Back Up, Back Up, Back Up: A Cautionary Tale

by Jamie Sanford on December 4, 2014

Sending all of my good vibes to the fine people at Data Recovery NJ.

I have run into a data recovery need 4 times in the last 16 years.

  • 1998: While living in a dorm at the University of Florida (WITH NO AIR CONDITIONING), my hard drive crashes. The Dell serviceperson who came to help me said that the hard drive crashed, and that he could not imagine that the heat was helping. I did not get anything back, because I didn’t really know that data recovery was a thing. (Oddly enough, I would work for a data recovery company for a few months in 1999.)
  • 2010: The external hard drive containing Will and I’s music files and all of our photos dies – we pay Data Recovery NJ over $700 to get the data back, and then start a proper system of backing up.
  • 2014: The external hard drive I was using at the office as a giant collection of product photos (to avoid having to download them every time I need them) doesn’t die, but converts to RAW, which apparently can happen from not properly disconnecting the drive before you pull the plug. I did not have this recovered since the contents were mostly available in other places. I now have a very large external drive that is not portable for image storage outside of my computer at the office.
  • 2014: The portable external hard drive that I use for personal storage stops being recognized in the middle of a project where I am moving photos. The drive isn’t making any noises (click in a drive is generally indicative of a head crash), so I’m thinking it too might have been reformatted to RAW from abuse. This drive is carried around in my bag everywhere I go, and I am guilty of not unplugging it correctly all the time. However, this drive issue occurred while plugged in, not at the time of removal. It was plugged in and working, and then just stopped being recognized.

The saddest part about the last drive is that I do actually back it up. However, I haven’t backed it up since April 27th, and there’s a lot of stuff on there that I would like back. Lots of blog post preparation stuff, etc. I have sent the drive over to Data Recovery NJ and am hoping it will not be another situation where I have to pay $700 to recover everything. We shall see.

In the meantime, take the following steps to try and avoid this in your own life.

1. Make sure you have some kind of backup of your important files. This could be by utilizing an online backup service like Carbonite or Backblaze, or with physical storage devices. I am seriously considering using an online service to back up my backup now, since I have been burned so many times.

2. Take care of your backup devices! Protect them from shock damage, and eject them properly to avoid reformatting. There are shock-resistant storage devices available as well.

3. If you’re not using an automatic system for backups (I was not, hence the last backup being from April and not more recently), set up calendar reminders so your backups can happen on a regular basis. I understand that paying hundreds of dollars for recovery isn’t feasible for everyone, so do your best to back up regularly so that if something is lost, you can possible move forward without having to incur the expense of recovery.

4. If you are not a professional photographer, you can use services such as Flickr as a good backup. Flickr’s free account offers 1 TB of storage, which is more than most people need. Upload full sized images! You can make them private so that only you can see them, and while they aren’t super easy to download in batches, it is just another option.

I will sit and hope that my data will be recoverable and that I can embark on a new journey that can hopefully spare me the drama of going through recovery again. I would love to hear in the comments how my readers back up their data and what their tips are.

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Blood Into Wine (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on December 16, 2011

93. Blood Into Wine (available to stream on via Netflix)

Here is the trailer for Blood Into Wine.

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Blood Into Wine is a documentary about growing wine in a seemingly unlikely place—Arizona. The focus is not just on that oddness, but that the owner of one of the vineyards is Maynard James Keenan of the bands Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer. A seemingly unlikely grape farmer, we find out that Maynard is the real deal when it comes to being passionate about wine. He also very directly addresses the issues that people have with rock stars being known for songs full of pain eventually coming out the other side, being happy. (I have found that fans of Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails are the same way – unhappy that he is happy because it somehow changes their vision of him. I, on the other hand, am happy that he has grown up, as I have, and we are all married and in a good place now.)

This movie is not a wine education, if you are looking for one. There is a lot of touchy-feely commentary about the earth and how wine is an expression of the terroir and whatnot, and you see a bit about harvesting and pressing, but the movie is largely about developing a wine country in Arizona and fighting the attitudes of “wine people” who think that nothing good can come from places they don’t expect. With a random sprinkling of Tool fans losing their minds over getting a bottle signed by Maynard James Keenan.

Blood Into Wine is available on DVD from Amazon for $14.99. If you want a bottle of Maynard’s wine, it will cost you more than that.

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iPhone Photo Prints – Printstagram Miniprints Product Review

I wish I remembered how I was introduced to the Printstagram service, but as soon as I saw it, I was really excited, as I have been all over Instagram since I got my iPhone.  (Follow my photos on Twitter here.) Since I have loved Polaroid for a long time (I have at least 2 Polaroid cameras and am hoarding the film I have left), I was excited at the prospect of taking my cute Instagram photos and getting hard copies of them, so I ordered the Printstagram miniprints.  Also, they look totally cute in the picture above.

My main issue with Printstagram at this point is the speed of shipping and lack of shipping options.  I ordered and paid $6 for shipping to a US address.  I ordered on July 29th, and received my prints on August 15th.  The Printstagram website does warn that orders take 2-3 weeks, but I think it’s unreasonable to not offer expedited service if someone is willing to pay for it.  I’m assuming that Printstagram will be working on additional options in the near future.  They are shipping product from China, so I can imagine that expedited shipping will be pricey.

Here’s a shot of my little box of 48 Printstagram miniprints.  The quality of these is not exactly what I expected – but I spent part of yesterday scanning over 100 Polaroids from my own collection, so the feel of Polaroids was fresh in my mind.  These are solid and matte, as they are simply printed cards.  It’s not shown here, but the back looks like a Polaroid, in shades of gray, which is a really nice touch from Printstagram for the miniprints.  The stock quality is quite good, they are stiff and should hold up to some abuse, and the colors look very true to the original photos.

Here’s a photo I took of some of the prints, with a regular-sized Sharpie next to them so you can get an idea of scale.  While there are pictures that can be used for scale on the Printstagram website, I still was a bit surprised by the smallness of the prints.  I can’t blame anyone else for that but myself though.

Overall, I do still wish that I had received these faster, but I am very happy with what I received.  Printstagram also offers other products including a poster, stickers, minibooks and tinybooks.  They are all very cute but they will all take a few weeks to arrive.

What I would like to do now is to try a number of other Instagram printing services – I am especially intrigued by Artflakes and Instamaker, so I’ll have to try those next.

My set of 48 miniprints from Printstagram cost $12 + $6 shipping.

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Hard Drives and Related Items

by Jamie Sanford on March 23, 2011

Thanks for coming by to visit The Daily Wishlist. If you enjoy this post, please connect with The Daily Wishlist on Facebook, follow @dailywishlist on Twitter or subscribe to the feed!

Hard drives are a part of all of our lives now, and I know that many of us have one or more external hard drives in order to easily transport files with us, or to use as a file backup system. I had seen this first hard drive previously and when I revisited it, decided to try and see what else I could find in the realm of hard drives.

Jatoba Wood External 500GB Portable Hard Drive EnclosureThe first item in this set that I found was this sexy hard drive that I found on Etsy.  Here’s the product description:

This enclosure was fabricated from left over slabs of Jatoba from a kitchen remodeling project. The grain is exquisite in this one-of-a-kind piece. Once shaped and wet-sanded to near perfection, the wood was then hand oiled and polished with a protective finishing wax. These products are all Mother Earth friendly and biodegradable.


The internal electronics are provided by Western Digital. This is a 2.5″ 500GB SATA device with a USB 2.0 interface. The unit is completely POWERED VIA THE PROVIDED USB CABLE, and I have preformatted the unit as a single NTFS partition for Windows. Apple users will need to reformat the drive to meet their needs. These drives are extremely “Green” due their low power consumption and near-zero heat dissipation.

This beautiful yet functional hard drive is available from Etsy seller BPCustomWoodworks for $129.

NES Legend of Zelda 500GB External Hard DriveThis hard drive is totally retro.  My brother and I had this game for our Nintendo, and this one has been disassembled to enclose a 500GB hard drive!  This upcycled video game is available from Etsy seller 8BitMemory for $99.99.

Slate Grey Bird on Cherry Blossom CaseFor those of us who already own a portable hard drive, this case is probably a great idea.  My husband often tells me that I need to treat the hard drive I carry around with me with more respect, and having a case would probably be a good step in that direction.  It also has a cute print, so the appeal is even greater.  Etsy seller joom offers this item for $20.

Computer Hard Drive Rings NecklaceHard drives are not just for data storage – apparently their components can be used for making jewelry. These rings act as platter spacers in hard drives, and are actually pretty cute.  Etsy seller zosolicious offers this stealthily nerdy necklace for $37.

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Sights and Sounds #6

by Jamie Sanford on March 21, 2011

Sights and Sounds Number 6!  If you have any links or images to share, please let me know on the Facebook page!

Red Carpet Fashion Awards has a fabulous post covering all of Rihanna’s looks in the new issue of Vogue. I think she looks really stunning.

Blond Ambition 2Kobi Levi makes shoes inspired by animal, sex (literally) and pop stars. This Madonna shoe is accurate and fierce! (via MTV Buzzworthy Blog)

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I like Britney’s new song, “Til The World Ends” and here’s a hot remix.

Beyonce and some SHOESI wish I remembered where I picked up this photo but come on, look at those Louboutins on Beyonce!  I can’t find them on the Christian Louboutin website, but I imagine that they are these Daffodile pumps but in blue – and those look like suede.

That’s all for today – will work on posting a bit more regularly this week!

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