Where to Put Data
As the cost of storing digital data goes lower and lower, new storage solutions emerge and become viable. Long gone are the floppy disks of the 80s and 90s. The CD is old news, and the DVD is more of the same. USB keys were hot a few years ago, and still enjoy popularity, but the real trend is the move towards online storage; putting your data “in the cloud.”
Google presents Gmail as the end-all email solution. Never again delete an email, because every passing day brings additional storage space. It currently offers over 7 GB of free storage (and counting), far more than the typical user expects to accumulate, considering most emails are a few kilobytes in size.
Decorative USB Keys
Also called “flash drives”, these little cases of plastic and metal have outgrown their utilitarian beginnings to become fashion accessories in their own right. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, made to look like sushi, teddy bears, sports accessories, or whatever you’re interested in. Modern flash drives typically carry 1GB or more of data, and have become increasingly affordable, some costing as little as $10.
External Hard Drives
External hard drives have become smaller and more stylish. Now sporting shiny enclosures and thin form factors, they’re portable enough to fit into a laptop bag and allow you to not worry about running out of storage space when you’re on a photo shoot, vacation, or business trip.
DVD burners and rewritable DVD media have become affordable enough to equip most new PCs with the drives. Standard density DVDs can store up to 4.7 GB of data, roughly seven times as much as CDs of the previous generation. With bulk DVDs costing less than $1 each, the possibility of backing up all your favorite movies is finally a reality.
Blu-Ray has also come to the forefront of digital storage options. For storing high-quality video, it’s the best option, though the cost has not yet dropped far enough to reach mainstream consumers.