question about iPhoto/ photo management

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by jojoba, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. jojoba macrumors 68000

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    #1
    I've recently gotten a camera after not having taken a single photo for more than a decade. Until now, I've stored the photos I've had (taken by others) in a Picasa web album. I want to remove them from Picasa, partially because I'm trying to limit the amount of personal content that I leave on the web. On the other hand, the good thing about having it there was that I didn't need to worry about the photos disappearing if my computer would crash and so on.

    So, now I'm trying to figure out the best way of organising my photos offline but with adequate back up. Is an iPhoto album (backed up on an external hard drive) sufficient? I just want to store them properly (as opposed to edit).
     
  2. Photoshopper macrumors regular

    Photoshopper

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    #2
    Don't see why not, if it works for you. The important thing is you understand the need for a backup. Ideally, it would be stored offsite.

    Personally, I only use iPhoto to import pics into other apps like iMovie, etc. but I'm sure it would be a good choice, esp. if you're not really editing photos much.
    (I use Lightroom and PS, with my own filing system)
     
  3. pbkiller macrumors regular

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    #3
    Im on the same boat as you are. Im looking for a way to keep my photos "backed up", although i dont mind if it is online. I've heard places like SmugMug, Flickr, Photobucket, but i kinda dont wanna pay for that kind of premium storage (i already pay for Dropbox storage). I would also like a nice interface to be able to see, show, share and download the pictures I take.

    Any ideas that might come to mind, please share. In the meantime, im backing up to an external (which i dont trust, i've had MANY HD failures in the past).
     
  4. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

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    #4
    Time Machine? Also, depending on the size of your iPhoto Library and the music on your iPod, put them on your iPod at full resolution and enable the iPod for disc use. You can then access your photos on the iPod with Finder.
     
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #5
    I prefer keeping my photos close to home, as it were. Like another poster I use LR/PS - but my needs are different than yours. I do recommend iPhoto to my friends.

    For back up I use Time Machine for immediate recovery; an external HDD that gets the entire photo library cloned to it nightly; and an external HDD with the cloned library stored in my safety deposit box (swapped occasionally to keep it up to date).

    I use Dropbox for documents - but not as backup.... just for the convenience of synching documents between systems. I don't trust the online services more than I trust my own backups so I don't use them for backup at all. And with governments and corporations getting more intrusive rather than less, I'd rather keep less on the 'net - not more (like you, I guess).

    There is a saying.... "If you aren't paying for the service, then you're not the customer - you're the content."
     
  6. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #6
    There are lots of posts here on backup. I agree that TM is a great local backup. I strongly disagree with the fear of using cloud based backup. I think the concerns people have of cloud backup are a result of not understanding how secure it is. A god cloud backup will be the single most secure element in your backup strategy.

    With good cloud backup... your data is encrypted on your own machine... with a key that you control. The only information ever sent to the cloud is strong encrypted. Even if you were to publicly post your backup set... your data would never get hacked.

    You should strive to have fully automated backup, with no human intervention. You should have at least two independent data backups... one on site, and more importantly, one off site.

    /Jim
     
  7. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #7
    Lots of good info.... but I disagree with the "never get hacked" statement. I believe it is more accurate to say ' It depends. '

    If you are encrypting your own information, with your own key.... then your stuff is as safe as the encryption standard. Keeping in mind that there may lots of attempts to hack your stuff without you every knowing. And that the encryption algorithm maybe hacked at some point in the future. Though of course well encrypted data has shown itself to safe from prying eyes - so far.

    However.... if you are relying on the on-line service to handle the encryption then your data is open to prying eyes. The on-line service can only enforce policies that prevent their employees from looking at your data. Any employee that has access to the keys can unlock anyone's data. They're not supposed to.... and they probably won't .... but they could.

    The reason that an employee may need access to the encryption keys is that the on-line services need to be able to unlock the data files on a lawful request. For example: below is the Privacy Policy from Dropbox. Note that they don't state that it needs to be court ordered.... just that Dropbox believes the request is reasonably necessary. Also - that they don't have to tell you that someone has peered into your data.

