Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The 1st one, a little later....

This is one of my 1st articles I ever wrote. I hope you like it.....

A few months ago, my 3 year old came home from school and sang a song that took a while, as it does when they are 3, for us to understand. The song, sung to no specific tune, went as follows, “Makro’s burning, Makro’s burning.” Yep, I live around the corner from one of the 3 Makros that caught fire over the last couple of years. I have interviewed the CEO of Massmart at the Olympic flame procession through Cape Town and I asked him if he didn’t think it was a bit dangerous to allow him to carry an open flame through the city. He didn’t find it funny.

Makro opened it’s doors again this week. For the last month there have been radio and TV ads as only Makro can do. The flyers and leaflets in the postbox and at the traffic lights have been littering the neighborhood for the last couple of weeks but it’s all worth it in the end. They say that the savings are great, that is, if you can actually get into the building. I did manage, after a while, to get in on the first Friday morning. The joys of not actually having a real job, I guess.

Now here is the point of my story. I needed to upgrade the memory card in my digital camera. Once I got into the store, fought the many traffic directors and car guards, got past the security and the really sad ladies that need to get in front of you and into the store first, I made my way to the electronics area. Mr Massmart, if you read this, there is a major trolley jam outside this area, change your system.

After fighting for an assistant or anyone with a little knowledge of the product I was going to buy, I gave up and worked it out myself. There is was, the memory card that would change the way I take photos on my camera. No longer am I limited to taking just 50 low quality pics, no, I can now take 136 very high quality pics, 1406 low quality pictures.
“Who in their right mind will ever need to take that many pics?”, I hear you say.
“Ha.”, I say.
The memory card I bought is 128 Megs. That’s right, over 128 000 000 bytes of information can be stored on a piece of plastic smaller than a postage stamp. The first hard drive for my first computer that, I might add, was state of the art, was 3 times smaller.
I was very proud of my 40 Meg hard-drive. “Who would ever need anything bigger?” I was heard to ask myself. Now we know.

A CD holds 640 Megs of info, if you buy an old one. The newer ones hold 700 Megs. The DVD that I use to back up my computer take 8 times that. I was given a 250 Gig hard drive for back-up too, and even though I have tried and tried, there is no way that I can fill it. Everything, and I mean everything that I have in digital format, has been copied onto the drive and it’s still humming away without breaking a sweat. Music from the SABC library, for work of course, every single picture I have taken for the last year and all my radio bits and pieces. I haven’t used a quarter of the drive yet.
In fact, the Nokia cell phone I have to review, it great by the way, has more on-board memory than original Space Shuttle, Columbia. Of course, that’s in a million pieces over Texas, so maybe that’s not a good example. Suffice to say, I can take 10 minutes of video using my phone or take 114 pictures.

So what’s the point?

Good question. I think that we use it because it is there. Kevin Costner was told, “If you build it, they will come.” Same thing here. We don’t really NEED to be able to take 10 minutes of video on a cell phone, We don’t NEED to have 114 pictures on a digital camera. We do it because we can. Let me tell you here that the memory card I bought for my camera was the smallest there was at Makro. There were ones that held 4 times what I bought. I thought it was overkill.

10 years ago, there was no such thing as a digital camera. We took our pictures, went to the Photofirst and 1 hour later, there we were in all our glory. 36 pictures from our point-and-click and we were happy little bunnies. 10 years ago, not a lifetime.

HP told me that those pictures will have faded so badly by now that we will have to replace them. If you buy one of their new fangled Generation 2 printers to print your new, digital pics, they will last for 110 years before they noticeably fade. Note the word “noticeably.” The old pictures of you mom and dad’s wedding are probably yellowish by now. Do we notice? No, it’s quaint. It shows the photo is old. That’s the point, isn’t it?

What I am trying to say, unsuccessfully, why? Will we be better people with 114 + 114 pictures? Will we have better memories of life if our pictures last longer than we do?

The answer is yes, as long as Makro doesn’t burn down and we can’t buy over priced technology to keep up with the Joneses.

No comments: