Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Hard Disk: 1TB

The forces of the universe converged and I ordered a 1TB drive from LaCie. Well, from Amazon. Note well: when a 1TB hard disk crashes, you are going to lose a great deal of information, so a backup of your most irreplaceable data is important. For videos, I'm keeping final videos on MiniDV tapes, still.

Because my old 120GB LaCie utterly died last week, I'm going to make a valiant effort to revive it for just long enough to get my first 10 hours of video material off of it. But I do have tape backups if that became necessary. I'm bummed about its death, but to be fair, I think i've owned that drive for more than 5 years, and that might be all one can hope for in safe hard disk storage. In general, it's not the hard disk that dies when something like this happens -- not usually. The hard disks themselves are manufactured by fine companies like Seagate and Western Digital. Their drives are in airtight enclosures and work pretty well pretty often. The weak link is the manufacturer of the case - the cool chasis that dissipate heat, have a range of plugs (for USB2 or Firewire 400 or whatever) and power. These plugs often go bad, and the electronics in the switch, which is what i think happened to mine, go bad. The good news is that this sometimes means your data is safe, but the drive must be extracted from the old broken chassis and placed into a new one. Anyway, this is not always the case, but an important distinction of which any drive owner should be aware.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Too Freakin' Fragile: Hard Disk Storage

Well, it was bound to happen. A few hundred gig into my archiving project, and my LaCie 120GB drive -- an otherwise fine product -- seems unable to boot. I don't believe there is a hard disk error, so i'm not in utter panic (yet), but there is mechanically something wrong with the electrical system here, probably in the enclosure... i'll see what I can get done next week... but the point here is important, and please don't miss it: hard disk technologies are fundamentally fragile. Disks crash. Things happen. I don't even know or care what - i'm just saying I have a few terrabytes worth of MiniDV cassettes here with me, and I feel a hell of a lot more comfortable with the long term storage of video on those tapes than I do of a couple gigantic 1TB hard disks, each holding about half my archive. I love having them online, no doubt. But I love having an archive on tape too. And I'm not all that excited about a tapeless future where I just dump my videos (and photos and music, of course), onto big drives. Until I have something more like an affordable TB Raid (you know, a few hundred dollars), I like having tapes. And in the meantime, I'm still going to dump my video onto drives so I can play with it, but the tapes remain, and i will continue shooting tapes for my most important stuff. I'll still experiment, but no full adoption just yet.

Now, back to my sick hard disk. Just when i needed it to work...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Object of Desire (1972)

I was skimming Esquire today, and noticed in one of their retrospective pieces that in January 1972, they felt that the Fujica Z600 8mm film camera ($349 back in '72) was super cool; what they called their "Object of Desire". The Z600 was a hand-cranked camera, of lower resolution than any of today's video camcorders, and priced rather like today's sleek Sony HD cameras. I dunno. It just caught my attention. Maybe because we all have camcorders today, or maybe because it reminds me of the camera I used at 9 years old to learn how to shoot movies...