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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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November 5, 2007 5:20 PM

Question about archiving photos and memorabilia

Posted by Brier Dudley

A WWII veteran asked me today about the best way to store 50 to 100 gigs worth of photos and other memorabilia. He's wondering whether DVDs and portable hard drives will still be usable in 15 to 20 years.

My first thought was that he should do both: Dedicate a portable hard drive to storing this material, and put it on DVDs. The hard drive and the discs could go in a safe deposit box or something.

I also referred him to this great post on archival quality DVDs although it's a bit esoteric.

Although there are new disc formats emerging, such as Blu-ray and HD-DVD, I'm guessing DVD reading equipment will still be around for a long time. In the meantime, he'll have plenty of time to transfer the material from DVDs and hard-drives to whatever new standard takes hold.

Did I lead him astray? Is there any other technology he should consider?

(The new Microsoft-developed Windows Home Servers that finally went on sale today are an intriguing option for storing data safely, although I don't think of them as an archiving solution as much as a way to actively manage and share access to digital files.)

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.