I'm learning to help myself, but I can't do it alone.

Warning: The following is more musing of the "from brain to keyboard" variety. Extensive rambling follows. Do not operate heavy machinery. The author accepts no responsibility for damage incurred while falling asleep at the keyboard.

The digital age has ruined me. I don't do anything without checking online first, to see if someone else has figured it all out before I am personally inconvenienced -- for example, this blog (hey, anyone out there have great templates that are easy to customize? No? What do you mean google it? I've done that already and it's too much effort!), and yesterday I was prompted with an error message on the ibook:

The boot disk is full.

Wha? How did this happen? I just upgraded my hard drive (but not without checking eBay to determine a fair price first). Oh. Wait a minute. Yes, I know how it happened. Between the obsessive downloading of television programs, the impulsive downloading of albums from my high school years, and my inability to delete the gigabytes of files collected after I've watched or listened, I've managed to fill up the "extra" 35 gigabytes that the new hard drive afforded me.

And then there's the pictures.

See, I love the new camera. "Nicky" has been very good to me, taking amazing macro shots, capturing wonderful sunsets, and immortalizing the carefree days of my children's childhoods. But damn it, those files are big. And there are so, so many of them. And I have yet to figure out how to strategically cull, save, and store the pictures. I know digital camera owners go through this sort of thing. You don't want to delete pictures of your offspring. It's sort of like when you go to get pictures taken at a department store, and they always manage to get you to upgrade the package when you pick up the pictures, because they wave this huge picture of your kids in front of you and tell you they'll just destroy your children (okay, just the picture) if you don’t buy it. So you wind up with more. Extra. Too much. Just like that, I have far too many pictures of my children and other non-events that I possibly won't appreciate in 5, 10, or 20 years. Regardless, I took the chance and moved 12 Gb of RAW files to an external hard drive (I have no DVD burner) -- will I ever look at those files again?

Some time ago, when we purchased the Mini-DV camcorder, I heard about the 3-Minute Rule. Basically: Nobody will want to watch more than three minutes of footage of any particular event. So putting the camera on the tripod for the duration of the christmas present opening is probably not going to be a big hit at your retirement party, or any time between now and that day. I've pretty much stuck to that rule, and I'm happy with the results.

Let's get back to the pictures for a second. (Did I also mention I obsess over things? No?) Another issue I have is with duplication (see also: redundancy). I take all my pictures in RAW (NEF, for Nikon types) and use the program to export those raw photos to jpegs, which I put in a folder for storage, and then I put those photos into iPhoto, because it's easier to share / export / email photos from there. I take the photos in RAW just in case I get some real gems, which periodically happens. Now I have three versions of the same photo on my computer: a 5Mb RAW file, a 1.5Mb storage copy, and a 1.5Mb copy in iPhoto. The only reason I keep the storage copy and the iPhoto copy separate is because I want to have a "clean copy" in case I totally mess things up while modifying photos in that program. Also, because I'm working on a slightly older ibook, I can't quickly and easily work with RAW files.  Clearly this is not the best use of a an already too small hard drive.

Now, I'm not actually asking anyone out there if they've figured out the best way to cull and manage content for their photographs (
Hello? Anyone?), but if anyone has any tips on how to make my life easier, just shout them out. Because right now I'm so busy finding time to take the pictures that I barely have time to deal with them afterwards. I won't even get into finding time to get them printed off so we can put them in tangible photo albums. Maybe I need life restructuring as much as I need assistance with the technical details. Some people blog or get their "fun work" done in the very early mornings, because that's when they have the biggest block of time available. Do I need to set my alarm for 5:00 AM just to be up an hour before the rest of the family? Gah. Let's hope that's not the answer.

What's the internet form of codependency? Halp!

Posted bythemikestand at 11:13 AM  

2 stepped up to the mike:

Ann said... 12:25 AM, November 28, 2007  

I've pretty much stuck to that rule, and I'm happy with the results.

richgold said... 10:02 AM, November 29, 2007  

While waiting for the Wheel of Wow to finish spinning (you're kids aren't of Webkinz age yet eh? Just give it another couple of years), I usually plug in my camera and download.

My culling of photos is a multi-step process.

1. Download the photos into a file I've named with the date of download.

2. Go back to Webkinz and do some other chores the children are forgetting to do.

3. Open file and view as slide show.

4. Make note of which pictures make the cut. (It helps if you name the contents of these pictures at this time.)

5. Copy and paste those pictures into a new folder called Print Me.

6. You can then drop your day-named file into another file I've labeled for the year (like pix 2007). That way, things aren't lost if you need to go back to a specific month.

7. So, from the Print Me file, you can then upload them to your favorite online print place.

Sometimes you can involve the children, though there might be a lot of shrieking of recognition and requests like "show me that one again" which can slow down progress.

If your using your camera for movies, you can make a movie file on your desk top and then burn them all to a CD when you think you've got enough to mail around (I send mine out around Christmas. What's better then watching 50 two-minute home movies of some one else family ?!)

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