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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fragility of Digital Life

I am back on-line after a two week long outage. This was due to some old billing address with my provider coupled with a bit sloppy service at Saunalahti, my host provider. This combined with an upgrade to N95 8GB that went worse than expected, as I could not use the old Lifeblog 2.1 on it. This led me to export all my 30.000 items out of Lifeblog, make a back up, restore the back up. A full week-end of computing time. Soon the beta of Bootcamp expires, so I have to do another week-end of fiddling. The only thing I conclude is a digital archive is vulnerable, I have made decent back-up's of my Lifeblog, have some in London, some in Finland on several HD's etc. still I feel extremely fragile.

I am now starting to investigate what other SW I could use for digital archiving, I still have lots of RAW video that I would like to have unified. Much of my digital life is on the Mac platform, but I am not so fond of iPhoto from an archiving point of view, exporting the meta data is not possible. Some people recommend iView, I had one of the first ones and it was powerful 5 years ago. Using the Finder is not an option in my view, eventhough some purist think that is the only way to do it.

I am sure most people are worse prepared than I am, the funny thing is I do not think people think about it until the hard disk crashes.

Maybe I need to get myself a huge raid disk, unify all my assets onto that. I have more than 400GB of personal content. Would be cool to hear some creative solutions from any readers.

I need to consult my friends at the British Library, who are doing a very cool research project on digital lives, where I am an industry advisor, maybe they have some good advice for me.

09:44 PM in Technology | Permalink


Nice to see your blog is online again.

iView was a great software some years ago, but after their aquisition by Microsoft their support of cross-platform standards is questionable.

Apple's iPhoto does keep the EXIF meta data from digital cameras. If you export images as "originals" in JPEG format, meta data will be exported too. You will never be locked into iPhoto. Exporting will only lose your iPhoto star ratings and iPhoto keywords, as these are specific to iPhoto. If this information is relevant, you could use AppleScript to export it as well.

The current version 08 of iPhoto is really fast and powerful. It even allows you to import photos without copying the originals into the iPhoto library so you can give it a try without risk (iPhoto Preferences, Advanced, uncheck "copy items into library")

If you don't like iPhoto, you could use GraphicConverter from This brillant piece of software from a tiny company does create image catalogues, but these are not as sophisticated as iPhoto.

Professionals use Canto Cumulus ( as a so-called "asset management software". Cumulus seems to be very useful for editorial staff in multi-user environments, but I believe it is too complex for a single user.

Posted by: Oliver Völckers at Dec 30, 2007 1:38:06 AM

I had a comment that got to long.

See it here:

(you don't do trackbacks...)

Posted by: charlie at Dec 30, 2007 3:05:13 PM

Answer here as well:

Posted by: Janne Jalkanen at Dec 30, 2007 9:46:33 PM

Yes I agree it's a huge problem yet to be solved. I've looked seriously on some LAN harddisk solutions for home use. Nowadays you already have either LAN in the entire house or at least wireless, so putting up one or two LAN harddrives in the basement isn't that much of a huzzle. Hope to have the digital TV business develop more to get all of moving media onto computer and disks. Emagine to have one place for Movie, Photo, email, phone, centalized in your home and just connect your laptop/ PC / MAC anything to the network and enjoy it from anywhere - even from another country :-)

But for this to work, they have to develop the SW side even more. So until then....

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