    NOTE: I am not trying to steer this into privacy discussion. Just trying to balance various privacy issues as it relates to backup strategies.

    With my safety deposit box I am reasonably certain that no one is trying to hack by data daily. And that if someone has tried, I will know about it. I also know that should the credit union gets bought or merges.... my data will be exactly where I left it.
     
  8. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #8
    Dropbox is not a backup service. It is a file sharing and synchronization service. They are clear that they do in fact need to have your encryption keys. You are trusting them with your data. This is fully disclosed.

    Backup services on the other hand never need your key... unless you choose to let them generate, hold, or manage your keys. Most of the good backup providers allow you to control your own keys. The two that I have used (Mozy and Crashplan+)... are two such companies. They never get your key if you use the highest security options (recommended). You keep your key (encrypted)... you encode your own data on your own machine... you only ship highly encrypted data up to the cloud service... they never have your key, so they cannot possibly access your data. When you restore your data... the encrypted data is sent back to you, and you decrypt it on your own machine using your own key.

    Last time that I checked, the world banking system uses 128 bit encryption... very strong. Each time you add a bit, the complexity doubles. The two backup programs that I have used are based on 448bit blowfish encryption. Every credible source that I have talked to believe that it is uncrackable in any amount of real time. My understanding is that the worlds largest supercomputers would take decades to break a single key.

    Seriously... your data is safe. Do not confuse backup programs with data sharing programs. Do not confuse it with companies that need access to your raw data (medical, banking, act)... as they all get to see your data (by necessity)... and they (not you) encrypt it on your behalf. Those are accessible by staff as you mention... but backup data is not available to them.

    /Jim
     
  9. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #9
    Good points. And - you do make the point - as I did - that it is important that the user creates and stores the keys, and not the on-line service. Once the on-line service has access to the keys then the data is - potentially - open to prying eyes.
     
  10. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Thanks, everyone. I've lived so many years in countries where governments just hack into whatever they want, so I'm slightly on the paranoid end of the scale when it comes to online storage.

    Anyway, this was pretty helpful:

    I need to get a new external hard drive for back up because I don't want TM to erase my current one.

    pbkiller, can you elaborate on this?

     
  11. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #11
    One other thought....

    TM and a cloned backup are similar - but also very different.

    TM is great for going back and recovering something that was deleted days and weeks ago. Or something that was deleted hours ago. It's a convenient backup.

    A cloned backup has an often overlooked feature.... if you lose your main system, you can use the backup to boot a backup system into your primary desktop. For example.... Last year my Mac Pro needed to go into the shop for a 10 days. I took my cloned backup, plugged it into my MBP, and booted using the backup. The MBP then became the Mac Pro - though of course it was a little light on the HW front. But I could just carry on my business with little interruption... all the programs and data files and e-mail etc etc were exactly as they were in the MacPro.

    When the MacPro came back I made another cloned copy of it's system HDD to get a snapshot of what it was when it left (because I'm paranoid and cynical - recall that a this point my cloned backup has been in use and updated by activity for 10 days. I had reset the backup routine to backup the booted backup.) Then I cloned the MBP's external HDD back to the MacPro ... and carried on... keeping that external HDD in its current state for a few days until I knew everything had settled in.

    Yep, I had a pile of external HDDs in use... all carefully notated. Luckily my system drives tend to be smaller than my data drives ... and I keep old externals that are no longer big enough to backup my data to. I give them to friends or just keep them "for just in case".

    The only issue was that Photoshop lost it's license ... I think because the logic board was replaced.

    Luck.
     
  12. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #12
    What exactly is a cloned back up? Does it just mean copying everything on the MBA to an external hard drive?
     
  13. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #13
    A cloned backup is usually an exact copy of all of your data. It generally contains no history.

    Most backup programs contain a history of revisions. Time Machine allows you to "turn back the clock" and get older versions of programs.

