For those of you who don’t know Dimitri, he’s about the age of my son, so when  he and I  started a conversation about physical vs. digital it was bound to reflect two very different points of view; now I find myself in need of a wee more space than allowed in comments.

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CDs (and a handful of surviving vinyls)
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2013-05-30 20.55.58

And, before you mention it, I know.

I know this is coming from the same guy who rants about ebooks, but I never said I wasn’t contradicting myself.

I praise the fact tha ebooks of digitzed music can be so much more than the physical version could, but the physical possession bug for me goes a little beyond its meaning for the average person. In fact, I am ready to admit I am a little obsessed with possession.

However satisfactory, possession is  limited in time and space: I must be here and now to reap its gratification; to nurture my obsessions I have been exploring for many years ways to extend the gratification power of my possessions.

Classification (a complete database of what you own) is a good way to carry at least the notion of my cultural mine, but so far I have been able to complete it only for music, even though – as discussed in the post above – the iTunes solution is uncouth, devoid of finesse and locking me on the Apple platform, so it is being phased out in favor of Clementine.

I am using Movielicious to obtain the same result for movies, although the process takes time and the database is growing to be quite large – in parallel I am ripping DVDs to the newly installed NAS to achieve portability or, at least remote access, a process which takes ages. Once accomplished, however, it would ensure portability of the representation of my movies (the database) together with secured access to the assets themselves. The music and movies solutions are rather complete, as they leverage public databases which are rather complete.

Pictures since 1999 are digital and therefore stored and backed up to the cloud – but there’s another 17 years worth of prints and 35mm slides tucked away in plastic boxes – the fact that analog photography was more expensive meant I did not take proportionally as many pics before 1999 than I did afterwards, but OTOH I printed every damn picture I took, so we’re well in the thousands there as well. I have been considering a feeder scanner like this one: not dirt cheap, but sending my boxes to a service would probably cost as much; not so the 35mm slides: as I only have less than a thousand, I will probably have them done outside.

Books are the toughest – databases for non english books are not very good, so barcode scanning won’t really work (believe me, I tried); plus I have many books without a barcode (don’t ask me why, I just don’t know). As a result, I do not know how many books I have or where they are; when we moved we filled 107 boxes of books, @50 books per box that’s 5,000, but do I have the english language version of “Dubliners”? OK, I know I do, but where the hell it is?

Not to mention the absolute absence of any metadata.


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