Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Photos to the Cloud

I always put clothes and family photos under the mattress, in case the house burns down. - Kim Kardashian
The death of a corporate-owned Apple website is like a uranium chain reaction: each dead blog spawns about 2.4 new blogs. The problem with the explosion is that I have a glut of Apple-related sites all covering the same stories and filling up my RSS feeds. When an Apple event hits, say the release of Photos Beta, I get a whole lotta coverage of it.
I'm intrigued by the cloud portion of the new Photos app and how it might help my parents. It will be a long time before I'm comfortable enough to trust Apple with all my photos. Like most of my friends, I am the family member responsible for the safety of the digital photos in our life. We've traditionally been using Time Machine on a NAS to keep a nice local backup and then once every few weeks we swap an external drive at my parent's house. The main photo library is on Mrs.Chaos' laptop and she only has her laptop running when she's using it. She primarily uses it to stream TV and she cancels Time Machine whenever that happens because it makes things go too slowly.
This setup was working okay until the combination of two things. I bought Mrs.Chaos a fancy DSLR and we had a baby. Our photo taking/storage needs went through the roof and Mrs.Chaos has way less time in her life to be using her computer. Time Machine couldn't really keep up with the rate we were adding photos and we quickly outgrew the HDs being used for external backup. I was fighting the good fight to keep the backups fresh - checking Time Machine status, culling what gets backed up. Then it happened. She upgraded to Yosemite, it performed an HD check on reboot, and Yosemite refused to boot saying the disk was bad. Last Time Machine backup? 20+ days ago. Last external HD backup? Even longer.
Boot off external drive, command line rsync the HD to an external drive (feel dread for every file that was corrupted), rebuild from scratch, copy back over and? SUCCESS. The iPhoto library seemed intact.
And the result of this experience? NEVER AGAIN! We plopped down our credit card and installed Backblaze. It took a long time to get that first backup to the cloud - but now it's there and I feel a sense of peace in my soul.