    Both types have their benefits. A clone allows you to keep working quickly by letting you swap a drive. TM allows you to recover from errors more easily. For example... if you inadvertently hose your spreadsheet data... TM would let you refer to one you saved perviously. By contrast, cloned backups generally loose backup history quickly.

    /Jim
     
  14. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #14
    Yes. What Jim said.

    To expand - another way to think about it is :
    A cloned backup is an exact snapshot of what the HDD looks like at single point in time. A cloned backup needs the same space as a the original source.

    Time Machine is history of changes and deletions to a system. Time machine, to work properly, needs more room than the original source. The more room it has the better it works - to a point.

    A cloned backup is better for catastrophic failure. Pop the HDD into a new system and you are back up. Time machine is better for problems at the folder or file level. imho.

    I use both a cloned back up (two - one for the system, one for my photos) and Time Machine.
     
  15. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #15
    Thanks so much for enlightening me - appreciated! :)

    I'll start doing regular 'clonings' now, until I get myself an extra external drive for the time machine back up.
     
  16. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #16
    Good. Ask yourself how unhappy you would be if everything on your computer disappeared. That tells you how much you need to prioritize getting another external HDD or three. Not only do I do both a TM and a cloned backup (that's 2 ext HDDs) I also swap my current cloned backup of photos into a safety deposit box. Getting a copy off-site is really good insurance. Some people use on-line backup services.... but I like having my data under my control. Plus it's cheaper.

    By far, the most common HDD crash involves just the HDD. The computer is fine. So TM and cloned backups are find for recovery. However it is not uncommon for both the computer and the backup ext HDDs to be affected at the same time.

    A water leak from the upstair's neighbour.... doesn't have to be big one. A small fire. If your desk lamp starts sparking and you do the responsible thing and use a fire extinguisher (Not Water)... you may take out both primary and backup. A shelf holding the external HDDs could collapse onto the computer. It doesn't take a huge jolt for the read/write head to gouge a platter if you thump in operation. A power surge from a lightening strike.

    Not to make you feel paranoid.... but when you start thinking about all the ways that both primary and backup copies can be affected.... without resorting catastrophic fires/floods/earthquakes and theft..... well, you get my point.

    Now please excuse me while I catch up on swapping my off-site backup.
     
  17. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Many thanks for all that. The reason I haven't backed up my entire system so far is that I got my MBA fairly recently and haven't actually stored anything on it, with the exception of about five photos and three Curio projects that I've backed up on a memory stick. The documents I've worked with I have also always synced via DropBox. 'Everything' I have is on my work computer and is (from what I have been told by IT staff) thoroughly backed up there.

    Now I'm planning to transfer some more stuff on to there and therefore needed a more comprehensive strategy.

    Apart from the fact that it is wireless, does it make any difference if you use TimeMachine in conjunction with Time Capsule or a regular, external hard drive?
     
  18. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #18
    I'm glad you're thinking this through. I have no idea about TM and TC. I've never used a TC, so have no experience with it.
     
  19. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

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  20. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #20
    All I know is that it's not getting great reviews. On the Apple store site, no less.

    If you have a computer store nearby - just about any external hard-drive from a big vendor will work. Especially the ones that don't come with any software. Once you have the ext HDD (HDD=hard-drive) it is very simple to format it.... someone here will walk you through it.... and then all need to do is turn Time Machine on. When you are looking at an external HDD for Time Machine use there are only a few features you need.

    1) Warranty: Get an HDD with at least a 3 year warranty. I just got an internal HDD with a 7 year warranty.
    2) USB 2 connection is just fine. If the only choices are USB 3, well - you can't use the extra speed but it will work fine. For Time Machine you don't need Thunderbolt, or Firewire, or eSata.
    3) Get a disk that is bigger than your computer's HDD. I don't know what is recommended - but you can Google that.... but if I was guessing I would say at least 25% bigger than the computer's HDD - and if the price is right up to twice as big.

    Good Luck.
     
  21. jojoba thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #21
    Great. Thanks so much for all your input. Appreciated :)
     

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