Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Backup Plan

If you are using a digital camera or making digital files for printmaking, how you backup your photos should always be on your mind.

A good file backup plan has multiple layers of protection to deal with multiple modes of failure, because if something can go wrong, it will. Lately, I’ve been thinking of adding a new layer of protection to my backup strategy. I’m calling it the New Year's Backup, and it’s so simple anyone can do it. It’s the computer equivalent of a 30-Minute Meal with Rachel Ray.

Here’s the Recipe:

Buy a new hard drive. Attach it to your computer. Make a copy of all the new photos you took in 2008. Then, detach the hard drive, label it "2008 photos," put it at an off-site location like your safe deposit box or your mom’s house, and don't touch it again until you need it.

Is that easy enough?

If you are not already doing a regular backup, you should already be ordering a hard drive and using my backup recipe.

What about the experienced chef? Do you really need to do this, on top of all the precautions you are already taking?

My answer is yes, and thinking too hard about it will be your undoing.

Here’s a list of reasons to convince you:

- Way back when, before digital, pro photographers spent thousands of dollars making dupes of their best photos. Even then, they didn’t have a backup as good as a complete copy of their year's shooting off-site.

- How much did you spend on travel last year? (gas, lodging, meals, airfare)

- How many hours did you you spend making new photographs?

- How much did you spend on new camera equipment?

- How long would the pain last from forever losing even a few of your photographs?

Now take any one of these costs and compare it to the cost of hard drive. For $75-$150 (check our for a good deal) you can have a complete copy of every image you made this year. Most Americans spend more on satellite TV every month.

It may seem too simple, but sometimes the simplest solutions are the ones that work when everything else fails...and it’s a New Year's Resolution you can actually keep.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Seagate Hard Drive Random Freeze Problem

If you’ve recently purchased a Seagate 1.5TB or 1TB drive you need to read this blog post from Robin Harris.

The quick scoop is that these drives can pause or hang up which causes your RAID to think it has failed, or it can cause your computer to freeze.

The reports are that the drive freeze itself doesn’t corrupt data, but failure of your RAID could lead to a loss of data, as can hard crashes and freezes of your system.
Check your drives and make sure you aren’t at risk, and if you have experienced some problems since you purchased a new Seagate hard drive, this might be why.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

DriveBox from wiebeTech creates solution for storing bare hard drives

If you are like me, it seems like I’m drowning in hard drives, because they are the media of choice for storing images and creating backups. But storing bare drives can be a pain. They need to be protected from static and physical damage, yet still be easy to store. The plastic bags most drives are shipped in aren’t adequate, and the clear plastic boxes used by some manufacturers take up a lot of space and are rather thin.

The DriveBox has proved to be the perfect solution. Constructed from sturdy anti-static plastic, it provides a secure cocoon for my drives that protects them from the minor bumps, bruises, and static shocks that can occur as they are transported and filed at my storage locations. Its shape makes it easy to fit the most drives securely in a safe deposit box or fire safe. Multiple flat surfaces make it easy to label so you can find the drive you need when you need it.

The drive box was designed to accompany wiebeTECH’s RTX TrayFree enclosures, but you don’t need to buy their enclosure to use the DriveBox. (Dedicated enclosures such at the RTX or SonnetTech D500P provide an easy way for photographers to consolidate their storage from a collection of multiple external drives with their rat’s nests of cords, to an easy-to-upgrade system that is consistent and reliable.)

The DriveBox is available directly from wiebeTech for $5.95 each, or $4.95 each in quantities of 10 or more. It's an inexpensive way to protect your priceless photographs.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Holiday Deadlines and Turnaround Times

The Holiday Season is our busiest time of the year, as our customers rush to meet their holiday needs.

Every product we offer has different production demands, so we've created the following deadlines to help you plan your last-minute purchases:

Chromira Prints
Our new ProLab gives us an almost unlimited capacity to print Print Lab and Exhibition Reprints on Matte Photo, Gloss Photo, SuperGloss, and Pearl. We'll print right up to the last minute, but we'll need your order by December 19 to ensure Christmas delivery.

Inkjet Prints
Our inkjet prints on Hahnemühle Photo Rag, Silver Rag, and other papers are always popular, but they take much more labor and time to produce than our Chromira prints. We'll need your order by December 5 to ensure Christmas delivery. Orders placed after that date will be completed as quickly as possible, but we won't be able to guarantee Christmas delivery.

Custom Files
We are currently experiencing a heavy volume of Custom File jobs. Since each job receives special attention from our Expert Printmakers, they are very labor intensive. Once the Christmas rush is over, we'll catch up very quickly, but our capacity is limited until the holidays are over.

If you have a current Custom File order that you are proofing and waiting to approve, we'll need your approvals by December 5 to guarantee prints by Christmas.

Our ability to accept new Custom File jobs for Christmas delivery is limited, so please email the specifics of your project and we'll see if it can be accommodated.

Checking Your Order Status
Our lab software allows you to log into your account to check the status of your order online. Fill out a simple form, and you'll be able to access your information 24/7. If you need additional help, we recommend using email. Email makes it easier for us to manage your questions and support requests, while allowing us to keep production rolling. Most emails are responded to within a few hours. We're still happy to take your call if email won't work, or your question requires an immediate answer.

48-Hour Turnaround on Most Chromira Print Orders

We're making our famous Chromira prints faster than ever, thanks to our new Chromira ProLab. The ProLab combines the quality of our old Chromira with a printing speed five times faster. Since it has a built-in processor, our prints are ready-to-ship just eight minutes after clicking the "print" button.

In the last month, if you've noticed your orders being completed in record time, now you know why! We're shipping most orders for Matte Photo and Gloss Photo in 48 hours, and 72 hours for SuperGloss. Some orders ship within hours of being placed!

The Chromira ProLab gives us an almost unlimited printing capacity. We can even handle most rush and special orders with ease.

You'll see this difference first-hand this Christmas season. In previous holiday seasons, we often had long turnaround times for Chromira prints because of the speed of our printer, and the time it took to trim each print by hand. The Chromira ProLab changes all of that. We'll be able to print your orders fast, and keep turnaround times short this year. This means you'll have the prints you need, when you need them.

Because of the ProLab's high capacity, we'll be printing orders for Christmas up to the last minute...but don't use that as an excuse to procrastinate. We'll need your order by December 19 to ensure Christmas delivery. Place your order earlier if you want to ship via FedEx ground or 3-day delivery.

We're excited about how fast we can ship your prints, while still maintaining the quality you've come to expect from West Coast Imaging, and we know you will be too!

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