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Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
The Lighter Side of the News

So many selfies, so little storage space

  • Is this a scene from my new Web series, "My So-Called Selfie" or a creation from a collection displayed during Tokyo Fashion Week?

    Associated Press

    Is this a scene from my new Web series, "My So-Called Selfie" or a creation from a collection displayed during Tokyo Fashion Week?

Photographic self-portraits, or "selfies," have been around since forever, or at least since whenever the camera was invented. What's new is the Internet, "photo sharing" and the word "selfie" among other things. And the proliferation of photos, that's new too. While the Internet is infinite, or something, Facebook is not. So last week, Facebook opened a 16,000-square-foot cold storage facility next to its two Prineville, Ore., data centers to handle all that photographic data, the Bulletin of Bend, Ore., reported.
Facebook users upload 350 million photos every day, for a total of 250 billion photos since Facebook added the upload feature in October 2005. The cold storage facility will keep those infrequently accessed billions of photos on separate servers from the "hot data" of daily new photos and tags being added.
America is often accused of being a "throw-away society," but that bad habit doesn't transfer to the Internet, where it would be a good habit. Not everything has to be saved for time and all eternity. Especially photos one never looks at. Everyone, no matter your forum, can use a good editor. Delete some stuff. It can be cathartic. And who knows better about deleting stuff than those of us who capable of only capturing the same short-armed, three-chinned selfie over and over? Let's take a gigabyte out of some hot data:
•"Mom delivers her own baby on way to Pa. hospital": Talk about a real "selfie." And now she can send herself a really big bill. And possibly sue herself.
"2 county employees reprimanded over 'ghost camera'": The two workers in Butte, Mont., were scolded after they installed a motion-activated camera in a little-used room in the health department in the hope of capturing paranormal activity.
With all the corporate and governmental spying and monitoring of people these days, these would-be Ghostbusters are a breath of fresh air, at least when it comes to misusing cameras. (Naturally, the situation came to light when an employee who noticed the camera was worried that someone was spying on employees and turned the camera over to police.)
•"FBI files reveal new info on clandestine phone surveillance unit": Are the nation's phone booths in cold storage somewhere?
"Top dog costumes for 2013": That's a trick headline. All dogs, everywhere, agree that any and all costumes are embarrassing and should be chewed up thoroughly.
"Could a vaccine for PTSD protect soldiers?": Is that really what we want, to be able to inoculate soldiers against the trauma of war in order to participate in it without emotional effects? Isn't that so "1984"? How about a vaccine to prevent war instead?
"HTC debuts its new supersized phone, the One Max": Remember when small phones were the height of cool and the bigger precursors mocked?
"Ashton Kutcher is TV's highest-paid actor": And just like with CEOs, the high pay doesn't necessarily reflect or have any relation to, what's it called? Oh, yeah, job performance.
"Eating popcorn 'disrupts advertising'": Just as it disrupts the movie for others. But the marketing researchers weren't interested that part.
"So far, smart watches are pretty dumb": Would you believe ... that life really is starting to imitate the old sitcom "Get Smart"?
"Toronto start-up aims for brainwave-sensing headband": You can color-coordinate it with your smart watch.
"Belgium traps Somali pirate chief with lure of stardom": When someone inevitably pitches the idea to Hollywood, they'll say, "It's 'Argo' meets 'Captain Phillips'."
Talk to your wrist like you are wearing an invisible smart watch this week.

Carol MacPherson: 425-339-3472,

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Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor:

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer:

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor:

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