Dual memory card digital camera please

Over the weekend I was investigating what technology was available for backing up digital photos while travelling. It’s a long time since our round the world trip, which is when I last looked into such things. Back then I found a HDD caddy/card reader combo that would backup the contents of a variety of memory cards at the push of a button, which worked reasonably well and provided a home for an old laptop drive I had spare.

Sadly it’s not for my holiday but, thanks to a few hints from Ken, Nigel and Iain on twitter, here’s the short list:

  • Take a laptop: bulky equipment to lug about and susceptible to theft.
  • Card reader/HDD combo: there doesn’t seem to be many options in this category any more, perhaps because they look comparatively expensive now that memory card prices are lower. Not as bulky as a laptop but still something else taking up luggage space.
  • USB On-The-Go bridge: much like the last option, although potential to use a USB sticks instead of a hard disk. Not much to choose from here either unfortunately, and no decent looking ones that I could find.
  • On-line backups: doesn’t seem that practical while travelling, at least not without some effort tracking down internet access, possibly back to taking a laptop/netbook, unless Eye-Fi does the job that is. On the plus side, if anything gets stolen you wouldn’t lose any photos that were already uploaded.
  • Just buy more memory cards: not a backup as such, but less chance of losing all the photos. Much more affordable than before too, so backing up to free up space on the memory card isn’t such an issue, which may explain why some of the alternatives seem less common now.
  • Shoot with film as well: a great suggestion from Jenny, although it does involve taking more than one camera, and getting the photos developed! The negatives might make a good long term backup once you get home too.

Taking a few cards seems like the easiest approach but, even though the risk of losing all your holiday snaps is small, I still don’t exactly trust technology. So here’s my suggestion for camera manufacturers: dual memory card slots. For the paranoid these could be configured to store every photo on both cards for an immediate backup, and for trigger happy snappers it would mean more storage before swapping cards. Win win.

It should also be possible to provide adapters for a lot of existing cameras that would do the same thing; something not too dissimilar to a RAID 1 version of a PhotoFast Compact Flash adapter for example. Does such a thing exist already, or do you have any other suggestions for backing up digital photos on the move?

Photo © Jorge Quinteros cc by-nc-sa 2.0

Updated: added the retro film option! (11 March 2011)


Too busy to blog

I seem to have been far too busy to get any time for blogging lately. Actually, it’s the finishing off posts that I’ve been having trouble finding time for; I do still keep adding to the number of unpublished posts, with this selection boosting the number of drafts to 38:

  • Master Information Hub: Social Bookmark Search Transaction
  • My first Joggler app
  • Election results!
  • Icelandic Economy Bill
  • dub dub dub dot fail
  • Parking charge

Instead of finishing any of those off I’ve been…

…ordering a canvas for one of our wedding photos.

We’ve been married almost a year so it seemed like it would be a good idea to finally do something with some of our favourite photos!

The canvas has arrived, and looks great, but it’s still sealed in a back to keep all the dust off from…

…decorating the porch.

We have two front doors; one on the outside and one on the inside. I added the outer door not long after moving in to create small enclosed entrance hall/porch, which has been great for shoes, coats, assorted junk, and getting rid of anyone trying to sell something without letting out all the heat in the process. The old front door has needed a coat of paint ever since, but because I never look at the outside much I only painted the inside, until now. As a result, most of the house is currently covered in dust from all the sanding!

…playing with a new toy.

A bit of an impulse buy, but after gradually increasing the number of boxes I have plugged in all the time (ironic since it all started with the Current Cost meter!), I’ve cut down a few with a FRITZ!Box. Pretty happy with it so far: it’s a neat combination of ADSL wireless router, file/media server and DECT base station. Plus, thanks to a tip off from Jee Labs, @jthouse will soon be following @andy_house‘s lead and sending me an SMS if I miss any calls.

…not hacking the Joggler.

Apart from being in German, the FRITZ!Box media server works very well with the Joggler, so I’m still really happy to keep using the default Joggler software. For now that is: the Joggler appears to have been discontinued, and my question to O2 about creating Joggler apps seems to have vanished as well. I didn’t have much/any luck using Flash Develop, which is a shame because it seems to be a decent IDE, but Nick has been getting on pretty well on Linux. His Joggler music app looks very promising.

I have been keeping an eye on various Joggler hacks and the first one to have me seriously tempted, is Opera mobile running on the Joggler. I did briefly boot Ubuntu off a USB stick, but I don’t think it’s worth it just yet. On the other hand, Jolicloud does look like it might be ideally suited to running on the Joggler, unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work. I’m still hopeful that someone will get Jolicloud booting on the Joggler though; any ideas?

Actually, I think Sony have got a much better idea of how devices like the Joggler should work with the Dash. Getting something like that running on the Joggler would be awesome.

…thinking about home automation.

@lauracowen sparked off some great discussions on the Homecamp group, and I definitely like some of the ideas in Ian’s blog post. I had a chat to Laura on Friday, and the idea of a ‘boost’ is probably a good starting point. I’m sure that would help lower my gas bill, although I’m wondering whether an even lower tech solution might work with my existing heating controls. We often turn on the hot water to top it up, but forget to turn it off again. So, since there is currently no boost button, I’m tempted to just get a basic timer to sit next to the controller to set a reminder to come back and turn off the hot water after a short period. Or I guess I could even use the kitchen timer that’s already in the microwave.

…visiting London.

We spent yesterday in London, mainly to see The Woman in Black, which was excellent. It was hard to work out which of the blood-curdling screams were from the audience and which were part of the production! We also had some time to visit the National Gallery, which brought back a few memories of art lessons.

See how much things have changed since I ruined Turner’s Ulysses deriding Polyphemus with an oil rig?!

…watching Inception.

Really enjoyed Inception although, now I think about it, it’s riddled with plot holes that I never noticed at the time. Guess that’s pretty normal for dreams!


I’ve also been posting on the MDM Workbench blog, so there’ll be fewer work related posts on here now. (Still figuring out how to decide which blog to pick for MDM posts.)