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Friday, July 18, 2008

Starting Over

I've taken a bunch of pictures of stuff lately and have all sorts of fun blog posts to write, but since I found out on Saturday that not only did my computer need a new hard drive but the repair shop couldn't save anything from my old drive I've been kind of avoiding dealing with pictures. Pretty much everything I've done in the last eight years was on that drive; while I don't really care about the work stuff and the two books I'd started (and abandoned), I'm sad that all the pictures and little movies we've taken of the bug were lost. I was terrible about backing up, although I did find a CD of a dozen or so pictures I burned for some reason last fall. We emailed small files of some pictures, and there are jpegs on this blog, of course, so not all is lost, but most of it is. I'm looking into serious data recovery efforts (like the people who do computer forensics)—and trying to figure out a better organizational system for myself.

Do any of you out there have any advice? How do you manage your pictures, edit them, post them to blogs, and archive them? I'm stumbling my way through Flickr and haven't hit upon a workable strategy. In the meantime, while I get this sorted out, here are a few midsummer pictures, the last of which, happily, taken with a camera smudged by little fingers with wild blackberry frozen yogurt.



7 comments:

Heidijane said...

I am so sorry you have lost all your photos and stuff! Things like this terrify me, both personally and professionally.

I am no expert but I have a little exp. with data archiving, and am learning more all the time.

For serious backing up, I'd look into an external hard drive, and just set that as the automatic path whenever you download from your camera. A Systems guy I know often pushes RAID hard drives, which have some kind of cloning so if one drive fails the data is backed up on another in the same device. I think you can get a small one for not too much money. I have been asking for one at work, or a server all my own! We are doing more and more with digitizing historical photos.

For personal stuff, I do like Flickr a lot. The images live on someone else's server, there are lots of security/privacy/copyright features, and with a pro account (free for ATT/Yahoo DSL users, at least around here) you have no limit to what you can put in there.

Good luck!

Heidijane said...

More on Flickr and then I'll stop.

Why it works for me personally: I download images off my camera to our external drive (not RAID, maybe someday). Then I can go through, Photoshop stuff if needed, pick the best ones, and upload those to Flickr. So my things live in two places: my own drive, and then on Flickr space, which is someone else's problem to protect.

In years past, I also made CD backups of photos annually, because I set up a folder hierarchy like "My Pictures/2007 Pictures/" and then within those I let the camera software make folders for shooting date or whatever. This reminds me that I should probably get caught up--I think that stopped in 2005!

Liana said...

This is good to know. It sounds like I might have to invest in an external drive (though those fail too—a friend's just did, and she's now in the same boat I am), as well as Photoshop or some sort of photo-management software. (Yeah, I lost Photoshop and iPhoto in the failure, and I don't have the original discs.) If I send the old drive out to be worked on I'd have to have everything put on an external drive anyway, so I guess I should go ahead and look into them. Will find out about RAID—thanks for that tip, too. I'm so clueless about all of this.

Paul said...

Where did you get the machine worked on? Do you have a Mac or a PC? I have had some luck recovering data in the past and could give you tips/help offline. Worst case you could send it to a pro for clean room recovery at the cost of a few hundred bucks. I know some people in the Athens area who might take a look.

drobbins said...

Hey Liana (this is Daniel); Flickr is great for pictures, and its free up to a limit. There is a tool to help upload things as well, to make it quicker. That and delicious are some of the best tools on the net.

I used to use an external drive, but like your friend, mine crashed, and I lost a lot of stuff. Now I typically back up everything to DVD+Rs; DVD burners are pretty cheap (30-45 bucks for a decent one), and you can put about 4GB of data on a blank disk.

Will your drive still turn? (does the computer recognize the drive? does it simply not work anymore, or did the data get erased? - if it is the latter, a lot of the data can be retrieved, I've had to do it before myself; it takes a while, but can be done).

Liana said...

Paul: Hello. I got my Mac worked on at PeachMac in Athens, and they recommended Cherry Data Systems in Marietta for recovery (yeah, the clean room and all). I'll have to see what they think. Have not had the heart to send the drive in yet, though.

Daniel: Hi there! I don't know if the drive still turns. It's wrapped up in a plasto-magnetic sleeve of some sort. It was making what I gather were "hard drive is failing" noises when I took the computer in, so maybe it isn't turning. Yes, it's sounding like backing up on CDs is a _very good_ idea, and that having an external drive to store the picture files will keep space free on the computer and maybe keep it from slowing down so much (I'd recently installed a bunch of extra memory for that reason).

Thank you, everyone, for the advice. I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

-- Jolie said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Doug & I have a spare external drive. If I care about it, it's on both the internal & external drive. If I really care about it, CDs.