Friday, 15 January 2010

Small gadget, huge memory

My photos are very precious. I download a fresh batch almost daily. The backup made then (I call it my Immediate Backup) is an integral part of the initial downloading/editing/copyrighting/renaming process.

At six-monthly intervals I back them all up again, this time as they appear in the hierarchy of folders on the PC that they get filed into (that's my Periodic Backup). Both types of backup have been using up an inordinate number of disks, and the process has lately been taking up far too much time and effort. I've been looking for a better solution.

This is it. An external hard drive. But not the rather bulky and super-expensive dour box of yesteryear. The slim shiny little PDA-sized gadget in the photo is a Transcend StoreJet 25C portable hard drive with a nominal 500GB capacity. I've just used it for my January 2010 Periodic Backup. It cost (with delivery) only £71.49 - that's less than £0.15 per gigabyte.

I've ordered more. Another 500GB drive for the next Periodic Backup in July 2010, and a 250GB drive for my future Immediate Backups. And two 500GB drives plus one 250GB drive for M---, as a kind of present with the identical backup routine in mind. They all come in a nice black leather (or 'leather') sleeve, weigh very little, and can easily slip in a handbag or pocket for travel.

The January Periodic Backup included quite a lot of Word and Excel documents, but was substantially devoted to photos, some of them M---'s, but the bulk mine. Over 83,000 items altogether, and 123GB was needed to back all that up. The July 2010 Periodic Backup will need more space, with another six months' photos having been added. In January 2011 I will write over the previous January's backup, and in July 2011 I will write over the previous July's backup. And so on, so that I always have the latest full backup, plus the previous one. And of course the 'live' version of my stuff on the PC. Plus the backup disks of old. Plus any copies on my laptop. Plus the Immediate Backups on the 250GB portable drive, and the old ones on the disks.

That's an insane number of backups, but you can't be too careful. It's nice to know that if I woke at night and smelled fire, I could grab my portable drives with everything on them, my handbag, and Teddy Tinkoes, and be outside in seconds to watch it all burn down. No doubt recording the scene with the Leica as I shiver in my flimsy night attire. At least my entire recorded life would be preserved for downloading onto a new PC.

Memo: Keep some spare warm clothing in the caravan, just in case that fire really happens!


  1. I like your attitude Lucy!!

    Jen x

  2. Backing up is my biggest issue with my photos...

    I have a couple of TB thta I use for backing up all of my machines.

    The problem started when I went from a compact to a DSLR. Suddenly I was going from a couple of MB per picture to 6 or 7. I've recently upgraed when my first bit the dust and now have 10+ per photo. I think I have about 100GB just of pictures now.

    When you add the music library, document library, and my personal code base of home projects that starts getting up to the 150+ mark.

    Maybe I should do a clean up at somepoint as well :)

  3. You are so well organised. I didn't realise the external hard drive would be so small (I remember when modems were as big as microwave ovens).

    If the worse came to the worse at least you'd have the caravan to sleep in.

  4. @Anji:
    I forgot to mention that I hang my house and car keys in one bunch on the inside of the front door where I can't miss them on my way out. And the caravan keys are on a table in the hall, to grab as I pass. So not only could I get out fast, but I could get into the car (the luxury Volvo with heated seats maybe?) or bed down in the caravan (and use it as a complete temporary home). All the other basic essentials - ID, purse, cash, credit card, camera, phone, PDA, comb, tissues, makeup - are always in the handbag. So I really feel I could resurrect my life from scratch if my home burnt down. And similarly if I were one of the bedraggled survivors of a hurricane on some holiday island in the Caribbean!


  5. Now you make me feel sloppy and lax!

    You do know that car thieves have to steal the keys because of the security features on cars now and they hope that you are leaving them somewhere handy where they can fish for them from your letter box!

    Take care, caroline xx


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