July/August 2006 HelpLine

Be Sure Of Your Backup

    * 50 Ways To Lose Your Data
    * Stuck On Auto
    * From Film To Video

50 Ways To Lose Your Data

Before I answer your questions, I want to touch on a topic I’ve mentioned before—but one whose importance I can’t stress enough: backup! Image file sizes are getting bigger, storage mediums are carrying more data, and all of this leads to the potential of catastrophic failures.

A good friend of mine recently had the hard drive on his laptop fail. No amount of cajoling could revive it. This was his main image-editing computer. Although he had been following my advice of regular backups, there’s one thing that was still missing: he assumed his backup process was working properly. He didn’t test to make sure that if something went wrong with his online data, he could readily access his offline backup.

It turns out that his regular backup routine was only backing up some of his files. He ended up having to contract with a data recovery company to restore his files. In this case, it was to the tune of more than $1,000, and even then, several critical files were gone.

For some people, there’s the thought that “It won’t happen to me!”, but in reality, I think it’s a matter of when it will happen, not if it will happen.

I’ve mentioned a little envisioning exercise before: next time you sit down at your computer, close your eyes, wait a few seconds, then open them and imagine that your hard drive has been completely wiped out. What would you do? What did you lose? How important is that data?

Then, check to see if your backup is working properly. Try to recall important files, open them up in your image editor and verify that they haven’t been corrupted. Bottom line: if you value your images, you should evaluate your backup system.
Stuck On Auto

Q)  I’ve been enjoying my new digital camera. I’ve learned about histograms, flash and focus, and even a bit about composition, but I struggle with shooting modes. When it comes down to taking pictures, I fall into automatic mode all of the time. There are two settings that I’m trying to learn: aperture priority and shutter priority. When should I be using them?

Trish D.
Toronto, Canada


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