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The ephemeral nature of digital
Old 08-21-2019   #1
Steve M.
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The ephemeral nature of digital

This Monday I knocked over a full bottle of water (second time within a week), getting some on my laptop. In panic mode I snatched the laptop up. Because I grabbed it at the very top of the screen and pressed inward, the screen broke. You can't see a crack, but now the screen is unreadable, while the papers on the desk were salvageable. The new screen's visual appearance of beautiful colours and lines is really cool, but it would be helpful to see what's underneath all that.

The obvious takeaways are: 1- don't put clear water in a tall, top heavy clear bottle with a small base near the computer. The water is now in a stable, squat, non clear coffee cup that is kept well away from things. 2- buy a tower PC for the home. If this had been a regular modular PC, the spill would probably have just cleaned off the keyboard. With a modular PC, a replacement monitor and keyboard can be purchased from any thrift store for $15. That's considerably less money than what the laptop cost to be replaced.

Since I'm moving in two weeks, most of what was on the laptop had been copied onto an aux HD, but what does that mean? There's still no real stuff, it simply "exists" in the netherworld of digital, ersatz form of zeros and ones. Some time ago I went full analog for developing my films and prints. After this spill, what's on the laptop and aux hard drives gets copied down with pencil and paper, or at least what's practical to write down.

At first I had the loony tunes idea of taking a picture of the comp stuff w/ my phone. Oh yeah, that should fix things. Hmm, what could possibly go wrong?

A lot of us, myself included, forget that what we see on a monitor ain't there, it's just an illusion that we think is there. Illusions are powerful and dangerous. Maybe it's better to know what's really there and what isn't. Sounds helpful to me. The way society is rapidly replacing real things with digitized stuff, perhaps we need to reappraise things. Pen and paper are cheap, whereas purchasing and replacing digital and electronic stuff always results in large amounts of money being transferred from me to some unseen and uncaring corporation, whether it be cameras, a room air conditioner or an electric toothbrush. Shoot, I can make my own 100% archival paper from rags and write on it with burnt sticks (charcoal). Ink is easy to make from raw materials too.

So those of us who don't shoot film, or who scan it and "save" it on computers or other digital means, might want to look at other ways to do this.
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Old 08-21-2019   #2
Godfrey
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Electrons are real things. Sorry, your premise is entirely incorrect.

Just like with prints, you must care for electronic devices that contain your photographs properly. You need a short course in computer management, including care, use, and backup.

G
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Old 08-21-2019   #3
mpaniagua
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Image on a monitor comes from info (real info) that exist somewhere. Only difference with a printed image/negative is the storing medium stored and the way you use to display it. Silver is used on printed pics and pixels is used on monitor. That doesn't make them any less real though.


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Old 08-21-2019   #4
Dogman
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I make prints. Digital prints on an Epson with pigment inks and cotton rag paper. Kinda like people did with pens, brushes and paper before photography existed if you think about it.

Before the great artists of the past painted their masterpieces the images didn't exist except in their imagination. Ephemeral.
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Old 08-21-2019   #5
JeffS7444
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If you think pen and paper are cheap, try transcribing 20 megabytes worth of data to paper!


Cracked notebook screens can be replaced.
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Old 08-21-2019   #6
benlees
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Electrons are real things. Sorry, your premise is entirely incorrect.

Just like with prints, you must care for electronic devices that contain your photographs properly. You need a short course in computer management, including care, use, and backup.

G
Nicely summed up. Sorry about your laptop!

A big illusion is that things can't be anything but ephemeral. Nothing lasts forever! Like pictures on a screen, we too are, in fact, illusory combinations of electrons. I often think people obsess about "archival" prints because they have not come to terms with this. Enjoy it while you can!
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Old 08-21-2019   #7
dourbalistar
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I think because of our increasingly digital world, there's a resurgence of interest in analog. Film photography, vinyl records, fountain pens, typewriters, and the like. I'm happy to live with a foot in both worlds, and I try to enjoy both for their merits.

Like benlees said, nothing lasts forever, so maybe different way to put it is "the ephemeral nature of everything".
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Old 08-21-2019   #8
ptpdprinter
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You should see the mess when you spill water on your negatives and prints.
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Ephermal Nture of Digital
Old 08-21-2019   #9
DennisM
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Ephermal Nture of Digital

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
This Monday I knocked over a full bottle of water (second time within a week), getting some on my laptop. In panic mode I snatched the laptop up. Because I grabbed it at the very top of the screen and pressed inward, the screen broke. You can't see a crack, but now the screen is unreadable, while the papers on the desk were salvageable. The new screen's visual appearance of beautiful colours and lines is really cool, but it would be helpful to see what's underneath all that.

