The Seven Sages Project

Has it been 24 years already?

Nailing down that workflow and storage issue

Nailing down that workflow and storage issue

Bottom line up front: Since Capture One works perfectly with catalogs stored on external drives, we’re doing that. This is mandatory, because I use multiple computers, and my lightweight tablet has minimal storage. Be sure to copy imported images into the catalog. Then, use a convenient backup method to keep things backed up to The Server, and then make an offsite copy.

The Problem

2003 to 2021
November 2022, December 2022, and January 2023

Whether you’re shooting film or digital, you have to figure out how to store your work, or even ponder the possiblity of throwing some or all of it in the trash. Unless you pay someone else to do the job, or have become famous enough that they create a museum for you, at some point you will have to put in some work just organizing your work. I don’t have many photos to show for it, but somehow my catalog of photos from the new camera is already over 25% of the size of the entire combined collection of photos from all my previous cameras. Something needs to be done.

Despite the fact that 1TB of disk space became the minimum a decade ago, far too many laptops and tablets ship with 256GB of storage or less. My Surface Pro 8 is one such piece of sadness. While it is one of the models with user-replaceable storage, there is an asterisk attached to that which makes it impractical. I guess they assume that those big blobs of water vapor in the sky should be used for bulk storage. Another big problem is that I have not only the Surface Pro 8, but also an Asus something-or-other normal laptop with a couple TB of storage, and my trusty desktop machine. Clearly, external storage for my photo catalogs is the answer, but that creates its own issues.

I live out in the middle of nowhere in an area susceptible to thunderstorms, tornados, and hay barn fires that get a little out of control. I not only need backups, but offsite backups. Unfortunately, the internet is garbage out here in the woods. Not even Space Daddy Elon wants to provide service out here.

My preferred tool for working with photos is Capture One. I really like the way it works, and it works on both Windows and Mac. If you find Light Room to be frustrating, or don’t like Adobe, give it a try. It’s available as both a perpetual license and rental. Now that I’m a bit more famliar with it, creating and using multiple catalogs isn’t a big deal, and it has no problems using external storage for catalogs. In fact, unlike Light Room, it has no problems using a catalog stored on a file server! It’s beginning to look like my problems will be easy to solve.

Active Catalogs

USB-attached drives are pretty snappy. Even a tiny little nubbins will give you 1TB of storage and can bast out at a few undered MB/s. Unfortunately, thumb drives, in general, are pretty easy to lose. I’m of the belief that something about the physical size of a 3.5″ floppy is the ideal portable storage from a portability versus losability standpoint. As long as one dimension isn’t too extreme, I think it’s more of a volume issue than any particular linear dimension. Fortunately, with m.2-sized drives being the norm for SSDs, there is now a perfect size of external drive, and I can buy 2TB for about $150 at any random Office Depot. These drives will become my primary catalog storage. I am calling them active catalog drives, even when they are full and no longer used as they can hold no more photos, or if they have been shelved at the end of the year. The key point is that they are, or were, actively used in day-to-day activity.

Now we’re getting into the policy part of this solution. Years ago I bought a roll of barcoded asset tags from Metalcraft. Every drive gets one of these asset tags. This means the device must be at least as large as one of those labels, which precludes most thumbdrives. The ID off those tags is used as the drive label, which is also used as the primary catalog name, which is kept under the \Photos\ directory on the drive. That label thing wasn’t necessary, but it does give both a common naming scheme, and it shows who owns the drive. Drives are formatted as NTFS. Photos imported into the primary catalog all come from a “real camera”, which means any device that’s a standalone digital camera. It doesn’t matter if it’s the latest mirrorless camera or an ancient Fisher-Price Baby’s First Mirrorless Point-and-Shoot from 1996, or something actually good like a true DSLR, it gets to live under the primary catalog. Photos off my phone go into the <Label> Phone catalog, while any scans, whether its of film or prints, go in the <Label> Scans catalog if I ever start shooting film again. Capture One offers a better photo-centric workflow for producing a finished photograph once scanning has been completed in some other software than Photoshop, unless you are doing something more creative than just finishing a photo. A copy of all the latest relevant software, firmware, and manuals for the camera should be kept on the storage device, as should the installer for the latest version of Capture One, and ViceVersa Pro. I’ll get to that last one in just a moment.

One important policy to note is that an active catalog drives should be limited to just one calendar year, but this is not a hard rule. If there are a couple of straggler photos from new year’s eve that won’t fit on the catalog drive for that year, it’s better to store it on next year’s first active catalog drive than to waste $150 worth of storage on three photos. For this reason, active catalog drives should have a label in a prominent location noting he date of the first and last photo on the drive. Fortunately, I have a roll of the appropriate-sized labels at the house, though I really wish there were a minimally textured flat area on the drives that I chose. Who knows what direction they’ll go with design on this front, but as long as it is somewhat ruggedized, has enough space for the labels, and is of the correct physical size, I’m all good.

