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Hard drive array

Image by Shanghai Daddy via Flickr

Tonight I moved a couple of my external hard drives closer to where I sit my ass every night.  I can now start to organize my backups. I used to use Time Machine on the Mac to backup. I have at least 6 to 7 years of digital media diligently backed up onto two 1Tb drives. All my family photos, videos, music. Lots of stuff!

I also did a manual backup in the summer of 2009 as I went very mobile at the time and only had my Macbook Air. It has a small harddrive(80Gb) and couldn’t store all my data, so I burnt DVDs and used 2 other drives to store just my photos.

I want to organize my images to be available regardless of the operating system I am using. In order to properly use Time Machine, you need OSX. Well, I am a Linux user(PinguyOS), so I need to move all that wrapped up data into a format that plays friendly with Linux. That means PNG, or JPEG. I am going to have to export all my photos and try not to duplicate anything. I probably have 4 or 5 iPhoto Libraries with many instances of the same photos.

It will take me a couple of weeks to work it all out. I will try to report back once I’m done with any lessons learned…

The biggest worry I have is that back in the old days, you had 2 copies of your pictures. The original, and the negatives. You put the negatives some place safe(like a safety deposit box), and the photos in an album. You could re-create the photo with either the photo or the negative. The pictures usually lasted 40 to 50 years for future generations to see.

Now you have the image stored as 1’s and 0’s. On a hard drive or DVD that will eventually die. And, technology is changing. One day DVD players won’t exist. How are you going to retrieve the photos? Want about USB technology? That will die too. Will it be around in 40 years when your kids want to look back at your life? Probably not.

I really don’t see a PERMANENT backup solution out there that will stand the test of time like a hard copy of a picture in an album would.

Though I feel a lot better un-wrapping my photos from Apple’s clutches, I have worries with what my kids and their kids will have for permanent memories.

What do you do to backup your memories? Do you print any of your digital photos for backup?