When Laptops Go Thump In The Night

The Death of A Drive & Dawning of New Era

This weekend I returned from a business trip to find my Macbook Pro dying, whimpering on the desk. It suffered from two real issues:

  1. Dead battery
  2. Failing drive

The dead battery was due to treating my laptop like a desktop and rarely cycling the battery – I get this. After almost four years of intense use this is to be expected. The drive is a different story.

As a recovering Windows user I was used to reloading my OS pretty often to clean up poor uninstalls, old drivers, etc. (Note: Windows has gotten much better in this area) but Apple upgrades have always been very smooth. Anyhow, somewhere along the way I lost a lifeboat (recovery) partition, and now the ship was crashing into the rocks.

Long story short (too late?) I ended up with a new Macbook and dove into the world of SSD. Now, what’s interesting is with photography I want all my photos available at all time. With SSDs large capacity gets pricey so I had to make concessions on what actually goes on my laptop.

My kids and classmates give me hell about owning something physical, “You always have to have the DVD or CD” they say. Rarely CDs now but I do have an impressive collection and they are correct on the DVD aspect.

So now, what to do? I embraced The Cloud.

A full 35% of my former drive was audio / video which leaves a minor amount of space for all my photos. So now, everything will stream as needed and purchasing videos will be digital first, physical if it is a really epic movie where high fidelity is a must.

So a challenge still exists – I have a LOT of photographs. I still shoot a lot of film which requires scans and they have to sit alongside all my digital work. Large format scans are, well.. large. Aperture has, I think, I great library / project management system with its content database and something I used for almost six years. Given that Apple appears to be taking Aperture in a different direction I am exploring Lightroom which has a migration tool from Aperture.

The strategy, I think, is to keep only current and portfolio-quality projects local and while still leveraging external RAID storage for the bulk of the collection. So I know this sounds simple but as Joe Biden quiped – this is a “BFD” for me. Embrace the cloud, Whatever As A Service and give it a go. I will report back in a week or so about my Lightroom migration progress. The images I am sure will be fine, adjustments and metadata are the concern!

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