We’ve by no means reached the limits of flash and hard drive storage capabilities, and newer WiFi capabilities open up a seemingly unlimited amount of cloud storage, but a group of researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Maryland have taken the term “cloud” a bit literally. They’ve managed to store and retrieve two sequential images in a cloud of rubidium atoms.
The specifics, which you can find here, are somewhat complicated and non-scientific types may want to stay away; but the result of years of experimentation is that they have now been able to store images of the letters T and N in the atom cloud, and then retrieve them with 90-percent accuracy. This breakthrough is a big step towards the future of what scientists refer to as “quantum memory.” It’s true that you probably won’t be seeing quantum memory cards any time soon, but this technology can only lead to a future with more storage options — and that we’re all for.
Do you use a free Dropbox account for storing and backing up your files? If so, get this: the company is currently offering up to 4.5GB of extra free space for anyone willing to help it test out the software’s new auto photo import feature. Your first photo import will land you 500MB of extra space, and every 500MB of photos and videos uploaded afterward will score you an additional 500MB. The new feature helps you automatically backup your photos every time you connect your memory card, phone, or camera to your computer, and can be download here.
This photo shows what 5MB of hard drive storage looked like in 1956. The IBM 305 RAMAC hard disk was state of the art, weighed just shy of a ton, required a forklift to be carried around, and was composed of 50 separate 24-inch discs that occupied 16 square feet. The annual cost of using it was a staggering $35,000 — steep even in today’s money. Nowadays most RAW photos outweigh the storage capabilities of that behemoth of an external hard drive…
Everpix is a new company that wants to make your entire photo collection — both online and offline — accessible from anywhere through the cloud. Introduced yesterday at the TechCrunch Disrupt 2011 conference, the service will come as a desktop client that monitors folders on your computer and photo sharing accounts on the Internet. Whenever you add new photographs, they’re automatically beamed to the cloud (i.e. Everpix servers), allowing images created using many different devices and stored in many different places to be available in one central location. Even photos emailed to your through Gmail can be picked up and back up by the service. Read more…
Adobe announced a new cloud-based photo storage and sharing service today called Carousel, which will let you store all your photos at a central location, making it easy to view, share, and edit them — using a Lightroom/ACR-based engine — on any device you own. It’ll only be available for Apple users in the beginning (e.g. Macs, iPhone, iPad), but Android and Windows versions are in the works. The service will cost $9.99/month or $99/year, and the free apps will be released later this month.
There’s a good chance the digital photos you’ve stored on hard drives and DVDs won’t outlive you, but what if there was a disc that could last forever? M-Disc, short for Millenial Disc, is a new type of disc that doesn’t suffer from natural decay and degradation like existing disc technologies, allowing you to store data safely for somewhere between “1000 years” and “forever”.
Existing disc technologies write data using an organic dye layer that begins to experience “data rot” immediately after it’s written, causing the disc to become unreadable after a certain amount of time. The M-Disc, on the other hand, actually carves your data into “rock-like materials” that are known to last for centuries, meaning there’s no data rot. Apparently NASA uses the discs to store data. Hopefully it becomes available and affordable soon…
It’s a good time to be a digital photographer — massive hard drives are becoming cheaper than ever, making it so photo-enthusiasts don’t have an excuse for not backing up their data redundantly. Here’s an interesting look at how the price of a Gigabyte of storage has changed over time:
YEAR — Price of a Gigabyte
1981 — $300,000
1987 — $50,000
1990 — $10,000
1994 — $1000
1997 — $100
2000 — $10
2004 — $1
2010 — $0.10
Nowadays, a cheapo flash drive given away for free at expos has more capacity than a $10K computer from 30 years ago. In another decade, you’ll probably be able to consolidate all of the hard drives you have now on a cheapo flash drive of the future (or whatever we’ll be using then)!
Google has changed the way it limits Picasa photo storage, allowing users to store a virtually unlimited number of photos… provided that they’re small. Previously the service limited users to 1GB in storage and 1,000,000 photographs (split between 1,000 albums). While the photo limit is quite generous, it was difficult to reach since users would likely hit the storage limit very early on (you could only store about 10,000 100KB photos). The million mark is easier to reach now thanks to Google no longer counting photographs 800px wide and smaller towards the 1GB limit, making it a pretty attractive free storage solution for people with a bunch of small photos to store.
TDK has unveiled a monstrous 1 terabyte (1000 gigabyte) optical disc at CEATEC 2010 (the Japanese equivalent of CES), which wrapped up a couple days ago. The disc has 16 layers on both sides that each store 32GB of data, and is the equivalent to about 213 of the recordable DVD discs that you might be using to back up your image files. As someone who uses multiple external hard drives and countless DVD-Rs to backup my photos, I’d love to use these massive discs for backups and redundancy.
However, unlike improvements in hard drives, optical discs technologies can take forever to find their way to consumers — just look at how long it took Blu-ray to become the de-facto successor to the DVD. We can dream though, can’t we?
If you’ve got boxes of old prints and family photos you’d like to salvage from those awful sticky photo album pages, SnapHaven will scan them for free. For a limited time, the photo storage and backup service is offering free unlimited scans for customers with an active membership — though you’ll have to pay to ship your own prints.
SnapHaven is still the only dedicated photo backup and storage site. They also offer services for making prints, photo books, and other photo gift accessories.
SnapHaven originally launched last December, but has just re-launched with new membership options. Previously, the company had plans based on upload limits, but membership is now available at a yearly flat rate, starting at $49.99. Now, rather than paying more for more space, annual memberships are straightforward and include unlimited photo backup, protected by the company’s 99 year lifetime guarantee. SnapHaven also assures that even if the yearly membership is not renewed, customers can still have full access to the photos for viewing, printing, sharing, and downloading.