Random photo memory of the day (final) and: Do your backup! Do it now!

From the treasure chest.

Quite a while now since I last shared one of these. The background story was that I had accidentally erased a hard disk with my iPhoto libraries which I had not backed up. By a combination of dumb luck and spending too much money on tools to recover lost data I struck gold and found all those photos back (or most of them – hard to say).

The challenge was then to go through the 20’000 files that had been recovered and filter out the ones that were copies of my photo library. Once this was done, I still had 8’000 photos left, most of them duplicates. In the past months I had gone through a number of them, but only in the last 2 or 3 weeks I managed to finish this. And two days ago I was done with removing the really crappy ones (gee – I really have improved on my photography and post-processing skills) and putting keywords on the rest in Lightroom.

Below a few more photos that I randomly picked from the collection. In hindsight, there were many more which would have been worth showing, but I am not going through there again – at least not this year.

So here we go…

August 2002: Achim and Carola at the birthday of my mom. As Achim would say: the hunchbacked relatives were there, too.

April 2003: My Mitsubishi Colt – financed to a large part by my parents. This is not directly related, but the older I get, the more I am amazed how generous they have been to me and my brother our whole life. Not only financially. I mean basically with everything… I hope I will be as good a parent to Oskar as they have been (and are) to me.

February 2004: One of the photos I thought of immediately when I had lost my iPhoto libraries: jellyfish at Monterey Bay Aquarium. This one is a size reduced, amazing, unedited 6 MP photo (not bad for 2004).

March 2004: My move to Belgium. Here my living room in Bad Soden before I moved…

… and here my living room in Strombeek-Bever two days later. I loved that place and it was conveniently located above the landlord’s wine shop (which was a good thing – this was also the time in my life when I started drinking wine).

August 2005: test driving an Audi as I was looking to replace my Mitsubishi (actually had shared another photo of a BMW test drive in same time period before).

August 2005: Another one from that month. There is a photo collection of the US and German branches of the family at a castle (I think Hohenbeilstein) visiting a medieval market. This photo shows a fight that was staged to illustrate medieval battles (well, rather with a touch of fantasy role play in there).

December 2005: Christmas; my mom with Volkhard after church service.

December 2005: Christmas, gift giving. Uh boy… I put a T-shirt I got over my dress shirt. And I am wearing glasses. Uh boy, uh boy…

June 2006: Offsite with the 848 team at a golf course. I realized I’ve already written about that here, so maybe should have picked a photo that I did not share in the original entry, but whatever… it’s more important that I know I still have the series.

February 2007: Wouter helping me getting rid of my old sofa in Strombeek-Bever. Again, I wrote about this as well (I started blogging in May 2005).

March 2007: I was in the US at my brother’s and Sue passed by with her mutt. I am surprised I did not write about this on my blog, because I recall I was really worried that the dog and Patzi’s cat, Chester, would make a mess of the place. In the end everything was fine and they both behaved well. The cat, too. :)

April 2007: My balcony with bench in Strombeek-Bever (looks like I have a tendency to always pick the same photos as 7 years ago :) ).

October 2007: Snapshot of different times. Best friends in Stuttgart (same location, different photo here).

While in terms of quality and arrangement 90+% of the photos from these libraries are hardly up to par to what I am shooting now, all the memories that are linked to the ~5000 photos I was able to rescue are invaluable to me. So don’t be a dummy and make sure you back up! In my case, I was able to salvage all these pictures, but I was just more lucky than I deserve.
To increase my chances to not facing this situation again I am doing two things:

1) run an incremental backup on an external hard disk every few days on my laptop, particularly when I have added new photos
2) run a secondary backup with Backblaze

In general this is easier now because my internal hard drive can carry all the data I have. This was not the case a few years back and one of the reasons why I lost the data. Still, the problem with option 1 is that it has a lot of weak points. You are likely accidentally not backed up for a few weeks the very moment when your hard drive fails and you lose a particularly painful amount of data. Also, when your house goes under in a flood or burns down, both your computer and your backup drive will likely fall victim to the catastrophe. I mean, when a burglar comes to your home and steals your laptop, how likely is it the guy will say:

Burglar: Oh, that shiny 2 TB disk must be his backup drive. Ah, I won’t take that one, that would be unfair…

Hence option 2.
Backblaze is a great service. It’s a cloud backup for 5 Dollar a month (less if you sign up for one or two years). It took me 10 days to upload roughly 500 gig of data, but now I have regular offsite backups which protects me from losing data. The weak point here is that it is not as convenient (i.e. “fast”) to restore files from the cloud as restoring them from an onsite backup, but this is why I’m combining the two. Backblaze should save me if shit really hits the fan and I lose everything.

Overly protective, you say?
I disagree. A backup that you have to think of and manually start is likely not a good backup or in fact not a backup at all. And when you are actually in at the point where you face losing much or all of your data, you’ll realize that I am right.

So be smart and backup your data!
Do it now!

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