When I run out of space, just buy another external disk, and keep going. If I lose a catalog drive, assuming I follow my own policies, it only impacts the most recent trip. It would probably be a wise idea to never delete photos off source media until they are not only on the catalog drive, but also copied to the local archive. In that scenario, losing some photos is probably the least catastropic thing to have happened.

Local Archives

Okay, we have the storage solution that will work with all our computers, but now we need to keep it backed up. How do we do that? There are plenty of open source solutions in this space, but I’m using a paid commercial tool called ViceVersa Pro. I’m a sucker for pretty graphs, so it’s worth the price of admission. More importantly, I can make its sync/backup profiles refer to the disk label rather than a specific drive, which comes in handy. I store the profile in the root directory of the drive, so it’s just a simple double click to get the process started. As a matter of policy, the drive should be backed up before it leaves the house, and should be backed up after every session. The copy on the file server is called the local archive.

Since the local archive isn’t an offline copy, I don’t consider it to be a true backup. Backups should require more than one step to access, preferably offline when not in use, and near impossible to accidentally delete. The actual backup happens with the offsite archive process.

Shelving Active Catalog Drives

When an active catalog drive is retired, it is considered shelved. We will use shelved drive, shelved catalog drive, and shelved active catalog drive interchangeably. What matters is that the drive is now sitting on a shelf. Specifically, it is sitting in a box on a shelf inside the plastic cabinet in the front bedroom. In the future, it may be a good idea to periodicallly validate the shelved drives and the local archives to check for bit rot or other issues.

As mentioned earlier, each active catalog drive should be used for just one calendar year. The .CR2 files created by the 1Dx II are typically around 22MB, but could be larger in some scenarios. For planning purposes, though, I’m going to assume the median value of 31MB, and then round it up to the convenient-for-base-two 32MB. This means that a 2TB device can handle 65,536 photos. At my peak, I made a little over 5,000 shots in one year, so the 2TB drive should be sufficient for a year unless I shoot an appreciable amount of video. Then again, if I’m shooting video, it’s not really something that will be covered by a photo workflow, will it?

Historical Archive

I have digital photos going back to the early 2000s. This will be converted into a Capture One catalog on fresh storage. It will get a proper local archive, and then the active storage will be shelved.

Offsite Archives

This is our actual backup. These drives need not be the fastest available. Size is more important. Currently, this is a pair of 4TB spinning rust USB drives. It’s Good Enough for now. One drive is kept at the house, disconnected from a computer when not in use, while the other is sitting in a media safe far enough away that an errant tornado would be unlikely to take out both at the same time.

If you’ll notice, I make no mention of cloud storage anywhere, other than poking a little fun at it up top. As someone that lives in garbage DSL territory, this means I have a 1Mbps upload. That’s megabits per second, or more specifically, one single megabit per second, not even as fast as a T1 from the 1970s. As it stands, I have to make sure that any images I post from the house aren’t too large. I can barely participate in the internet as it was 15 years ago, much less in 2023. Backing up to The Cloud is not feasible. I may copy the offsite archive to something like Backblaze B2 when I swap offsite drives, but I could just as easily throw another drive or two into the mix and it would be less hassle.

Closing Notes

I think that covers everything. I know that I’ll run into some gotcha along the way, but I think this will end up working out. As it stands, I have a solution to the organizational problem, the multiple computer problem, the low storage on the most portable computer problem, and the backup problems.

It’s done

It’s done

As dasharez0ne says… Just walk out. If it sucks, hit da bricks.

My twitter usage has been significantly lower since July, but now they’ve finally gone and made it so that that the non-linear week-old garbage feed will reset after every visit or refresh. So, I went in there and deactivated my account. It will be deleted permanently in 30 days. Sadly, my last post was a complaint about twitter rather than a cat photo, but I hit my limit.

If you’re so inclined that you want more of my random mumblings, you can follow @jhavard on your favorite fediverse instance, such as one of the many Mastodon instances out there. You can also follow if you would like to follow this blog.

I really dislike the word webinar.

— me, probably
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Bought a document scanner

Bought a document scanner

Let’s face it. The scanners on MFPs suck. Sometimes they are worse than nothing as you have this giant useless brick sitting on top of your perfectly fine printer. Gee, thanks drivers that randomly disappeared off the HP site. On the flip side, I also once had a perfectly fine scanner on top of a broken Epson printer. The scanner was amazing, and could scan 11×17 pages. But since the printer was broken, the scanner was unusable. Basically, MFPs are printers first and everything else last. There are MFPs that aren’t garbage, but you will not find them for $200 at Office Depot.

