[twitter]I am a pretty strong believer in personal responsibility.
So don’t expect me to be crying a river for a couple who have lost all their baby photos.
Jimmy and Tamala Lapointe were shocked to discover that their laptop had been stolen from a Vancouver parkade — but their shock turned to a sinking feeling as they realized that their irreplaceable baby photographs were on the computer’s hard drive, and nowhere else.
There are two rules about baby photos. 1) Back them up. 2) Back them up.
It’s easy. It takes seconds. It can be free. There is no excuse.
Let me repeat that. There is ZERO EXCUSE not to have a duplicate of any file you deem to be important in your life. Jimmy knows it too.
“I kept on thinking, ‘I should get that backed up,’ but we knew we were going to make a photo album,” said Jimmy. “It was dumb that we didn’t have a backup.”
Yeah, very dumb. So don’t be dumb like Jimmy, here’s how you can back up your photos easily, quickly, simply and without a lot of effort.
Flickr is a great place to store photos and short video. It’s free for a small number of uploads a month, $30 a year if you go FlickrPro and you can have unlimited uploads. The files are secure, and you don’t have to feel weird about posting your child’s picture on the internet as there are many layers of protection. You can make them public, only visible to friends, only visible to family, or only visible to you.
This couple used a Macbook. Having a Time Capsule as a backup would have been dead easy for them. It’s a dedicated hard drive that works with Time Machine within the Mac OS to copy and automatically back up your files. You can keep the Time Capsule at home, take the Macbook with you where you need to go, and then sync the two when you get home.
Apple’s Mobile Me service also would have served this couple well. It’s an annual service that offers 20Gb of storage that you can access from any computer connected to the internet.
Jimmy knows about these services, since he used his MacBook to create his own website for Betty Page styled pinup photos. Why wouldn’t he use it to create an archive of photos for his baby?
External hard drives are cheaper than they’ve ever been. Prices have tumbled as low as $100 for 1TB of storage. That’s 1000 Gb of data. 1TB of storage would be enough to hold 50 years of photos and movies, all for $100.
Then there’s Facebook, YouTube, Blogger and other social networking sites. You lose some privacy and rights protection with things like YouTube and Facebook, but at least you have copies you can get at it if something happens.
BURN A DISC
Even if you have been smart and you have made backups, there’s one final thing to remember. Keep the backup copy far away from the original. If you burn baby pics to a cd, keep one copy at home, and one at your parents. If you dump them to hard drives, keep the drive at work, while the computer is at home. Having duplication only works if the duplicate is away from the danger that could affect the original. There’s no sense having backups sitting next to the computer when your house burns down – they all get destroyed.
So Jimmy didn’t make a copy, and now he’s on the front page of the paper begging for his baby photos back.
“They can keep the laptop — we can replace that,” said Jimmy, 34, a hair stylist who also teaches hairdressing.
“All we want are the photos. They can e-mail them to me at jimmylapointe.com, or they could put them on a disk and take them to Axis Hair Salon at 1111 West Georgia, or in the Sinclair Centre, no questions asked.”
Flickr is Baby Photo Insurance. Do it and don’t be a Jimmy.
A sad/funny note? I lost virtually every photo I took pre-2005 a few years back. The photos were backed up, both onto an HDD AND onto one of those gold-plated archival DVDs. And how? Because I first stepped on the DVD case while moving, cracking the DVD. I've had a personal backup system for the past 10-odd years. Sadly, however, nothing can protect you from sure idiocy. I had a massive HDD failure on a work PC, and was under a deadline, so I quickly grabbed the nearest spare HDD, wiped it, reinstalled and kept working. Only later to realize that was my “secure, offline” backup of all my pre-2005 data 🙁
I now dutifully use timeMachine + network storage at work + flickr to “backup” my stuff.
Every personal photo I have taken since my 8 year old was born is backed up on Picasa. I love it. There’s a desktop version for easy uploading, and the web albums, where I can share the pics with friends & family, and there’s even face recognition – which is helpful when I want to find an old picture with Gramma, or whatever.
Plus, the Web Albums app is fabulous, and makes it easy to find and save a pic to your phone, etc.