Back Up Your Files. Like, Now.

Mirror Twins

Well friends, it appears we've made it through the woods, crawled out the other side, and have arrived in 2018. Last year was maybe not the best year for me, particularly not for my blog. Due to many things out of my control, my personal projects had to be shoved to the back burner for a bit. (Ok, for a lot of bits.) However, some good and exciting things did happen, and the year was certainly not a total bust by any means. My wife and I ended up having to suddenly move out of our apartment and decided to take the opportunity to buy a house! Let me just tell you that buying a home is a major time-suck. If you are thinking about doing it, it's awesome do it I LOVE MY HOUSE SO MUCH, but don't think you're going to keep up with any of your extracurricular type things. Aka last year, between the house, moving, epic trips around Europe, and countless other awesome happenings, I only did a total of 10 new images/blog posts ... unacceptable.

Anywhooo, now that we are mostly settled in our wonderful new home, I'm charging into 2018 with a fire under my ass that hurts so good! There are already some really exciting opportunities on the the horizon that I can't even believe are seriously going to happen, but before I move forward I need to do some important reflecting (get it, reflecting? Cuz of the mirror photo ... ) and hopefully bestow upon you a lesson I learned that I definitely shouldn't have needed to learn. Meaning it should just obviously be taken seriously and tended to all the time, not merely after something terrible happens. Friends, I'd like to talk to you about ... backing up your files. 

In the fall of The Year Whose Name We Do Not Speak (jk it was 2017), the hard drive in my computer decided to peace out. One minute it was working like a champ, then it got a little groggy and next it was like, "ummm ... byyyeeeee guyysss." When it started acting strange, rather than thinking, "Hmm all my artwork both new and old currently resides on this hard drive that's being super wonky, maybe I should take some time to back things up?" I was thinking, "Man, why is my computer being such a douche!? Time to Google ways to speed up performance." During the precious precious hours that I could have been frantically copying files to a safe location, I was lazily clearing caches, dumping old useless files, emptying the trash, and doing general computer clean up maintenance bull crap.

Then .... It just turned off .... It never turned on again.

*moment of silence*

followed by

*moment of hysterical screaming*  

Needless to say I flipped my lid. "But Robert, don't you ever back anything up?" ... "Why yes, of course I do. I'M NOT A TOTAL IDIOT!" Allow me to elaborate. You see, at the studio were I work we have a great archive system! Files are saved onto these crazy tape things and then a copy of the tapes go in two different locations just in case something were ever to happen to one of them. All I have to do is drag the projects I want backed up over to the archive and I'm good to go. BUT once you "write" files to a tape you can't add more things later. This is not a hard drive. That tape is as is unless you wipe it and start over - like a weird advanced new cousin to VHS, if you will. 

I've formed a habit of only backing up the jobs I'm finished with. After I've edited my final piece, made all the various gifs, before & afters, and video stuff for my blog (you're welcome), I back everything up. If I were to back up right after I shot something, then when I get around to editing an image from the shoot I would have to then back up the finished files separately from the raw images. So later on down the road, when I want to pull the image out of archive it's not all in one place. I would have to track down several tapes to get everything. Not the end of the world, but definitely not ideal file management - I like everything to live in one place. 

MEANING all of my finished work was for sure backed up, HAZAH! However, everything I had shot and not edited yet .... was gone. Let me just tell you I have a ridiculous amount of unedited shots that have accumulated over the years. I just love shooting, but don't ever have the time to keep up with editing everything so I always have quite the backlog. Full disclosure, when it came to my full attention that my hard drive was indeed never turning on again ... I cried actual tears. It was a rough day. "Dang Robert, way to start out this new year on such a shitty note." Hey shut it, this saga isn't finished yet. 

In case you were unaware, there is a magical company chillin out in California somewhere called Drive Savers. I sent my hard drive off to them and waited patiently (not actually that patiently) to hear if they thought anything was salvageable. Of course I eventually find out from them it was the worst possible kind of drive death, and most expensive to deal with. Fantastic. I don't remember all the technical mumbo jumbo about what exactly happened, but their only option was to try to take the drive apart, use the important guts to Frankenstein it together with pieces from a new drive, and then run some fancy recovery software and hope for the best. Fortunately, they have a policy where you pay nothing if they don't get anything recovered. Once they reach a point where they have checked it out and are pretty sure they can save things they give you a call and let you know what it will cost. Then you have to give them the go ahead to try, or they just ship it back as it was. You know that term "sticker shock"? Well, this was more like "sticker-lethal-execution." 

I sat on the number they gave me for over a week. I just kept remembering more and more things that were on the drive, gone for ever. Images and memories that could never be created again. Things with an unbelievable amount of meaning to me. Could I live without them? Could I let them go? HELL NO I COULD NOT! I pulled the trigger. As much as it hurt my bank account (that you may recall had just recently been slaughtered with a house purchase), as soon as I gave them the go ahead all I could think was, "who cares about the money please save my work!!!" Well, as you may have guessed ... THEY DID!! All of it. More actual tears were shed, but this time happy tears. I'm an easy cryer, and that doesn't make me any less of a man - deal with it.

I am proud to announce that EVERY LAST FILE is currently backed up. Twice. My wife pointed out the convenience of Dropbox, and we decided to upgrade to a professional account with which we have UNLIMITED space. It's a bit of a price tag per month ($60, eww), but totally worth it to know that I will never run out of space and have to go out and buy another hard drive, I can access all of my work from any computer, and it's so easy to back things up. So friends, what is the moral of this story? BACK YO SHIT UP!!!! ALWAYS ALL THE TIME FOREVER EVERYTHING ALL OF IT NOW RIGHT NOW!

So yeah, I'm looking forward to an exciting, creative, invigorating, motivated and incredibly productive 2018!! LET'S MAKE SOME ART! Also, I hope you enjoyed the art in this post .... It was literally almost lost forever. 

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