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November 30, 2006
Some things we acknowledge are ephemeral, others we take for granted. In this modern age most people are well aware that all things computer related are impermanent at best. I can already hear many of you high-tech mavens rising up out of your seats... You rely on the permanence of your data. You back it up on CD's or DVD's or to external hard drives, perhaps even moving it off-site for additional protection. That's fine for your business or desktop computer, but what about when you are on the road? Let's just touch on traveling and digital photography.
One of the things that many of us don't think of backing up when we are traveling are our digital photos. We're out there, having fun, and just snapping away a mile a minute. Last summer when I was in France riding my bike for 2 weeks, I took almost 1,500 pictures. My mother in-law and sister in-law went to Africa last summer and took more. All this is recorded on digital flash memory cards - CF, SD, Memory Stick - whatever. You have one or (hopefully) more cards with you, the card fills up, you pop another in the camera slot, rinse-repeat until you have filled them all up. That's one of the beauties of digital photography. Unlike film, there is no incremental cost of shooting tons of images and we all take tons of shots. It just goes with the territory.
Now, if you are smart and have enough money, you simply buy a whole bunch of cards or borrow some from your friends. After all they are pretty cheap these days if you keep your eye out for a sale. But now here you are, carrying around these little cards containing all of your memories. Or even more scary, the professional photos you have slaved to capture. How do you protect your investment?
One way is to carry a laptop computer and a memory card reader. Every evening you simply copy the day's efforts off the card onto the computer. You might think that protects you and you can recycle the card for the next day's efforts. Well if you think about it, anything can happen to that computer's hard drive, so that's not the best way of doing things. Of course if you have a computer that is capable of burning CD or DVD's, that will work. Do that every night and you have your data on the computer AND on the CD/DVD. Of course you put the CD/DVD's in your luggage and carry the laptop on board the airplane, right? Redundancy, that's the magic word.
But what if you don't have a laptop, or just don't want to carry one on that once in a lifetime camel driving trip through Mongolia? Another solution is a portable hard drive designed to read the data off your cards. On our trips this summer my relatives and I all took one of these drives. There are a number of these devices on the market now. The one I bought is a PhotoBank by SmartDisk. It is powered by rechargeable batteries and reads all of the popular card formats. You simply insert the card into the drive and press a button. A few minutes later all of your data is in a separate folder on the drive. Pull the card out and you are done. When you get home you plug the drive into your home computer and just drag your files off onto your local machine. While the one I have doesn't allow you to actually see your images, others do. Mine has a 40 GIG capacity and cost me under $200 last spring, they are cheaper and there are more options now. I've even seen a stand-alone device that burns the contents of your card to CD or DVD and allows you to view the images on a small LCD for around $350. All this stuff is great for the traveling photographer.
Another thing that can happen is that your memory card gets corrupted or accidentally erased. As long as you don't write anything else onto your card you can almost assuredly rescue your images. Several companies make software that will recover your files. One is by Lexar, one of the companies who manufacturers cards. This can be a godsend if you have a problem, and if you shoot digital a lot it's not IF but WHEN!
The digital photography revolution is a wonderful thing for all of us. There are just a few small pitfalls along the way that we can avoid if we are careful. Hopefully this will help a little.
Today is the last day for the Photo Contest. There are some great shots in this month's entries. If you haven't checked them out, you definitely should. In the next few days we'll be selecting the grand prize winner of a new pair of Mammut climbing shoes. It's been a great contest and thanks to everyone who has participated.
Good luck to all.
Up on one of the Mount Washington Valley's finest crags and want to know what that climb you're looking at is? Or maybe you're on your way up from Boston and want to check out the Ice Report for your upcoming weekend plans. Or more likely, you're at work just want to daydream about your next adventure. Well if you have a smart phone handy, you can get to NEClimbs from anywhere you have cell service. While it doesn't offer every single feature of the site and it's not an "app", in mobile form, it does do a whole lot and is very useful. Here is the live link to the mobile version of NEClimbs:
Check it out and if you have issues on your specific phone, please feel free to let me know.
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Have fun and climb safe,
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
|I started climbing when men were men... and we nailed 5.8.|