupidity police should be after you for sacrificing a child to the beast.

      3. h4rm0ny

        Re: I don't put any pictures of my son on Facebook

        Unless of course his choice was that he'd rather not be on Facebook.

  7. Goat Jam
    FAIL

    Sorry, what?

    "it's hard to believe that anything, no matter how dominant it is today, will still be around in 20 years, much less two years."

    So you think dubious dotcoms are less likely to last 2 years than 20 years?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facepuke

    "...Which, again, brings me back to the digital memorabilia for my family. Over the last two years I've been a heavy Facebook user, storing family pictures, stories, and more..."

    Well, more fool you then! What do you want the intarwebs to do about t? You're the one who was dumb enough to entrust your entire digital archive to a freebie flavour-of-the-month hipster moron hangout. If you want a digital archive with a chance of permanence buy some storage from a company with a business model which involves receiving income in return for the successful long-term storage of user data.

    "...I have zero confidence that Facebook is going to be around 30 years from now, much less 10..."

    Are we witnessing the birth of the next "I could care less..." here?

    I think you mean: "10... much less 30..."

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Facepuke

      I do love it when someone makes themselves look like a retard by calling someone else one.

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