COBA November 2004

A funny thing happened on the morning of the last COBA meeting of 2004, my primary photo hard drive crashed! I was working on the computer when I suddenly heard this awful clicking and scratching noise emanating from one of my hard drives. When I realized that it was the hard drive that contained all 70,000+ images, my heart sank. Though I had just backed up the hard drive the night before, I neglected to copy over the iView catalogs that contained all of my annotations for the past 3.5 months.

I stopped all work and looked at my options for recovering the data. Apple’s Mac OS X Disk Utility found some of the files but not those precious iView catalogs. I purchased and downloaded DiskWarrior, but it ran into some bad blocks and slowed down tremendously reading the hard drive. An email to the developers and a search on the Internet revealed that DiskWarrior was still working, but that the process could take hours or days. Unfortunately, the progress bar wasn’t moving at all, and there were no other indications that the app was not frozen (despite the hard drive’s light flickering every few seconds).

I then proceeded to purchase and install Data Rescue X. The thourough scan also ran into some bad blocks, but the program displayed progress indicators that it was pushing through and continuing to work. I left the house around 7:00 to head over to the COBA meeting. When I returned, Data Rescue X was still working and was over 50% of the way through to scanning the hard disk. In the morning, it had completed its scan, and I was able to recover those once-though lost iView catalogs! Data Rescue X earns my highest recommendation!

Now, I’m investigating hardware RAID 5 solutions. Any Mac OS X users out there using RAID 5? I’ll consider getting a cheap Linux or Windows machine for my RAID needs. Any tips out there?

At the COBA meeting, we spoke first about how members backed up their data. Many people seemed to favor hard drive solutions (either two hard drives like what I currently use or RAID solutions). There were several people who also backed up to CD/DVD. If you haven’t yet backed up your data, do it now! You don’t want to gamble and have to experience that sinking feeling you get when you realize all of your precious data is gone!

Edan Yee gave a great presentation on framing and matting your prints. He brought in his Logan Mat Cutter, which is a great tool for cutting mats ($170 from Edan covered the types of mats available and the various prices for them. Expect to pay about $11/sheet (32×40) for Bainbridge acid-free mats, $4-5/sheet for Crescent mats and $30/sheet for suede mats (there are also mats with different textures on them — linen, cloth, etc.). For $15, one can buy a 32×40 mat and enough foam core to make 4 16×20 mats. That’s significantly cheaper than going to a store and purchasing pre-cut mats or having the store cut them for you.

Edan likes using plexiglass (which you can get from TAP Plastics) instead of glass in his frames. It’s lighter and more earthquake-resistant after all. He and David Blanchard recommended changing the blades on the mat cutter every 6-8 mats; dull blades make for bad mat cuts.

Edan also mentioned this great deal over at Elco Color. A 20×30 print for only $9.95 (minimum 2 prints). Other tips included a link to a web-based program for optically print centering your prints on a mat.

COBA is going to take December off and come back strong in January! I’m hoping to get the Konica-Minolta rep to demo the new Maxxum 7D digital SLR. We’re also looking at having a photography book review session in 2005. If you have any suggestions about future COBA meetings, let me know!

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