Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a stickler for backing up. I’m constantly lecturing people (to their great annoyance probably) about making sure everything they value (in the digital world) is backed up. I’ve even blogged about it. I’ve written a tip with excellent advice about backing up. We don’t leave the things we value (photos, jewellery, computers, family heirlooms …) lying around unprotected, exposed to dust, rain, thieves or worse, so why do we think our digital valuables should be treated any differently. Yet so many of us do.

I am pretty good at backing up, and in multiple locations. Sadly, when it comes to security “pretty good” is not good enough. One of the warnings I’m fond of quoting is  “It’s not a matter of whether or not your computer will fail, it’s only a question of when”.  I have said this often, and believed it, yet in all the years of working on computers, I have never had a major loss. Until now.

In this past month I have had not one, but two external hard drives fail. Sadly, one of those hard drives contained the backup of the other one. When the first one died I was disappointed, even a little irritated. When the second one went as well, sheer panic does not overstate my reaction.  Those hard drives contained every Artisan project I have ever created, apart from the most recent ones which are on my internal drive. Some of those projects have been completed and printed, but to my shame many of them have not. I am much better at starting projects than finishing them! I can’t tell you how many completed pages, how many hours and hours of work disappeared with those two dead hard drives.

I also use a cloud backup service which usually runs quietly in the background and gives me complete peace of mind. However, the service I was using had announced some major changes (including a significant price increase) which meant I needed to find a new service. True to form I had procrastinated somewhat about choosing a new service, so for a short while I had no cloud backup at all.

As you can tell, my backup plan was pretty good – I used multiple hard rives as well as cloud backup. It took 3 things to fail at the same time for my data to be lost. What are the odds of that happening? Yet it did. I am telling you all this because I don’t want the same thing to happen to you! What would happen if your system broke down like mine did? How devastated would you feel to lose projects, photos, documents? What are you doing to protect your digital assets?

You will be pleased to hear that this story has a happy ending. I paid up the $$$ to reactivate my cloud backup for one more year, and thankfully found the contents of my dead hard drives backed up safely. But I don’t ever want to go through that again!  I needed to make some changes, and I thought I would share with you what I am planning.

  1. FINISH THOSE PROJECTS!! Getting a printed photo book is the whole point of what we do, and I had several books that were almost finished. I have been working hard since I recovered the projects and have just uploaded 3 completed books to the FOREVER Print Shop!! Hooray! Thank you FOREVER for the extra 5 days of the Black Friday sale!
  2. Upload all my unfinished projects to my FOREVER storage account.  It is so easy to share my completed pages to FOREVER. Al least if I lose my projects again, I will have high resolution images that I can use to recreate the projects.
  3. Upload all my old completed projects to my FOREVER storage account (The ones that I printed before FOREVER existed). I may never order them again, but at least I will have a high resolution PDF of those projects, and they don’t use any of my data allowance in my FOREVER account. And if I ever do lose or damage the printed copy, it will be a snap to reorder one.
  4. Buy some more storage and get busy uploading more photos. I already have the last few years of photos in my FOREVER account but really it’s the older photos that are more vulnerable and more valuable. It takes time to choose which photos to upload, but those photos if lost will be lost for good, so that is time worth spending.

Here are the three projects I have completed and uploaded for printing.  So happy to have these done & I can’t wait to hold the books in my hand!!



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28 Responses to Blog: Sheer Panic

  1. Toni McDonnell says:

    What a wonderful book. How did you make the page with the globe filled with pictures… then get a reflection of the same? That is really a fun way to make an overview!

  2. Terry Vachowski says:

    Wow, Shelley! To think that could happen even to you! I will have to come back to look at your books, but I’m SO GLAD it ended well! So much to think about, starting with I need to look up Beyond Compare as I know I don’t have the same files on both of my EHDs, and would hate to have to use the Backblaze though I’m glad it’s there. You also answered the question why after I bought additional Forever storage and finally went to take a peek found all my printed books there. So many “good to knows”! Thanks for not being afraid to share it all!

  3. fbailey says:

    Hi-I loved the books. Looking through the Danube book was interesting as we did a bike and barge along the Danube so I had many pictures of the same places. I liked the page used to introduce the cities like Passau. I have many design map kits and other template kits I can’t, however, seem to visualize my pictures in the templates as it looks like the template are too busy and will therefore take away from the pictures. I guess I will just have to experiment more. I love the colours that you chose for the pages. I am just going to have your book sitting beside me so I can just copy yours and have the perfect book. I was wondering where I can get the font ‘Top Secret’?

  4. Kristeen Kohrs says:

    Three cheers for that cloud vendor ! I remember Tameka’s blog about cloud backups and switching vendors. My cloud backup vendor recently made changes to cost but with a 2 year lock in at the same price I was paying so I am sticking with them. They just sent out a survey asking how likely I am to stick with them when the pricing goes to the normal price. I said its a low probability & am hoping they look at a more reasonable cost for home users…..

  5. Sandy Norman says:

    Great information Shelley. I know that is something I need to work on especially since I got the notice a few nights ago that my external hard drive was almost full and it would let me move over a project. Luckily my technical guru (Tom) noticed that I had a couple things on the same drive twice. He was able to clean things up for me to get the project I was working on done. It looks like it’s time to do some major housecleaning and get everything backed up TWICE.
    PS Thanks for sharing the Galapagos books with me. They gave us both some great information for our trip.

  6. Lynn Riddell says:

    These books are beautiful. We do a lot of travelling and they have given me lots of ideas. thanks for sharing. Do you use mostly blueprints? In the Danube book 1 do you have a record of the kits you used. They are beautiful as well.

  7. Jan says:

    I feel your pain! Believe it or not, I was doing some back ups when I read this!! Glad all is well…

  8. Dana Browne says:

    I completely get this. This has been the year of external drive fails for me, and I did lose about 20 pages because I thought I had backed a project up to our network server that it turns out I hadn’t and I lost loads of tagging and organization. I probably spent a good month trying to recover/redo those pages. Then I lost the new EHD. It was tragic. Now we have a cloud service, but I still have to back up my EHD to our server. For those who do backup manually, I recommend Beyond Compare which is a program that allows me to see everything that is different between two folders on two different drives, and you can sync them up. Now, when ever I work in Artisan, I run that program after and have it copy all my new data to our network server. I’ve also toyed with making a .jpg of each page, so as not to lose any journaling, so far I have yet to do that. It really is horrible to lose your projects. I don’t recommend it.

  9. Chris Bremer says:

    Your books are beautifully done! Makes me want to go visit!

  10. Marla James says:

    So glad there was such a happy ending to your story! Thanks for all of the helpful information and also thanks for posting your 3 books. They gave me so many great ideas! Is there a place to go where we can view more of yours and the other pixie’s books? It’s so helpful to see all of the talented, beautiful work you all do! Thanks!

  11. S Engle says:

    P.S. Congratulation on completing 3 more projects!

  12. S Engle says:

    Why don’t “old pre-forever projects” not count against your Forever data allowance? How do you upload them to Forever if they don’t go into your account?

    • Shelley says:

      I didn’t explain that very well. When you upload books for printing, none of them use any of your storage. You can’t download individual pages as jpegs, but you can view them at full screen in the app, and you can download the whole project as a pdf. You can share a link and people can view or even order your books from there too. My plan is to put every book I have done there as a permanent record.

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