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Sunday, 04 December 2022


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FWIW I don't backup my Mac(s) at all. I just backup data. (It is a pain to re-install software, I know, but I've been lucky so far)

For the last few years I've used Dropbox for online storage. I have various stuff there, including c.1Tb of digital photos and scans. I sync selected Dropbox folders on my various machines depending on requirements. (I do software development as well as photography).

One of the good things about Dropbox is that it does incremental sync. So If you have a 150mb scan, and make some tweaks, or change the metadata, it only uploads the delta, not the full 150mb.

I guess other online (aka Cloud) storage solutions are just as good

I mentioned this in another thread, but my way to have redundancy for permanence is to keep my cards in a physical, annotated file after transferring to my computer (and then from there to an external harddrive).

I buy my cards in bulk and get 16 gig cards for around $7. I have every shot from the last 5 years in binders with dates, cameras and subject marked to easily find what I'm looking for. After decades of film photography, keeping over a thousand images on a seven dollar card doesn't bother me financially and if my drives die I still have everything.

Ah the memories! I always referred to the 3.5" as crunchy drives.

I backup my image archive, project files, After Effects, premiere files etc twice a week for the past five years. I have had to rebuild my local storage during that time without losing anything important. Right now Everything important is duplicated on 4TB RAID array, 4TB WD external drive and 10TB cloud backup.

Not a plug but IDrive online backup has saved me a few times. I have 10TB available in the cloud which includes multiple file versions allowing me to revert just about anything if needed. Unless you have a really fast connection it is slow to get started with cloud backup. It is worth the effort as far as I'm concerned.

I don't worry too much about running out room anymore. Impressively large internal and external hard drives are pretty inexpensive these days.

Last year the 500GB boot drive in my Windows machine was getting flaky, so I replaced it with a 2TB SSD drive -- whoa, what a difference! At the same time, my 3TB back up drives were getting pretty full. I bought 6TB drives for less than I paid for the old ones.

I wanted to build a new rig, but it was impossible to get graphics cards at the time. Now that cryptocurrency has kind of crashed (they use graphics processors to mine the currency) they're starting to show up at reasonable prices. But my rig works so well now, that it's no longer urgent for me to replace it.

This morning, as I was typing in Microsoft Word a rather important document to be sent to my publisher, I apparently accidentally hit two keys simultaneously that switched my alphabet. I don't know what alphabet it was, but it wasn't English. I couldn't get out of it. I consulted the on-line guruship, which didn't help (the suggested solution didn't work) so I simply turned off the computer, then back on, and I was back in English. I will never know what happened because I'm a moron.

The pilot in your opening photo is going "balls to the wall." I'd always thought the phrase was a testicular reference, but I later learned that it referred to the ball-shaped grips on an aircraft's throttle and joystick. You'd push the throttle all the way forward to the dashboard (if that's what they call them on airplanes) thus going "balls to the wall."

A related phrase, "going balls out" is (or was) used in the world of trains, referring to a centrifugal governor which used metal balls as weights. Going balls out meant going full speed.

I don't think this is well known, but if you combine Murphy's Law and Moore's Law, you arrive at the cold reality that every 18 months or so, one's difficulties with using computers double in scale or number in order to keep up with technological progress.

I just retired my Airport Router (same as your Time Capsule but without the storage) a couple of weeks ago, replaced by a modern mesh router. It would almost certainly take care of your family room WiFi. My WiFi speeds more than doubled after the switch.

4TB drives are $100 or less; 5TB are another $10-15. Buy two and be done with it. (What you really want, 4TB SSD's, are unfortunately 3-4x that; a 4TB Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD is $349 right now).

Backups are always a problem. I have a Synology NAS device with 2x4TB hard drives installed. I’ve set that as the TimeMachine target drive. That works well for me.

The Synology device is a DS220J, which is their entry-level (consumer grade) twin drive system. You have to buy the drives separately from the NAS, but often you can buy a complete package from Amazon sellers. I’ve been using it for more than two years and (once set up) it has made life much easier.

I highly recommend Carbon Copy Cloner. Takes a bit more effort than Time Capsule, but it’s not too hard. Very easy to clone your media drives in a smart fashion. After the first copy, it only copies the changes.

I feel your pain, but, 4TB external hard drives are cheap now--$99 on Amazon. Not losing all your images seems worth $99, even if you cannot solve your whole backup and internal HD issue, at least would be worth backing up your images to another drive. Just my 2 cents based upon panic situations I have lived through.

About the digital images not backed up--why not just buy/use two (or three) external hard drives, and put all the images on them, and keep one of them at a different physical location.

Periodically you can switch one of the two w/ the one that was a "abroad", and update that one; or if working w/ only two HDs, just don't format the camera SD card(s) till it is transferred to both HDs.

