Last week I hit a wall. My life on the computer came to a complete standstill.
I filled up drive C:, D:, E: and F: yes I have 4 drives. Evidently that little imaginary hamster inside my desktop decided just to stop running. Darn.
That makes it EXTREMELY difficult to do anything. Programs won’t open, email sits in the Outbox and certainly blogs don’t get updated (oops).
So I am here to tell ya ….. there’s something else….. the afterlife. Wait no that’s no right that’s a Prince song.
I’m here to tell ya about photo storage. The good ,the bad and the ugly.
How many photos do you take a week? A dozen? Over a hundred? Either way you need to save them, correct? Most people plug in a card reader or pop the memory card directly into the computer and away they go. But how many of you are making a second copy? Probably a few. Maybe you store them online in addition to your desktop which by the way is a great idea but do not rely on just one company to keep the only other copy of your child first steps, that would be a grave mistake as learned by this poor chap who lost 4000 photos he had stored on Flickr when they were accidentally deleted BY FLICKR. Oopsy daisy.
Don’t get me wrong Fickr is a perfectly good option in fact I use Flickr exclusively when it comes to sharing my photos publicly, what I don’t do is use it as my only back up copy nor do I use it as a hosting service for any of my blogs. If something was to happen to Flickr and I only had my photos stored on Flickr for my blog all of my photos would have to be reloaded to my server, no bueno.
One size does not fit all. I learned that the hard way. My strategy in storage has always been to save originals on the main drive and one copy on back up but what happens when the computer crashes and then the external hard drive fails. I’ll tell you what happens you pay upwards of 1000.00 dollars to have someone open up the drive in a room that is sealed and 100% dust free only to tell you that they could retrieve 80% of the data that of which only amounted to a few hundred photos you already had copies of.
I told you it wasn’t pretty.
That was about 6 months ago. I decided it was a good idea to start investing in a 2 external hard drives so I could have a back up of the back up. I had tried the online back up service Mozy but the amount of files seems to cause my uploads to time out so eventually I ended that trial. Costco always has very good prices on external drives. I just picked up my 4th (and FINAL) drive last week. They are now up to 3 TB (terabyte) a tera-what?
Here’s the breakdown techy people:
1024 bytes = 1 kilobyte 1024 kilobytes = 1 megabyte 1024 megabytes = 1 gigabyte 1024 gigabytes = 1 terabyte
A typical file for my photos are 21 mb (yes they are HUGE files but that is because I shoot in a format called RAW. Typical music file is 6MB. My computer had about 4GB of memory on the hard drive that is not enough for my music or photo collection, not even close. So I added 1 drive with 500 GB (which should fit approx 85000 songs and then quickly expanded to not one but TWO hard drives that had 3TB between the two. And then I filled those up too. I soon realized I had duplicates, triplicates and sometimes quadruplicates of files. It was so confusing I downloaded a program to help identify the duplicates called Moleskinsoft Clone Remover, which worked but you have to manually go in and delete all the duplicates after the drive is scanned. I became quickly confused, scrapped that plan and decided to start fresh with the 3 TB drive and move forward. Here is what I recommend. Import your files to you main drive and make a second copy to an external drive. If you are shooting an important occasion or maybe this is your money maker for you then by all means use a 3rd back up method online like Mozy or Carbonite. It had a free trial for Carbonite that lasted just long enough to back up 99 thousand files, yep 99 THOUSAND files. It constantly runs in the backround keeping my backup copy current. You can click on the Carbonite menu on your toolbar at any time during the initial back up (mine took about 6 days) to see the progress, it will tell you how many hours or in my case, days to go before you are completely backed up.
click to enlarge
If you are serious about managing your photos you may want to look into a couple options including using a photo editing software program like Lightroom that also assists in digital management. I love Lightroom for the simple fact that I can assign where to save it, make a second copy, apply editing commands (like white balance) and tag the photos ALL DURING THE IMPORT PROCESS.
Another suggestion read the DAM (Digital Asset Management) book by Peter Krough. I recently attended a workshop he gave on photo management with Lightroom and he highly recommended Adobe Lightroom 3 The missing FAQ he said he uses it as a dialy reference. Its available in print or save money with eformat (Kindle, PDF) for $25. This should really help you get a handle on your workflow. I know this stuff may seem pretty dry but when your computer starts to slow down and become inoperable because its full you’ll wish you had organized all those photos years ago. Stay tuned for Part 2 next week about I’m going to talk about the latest online photo sharing options.