Saving Things That Matter: My Home Media System

I want to quickly describe the system I have setup to manage the things in my life that are truly important. I’m mostly taking about the pictures that my wife and I have taken throughout our lifetime, and our kids childhood, that are really the only things in my life that I would be devastated by if they burned in a fire. I feel it gives me a great chance of hanging on to all of our precious photos and memories in the event of a catastrophe.

1. I purchased an Apple iMac a year ago and I ant say enough great things about the simplicity it provides. The interfaces are easy, it’s always incredibly responsive, and I dont have to worry (as much) about viruses, corruption, etc.

2. On the Mac, I use Picasa for one very, very powerful reason. Every time we sit down to download photos off of our cameras, we immediately create a folder in the appropriate location on the computer. We have a pretty elaborate hierarchy, but once you have browsed it once, its pretty easy (ie we have a folder for “kids pictures”, under that we have one for each child and one for all kids, etc). The beauty of Picasa is that on each album, there is one button to click to sync-to-web. I always sync the Original Image to the web. This brings me to my next piece in the puzzle.

3. I have purchased Google Storage for $50/yr. For that price I get 200 GB (alot) and I ONLY sync photos to this location. I will gladly pay a bit more for more storage when I hit the threshold. I do this because, if my house ever burns down, I’m positive Google won’t. Google is safe, secure, and reliable.

4. I purchased a 1 TB Time Capsule to backup EVERYTHING on my machine, including any important documents, configurations, etc. This option is brilliant as the sync is all done over my wireless network (meaning the TC is in a secure area of the house) and happens only incrementally. I have been told that this system is one of the most well built, easy to use features of Apple’s in the event of system failure. The Time Capsule is really an outstanding, no-touch system. I can’t say enough about it.

5. I now have purchased Mozy Home Edition to backup all photos, music, and now videos. Basically the rest of my media that I have huge investments in (ie 1500 albums, 100’s of movies, and family videos).

I feel this is a robust, well thought through strategy that is VERY easy to manage, even for my wife who will admit that she doesn’t want to think about it. She just wants it to work. There are some areas of overlap. Step 5 seemed superfluous at first, until I realized that music and movies rarely change. They are definitely important, but not nearly as important as our photos. In the end, I didn’t want to jeopardize my Google photo backup through Picasa by cluttering it with music and video downloads.

That said, if Google (or Picasa) offered an easy way to sync video that was over 2 GB through a desktop tool, I would definitely use Google Storage for family videos.

I know some will think this is all overkill, but for a little effort on the front end, $50/year for Google Storage, and $5/month for Mozy, I sleep soundly that all of our important media, the things that are irreplaceable, are backed up and secure.

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