Accessing memories is a precarious business.
In the good old days, the word Kodak used to mean something, particular after dinner when someone pulled out the holiday snaps.
As boring as they might have been, at least hard copy photos operate on a “platform” – the photo album – likely to survive a blackout.
These days it’s all digital, and if you can’t get the files off whatever device they’re stored on, to one you can at least still operate, do we really have our memories at all?
It seems they’re trapped in outdated mainframes destined to be left on the gutter come the next curbside pick-up.
But this column isn’t intended to be a melancholy rumination about progress because I’m OK with digital technology, when it works.
What I’m not OK with is when the storage on my phone fills up and I can’t transfer my landmark, some might say ridiculously large family video, to my drive in order to share it.
This kind of experience tends to trigger a learning curve often referred to as an “unhappy user experience” – ask anyone sitting nearby.
My precious phone memories can’t be accessed and are seemingly in danger of becoming obsolete.
It’s something I’ve feared ever since watching Total Recall.
So I turned to my tech guru friend at work and asked if he knew how to transfer video from phone to drive.
He did, although the first efforts failed triggering mumblings about clouds, networks and being in sync.
So then I hooked my laptop to my phone via a wire and located the files I was looking for. Or did I?
Not since Inception had I gone so deep in search of information. Fourth layer stuff.
But when I found the files, they wouldn’t drag and drop, which is the only computer action I really understand, beyond turning the computer on and off, and shaking it.
The tech guru explained it was because I was moving files across from Apple to PC.
It was starting to feel like I had smoked some PCP, contemplating the “know how” gap, because I now needed to “locate” the files, even though I thought I had located them.
This involved right-clicking the mouse to drop down menus you’d never new existed if the tech guru wasn’t there to guide you and then ponder inscrutable titles like “locate file” (could it be?).
As in everything, perserverance is the key – just ask the tech guru, who was probably getting sick of mine and possibly preparing to go home (horror).
Eventually I had my answers, and as with all matters where you don’t keep notes, I promptly forgot how I got them, raising serious questions about the next time I wanted to transfer memories.
Which brings into sharp focus the dilemma we face as a digital culture.
If memories are what life is all about ... and we don’t get hard copies of these memories before the platforms we can’t access become superceded by technology we’ll never comprehend anyhow ...
Have we really had them?
It certainly doesn’t auger well for the ole wedding video stored in the bookcase for the last 20 years, shot on a super 8 camcorder that no longer works and which has nothing to plug into anyhow, using film that’s turned to dust.
I’ll have to run that by the tech guru in the morning after I reboot.