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Thrifty Thursday: Memories of Digital Memory

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500.

[HP deskjet F4280 printer/scanner - $99]

This scan tracks the progression of my digital photography career from my hobby days with a 3 megapixel point-and-shoot camera through a series of higher resolution cameras requiring ever more space and write speed. These aren’t all my memory cards. Piles of them are lost, or sold at garage sales, but I found enough to lay out on a desktop scanner and tell the basic story. Take a look, for example, at the 3rd card in the 2nd row. It’s marked with an “X”- a message to myself that the card had failed and should be discarded.

Alex Wild About the Author: Alex Wild is an Illinois-based entomologist who studies the evolutionary history of ants. In 2003 he founded a photography business as an aesthetic complement to his scientific work, and his natural history photographs appear in numerous museums, books, and media outlets. Follow on Twitter @myrmecos.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. Suttkus 3:17 pm 09/27/2012

    Dare I ask the question my mother asked me on finding a similar X on something I owned, “Why exactly hasn’t it been thrown away yet?”

    : – )

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  2. 2. Sculptor3509 1:10 pm 09/29/2012

    Reminds me of working in a computer centre in Sweden. There was a heart-stopping moment when the operator’s backup log apparently showed that all the week’s data archives had failed. Then we realised that the local staff used “X” to indicate it had been done – not the “tick” for “OK” that we expected. We had misread the “X” as indicating “failed”.

    Link to this

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