Blog Pile

Get Thee To a Hard Drive

flickr foto
Another Project, Another Day
Another Project, Another Day
available on my flickr

This stack of 70+ CDs now hides in my home office closet. It represents my archive of personal photos going back to maybe 2000.

Since iPhoto (older version) gets fussy with more than 500 photos, and is really groaning the drive on my old 700MhZ iBook with the 4 Mb images captured by the Rebel XT, I’ve been offloading originals to disc and stuffing them in a drawer.

Someday, I will organize them all on a nice external hard-drive, and then my life will be in full order and harmony.

Until then, more entropy.

One day, when a leap month rolls around, I may get serious about organizing this pile of digital photos.

I honestly could not find the original of a specific photo from 2 years ago if my life depended on it. And with the 4 Mb images typically saved now from my Digital Rebel XT, the pile is growing more quickly.

I do have half hearted plans to buy an external hard drive to keep these on… I cannot wait to swap through 70+ discs plus copying thei contents.

For those using flickr (and loving it as mucha s me), here is a tip– take the time to write a meaningful title and descriptive caption for as many of your photos as possible. I have not been a very prolific self tagger (maybe 1-2 tags per photo), and how can you use the search to find your own photos if the only piece of information is a cryptic title like “IMG_1045.JPG”?

Just this week, I was able to find a scattered series of photos since I had luckily written captions and could use the full search. Do you really think you will be able to indetify a photo based on the date it was taken? If so, your memory is more enhanced than mine.

Captions do not have to be novels to be useful (or interesting).

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Once you’ve got some storage room, check out the latest version of the Adobe Lightroom photo management app. Handles RAW stuff really nicely, and runs on more hardware than Aperture will. But I still swear by iPhoto ’06 with my nearly 7000 image collection. It’s even nicer when using the Keyword Assistant plugin, which adds tagging ala on top of the native keyword storage.

  2. Yeah, I am thinking about tinkering with some RAW shooting. I have iLIfe ’06 on the Maricopa laptop, and it is much less cranky with a larger library; and I like the new editing pane for image tweaking.

    The home computer has something like iPhoto 3, maybe 4, and nit is a DOG.

    I did not yet mention that for the new job, NMC is getting me a MacBookPro, already ordered…

  3. Ah, well THERE ya go! The MBP should be able to handle Aperture, Light Room, or iPhoto handily. Just make sure you have a backup drive. I keep all important files rsynced to a directory on my LaCie backup drive, and while I’m not 100% confident in that drive, it’s better than no backup at all…

  4. Alan,

    Nothing but empathy here. You’re in a digital version of a photo dilemma that’s been around as long as silver nitrate. It’s almost harder to add minimally useful information to digital images (“Rose and Kevin at the beach in LaJolla CA, summer 1985”) than to paper ones — you don’t have that handy stack of prints, a pen, a comfortable chair, and a glass of Cotes du Rhone to help you out.

    My invention idea of the day: digital camera with speech-recognition software, so when you review the day’s shots you can SPEAK the labels.


  5. Thanks Todd– I’m not as likely to go that deep into unix for this, though GnomeCatalog looks do-able, might be fun to see how it works on OSX.

    You sound way more organized that I!

  6. I put my photos on CD and then take them to the Bank safe deposit box.

    After two in house fires in my so-far life time, and losing so many pictures, I have grown quite addicted to putting photos on CD before I print them and the CD is quickly put in bank box.

  7. That’s fine, “Manic-Mom” for a few disks. I already do that with a CD of photos of our “valuables” at home in case of a disaster.

    But look at that picture- I have more than 70 disks that will not fit in my safety deposit box, and the larger issue is being able to find images without having to rummage through them all.

    My plan was to purchase a small firewire drive to keep a backup in the safety deposit box, since I do worry some about a fire or something else that would nuke my photos (on the other hand flickr is another form of a backup).

  8. Also remember that most optical disks will degrade faaaar sooner than you’d think. Unless you get the special archival (gold?) disks, they only last 5-10 years under good conditions, or less. If you’re backing up to optical, plan to keep re-backing up to the Latest And Greatest format every few years, or pack an iMac in a time capsule ala Lost so you can read these disks years from now…

  9. “Last weekend, I tossed in the trash [my?] box of audio cassettes…”

    My prediction is that in the future, people will spend at least a third of their waking hours moving stuff from one technology platform to another in a desperate attempt to stay ahead of obsolescence.

    “March 18, 2014: MegaMediaCorp announced today that it was releasing version 1.0 of its new subspace hard drive / video server / 3D-fabricator / dog washing station. A spokesperson added that MMC will discontinue customer support for versions 1.5, 2.0, 2.8b, and 3.0 at 4 p.m. eastern time this afternoon.”

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