I had a few minutes of panic today. I thought I accidentally erased more than 22,000 photographs, including hundreds of old family photographs taken in the late 1800s and throughout the 1900s. The collection also included pictures of my grandchildren taken over the past few years.
Luckily, the "scare" turned out to be a false alarm. I was in a panic for three or four minutes. Once I located the pictures, I had to take a walk to get my pulse rate back to normal. I learned something today and will pass this on to you as food for thought. Do you know where your photographs or other important documents are?
For the last couple of years I have made it a policy to place all my important documents, family photographs, and anything else worth saving into folders under Dropbox. I am a big fan of Dropbox. I started with the free Dropbox service that allows up to two gigabytes of online storage. However, I soon exceeded the two gigabyte limitation, so I gladly paid for more space. The upgrade price is cheaper than purchasing hard drives, and I suspect that Dropbox is a more reliable backup service than any hard drive anyway.
What I like best about Dropbox is that it automatically copies, or replicates, files between computers. I have Dropbox software installed on my desktop computer at home as well as on a laptop that I use when traveling. Any files placed in the Dropbox folder on either system soon appear in the other system as well. If I have more than two computers, such as a third computer at the office, Dropbox will replicate all files placed in the Dropbox folders amongst all the computers.
NOTE: There are options to replicate everything or only some things. This is useful when one computer doesn't have much hard drive space left. However, I simply replicate everything.
Even better, I can later retrieve any document or picture on an iPhone, iPad, Android device, Blackberry, or Kindle Fire, even while standing in a store or at the airport. All I need is an Internet connection.
Today a cousin sent me a scanned image of an old photograph of our grandmother, taken when she was about three years old. Since she was born in 1875, the photo obviously was taken around 1878. I decided to save it in my collection of old family photographs.
One problem: the collection of thousands of old family photographs was not in my Dropbox folder.
I panicked. Then things got worse.
Not only was my collection of family photographs missing, but so were almost all my other photographs. More than 22,000 digital photographs were not in the Dropbox folder.
I moved beyond panic. This was heart attack time.
After attempting to calm down, I started investigating. The "problem" turned out to be simple. I am presently in Florida, using a laptop computer. Almost all of my work with digital photographs has been performed in the past while using my desktop computer back home. Today I connected back to the desktop computer at home, using LogMeIn, and started looking on that computer's hard drive. I soon found that my 22,000+ digital photographs are safe and sound, stored in that computer's hard drive. All the photos and a lot more are being backed up hourly to an external USB hard drive and also being backed up daily to Amazon Glacier, a cloud-based file storage service. I still have the original files and multiple backups.
The "problem" turned out to be that I never moved my older photographs to the Dropbox folder on the desktop computer; therefore, those photos had never been replicated to the laptop. The only "problem" was poor memory on my part. I had forgotten where the pictures were stored.
I then dragged and dropped my Pictures folder to Dropbox and, as I write these words, the 22,000+ photographs are being copied to Dropbox's servers and to my laptop computer. Within a couple of hours, I should have all my photos with me on the laptop and available on the iPhone, iPad, or other mobile devices I might purchase in the future.
Here are a few questions for you:
First, do you know where your photographs and important documents are? Are they really where you think they are? Have you checked lately? Or are you like me, making assumptions?
Are those pictures and documents backed up in multiple places? (Backups have been known to go bad and never notify anyone of the failure.)
Now I think I need to sign up for a memory improvement class.