How does your family backup their memories?

Published: 2011-01-14
Last Updated: 2011-01-14 00:34:26 UTC
by Chris Mohan (Version: 1)
5 comment(s)

Here in Australia, floods covering a vast land mass (roughly twice the size of Texas or France and Germany combined) have caused havoc and misery to the people in the state of Queensland. These flood waters came on so quickly that it caused thousands of people to flee with just the clothes on their backs and what they could carry. Water of unimaginable force and volume has utterly destroyed these people’s possession and property in a matter of minutes.

As with any disaster on your own doorstep, or that effects people you know and love, it makes you take stock and ponder what you’d do in their place. Photographs are always high on the possessions-to-be-saved list, so why not look at showing friends and family another way to have a copy a local disaster isn’t going to destroy. A few hours spent making copies of a life time’s worth of memories is any fair trade anyone’s time.

The holiday season and New Year celebrations has left many of us with photographs on phones, computers, memory cards or even on celluloid film. Some of these images are or will be treasured memories; the rest, well, best off quickly deleted or destroyed before finding their way to a social media site and haunt you until the end of the Internet.

Most of those that read this diary will have some method of making a backup of these treasured images, as we’re all aware of best practice disaster recovery and the importance of backups. If we think about our non-technical families and friends, do they have any such plans or procedures and is it easy to do without having to holding their hand every time they save a picture?

The “old” and reliable advice of copying digital images to CD, DVD or a backup USB device, is a sound starting point, especially if they are stored in a safe location away from the originals. I can sense some of you already shaking your heads and wondering why bother with easy to lose and damage physical devices; surely the Cloud is the only true answer?

Privacy issues of uploading images to the internet keeps some of us up all night, but as an incredibly effective backup method that’s easy to do by anyone that can use a web browser, is it not worth some serious consideration?  Those that are willing to pay for an online backup service, these services can allow for encrypted files to be uploaded and stored, satisfying the security and privacy conscious needs.

The free services, such as Flickr, Picasa or Microsoft’s sky drive are simple to set up, easy to use and manage. One of the more important details to set in the minds of anyone that uses these services is the level of access. The atypical three level of access are:

Public – the whole world can see your pictures

Shared – only people you allow can see your pictures

Private – only you can see your pictures

Recommending starting with the shared option, as only friends and family should be able to access the images, is a reasonable starting point. After explaining how this works, how to set it up then why it’s important to set the restrict viewing options, tick off one of those New Year’s resolutions to bring IT goodness and a little extra piece of mind to those around. Safe and happy backing up.

Keywords: backup
5 comment(s)


We use Picasa and Amazon S3 for backing up memories and information. Anything that has privacy/sensitivity concerns gets encrypted using TrueCrypt first. Took a little time to write instructions for all family members, but it was well worth it.
Crashplan(.com) backup to Amahi(.org) server in the garage AND spare laptop kept at work(shhhhh ;-)
As for family... I generally recommend the Crashplan (hosted/fee) service. Or one of the other popular online backup services. They seem to be the best for 'set and forget' usage. If they TBs of data... then I take into consideration if the service will allow me to 'pre-load' a drive I can ship back to them, and I take into consideration what I will have to do/pay to get 1TB of pictures restored in a timely matter. There are subtle but costly differences in how each company does this...
Last year I built a small atom processor linux server and put it at a relatives house in other state. I then setup Cygwin on my laptop to rsync my folders to the off-site server. This works very well and only cost me about $200 to build. I also built it to use a low amount of power and I think it consumes less than a 60w light bulb.
We do it the really over-thunk way.

Keep a removable HDD across the street at a neighbor's house, and they at ours.

Done. And, free beer when you exchange backups.

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