We headed off at 6AM Tuesday morning for a short post-Labor Day vacation in Maine. This is the way to do it. Crowds are light, save the busloads of tourists from the cruise ships. Days are warm. Nights are cool; and there is just a hint of autumn color.
6AM is also the time to do it. Two and a half hours later we were having coffee at L. L. Bean’s in Freeport, ME, and then I paused to have my picture snapped in front of the giant centennial Bean’s Classic Boot. It was the epitomizing tourist shot. In days gone by, these were taken with Kodak Instamatics or Polaroid Instant Cameras. The cell phone, IPhone, and Android have opened up a whole new world here. The pictures are of much higher quality, thanks to some very cool and sophisticated technology and can be sent worldwide because of the internet and social media like Facebook and text messaging.
Historically these are going to prove to be the records of a generation and it is ultimately the very real problem for archivists to figure out how to preserve this important record. This is reminiscent of the collection of Letters of a Century that was all the rage during Y2K. I heard a talk once about imaging technologies from a Smithsonian Archivist, and preserving this record poses no small task. Technology changes so fast that what is “readable” with ease today will be quaint non interpretable artifact ten or twenty years from now. In my early scientific career, we made the important transition from paper to digital data storage. Anybody got an eight inch floppy disk drive that can read my Technico Computer files?
Still I encourage everyone to make a point out of creating a folder on your Facebook or other pages of “Uploads from My Cell Phone.” It serves the purpose of your camera’s always read for that “Kodak moment.” You can even get some pretty good pictures with these devices. There is instant review and the pixel densities are now quite reasonable. Images are just as accessible for post processing with Photoshop or your favorite image processing software. I offer an image I took from my airplane window of Storm Clouds Gathering Over the Chesapeake. We have reached a high level of technical prowess for these personal life recording devices. So friends record!