Ok, I am tired of hearing about my friends and family losing “all” of their pictures. “I had it backed up!” they say. Let me tell you, putting a bunch of photos on an external drive and calling it backed up is irresponsible and very risky! Don’t worry I am not judging I am speaking from experience. I once had a hard disk in a docking station with over 1 terabyte (that’s alot BTW) of personal photos and videos. I got my foot tangled in the power cord and just tipped it over and the drive, while spinning, landed on the soft carpet. Literally it fell maybe 3 inches. I waited for it to spin down and then re-inserted the drive into the dock and I heard the “click, click, click” of death. All data was gone. I even sent it off to a company in Miami for recovery and NADA!…I got nothing back. Sad story but true.
Hard Drives are physical. They can, no they DO fail. All too often I hear of people going out, buying an external drive and writing all of their photo and video data to the drive and then deleting the original data from their computer. It clears space, speeds up the computer right? Well a couple of questions…did you verify that all the data was correctly written? Is the drive good? Has it been tested for longer than the time you had it out of the box? These are all valid questions. Usually like 90 percent of the time it goes down without a hitch. It has for me for over 20 years of computing…until that one day and it will come.
Backup is best defined as two copies of something. I know there may be data experts that will jump all over my definitions but I am writing this to help “the typical guy” not an IT guru. Data in two places… so in the external hard drive scenario the backup would have been decent had the person not deleted the original copies off of the computer. Then they would have a live copy and a backup copy on the external. Now if they unplugged the external it gets even better because then it’s not subject to the same power surge by lightning that the original copy/computer could face. Now if you took that external to your moms it becomes “off site” backup which would be ideal. Now all of these steps start to get silly. Next thing you know your hard disks will be in four different counties and you’ll forget where all of your stuff is. Not really but you get what I am saying. So along comes Flickr.
Flickr is a photo managing website that has actually been around for a while. Flickr uploads both photos and video. The video is very compressed and I would not recommend using Flickr for videos. Recently, not exactly sure of the date Flickr has extended 1 Terabyte of free storage with their site. Yes for free!!! So a quick primer on megabytes to terabytes. Don’t worry I will keep it simple. An mp3 of decent quality is around 3 megabytes and a very large photo is 4-5 megabytes. Those are big files. Now, you could store approximately 350,000 mp3’s in that space or 260,000 very large photos. I have been collecting my digital photos for many years and I think I may have 100,000 total. So you get the picture here. Oh, and by the way my daughter has her own Flickr and so can all of my other children.
Why I like it so much… Some of you may be saying “well big deal, who cares really.” Let me pose a scenario. Your mom comes over and wants to see those pictures you have of that wedding 3 years ago. Off you march to the office to grab your “storage drive” to bring it back and plug it into the computer. Then you go into the pictures folder and start searching and you better hope you used a naming method that helps you quickly navigate to the pics or mom is just gonna say “that’s ok hun, I really don’t need to see it, I was just curious” and you just spent five to ten minutes not finding what you were looking for. Now the flip. Mom already saw the pics or pulled them up on her Flickr app that’s on her iPhone because she also has a Flickr account and you are “contacts” with one another on Flickr so you can see each others pics. Sweet.
What you will need for a Flickr account is a Yahoo.com email account and that’s it. Once you have that you can log right in and set up your Flickr page. It has several settings that make searching and navigating very nice. It isn’t all perfect as the upload to the site can be very slow. To be honest the Flickr uploader is not all that convenient as it limits you to the number of photos you can upload at one time. One tool you can use which I find to work very well with massive uploads is called flickrsync. It does not upload videos but it does upload photos well and allows you select multiple folders and files all at once.
Once you have all of your photos on Flickr that’s when you can have some fun. You can install app’s on multiple devices and use them to access your photos without having to clog up your device memory with megs and megs of data. Many DVD Players and Smart TV’s have a Flickr app built-in as well. It really depends on the manufacturer. But purely from the basis of storage…its a no brainer. Spend the time up front to transfer your pics to Flickr and you will have a good offsite backup. Then even if your house burns down you can log back into Flickr to see what it used to look like.