Technology has evolved a lot in the last 20 years.
Before: I still remember taking photos with my film camera and taking the rolls of films to be developed at a store and have the photos printed on paper. That was the way it was done from the beginning of times. I still have all those printed photos in many albums and I also kept all those films (negatives) for the last 24 years (1976 – 2000).
After: In 2001 I moved to the new technology and got my first digital camera (2 Megapixels, 1600×1200 pixels) and I stopped printing photos on paper. Instead, I saved jpeg files and kept them in folders chronologically on my computer. I have been upgrading my camera over the years and I am taking photos now with my Canon SX210 IS of 14 Megapixels (4320×3240 pixels) and I upgrading to a 20 Megapixels (5184×2912) some time soon.
In 2014 I decided to digitize all my photos printed on paper before 2001; I used a film to digital converter (negative scanner) for better quality. It is a device which will take a digital photo from the negative film and create a 20 Megapixel image file (jpg).
Now in 2015 I have all the photos I have ever taken for the last 30 years plus some my wife and I have inherited from the family in digital files. Today I have 65 thousands digital photos and growing every month. We enjoy watching those high resolution photos on our big TV.
Always looking to implement the latest technology I am testing this new BPG format to reduce the size of my photos to half the size with the same quality.
Before: I started recording videos in 1988 with a camera I borrowed from a friend. It was a 8 mm tape recording camera from Sony. I was able to record up to 2 hours on a single tape and watch the video connecting the camera to a TV. In the same year I bought my first camcorder (handycam) and recorded beautiful moments in Venezuela from 1988 to 1998.
In 1999 I bought a camcorder which used the latest technology at the time: Digital8 from Sony and I recorded beautiful videos in USA for 14 years.
All this time from 1988 to 2004 I was continuously buying tapes to record and saving the tapes to watch the videos later.
After: The breakthrough comes with the new technology, digital cameras which could record video files in flash memory. And the new technology brings better resolution which came to be called HD (High Definition) 1280×720 pixels. All my tapes were recorded in “standard definition” 720×480 pixels.
Powerful computers also allowed me to capture, convert the video from the tape to mpeg files of 720×480 pixels to be played on the computer with Windows Media Player. That was a long process because it had to be done in real time. To capture one hour of video I had to play the tape for one hour. And I did them all, I have all the videos from 1988 to 2004 all in files in my computer. No more tapes! From 2004 all my videos are recorded digitally.
In 2012 I started recording what was called “true HD” 1920×1080 pixels.
At the end of 2014 I got my first 3D video camcorder to record my videos in 3D. This technology was not vastly appreciated by the consumers and the 3D camera is not available anymore in 2015. But I enjoy very much watching my videos on 3D on my big TV.
I had converted all my old videos to the current technology H.264 which gives the same video resolution with half of the file size of a mpeg file. I am using now in 2015 the emerging technology H.265 which gives the same video resolution with half the size of a H.264 file. That means the files that were created by capturing the video from the tapes can now be a quarter of the size without losing resolution. That saves a lot of hard drive space! I need that space to save the new videos I am making now with my 3D camcorder at 28 Megabits per second (12.6 Gigabytes per hour).
Today I have around 1,600 files in mp4 video. In High Definition I have around 4 thousands.
Before: Since 1977 I was collecting music in cassette tapes. My dad recorded on tapes many family events from our family for the last 50 years.
In 1982 the Compact Disc was introduced with commercial music but we kept using tapes because it allowed us to record on tape the music we wanted and make our own mixes.
After: In 1995 the MP3 technology was introduced and it started a revolution. Now we could have all the music we wanted in computer files, we were able to transfer music from compact discs to individual files on the computer and load the files on a portable mp3 player to play our selection of music anywhere.
In 2007 I digitized all the tapes I had from my dad and from my own collection. This was also a process that is done in real time. To make 1 hour of music/audio from a tape you have to play the tape for 1 hour. And I did, I have all the contents of all the tapes on my computer as mp3 files.
I have been collecting music for the last 30 years in many language from different countries. Today I have more than 50 thousands songs (mp3) which I enjoy on my stereo system at home or in the car.
I never had all the space needed to put all my media in one place. Until I bought my server. I always dreamed to be able to sit in my living room and listen to my music collection or watch any of the videos/photos I have recorded in the last 27 years. Now I can do it.
I bought my server in Feb 2013 but I was not able to make it usable until July 2014 when I upgraded it to the latest technology including a RAID level 50 with 24 Terabytes (6 hard drives of 4 TB). That is a lot!.
So, I do not use photos on paper, I do not use tapes (audio or video), I do not use CDs, I do not use DVDs, I do not use Blu-ray discs. I converted them all to digital files. Everything I have is on the server and I can watch with a click of the mouse: photos, music, audio, videos, movies. I record High Definition 3D movies on my DirecTV DVR and I download High definition movies from NetFlix. This server is the media center I always wanted to have.
The specifications of the server are:
- 2 x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5506 @ 2.13GHz
- 32 GB of Advanced ECC DDR3 memory DDR3L 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800)
- Dell PERC H700 Integrated Controller
- 6 x Seagate 6Gbps SAS 128 MB Cache
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
- Sound Blaster Z PCIe Sound Card
Before: I remember the beginnings of the Internet in the 90s. The connection was done through a modem which connected to the phone line at 33 Kbps (0.033 Mbps). That was slow! in the 2000s it improved to 500 – 700 Kbps (0.5 – 0.7 Mbps) with a technology called DSL. Still used today in most of the world.
Today: Currently (Jan 2015) my server connects to the Internet at 120 Mbps (download) / 12 Mbps (upload) using coaxial cable at a cost of less than $50 a month.
Tomorrow: By the end of 2015 Google Fiber will be available here and the server will connect to the Internet at 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps) both ways!
These were the average connection speed around the world during 2014
So, really, what you can do is limited by your own imagination and the available technology.
- How much do you want to share?
- How much do you want to learn?