As we approach an arbitrary dividing line that we call the end of the year, and I face the fact that I should have updated the calendar long ago, I offer a reminder to all of those reading who have digital images on their computer – and for that matter, even those that don’t: back up your system! Digital information is easy to damage, and every storage option available to us is failure prone. The only way to avoid losing stuff is to rotate backups and trust none of them. It’s the price we pay for resorting to this method of storing information.
If you don’t have an external drive, get one. If you haven’t fired it up in months, that’s too long. If at any point you have just one working copy of your information, you have a weak point. I lost an unknown number of images from Florida when an archive hard drive failed at a crucial point, while I was rebuilding my computer system and had just wiped the main drive. And I can’t tell you how many CDs and DVDs that I’ve had simply give up the ghost. If you need it or want it, copy it several times over.
And while I’m at it, here’s another item for those with digital images, especially those that edit them. Your images are going to look the best if you can see them accurately on your computer monitor, and I’ve now made a page to help you optimize this. Check it out, most especially the example images that I’ve linked to there, and ensure that you’re seeing the best images that you can from your monitor – it’ll help a lot, and some of your images may suddenly look much better. This is another thing that should be done routinely.
Of course, you should be taking plenty of pics too, so after you’ve done all this, go out and add some more to the drive ;-)