If it’s not backed up, it wasn’t important

Minor tech annoyance this morning as I discovered that one of my external hard drives had died. The minor annoyance being that it’ll cost a few quid to replace it, and thankfully not the loss of anything on it. It was only a backup drive, and a secondary back up at that.  By secondary I mean the second backup of the data, so there is still the original data on disk, plus an external drive backup. Oh, and for important photos etc two DVD backups too.

Think that sounds a bit excessive? I guess you’ve never lost any important data then. Trust me, having worked with computers for years it’s never a case of ‘if’ they’ll fail, eventually ALL hard drives fail, it’s only a case of ‘when’.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had people ask me things like the classic I heard last week:

“I can’t find my pictures anymore, what do I do?”.

“My computer was playing up so my friend had a look and said we need to reinstall ‘Microsoft’ so that’s what he did”.  When I asked what they meant they’ve got no clue but it seems they weren’t just upgrading office. Their ‘friend’ had reinstalled Windows, fresh, and most likely reformatted the drive for good measure too.

My usual answer in these situations is simple.  “Not a problem, just restore from your last backup and you’ll be fine”.

Of course, as usual, they didn’t have one.

“But what about all the pictures, how do we get them back?  There’s everything on there from when the children were born, it’s really important we don’t lose those ones!”

Err, sorry love, they’re gone. Forever.  They obviously weren’t that important to you were they or you would have taken a little more care with them.

Sorry to be hard nosed about this, but computers break. Hard drives crash.  Sometimes (heaven forbid) humans make mistakes and accidentally hit delete.

Repeat after me: “If it’s not backed up, it wasn’t important”

Lightroom 4 Preview..

Very excited that Adobe have released the beta of Lightroom 4 into the wild today, with huge improvements..

Just a few of the new features (as described by Adobe Labs):


For the development of this latest release, we’ve focused on further maximizing image quality and expanding output options. New tools let you extract more detail from highlights and shadows, make a wider range of targeted adjustments, and easily share your images and video clips on social media and photo sharing sites.

New Features in Lightroom 4 Beta

  • Highlight and shadow recovery brings out all the detail that your camera captures in dark shadows and bright highlights.
  • Photo book creation with easy-to-use elegant templates.
  • Location-based organization lets you find and group images by location, assign locations to images, and display data from GPS-enabled cameras.
  • White balance brush to refine and adjust white balance in specific areas of your images.
  • Additional local editing controls let you adjust noise reduction and remove moiré in targeted areas of your images.
  • Extended video support for organizing, viewing, and making adjustments and edits to video clips.
  • Easy video publishing lets you edit and share video clips on Facebook and Flickr®.
  • Soft proofing to preview how an image will look when printed with color-managed printers.
  • Email directly from Lightroom using the email account of your choice.


What I’m particularly looking forward to:

I’m particularly looking forward to the enhanced adjustment brushes and the geolocation support. Should save me tediously tagging everything on flickr.  I can see the video stuff helping loads too as I want to do some training videos for my martial arts school this year too and being able to catalogue them in LR will be dead handy.
There’s a very tiny tweak in the print module which is going to make a huge difference. They’ve added a brightness adjustment directly into the print setup which will apply only to your printed output.  FANTASITIC!  No more making virtual copies and adjusting them all manually in the develop module. That’s going to make  such a difference when setting up for prints. Very, very happy about that :)
The book support is going to be really handy too given that I’ve just been looking at making up some portfolio books to show to potential clients.  Better still, it appears to be using blurb which is the service I was using anyway so I’m very happy about that :)  Blurb make excellent quality books and their existing software is excellent. To have that built directly into Lightroom is going to be incredible.
As always, “The Photoshop Guys” were involved in the launch, so head on over to their site as Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski have a bunch of videos to show off some of the new features. And if like me you can’t wait to get your hands on it, you can download the beta right now from Adobe Labs 

All things digital..

Popped up to Highnam yesterday morning for the Gloucester area RPS meeting, which this time was mainly focused on a showing of the images from the RPS Digital Imaging Group print exhibition. I’d not really thought about joining any of the special interest groups up until now but as I’m a big fan of the digital workflow it seems like a good idea so I’m going to join that one this week.

I did take up the prints from my successful distinction last week and showed them to some of the members who were very complimentary about the standard of both the images and the presentation/print quality which was very encouraging, indeed I was encouraged by several people to start working towards my ‘A’ panel as soon as possible which was ace.   A couple of people were asking about my digital workflow and how much work I’d done on the mono conversions etc. so I thought I’d post a quick before/after example of one of the successful images from my panel here.

And by popular request, lots more examples of this type coming soon!



Pimp my Mac…

Thought it was about time for a spring-clean and an update to my Mac, and with a bit of a bonus in the bank from my recent dealings with the Daily Mail I thought I’d treat myself to an upgrade.

So, tonight I’ve just ordered a pair of fast 128Gb  SSDs and a hardware caddy with built in RAID controller to stripe them and make them even quicker for a super-quick 256Gb boot/system drive.. The plan is to do a clean install of Snow Leopard onto it and take a couple of days out to really optimise my Mac for performance. I’ll just re-install my essential apps initially and avoid all the cruft that’s accumulated over the years.

All my data, photos etc. are on a separate drive anyway so it’s a pretty painless operation and as I’m installing the SSDs in a spare bay I can leave the existing system disk untouched as a further level of backup (I’m already running time machine and regular DVDs) and then as/when I do discover anything I actually need it’s a piece of cake to transfer it.

Next on the agenda, 3 x 2TB drives in a RAID5 array for the data.

Ooh I do love the smell of new tech in the morning don’t you?