This must seem very klutzy to the informed computer users, but it is obvious and thus less worrying for me.

For your Apple storage needs I highly recommend www.macsales.com. They have all things Mac with a variety of configurations, and a very helpful support staff. I'm still using Firewire connections for my external hard drives and they are about the only place I can find HD's with that connection.

My first computer in 1956 was that IBM 704. It had 4k core memory. The mag tape backup had 200 bits per inch density. We could read the bit pattern by sprinkling iron powder on the tape.

I’m not quite as ancient as you Mike (but only by a couple of years), but my first Mac was the Fat Mac. I wrote my PhD thesis on it way back when. I needed to digItize a lot of figures - I did this by copying the figure onto overhead project sheets (anyone remember those?). Then I cut them into little bits, taped them onto the screen and used beta versions of Macdraw and Macdraft to digitize them. I remember macdraft had better zoom capabilities than macdraw. I still have my Mac OS1 floppies for prosperity.

If you have the network capacity this service is handy as a last chance backstop for back ups.


The original floppy disks were floppy. Depending on computer, anywhere from 5" to 8". The recording surface was pretty much like magnetic tape, like in an audio cassette. The sleeve was a bit more rigid, but still bendable. As technology improved, the floppy recording material got shrunk in size,
and was enclosed in a hard plastic shell.

Often, the terminology stuck around longer than the physical thing. We mainframe guys were calling main memory "core" for a while after core memory became obsolete.

Commander Davidson is flying a jet with an open cockpit??

You might want to look at Backblaze, an online back-up service. Not expensive and it gets your data backed up in a way that protects it from the usual worries--plus the added worries of what happens to your life's work if your house burns down/flooded/tornado, etc? If you get robbed? Worth looking into...

From your recent posts, it’s little wonder some people choose to shoot film:
- B&W or color camera
- no clogged print heads
- no computer required
And you get a physical asset, the ‘original’ capture, as a negative, not a ‘digital file’.

"*I wonder if my dated Time Capsule, which was no overachiever as a router even when it was new, could be partly to blame for the fact that I can't get Wi-Fi in the family room." Yes. I had the same issue and solved it with the Linksys Velop and a WD Passport for Mac. I selected Velop because the Apple Store carried it, inferring that it has probably passed some compatibility tests. WiFi is very much improved over Time Capsule.

“I'm an Apple Mac OG.“
What’s an OG? Old guy?
I went to university in 1984 and used a Mac there. Must have been one of those first ones? Didn’t buy one until some 15 years later. But have been using one (or more) ever since.

[Original gangster. Old guy also fits. --Mike

https://www.dictionary.com/e/slang/og/ ]

I am not sure whether I have been spoiled... or suckered...

When I was eighteen, I was inducted into the world of computers, it was the instant money, I am afraid.

As a trainee solicitor's clerk I was making £6 a week.

Then I experienced riches when I took a job as a trainee computer operator on £20 per week.

Over the years, I did OK, raised a family, three kids and a mortgage, and I am still safe and relatively happy, the mortgage is paid.

Had I carried on from solicitor's clerk to solicitor, I would now be luxuriating in my mansion, on the hill.

Saying that, I am reminded of my friend Simon, who stayed in the soliciting game, he is still working as a solicitor and still mortgaged up to the hilt, possibly over his elbow.

I use a LaCie external hard drive for my Mac. It has all my photos and such. It's backed up online to Blaze at $5 a month. If I ever need my data from Blaze, they let me purchase an external drive, and then will buy it back from me if I don't need it after transfer. The month or so it took to first upload everything was definitely skating on thin ice. I really should purchase one more external drive and clone them.

Is this off-topic? No. See what “Speed” wrote. Invest the time and resources to get a firm grip on the most fundamental aspects of your platform. It’s not neuroscience.


Don't make this too complicated.

Hi Mike.

I see a lot of "this is what I do" that is too complex for your needs. A sufficient simple solution will get you miles ahead of where you are and be easy to understand and use.

1) Buy one 2TB external hard drive with a USB connection: the "WD 2TB Elements Portable USB 3.0 External Hard Drive", is on sale now at B&H for $61.99.

2) Use the in-built Mac "Time Machine" utility for backups (set it up in "System Preferences") and set for automatic backups.

3) Leave the hard drive on - it will back up hourly and save daily, weekly, and monthly collections. No thinking or planning required.

For the "ultimate" in safety, buy two of the above drives and keep both connected. If you don't have enough USB ports on your mac-mini get a simple USB dock: "TRENDnet 4-Port USB 3.0 Mini Hub", $17.99 at B&H will be fine.

Really, this is sufficient.

You do not need the speed (= expense) of an SSD for backups.

