Hands up all those who store their photos on their computer at home. Now put your hands down if that is the only place where you store your photographs. Anyone still with their hands up?
It is so easy to think that once your photos are on your computer that they are there forever. The reality is a bit different though.
Computer hard disks (like the rest of the machine) don't last forever. They have a finite lifetime after which they can be expected to fail. They can also be damaged, corrupted, lost or stolen.
Equally, computers break and are regularly replaced with the latest model, and often the contents of the old one are not retrieved and copied to the new one, either because the old disks were unreadable or because the owner didn't have the knowledge of how best to do it.
Some of the more enlightened people back up (copy) their photos and documents to CD or DVD disks, but the cheap (non-archival quality) ones often degrade after a few years and become unreadable, and the contents are lost.
And how long will CD and DVD players be available? Remember the Walkman cassette player?!
External hard disks which plug in to the USB or firewire port on your computer, or more recently are connected directly to your home network, also have a limited life span, and it can be very slow transferring large quantities of data between external hard disk units.
A very popular solution nowadays is the online backup, where everything is transferred over the internet to a third party site somewhere else in the world, and where additional backups are then someone else's responsibility. And whilst small volumes of data (typically 2Gb) are stored for free, these can cost real money every month for sufficient space to store even modest photo and music collections.
Every photo you take is a memory for future generations, and the only durable way to pass these memories on to your descendants is by using old fashioned paper prints, or by having your photos printed in the latest digital photo albums to store safely in your book case.
We live in a throw away society. Don't let your photographs and memories go the same way!