Flickr and the looming threat of digital disaster

With the exception of the odd copy for family and friends, I don’t think I’ve bothered getting photos printed for a few years now: it’s easier and quicker to browse my pics on the laptop, and from time to time I sync my photo library with the Mac under the telly so I can browse old photos from the comfort of my sofa. Unfortunately that’s a fairly risky approach, because if something were to happen to my computer(s) – or if I were to make an arse of things and overwrite an album by accident – then the photos would be gone forever.

On the face of it printing your pics is the simplest solution, but then you need somewhere to put the things (my photo library isn’t particularly big, but there’s still several thousand photos in there) and of course, you need to pay for the prints. You could always burn them onto CD, but CDs are easily lost or damaged, and according to recent news reports the life expectancy of a cheap CD-R can be as little as two years. Or you can do what I do and make regular backups to an external hard disk, but as with Mac to Mac syncing that won’t recover your photos if god forbid, your machines got nicked or your house went on fire.

For me, the answer’s Flickr – or rather, the £15-ish-per-year Flickr Pro account. The 2GB monthly upload limit can be a pain, but other than that you’ve got unlimited storage, unlimited albums and if you use the FlickrExport plugin for iPhoto, really easy uploading. Of course, it doesn’t have to be Flickr – you can use any service you like – but the combination of full-quality pic storage and the various levels of privacy Flickr offers make it the best solution for me. Plus, I like Flickr’s way of doing things.
So now, if my house gets hit by a missile, my unflattering photos will live for eternity. Or at least until Flickr realises I’m buried under rubble and deletes my account.

3 thoughts on “Flickr and the looming threat of digital disaster

  1. Tony Kiernan says:

    I’ve always had a really terrible time with Flickr. I just can’t get my head round finding anything. I much prefer Yahoo!’s plain old methods (although they now own them, don’t they?)

    A friend of mine that’s beginning to get some photography gigs has asked me for some help with a site. I tried to find some blogging software that would do the trick without he need for a database backend. And, with minimal hosting costs – seeing as it would be very image heavy. I came across Scooch, a lovely piece of freeware (at least it looks it maybe my tune will change when I try to use it). And, my reckoning is with a few minutes dial up to our old friends Freeola we’ve got unlimited galleries for no pennies.

  2. Gary says:

    That Scooch looks interesting, Tony. Thanks for that – mind letting me know what you think of it when you get the chance? If it’s as good as it looks I might be able to find space for it in a software section.

    And yeah, Flickr’s part of yahoo now. I think the reason it’s OK for me is because I use it as a glorified photo album, rather than anything else – although I tag things that’s just for me, rather than for wider consumption.

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