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Jewish World Review
May 25, 2007
/ 8 Sivan, 5767
Keeping Photos Yours
The other evening I had a brief chat with someone I admire. We were
commiserating over computer problems and he mentioned a hope that some
photos that were apparently "lost" on his computer's now-defective hard
disc drive might yet be found and restored.
My first thought, which I shared, was that he should get a nice, big
external hard drive, connect it to his computer, and make regular backups
of critical files, including photos, from now on. I'm as much of an
offender in this regard as anyone, maybe more so. But despite my lapses, I
know that having a backup drive and doing regular backups - generally made
easier by software supplied with the unit or purchased separately - is a
For well under $200, you can get this kind of protection. The $189
list-priced Maxtor OneTouch III is an external drive that sells for
$159 at NewEgg, one of my favorite online electronics stores
(www.newegg.com). The Maxtor drive will hold 500 Gigabytes of data, and
happily. It comes with backup software that'll work with a Mac, and uses a
USB 2.0 interface which should work with most fairly recent (last two
years or so) computers in a "fast" mode; it should also work with older
USB 1.0 interfaces.
Another external hard disk drive, the Seagate FreeAgent hard disk is also
available in a 500 Gigabyte configuration for $25 less than the Maxtor,
again from NewEgg. The Seagate drive also uses the USB 2.0 interface, but
doesn't include any special backup software.
Along with hard disc backups, burning a DVD-ROM disc or several isn't a
bad idea, either. Most of today's computers are shipped with DVD-writing
drives, and users can find blank media for the proper DVD format, either
"R" or "RW," just about anywhere, including drug and grocery stores in
some places. Use software to create a series of backup DVDs, and make more
than one set if you can, storing these in different locations. Should
disaster strike, you might be glad for an extra copy somewhere other than
It's not a bad idea, either, to use software to create a digital photo
album of one stripe or another. I'm a fan of the products made by
FlipAlbum, whose digital output resembles, well, a book whose pages you
can turn, or flip, to move through the photo gallery. The software exists
in versions for Windows PCs as well as the Apple Macintosh, and starts at
$29.95. Personally, I'd spend a little more and get the intermediate
versions of either program, at about $50 for the Mac version and $60 for
the Windows edition. These higher-priced programs let you burn albums onto
CDs or DVDs, which again makes for easy archiving.
Online storage is another way to help keep treasured memories alive. Here,
Apple's customers who've signed up for the firm's $99-per-year .Mac
service have 1 Gigabyte of combined e-mail and online disc storage space;
you can store a lot of photos in even 500 Mbytes of online storage. The
service also works with Apple's IPhoto software to store images
online and share them with others. It's not a bad deal.
Other online photo storing/sharing/printing services include Kodak's
EasyShareOnline and Shutterfly , both of which offer an
amount of free storage as well as numerous options to print photos on
paper, clothing, mugs, mousepads and whatever else you might imagine. Oh,
and these services - as well as Apple, via IPhoto - will even print up
books of your pictures. Once upon a time, these were called photo albums.
The bottom line is a simple one: use care in storing your online images,
and do the storing in more than one place. A picture is worth a thousand
words, but only when them image can be retrieved!
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2007, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com