The obvious takeaways are: 1- don't put clear water in a tall, top heavy clear bottle with a small base near the computer. The water is now in a stable, squat, non clear coffee cup that is kept well away from things. 2- buy a tower PC for the home. If this had been a regular modular PC, the spill would probably have just cleaned off the keyboard. With a modular PC, a replacement monitor and keyboard can be purchased from any thrift store for $15. That's considerably less money than what the laptop cost to be replaced.

Since I'm moving in two weeks, most of what was on the laptop had been copied onto an aux HD, but what does that mean? There's still no real stuff, it simply "exists" in the netherworld of digital, ersatz form of zeros and ones. Some time ago I went full analog for developing my films and prints. After this spill, what's on the laptop and aux hard drives gets copied down with pencil and paper, or at least what's practical to write down.

At first I had the loony tunes idea of taking a picture of the comp stuff w/ my phone. Oh yeah, that should fix things. Hmm, what could possibly go wrong?

A lot of us, myself included, forget that what we see on a monitor ain't there, it's just an illusion that we think is there. Illusions are powerful and dangerous. Maybe it's better to know what's really there and what isn't. Sounds helpful to me. The way society is rapidly replacing real things with digitized stuff, perhaps we need to reappraise things. Pen and paper are cheap, whereas purchasing and replacing digital and electronic stuff always results in large amounts of money being transferred from me to some unseen and uncaring corporation, whether it be cameras, a room air conditioner or an electric toothbrush. Shoot, I can make my own 100% archival paper from rags and write on it with burnt sticks (charcoal). Ink is easy to make from raw materials too.

So those of us who don't shoot film, or who scan it and "save" it on computers or other digital means, might want to look at other ways to do this.
I believe your points are well taken contrary to what some others may believe. In my case,shooting both digital and film, I find a happy medium with shooting (B&W) film and scanning the negatives. The negatives are carefully and archivally stored as they have been ever since I have been shooting (B&W & color) for over 45 years. So, no matter what happens to the scans in the netherworld or on a hard drive, I still have the original negatives.
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Old 08-21-2019   #10
Solinar
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Sorry to read about your mishap. Earlier this summer I had a hard drive failure on my iMac. Thank goodness I had made a "Time Machine" back up on to a portable HD the weekend before. Installed a new SSD HD into the iMac and was able to get back to normal with no loss of important files using the "Migration Assistant".

Yes, I had a lot image files on the machine. Now, I have two back up portable hard drives, because you never know.
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Old 08-21-2019   #11
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I had a day like that today. I came home and disconnected my phone, turned off the TV, and now I will turn off my computer. I have a book to read (not digital, a paper book) and spend the rest of the day in peace.
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Old 08-21-2019   #12
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The beauty of digital is that you can make millions of copies of your raw files at pretty much no costs and store them in places all over the world.

On the other hand if your negatives burn in a house fire they're gone forever.
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Old 08-21-2019   #13
Steve M.
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This is sorta like talking to the cat.

Thank you Dennis. The responses here are astoundingly off the radar! Geez Marie. Godfrey, it's apples and oranges. I never said that they didn't exist, the meaning here, and it's not a premise, is that the stuff that resides within a computer are not the images, just as the molecules that make up my arm are not my arm. Let's not get too literal here, I expect most people understand the difference. Maybe not, who knows why people believe what they believe?

I want someone to go into a computer hard drive and show me them electrons. We're talking about visible images, and no, they most certainly do not exist within a hard drive. The images, and that's what I was talking about, ONLY exist in the form of a negative or a print.

Sorry, there IS no mess if water is spilled on prints or your negs. Water is needed to get the things into existence in the first place in wet printing and analog developing, and it hurts them not at all. Simply squeegee the water off. What the....?

I really, really have to stop coming to this site. I get pillared for sharing what any normal human being would consider a somewhat humorous and intelligent take on something? Wow. The mindset here is pretty toxic, often negative, and occasionally a little obsessive and crazy.

Since I'm normally a class act (see above "do not belong here"), and since theatrical exits are for the theater (but telling it like it is isn't), goodby folks, and good luck and best wishes to all. I should have left ages ago. Well, live and learn. Grazie e arrivederci.
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Old 08-21-2019   #14
Ko.Fe.
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Usually threads like this are moved to digital vs film sub forum, which isn't visible in the home page. If I'm not mistaken.

Get ToughBook. I destroyed several laptops. But not the ToughBook. My is middle grade, not sandbox chest, nor business slick. They are available for something like 100$ used.
Win 7 fully supported. You could drop it, grab as you want. It stays intact.

Film is single instance. But you could easelly have files as two instances on two different locations. It is nobrainer, just don't be lazy.
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Old 08-21-2019   #15
Keith
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Someone on the radio said yesterday that currently 98% of the world's information is stored digitally!
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