Unless you have a gigabit internet service, an online (in the cloud) solution would take several weeks of continuous connection to make one copy - hours to do an incremental backup.

John Merlin Williams

You have my sympathy. I'm a youngster with Apple, having only bought my first model in '94 - a 5200 that I could watch television on! Anyway, yes, me too - I have a 2017 MacBook Pro now. I love it, bought new. I'm in the minority that loves the sadly now jettisoned Touch Bar. The only (huge) problem is that I could only afford 1TB of hard drive when I bought it. I've had to export multiple Lightroom libraries to multiple external hard drives and it's a mess. I dream of unifying it again one day, but I do think the fault here lies with Apple. They produced a machine on which its impossible to upgrade the hard drive because apparently they soldered the thing to the motherboard. I believe they continue to do this even with the latest machines. Next time I'll spring for a 4TB drive, but oh the expense. Meanwhile I only have 70GB of free space left and have started to experience kernel panics quite possibly due to that.

Whilst writing, I follow your new photos via the RSS feed from your Flickr a/c and love your work. I'm still convinced you should make a book even in a one-off edition for yourself. I hope you continue to upload to Flickr.

Whenever someone asks me about backups I send them to http://taobackup.com/ .

I also had a Time Capsule failure that I found when trying to open Lightroom with the files data stored on an external drive. Somehow when the Time Capsule failed it corrupted the external SSD. And like you, I spent hours over the course of days trying to have Apple support solve the issue.

I ended up spending the money to have the data recovered. That was a partial success, they were not able to recover the master catalog.

I now use Backblaze to have an offsite backup of all my data.

Just recently I had an issue over the Thanksgiving holiday where Backblaze was not seeing one of my external drives. After a message to support that I expected to take at least the weekend to respond to, I was given a solution on Thanksgiving Day.

Amazing support.

I was once an Apple/Mac detractor (or maybe worse!) but the flakiness of Windows, its increasing penchant for security updates (many the result of stupid software engineering) and then, one day an infuriating snafu as the RESULT of one of those updates, set me right straight. I saved up for an MBA (MacBook Air) and have never looked back.

I've had and continue to have AirPort devices for home routing and only had one issue, and that was with an old AirPort Express 2.4GHz access point that was subject to interference and connection issues with the newer AirPort devices.

My experience with Apple support exactly matches yours - the reps are always patient and pleasant. I think only once have I detected being a bit rushed, but who knows what kind of day that agent had had?

My recommendation for backup, in general and other than the strategy, is to get in touch with OWC and discuss your needs. (I'm about to buy a used Mac Mini to dedicate to my music storage, and it will be from OWC.)

If you need to chat about any of all that and how to extend your WiFi inexpensively, feel free to get in touch - you know how!

Mike (fwiw): I'm a Mac user and have the following system in place because all hard drives eventually fail. I have three-8T external hard drives (EHDs), two of which are solely for image storage. EHD1 is the primary that I use for Lightroom/Photoshop image storage. EHD2 is a clone of EHD1 using GoodSync. It is retrieved once a month from my safety deposit drawer at the bank and updated which Goodsync does seamlessly. In addition, EHD3 is a Time Machine drive that backups all computer file storage. I also use Backblaze, the online server backup service. With EHD2 off-premises and with Backblaze, I'm confident that should disaster strike, my images and other files are secure. btw, I also use CleanMy Mac which I run each morning. There's also a PC version. It replaced Norton and McAfee and does a great job taking out the trash as well as protecting my system from the very odd interlopers aka bad new bears!

Remember, there are two kinds of people, those who do backups and those who will eventually, and certainly lose data!

It's really simple (hah!) Mike. You want AT LEAST THREE BACKUPS of ALL your irreplaceable data at HOME (for me photos, financial data, and my episodic writing); at least two backups; one OFF SITE LOCALLY (at a friend's); and another in the CLOUD. I currently have about 9TB of photos (way too many but it's not worth my time to clean them up, easier to just buy more drives).

I use Carbon Copy Cloner and schedule my home backups for 4AM on alternate days.

My technique, not original, is to use an OWC Thunderbay (no connection to them except as a customer) (holds 4 spinners) in a RAID 5 array, for redundancy and capacity. Three 12GB drives in a RAID 5 gives you 24GB of space (probably enough for the rest of my life given my advanced age). I also have a couple of 16TB drives which I attach with a "toaster," a Newer Tech Voyager 3 for $39.

You don't really need RAID or a box like the Thunderbay; for your needs I suspect a couple of separate drives will work just fine.

I keep a 16TB drive at a friend's down the street. I see them frequently so back it up once every couple of weeks. Should my house burn down (horrible thought) at least my photos will survive.

I keep a 16TB drive in the boot of my car, same idea about the house burning down.

Lastly I have an account with Backblaze, $70/year, in the cloud.

