Stackable Magnetic Memory Card Readers from ProGrade Digital!

Last year I had a chat with the CEO of a new memory card company called ProGrade Digital after I purchased some of their cards. I liked what he had to say so much that I swapped all my cards for ProGrade Digital cards on my own dime. Recently I have been testing out their new memory card readers and the new Dual-Slot SD Workflow Reader has become my default. I keep it almost permanently stuck to my computer. Yes, I did say STUCK. What gives? In the box of every reader is a small metal strip which you can

Wow! Coolest Way to Store Photos?!

I had to post a couple of photos of this! The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD. I actually wrote about it a while back when it was first announced, but I just got my hands on one today and it was even smaller than I though it would be! It comes in 256GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB variations at the moment, and the smallest of those sizes is under $100 which is pretty amazing for an SSD. Now that these drives can use mSATA drives in them, they have taken a real fall in price in the last year. SSDs like

How to Speed Up Your Drobo

The vast majority of my data lives on a variety of Drobos. I currently have a Thunderbolt 3 enabled Drobo 5D3 as my primary storage device, stacked with 32TB of drives, and I also have the same set of data mirrored onto a Drobo 5N2 which I can access remotely from anywhere in the world. A further Drobo 5D is held offsite too.  In chatting with one of Drobo’s technical gurus recently I learnt something that I didn’t know. Whilst a Drobo can protect your data as long as it has at least two drives in it, the data read and

Gear Check: Drobo 5D3

Drobo recently announced a new Thunderbolt 3 enabled storage unit called the 5D3. As it happened, it came out right as I was contemplating a new storage setup due to increasing needs so I ordered one right away from B&H Photo. If you want to read more about my entire photo backup strategy, I recently wrote an update to my guide over on Shutter Muse, but here on this blog I just wanted to give you guys a quick heads up about this new product. I’ve been using Drobos for longer than I can remember, but they really started coming

Automated Cloud Backup – I’m Testing CrashPlan For Photographers

I’m forever tweaking my backup routine to suit my evolving business, and refine my workflow. For a long time I have ignored cloud backup services like BackBlaze and CrashPlan because I wasn’t sure if my glacial Canadian upload speeds would work well for something like that. CrashPlan For Photographers Recently I was having a re-think about this though, and since I’ve received so many questions about these kinds of services in the past, I decided to give it a try. Given that a year’s subscription to CrashPlan for unlimited uploads is only $59.99, it’s not the end of the world

My Short-Lived Experiment With File Transporter & Why I’m Switching To Google Drive

I’m not quite sure what to call this product….. Transporter?  File Transporter?  Drobo Transporter? Their website is, as is their twitter account, but they refer to themselves as Transporter, though they are now owned by Drobo. B&H does list the item as Drobo Transporter though. Confusing.

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Backup Routine Revisited

I’ve just had another drive failure here in the office and this always causes me to stop and think about my backup routine.  I haven’t lost any data in the incident but I like reviewing things every now and again and reminding you guys how important this stuff is.   The drive that failed was my primary boot drive for my 27″ iMac.  In fact it was a $600 SSD which in theory should last much longer than a regular spinning disk drive.  In reality it lasted less than a year before catastrophic instantaneous failure.  Never trust a drive.  SSD

CalDigit AV Pro Review – Hot Swapable Single Drive Bay With USB3

Ok guys listen up, today we’re going to be talking hard drives.  Now I can already hear the collective groan from the bleachers but bare with me on this one because someone out there is finally doing something innovative in this space and whether we like it or not, as media professionals we come into contact with hard drives on a daily basis.  Our livelihoods are often in their hands so whilst it isn’t as glamorous as a new lens or shiny camera it is a necessity and anyone that simply rolls into their local Best Buy and picks up

Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt / USB3 Drive Review

On a recent trip to Europe I underestimated the amount of drive space I would need to take with me.  I was forced to go to the nearest computer store and purchase another drive.  If I was going to have to do this I wanted to make sure that I picked up something that would at least be useful in the long term.  I use a Macbook Air when I travel and I hadn’t yet purchased any Thunderbolt drives to go with it.  At the time of writing (June 2012) Thunderbolt drives are still few and far between and those that do exist are bulky, externally powered ones with highly expensive SSDs in many of them.  If I’m traveling I certainly don’t want to have to carry another power supply with me so many of those are out of the question. After some research I soon discovered that currently, the only bus powered Thunderbolt device out there is the Seagate GoFlex drives.  My local store only had the USB3 version but the design of the GoFlex drives is such that you simply purchase adapters to clip onto the back of them to change the ports.  In fact, buying the USB3 version is great because then I can buy the Thunderbolt adapter and I’m left with a drive that can be used in both USB3 or Thunderbolt.  Given that the Macbook Air only has one Thunderbolt port this could be very useful if I need to use the drive, but something else is occupying the Thunderbolt port.

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Sonnet Echo Expresscard Thunderbolt Adapter Review

I’m sure by now that you are aware of the Thunderbolt standard and how it has a theoretical throughput that is much faster than Firewire 800, USB 2 or 3 and eSATA.  Like many people I excitedly bought one of the newer Macbooks last year when they first featured Thunderbolt ports but sadly Thunderbolt accessories have been relatively thin on the ground.  Some blame high licensing fees imposed by Apple and Intel whilst some blame technical difficulties and incompatibilities with the implementation of the technology.  I’ve had my Macbook Air for nearly a year now and until the Sonnet Echo arrived on my doorstep I hadn’t plugged a single Thunderbolt product into it.  Yes there are hard drives out there on the market but they are extremely expensive at the moment and products that you’d think would be simple, like a Thunderbolt card reader, have simply not materialized.  One product that has been shipping for a while now is the Sonnet Echo Expresscard, an adapter that takes ExpressCard/34 adapters (and now Sony SxS cards) and allows you to connect them to a Thunderbolt equipped device.  The benefit of this is that you can adapt many types of accessories, drives and cards to Thunderbolt all with just one Echo although you are limited to the theoretical throughput of the ExpressCard standard and NOT able to actually reach Thunderbolt speeds.  With few peripheral options available though, and in some cases no options as with CF card readers, the Echo should offer a much needed speed boost to those stuck using USB 2.  This particularly applies to Macbook Air owners who don’t have the FW800 option at all.

Sonnet offers a range of ExpressCard adapters but as a photographer the ones that I am primarily interested in are the dual CF card reader and also the eSATA adapter that will allow me to use some of my current G-Tech eSATA drives with my Macbook Air at speeds that exceed the current option of USB 2.

Echo compared to an 11" Macbook Air

At the moment, Thunderbolt cables are only available from Apple, or at least Apple retailers and they only come in a 6ft length.  Hopefully this will change because 6ft is far too long for most applications.  The cable is almost universally $49 wherever I have seen it for sale, for a computer peripheral cable this is daylight robbery but Apple has you at gun point with no other option so make sure you purchase one if you decide that the Echo is for you.

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Should you be running a UPS in your studio or office?

Today I installed a UPS in my office for the first time.  UPS stands for uninterpretable power supply and essentially it acts as a battery backup for your computer (or other electronics) should there be a power outage.  It had honestly never occurred to me that this is something you should think about, until something went very very wrong.  More on that in a bit…. but when I came to do a little research on the most popular UPS’ I was surprised as to how reasonably price they were. Why would you want to have one of these then ?