Two years ago, I became a father. This has been the most important moment in my life so far, and I was lucky to live in a day and age that these special moments were captured in photos and video.
I have on tape the first time I saw and held my daughter, a few minutes after she was born. And as most parents do nowadays, in the two years since then, my wife and I have taken a good number of photos and videos, mostly using our iPhones.
I like the thought that many years from now, when she will be a young woman and we will be old farts, I will be able to go back and remember these amazing moments. I also like to think that she will also be able to go through this collection and see how much we cared for her and how much we loved her, and how it was when her parents were young.
Then it struck me.
This is a photo of my father in law. It was shot in 1932, in Alabama, where he was born after his father left Greece in search for work. Some years later, they came back.
This photo survived World War II, a civil war, periods of prosperity and periods of great poverty, even hunger. Did they take special care of their photos? Little. They just had to make sure they were safely kept in a box.
And this is a photo of my daughter, shot 80 years later using a smartphone.
Will this photo make it long enough for my daughter's grandchildren to see it? I doubt it.
I'm quite serious about my digital archive: photos, videos, texts I've written, my blog posts, important emails, ideas, presentations. I back up my computers locally using TimeCapsule, I back them up in the cloud using Backblaze, I have most of the important files on Dropbox, replicated on a couple of computers.
On the other hand, I'm also worried that my archive may end up in the wrong hands. A thief that breaks into our home will probably steal most electronic devices, including computers and hard disks. I wouldn't like them to be able to browse through my whole life! So, everything is encrypted (if you are on a Mac, you should at least try FileVault). And, of course, I use strong passwords everywhere I can.
Which brings up a different problem: if something happened to me, the archive would be lost too. Nobody else knows the passwords --I make sure to change them regularly, anyway-- and my data are encrypted and nobody knows how to decrypt them but me.
This is why I started longaccess. Because I need it -and it turns out that many friends and relatives need something like this, too.
Preserving our personal archives is an important task which has become extremely difficult, if not impossible, for most of us. Maybe few people realize how fragile is our collection of photos and videos that have a special place in our hearts. Unfortunately, as our digital archives will grow older, most of us will find out only when it's too late.
This is what we are building: a secure long term storage for personal digital archives.
I will be our first customer.
This post was originally published at http://the.longaccess.com/blog/2013/07/15/why-we-started-longaccess/ I copied it here some years later, for archiving purposes.