Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tis the season for Photos!

This is a very important post. One that you DO NOT want to miss, delete, or read it and forget it. This message could very possibly change your life.

Back up your photos.

Back them up now.

A month or so ago, a friend of mine had her hard drive self-destruct and despite the best efforts of the Apple geniuses, it could not be resurrected. They gave her the hard drive and said she might be able to pay a private company to try pulling the old data off, but there was only a tiny hope of success.

My friend was devastated. You see, she had months and months of photos on that drive. Events, moments, a once in a lifetime trip to Scotland. All lost. She checked the prices of those private companies that might be able to help, but for the cost of the recovery attempt, she and her whole family could just go back to Scotland and take the pictures over again. She was reduced to asking friends and family for whatever photos they happened to have taken of this year's events.

Don't let this happen to you. Most of today's computers have some kind of digital recording device - a CD or DVD writer. Find out what kind of media your drive writes to (CD, CD-RW, DVD, etc.) and go buy a stack of them. RIGHT NOW.

Copy every image you have. If you have iPhoto, select about 100 pictures, then select Share, then Burn. You can continue selecting pictures until the combined file size of your photos reaches the maximum printed on your media (CD, etc.). I have spent the past few days organizing my photos in iPhoto, and burning CDs. Each CD is labeled with the date and series number, ie. "2007 Photo Backup, Disk 3 of ?, June - Labor Day". I don't have the "?" number yet because I only have the photos backed up through 12/20. After our New Year's Eve party, I'll burn the last disk and have a complete set of 2007. I even went through and backed up the 2006 pictures from my computer because I can't remember the last time I burned a backup and better safe than sorry.

It seems like a no-brainer that I should be able to easily find out when I made my last set of back-ups. I ought to have them neatly organized in one central location, right? Ah, but I do and here comes the next very important, life-changing part.

Practice off-site storage.

This means, send your photo backups to a safe storage location that is NOT your home. I'm sure you've heard stories about families who've lost all their kids' baby photos to a fire, flood, etc. Don't be that family. Have copies of your photos at your house where you can enjoy them. Then send copies of those photos (CDs, DVDs, negatives, film canisters, etc.) to the grandparents, your sister, your best friend, your cousin's sister's brother-in-law, anyone that you know will keep them in a safe location. Preferably, far enough away that they won't be caught in the same natural disaster that could destroy your own photos.

I can't check the date of my last backup because my photo backups are 1000 miles away at my parents house, in a large ziplock stored away with my dad's important documents. That bag contains almost every picture I've taken in the past 10 years or so. If something happened to my huge stack of scrapbooks, I'd lose the countless hours and dollars spent on making them into beautiful works of art, but I could reproduce every picture in them. And that's the most important part.

So why are you still sitting there? Go! Burn, baby, burn!

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