Six Months of Digital Housekeeping

The desktop computer I never use
The desktop computer I never use
After 6 months, I finally arrived back in Wisconsin yesterday. I’ll be here until June 11 when I fly to Colorado to take part in the annual TBEX Travel Bloggers conference.

My mother’s house is the closest thing I have in the world to a home base if for no other reason than I have a desktop computer here. However, I’m only here a few weeks out of the year and I haven’t been here in almost 6 months, when I flew to Ushuaia, Argentina for my trip to Antarctica.

It isn’t something people usually think about, but when I computer goes unused for half a year, there are tons of updates that pile up. Here is a list of everything I had to do once I flipped the on switch:

  • Download Lightroom 4.0 (It wasn’t out when I was here in January)
  • Update Microsoft Office (they always have updates and they are always over 100mb)
  • Upgrade OSX and various patches (over 1gb of files to download)
  • Upgrade my instant messaging software, Adium
  • Upgrade iStats Menu
  • Download the new RAW file package for Photoshop CS5
  • Install the new Adobe AIR software
  • Upgrade iTunes
  • Upgrade Spotify
  • Download the new version of Photomatix
  • Upgrade the operating systems on my iPhone and iPad
  • Upgrade the firmware on my Kindle Touch
  • Install the new version of Civilization V
  • Download and install Diablo 3 :)
  • Update all of the software (which is basically everything listed above) for my old backup laptop

After all that was done, I then had to attend to all the photos I had taken over the last six months.

I keep 2 external USB hard drives at my mothers house where I archive all my photos. I transfer images from the USB hard drives I carry with me to these hard drives where the images are archived. I had a little over 200gb of images from Antarctica, Australia and the Southwest that I had to backup.

It turns out that both drives are now full and I wasn’t able to back everything up, so I had to drive to Best Buy to purchase 2, 2TB hard drives. Once I got those installed I had to copy everything on the old archive drives to the new ones. It turns out it takes 15 hours to transfer 1TB of data from one hard drive to another via USB 2.0. As I’m writing this, I still have 1 hour to go on the first drive and haven’t started backing up the second yet.

I’m really not happy with my photo archiving system. I should get something a bit more robust than a couple of USB hard drives. I’ve looked into getting a Drobo but I just haven’t pulled the trigger.

Everyone always mentions cloud storage, but there are some big problems with it. For starters it is really expensive. You will pay well over $100/month for 1TB of storage and for that much I could just buy a new 1TB hard drive every month. It is also next to impossible to upload 1TB of data when you are constantly working out of hotel rooms around the world.

Once all the updating and backing up is done, I have to start on the process of editing all 10,000 of the photos I have backlogged. I tend to stop editing photos if I know I’ll be coming to Wisconsin because the process is so much faster when I’m working on a 27″ iMac. The iMac is faster and better than my laptop in every way you can measure: processor power, disk space and memory. If I could travel with a 27″ monitor, I’d do it.

So for the next 3 weeks, I’m going to be a photo editing hermit, shut away in my mother’s basement trying to get caught up.

Wish me luck!