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Small, High-capacity Storage Devices and Safety Deposit Boxes

Small, High-capacity Storage Devices and Safety Deposit Boxes

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Tempting fate with the lag time between saying and doing

By Jack Howard

April 27, 2010

For the longest time, I'd been meaning to dupe important documents to a small, high capacity external drive to store offsite in my safety deposit box. And I wrote about doing so in January 2nd in a section of the 2nd Edition of my book, "Practical HDRI." But it took a little while longer between saying and doing, and all the while, it felt like I was tempting fate.


Every time I opened the gadget drawer where the designated "offsite drive" sat, it gave me pause. I mean, the whole point of an offsite drive it that it be, well...offsite.

Here's the great thing, this Seagate FreeAgent Drive, or the Western Digital My Passport drives, fit perfectly into your basic safety deposit box, and if you need a serious amount of storage, you can even cram a few of these into your box. But if you don't need upwards of a terabyte of storage in your safety deposit box, you can just as easily fit a good chunk of data onto a thumb drive, or even a CF card.But getting to the bank and finding parking during lobby hours is more challenging than it seems. I mean, this is the era of ATMs and online billpay. I've got some files backed up on PhotoShelter, but I'm talking about a huge chunk of data and files here: the entire data load for both editions of a specialized photography how-to book, copies of important documents, and a clutch of family photos. And every day, as I was working on the book, I was creating more content for the book, so well, in a way it made sense to hold off until the very end.

Didn't it?


 I've got a twin sister of this Seagate FreeAgent drive stowed away in my safety deposit box. I can update it either by bringing it home for a day, or by bringing my laptop and a FW800-400 cable to the bank.


Fortunately, I was able to finish 99% of the tasks for the book and safely deliver the offsite drive to its dark new home inside my safety deposit box before suffering any localized data loss at my main information cluster. (That's a fancy way of saying my desktop computer and its assortment of external drives.)

I've had a couple of drives fail through the years, and since then, I've learned my lessons.

If one of my local drives fails now, I may lose a little recent data; but between running Mac's Time Machine, and having a combination of duplicated and RAID drives storing my data, if a drive goes down now, I should only really lose a piece of hardware. Not my data.

And by data, I mean my photographs, my videos, and my other creations!

And in the worst-case scenario, a core set of some very important data is stowed away in a dark, locked drawer in a bank just a few miles from my home.

Got any other tips for making sure your photos and files are safely backed up?


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