Thursday, July 3, 2008

They never told me this about MY files on CDs

Modern technology is great ~ I always say ~ when it works! Sometimes we think something might be the greatest thing on the planet since sliced butter, when in reality, it's a nightmare.

The best thing about the always-changing computer technology is that everything is always backward-compatible. This means that if you for example, have a floppy diskette with your data on it, it'll work in 2008 as well as when you originally copied the files onto that diskette back in 1997.... that is, if you can still find a computer with a floppy drive.

Right now I have a box full of CDs. It's a big box. The CDs within were shipped to me from Spain. Amazingly the plastic jewel cases arrived without any scratches and not one broken... as compared to a few other boxes when I arrived in Eugene over a year ago, that contained the same precious contents ~ my image files and music ~ and many of the CDs were broken! Jewel boxes, CDs..... all mixed within a box and the sharp plastic edges sratching the CD surface it's supposedly protecting. Try recovering your irreplaceable images recorded onto a CD that has deep scratches, or broken into many pieces!! NOT easy.....

So, here I am with a box of more than 60+ CDs. I'm going through the whole box and burning them all eventually onto my external hard drive I brought with me from Spain. Months ago in Eugene, when I had the first broken CDs, I decided to start using the external hard drive for my images exclusively. Why?

External hard drives are much faster than a CD or DVD drive. The bottleneck is less with an external HD, allowing the huge image files to be read and displayed much faster. NO matter how fast your CPU is or how much/many fast RAM you have, if you use a CD/DVD drive, it's going to be slow.

One also must consider the security of a HD. It's more durable than thin plastic. It has a smaller footprint as a single CD jewel case, but imagine putting up a shelf of 50 CDs (I have) and compare that with an external HD that has 300+ gigs capability and holding so many gigs of images, the footprint is actually much smaller than you can imagine.

Organization is good, if you follow the following rules:
a. Put all new files into a folder classified by subject matter and date. When I am finished with a calendar year of new image files, I move all those files created within that period into a main folder marked with that year, then everything within separated into its own folder titled by its individual category: flora, events, landscapes, sunsets, etc. Furthermore, I separate those into folders by date. You get the picture. Easy to organize, easy to find, easy to store. The better you create your filing system, the easier it will be to find those files weeks, month and years later.

The earliest CDs in discussion were burned in the early 2000s; still the number of errors in attempting to read just the folder is amazing! Can you imagine trying to read just one folder ~ not to mention the contents, I'm talking about just opening the stupid folder ~ encountering errors, and after 30 mins just ejecting the CD, waiting a few minutes and just trying it all over again? To date with this CD in my DVD drive burned in 2002, I am TRYing to copy less than 130 image files. After four hours of uncontinuous attempts, so many read errors, so many ejecting the CD, etc... I am still not finished!!!

So, be forewarned!! And yes, I have a very fast CPU, almost 2 gigs of RAM, and a PC that is about to go flying out the window!!! And there's more than 60 other CDs waiting for the same treatment!!!

Also remember: each year cameras are coming out with better resolution than the last digital cameras. That means each individual image file will be bigger than last year's little files, and with that in mind, can make for a bigger nightmare!!

UPDATE: WoW!! I just discovered that if I copy one image file at a time, I don't get the read/write errors!!! grrrrrr Actually, still a lot of errors but.....

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