You will, however, find perfectly reasonable document scanners at Office Depot. Take the Epson ES-400 II that I just bought. I got through ten months worth of scanned receipts and other important documents in a little under 15 minutes. Scanning at 35 pages per minute will do that.

My old HP m426fdw will think about scanning for a minute or so before finally deciding to scan a page. It has to warm up, calibrate, and who knows what else, before it slowly transforms a page into bits. The ES-400 II, on the other hand, doesn’t even hesitate. As soon as the scan button is clicked it runs through the pile of paper queued up.

It’s aggravating that this $350 black box will now sit mostly idle. Was it worth it? Oh yes.

Top Ten Data Services Revisited

Top Ten Data Services Revisited

Editor’s note: This article is a “respin” of a joke SEO-gaming that makes Google and other search engines practically useless. Fortunately, Google has a plan. Unfortunately, the bad actors are larger and only have to be mildly effective to ruin everything. As for spinning, that itself is yet another way of trying to SEO one’s way to the top by running a base post through something that will substitute synonyms for various words, pass it through the grammar filter, and then post it to a blog to make it look like a blog that hasn’t updated in over a decade is still posting fresh content. I seriously hope Google is successful. It’s time to punish those trying to game the system.

There are several services for data available. It is challenging to sort via the available choices. Our editors have actually assembled a list of the top ten information options on the marketplace today.

  1. An Egg

It’s unsubstantiated it, yet eggs have DNA and it takes control of 100 kilobytes to save all the information in the genome of an animal that might have an egg. Kept in mind business that handle eggs are Cal-Maine Foods as well as the National Egg Board. Egg-based options are very customizable. Some like to make use of cardboard carriers, while others will fry them. If safety and security is a problem, it is feasible to clamber the egg. There are also annual events where highly-decorated eggs are produced. They are convenient and also compact. Consider an egg for your information solution needs.

  1. Wood

Similar to an egg, a timber consists of information and also by numerous mechanical and chemical prep work can be become a selection of handy options. This technology is still brand-new, so caution is encouraged. Kept in mind wood companies are ground, woodland, and Weyerhauser. Wood can be found in a selection of dimensions, such as branch, for whatever your requirements are. There are even subdermal wood implants available, though some individuals complain that the wood hurts to use. Timber offers exceptional safety when discarded as it can be gotten rid of by fire for prompt concerns, or delegated weather and rot

  1. Rock

Rocks have been utilized for data for over a thousand years. The oldest recognized rock data options exist in France. Consider rock for your information solution.

  1. Computer system

Computer systems are a recent data service. While not as high-risk as wood, their significant withdraw is that they need power to work. Computer systems can be big or tiny and are available from numerous producers.
Picture by dominik18s

  1. Rail vehicle

I make sure you have seen a rail cars and truck, yet otherwise, they allow. Hard to picture how much data service can be managed by rail vehicle! While it is feasible to relocate a lot information by rail cars and truck, they are restricted to tracks and also need costly engines to launch data transfer, and also some have actually reported that the firms that relocate the rail automobiles can be tough to deal with and will charge inflated fees to access the rail network to utilize the information solution you already paid for, presuming you did not fall into a data solution rental contract. This information service is best delegated experts in relocating rail cars.

  1. Paper and Pencil or Pen

A tried and true remedy for more than a century, some have claimed this is simply an application of wood, while others argue it is a distinct service. Regardless of your opinion, we assume you’ll concur that this data remedy is convenient and reasonably economical. However, it is not well-suited for large options. For that you will need …

  1. Paper as well as Printer

Printer is readily available from palm-sized to hundreds of feet long. When combined with paper, this data option will certainly permit you to create precise duplicates of your information as sometimes as you require, till the computer LOAD LETTER alert begins. Our editors have actually been unable to determine what this sharp ways and also simply get a brand-new digital printing press each time it occurs.

  1. Web

Some have stated the Internet will reinvent the info very highway. This information solution is available in many areas worldwide. Noted Net producers consist of Apache Internet Server, the Google Alphabet, as well as Engine Ten.

  1. Cloud Computer

Some state this is simply computer, while others argue it is Net. Nonetheless, we locate that the pay-as-you-go design of cloud computer data service warrants its very own category. The leaders of cloud computing are AWS East as well as Tymnet.

  1. Digital Television

Since the analog television disappeared, we have actually used digital tv, which supplies a stream of data to your area. While some locate the ad-supported design of digital tv to be undesirable, it is challenging to suggest that an information remedy that can get to many with such a small amount of effort is something worthy of praise.

We hope you found this list of leading 10 data remedies to be useful. Our professionals are readily available 24 × 7 for a complimentary consultation.