Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The End Of My Love Affair With SD cards, Migrate To The Cloud?

My now defunct SanDisk Ultra 64GB Micro SD XC I

Sorry if the title is cheesy. Seriously though, up until today I was the most ardent fan of [micro] SD cards.The reason was simple: be in total control of my data. Along with that was being able to simply pull it and insert it into whatever else device I have without the need to reformat. The relationship was beautiful, non-complicated, and stress-free. So you can already guess that I hated with passion Apple's Iphones since heydays, Google's new Nexus line-ups, and surprisingly Samsung when it announced that the Galaxy S6 will not support micro SDs.  After today's incident and the fact that I despised smartphones that didn't have SD support, I guess the joke was on me. 

Comedian: It's all a Joke
Well the story is that
there were some early signs I ignored. First, my excel spreadsheet was not saving changes I made. I kept on replacing it, and the same scenario kept occurring. A dummy like myself doesn't think much of it. Then, I started missing new pictures I took with my phone's camera. I take a nice snap of an item I will later sell online one second, I can still see the thumbnails in the lower left corner, so I close the app and go about my business. Later in the day, I go back to the gallery and either see a black picture with a bolt across (corruption sign), or the picture is missing. Refusing to admit my condition, I do a quick Google search and find that lots of people had the same issue. The SD still works, reads but cannot write to be precise. And the culprit is what every digital data hoarder archiver dread: a corrupted storage drive, card and whatnot. The joke is on me.

As they say, the first step is to admit one's condition. After failing to enable writing to the SD card with all methods out there on the internet, I finally understood why Google dropped the SD card support a while back and that's probably one of the reasons why Samsung did the same with the Galaxy S6. Yes, it provides the ability to expand your data storage, have control on every piece of data like your files and folders, and it is so portable. However, it is much more vulnerable to data corruption. These are things we know, but we gloss over them thinking it will never happen to us. And if it ever happens, we brush off and say all my data is backed up somewhere safe. But damn, it is a shore to always restore your data, and this is really the real reason behind this useless post.

In short all I'm saying is that it is a damn shore to always restore data from one corrupted SD card into another SD card that will most likely fail in the near future. The alternative solutions I came up with are:
  • what an old friend suggested a long time ago in regards to SD cards in digital cameras: keep it small, nothing more than 8 GB. Why? because when you have a whooping 32GB or more you tend to leave all of your previous pictures in there without backing up. Nothing happened during the last two years, what could happen tomorrow? Well, one beautiful morning, your card is dead corrupted like a leader from Africa and South America, a dictator from the middle East and Asia, or one those self-righteous western leaders. You mourn the loss of your precious photos for years to come.
  • when it comes to smartphones, get one with a large internal memory. You can couple it with a small size SD card to perform one-time data backups or transfer data from your cell phone to your PC. I am already aiming for a 128 GB Galaxy S6. If I go for the S7, I fear I might relapse once again. The LG G4 is a worthy contender. As long as I have more than 3GB of RAM and ample of space for my 25 GB of audio files (only 7 of those are music, the rest lectures) and apps, I should be good to go. 
  • For your pictures and photos, think of using Google Photos. You can either choose to upload your full sized pictures to a 15 GB cloud storage, or do like me if you are a digital environmentalist and upload them at high quality (lesser size) to an unlimited cloud storage. At first I hesitated because I use Google's products with a pinch of salt ever since they were forcing  pushing people to get Google+. But I confirm today that if you value privacy alot just like myself, there is no Google+ bait and the uploaded pictures are automatically set to private, that is unless you choose to share them with someone.
  • For my audiophiles, music lovers, and MP3 hoarders, think of using another surprising Google product: Google Music. You don't need a subscription, and you can upload up to 50,000 songs to the cloud for free!
The cloud seems appealing, but I'm not totally sold yet. I know, I'm hard headed sometimes.  The problem with the cloud is that you're screwed if you don't have access to the internet or a fast internet connection. And that privacy nature thingy forces me to be offline when I'm not surfing the web. So I still like to listen to my music and audio collection offline while going about my day to day life. But today although I keep my data locally on my phone, I make sure that everything is backed up safely on Google servers just in case. This allows me to sleep soundly at night.

I successfully wasted  3 hrs writing this while binge watching Supergirl, what a corny show by the way just like I like 'em.  Ok, peace out!

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