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Data Storage Media

How Do You Store Your Personal Photos? 680

mxhf writes "I just came back from a four-week vacation to Mexico. This is the country for Aztecs and Maya Ruins and we visited plenty of them. Needless to say we took thousands of pictures with two cameras. Having arrived back home I realize that my hard-disk does not have enough space left to hold the additional 16GB that I collected on the other side of the globe. Now, my hard disk already is 250GB. I work exclusively on a laptop and do not want to change this. I know that there are larger disks today. But I figured that the time has come to finally move my image collection from my laptop to somewhere else. But where should I go? So, how do you store your photo collections? And how do you keep backups? These are obviously images that I want to keep for my life. So the need to survive fires, burglaries, etc. I think the amount of data I have rules online storage out. Should I just get two USB disks and leave one at a reasonably save location? I think this must be a common problem today. And yes — before you ask — I do know that the first thing to do is to go through your collection and dump what is not worth keeping."
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How Do You Store Your Personal Photos?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:54PM (#34945176)

    You'll never ever look at the vast majority of them. If you don't have time to look through them and only keep the good ones why not just delete them.

  • I'm getting a Drobo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @05:56PM (#34945226)

    Funny enough, I was just thinking about this insofar as my backup disk died, while the main disk in the machine is still running fine. I've listened to enough TWiTs and the like to know about Drobo and checked out the site. I like that the size can be increased over time (up to whatever limit the firmware supports in the enclosure). I was thinking I could also justify it by getting the version that sits on the network as a NAS and use it for all my Time Machine backups, etc.

    I also have a separate external disk (not a Drobo or NAS or anything fancy) that I do an overnight copy of all the important files using rsync with the disk plugged directly into the Firewire 800 port, then I take the disk with me to my folks house and let it sit there. After a week or two I bring it home and the whole process repeats.

    I've also got a private vpn to a Linux machine I set up, but even though I did a full update on it for backup, rsync takes forever (many many hours) to determine what files need to be updated/added, and the machine gets pretty bogged down. Still working on a good solution for automatic offsite backups...

    I'd be interested to know what others think of the Drobo before plunking down the $$$ for one.

  • Live+2+1 redundancy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cpct0 ( 558171 ) <slashdot.micheldonais@com> on Thursday January 20, 2011 @06:12PM (#34945462) Homepage Journal

    I am a semipro photographer. One raw picture is >20M, and I tend to take between 500 and 2000 pictures for an event.

    I keep all pictures. All of them. With the usual exceptions of the black ones or a very blurry ceiling.

    My computer is also a laptop. I removed the useless DVD drive to host a second hard drive, only for the pictures. That gives me 750gb for pics.

    I also have a 2TB external hard drive, and a general backup 4TB drive.

    The workflow I use is as follows:
    - I put all my pictures on my computer.
    - Once transferred, I plug and copy all the new pictures on my 2TB, never removing anything from there, only adding.
    - I then process the pictures, adjust them, do whatever needs to be done. I sort them in 3 buckets (deleted, meh, good).
    - I copy the working copies for the good ones to the 2TB also.
    - I delete the deleted/meh from my laptop, only keeping the good ones.
    - I do a general incremental rsync backup of my laptop to my 4TB.

    For me that's enough protection, I always have my "good" pictures with me on my laptop, and have access to everything else on my dump drive.

    For fires and burglars, I also have a second encrypted 2TB at work. I can safely recreate everything else from that part...

    So far it has served me well, and I haven't lost anything. I've been burned badly in the past after crashing a HD while doing a backup, and having 6 HDD failing me in the same year (yeah, lan partys will do that to your gear) so I am very anal about my data.

  • by joh ( 27088 ) on Thursday January 20, 2011 @07:37PM (#34946522)

    I know that many people have problems to keep their photo collections down to a managable size. I always recommend to first somehow mark photos for deletion and then delete them later. Why? Because deleting a photo is something nobody likes to do -- you *may* want to look at it again, so you don't delete it outright and later you never come around to go through all your photos and delete those you don't need.

    So use some photo managing app and flag those photos as soon as you see them. If you use some app that has this one to five stars thing, use a one star rating for photos you think you could delete (because "no star" could also mean you haven't rated them at all yet). Later then it's easy to just delete all photos flagged this way.

    Everything else is futile. Keep your photo collection small. Do not try to delete photos immediatly because you very probably won't do it anyway. Flag them for deletion. A year later or so you will have no problem at all to wipe them away then.

  • by apoc.famine ( 621563 ) <> on Thursday January 20, 2011 @10:21PM (#34947930) Journal

    That's 3 to 5 cents a shot, not negligible.

    Compared to what? Film? Or not taking pictures at all?

    Really, for that much data, you really want to mirror a couple of TB drives, and then share with your neighbor/friend/family member far away/ like you're doing. On a similar setup.

    I think the original question really boils down to, "In this day and age of hundreds of GB of personal data, how do you store it and back it up?"

    I read a nice article some time ago about us becoming too attached to our data. That we were really keeping too much, and that we should gracefully let it die. Because really, when we pass away, who's going to want to dig through 1100 pictures of Mexico that we took? Nobody. They'll want the two pictures of us on our honeymoon. The picture a year that shows some kid growing up. They're not going to want to read every email we ever received - they want to see the dozen of when we fell in love.

    Personally, I've got a pair of mirrored TB drives, and a chock-full 250gb drive in a box in the other room that has a copy of everything essential from about 3 months ago. My home and work computer each have copies of important work stuff, roughly up to date. If my house burns down? I'm going to lose a ton of shit, including a lot of data. But you know what? I probably don't need 99% of it. I don't need all the music and movies, D&D campaigns, papers I wrote in college, etc. When I set up these TB drives, I made a dir in my home directory that was called "old home dir". I didn't move anything out of it that I didn't need. And you know what? 95% of the stuff in it is still there after 4 months. When I did that a couple years ago, the percentage was about the same.

    When it comes right down to it, our electronic data is going to be pretty much the same as our physical data from a century ago. Water leaks, mold, and sunlight destroyed most of our photos and documents. Failed HDs will destroy most of them now. But the world will go on.

    Getting back onto topic, look into DropBox. Distributed copies on multiple computers, drag and drop interface, history and version control. Damn handy.

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan