starting over

As the guy in the Apple Store said as he replaced the trashed hard drive in my MacBookPro said, “… you should have sent it straight back when you got it”.

He was referring to the fact that, in the week between buying my MBP and getting it delivered, Apple had dropped the price of their MacBook Pros and upped the spec – and part of that upgrade was a larger hard drive (500GB rather than 360GB). It had crossed my mind, when I received it, to return the machine, but I was anxious to get up and running and 360GB seemed quite big enough for my purposes
Well it did for a while, but, thanks to my greatly increased photographic activity, the drive had filled up rapidly and I needed an upgrade.

The storage solution turned out to be simple and cost effective – replace the optical drive with a second hard drive. I rarely use the DVD drive, most of my software is installed via download and, hopefully, I won’t be re-installing the OS any time soon. I bought a drive bay adaptor, via Ebay, from a manufacturer in China (£16.99 delivered – how do they do it?) and a 500GB Western Digital SATA hard drive was under £50, delivered, from Ebuyer. It was less than half an hour’s job to get it installed and up and and running – not at all like the iBooks MacBooks of old. 800GB should keep me going for a while and when that drive gets full there are already 1TB drives out there – already at very reasonable prices.

However, there was also another storage issue to resolve – how the photo files should organised on the drive. And this is when things got tiresome. For the last few years I copied every master photo file into a directory named for the day of the shoot. This had served me well until I started taking pictures every day and the number of directories increased to a tediously long list. I realised I had to subdivide this long list by year and by month if things weren’t to become too unwieldy. Transferring the files didn’t take too long, but the Lightroom catalogue was another matter. I realised there would be some work involved re-indexing the files, but I didn’t anticipate it would take the best part two days. I could have simply re-imported the files, but I would have lost about six months work tagging, sorting and exporting photos. So I sat down and mindlessly re-linked a 1,500 or so folders of files to their new location.

Now I feel I’ve got an image  filing system and processing workflow that can handle quite a lot of expansion and I can finally get on with the work I meant to do.

And I’ve learned a couple of lessons:

  • If something’s not working right (or you suspect it’s not right), don’t wait to change it.
  • When you’re setting up a system, any system – especially one you intend to use every day, don’t just dive in. Try out the components, check they work in the way you expect and create a plan. Even if it seems simple and obvious, you could save a lot of time later.

I wish someone had told me earlier.

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