Carbon Copy Cloner automates essentially all my reasonable backup work and it's effortless except for the off site drives (neighbor, car).

I too have been using a Mac since the original, purchased on April 18, 1984!

Good luck to you!

I note that my original comment appears first in the list. I didn't think it worth mentioning at the time, but In case anyone is wondering, rest assured that the afore-mentioned Dropbox folders are also synced to external SSD's for local and offsite storage

About backups. I backup both at home and via Backblaze, which will hold an unlimited number of bytes of your images. A few years ago, I inadvertently wiped out a terabyte or so of my newest digital files. Backblaze mailed me some hard drives with the data, and after restoring, I returned the drives to them. I can't remember whether there was even a shipping charge. You can also restore online, but for large data quantities, Fedex and some hard drives beat most people's network speeds.

The "iDrive" backup service has the pretty nice "iDrive Express" feature. Basically they send you a drive, you download your photos to it via their software (provides encryption) and a USB connection then send it back to them. They load it in their server and send you the link . Way faster than trying to upload TBs of photos via WiFi. Once you have the link then you can do incremental backups via WiFi at whatever frequency you want (similar to "BackBlaze" which my wife uses). If you end up losing all your local data they will reverse the process and send you a drive with all your back-ups on it so you can restore your local storage.

Regarding Albert Smith's note.

Do NOT depend upon SD or CF cards for long term storage. They are not designed for such purposes. A little Google foo will confirm.

I've dealt with computers for a while; in 1963 I took the first computer course offered by the university I attended for undergraduates, and have been at it ever since, including maintaining computer systems for a number of architectural offices and training in CAD for about 20 years. Most of those clients I got through word of mouth after catastrophic data loss.

I use Macs (since 1984, at least) and now, for my daily use machine, use time machine to one external drive and automate image backups with Superduper to a couple of other drives. If my main drive has a fatal event, I want to be able to restart within as short a time as possible, so remote backups over the internet are out. Similarly, my working photos are on an SSD and image backups (and older photos) on cheap drives.

As a matter of interest, at least two backups are needed. Two architectural offices that I've helped had a backup, but as soon as they plugged in the backup and tried to restore their work, those backups failed due to component failure in the hardware. When you suddenly have lost all your data, you generally can't tell what the cause was. Only when you connect a backup and try to get going again can you determine if a transmittable hardware failure caused your problem. Then you duplicate your data drive on another machine to again have two copies at least. The odds of you losing all your data go way down.

Also, a combination of time machine and daily image backups (on alternate days) helps prevent having only backups of faulty data, which might not be noticed for some hours.

I also have one bootable image backup and one data backup on offsite drives.

I haven't lost data since the 80's when hard drives became affordable.

Speaking of computerese, I notice that both the Atom and Feedblitz RSS feeds for TOP are working. Does the management favor one vs the other?

Mike, if you have almost 2TB of images then I'd argue that you probably need to do some culling. Nobody is ever going to look at all those files, not even you! And who else would have the time and inclination?

I would advise that you have 2 forms of backups - one of system and data. System files (including app settings and browser history etc) don't need frequent backups but your data certainly does. Some might suggest Carbon Copy Cloner for making an occasional copy of your drive then you only need to select your data folders for regular (daily) backups.

You should also have 2 different formats so I would add a data backup to external HDD that you remove from the Mac once done. For data already on an external HDD there are simple clone/copy/duplicate tools to just mirror one drive to the other manually. I have found Toshiba 2.5" Canvio drives to be cheap and reliable.

The disks were floppy. Only the cases were stiff.

I recommend using a Voyager dock* to make backups onto 5400rpm SATA internal hard disk drives**. High capacity drives are relatively inexpensive due to the “slow” rotational speed of the platters. Your Mac will see the drive as a regular external disk, so it will work quite nicely with Time Machine, the ditto command in Terminal†, Carbon Copy Cloner, or my favorite, SuperDuper!‡

All you need to fret over is storing the drives someplace dry and dust-free.

* https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/NewerTech/Voyager/Hard_Drive_Dock

** https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?q=internal%20hdd&removeSortFilter=true&sort=PRICE_LOW_TO_HIGH&filters=fct_drive-speed-type_975%3A5400-rpm%2Cfct_interface_7078%3Asata-i%7Csata-ii%7Csata-iii



Amazon offers unlimited photo backups with a Prime membership. They support raw files and most still image formats. Video is charged by volume.


A quick 'Command + f' fails to reveal "The IT Crowd" anywhere on this page, so, I'm going to suggest watching this series, if you can (it is likely on Netflix if you have that). Season 1, episode 1* will reveal to you what really goes on...

Peace and all that,
* someone cheeky has put it up on Youtube, and I see The IT Crowd has it's own channel too

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