Getting free from iPhoto has taken me years. But I’m finally free.
The eventual solution I hit upon is the one you see above, sketched out on a trusty Field Notes notebook while on vacation earlier this year. instead of losing myself in the minutiae of sand and sea, I was thinking about file transfers and backups.
Side note, I’m absolutely horrible at taking vacations and need at least three days before I start relaxing. Sometimes four or five.
Dropbox is the key, sadly. Dropbox’s camera import function is 1) available on practically everything now, 2) renames pictures uniformly and sensibly, and 3) frees me from the tyranny of wires without subjecting me to iPhoto or its slightly less obnoxious offshoot, Photo Streams. The downside is serious privacy concerns with Dropbox, but I’m feeling security fatigue these days and cant be arsed to care.
Is that bad? It’s probably bad, but it’s honest.
Dropbox slurps up the photos off devices and pops them onto my Mac Mini Server. That server (named Sirion, if you’ve been keeping track at home) puts them in the normal Dropbox place – ~/Dropbox/Camera Uploads/. Thats where the backing up starts.
- First, Crashplan senses the changes on Sirion and triggers a backup every 15 minutes. So the first copy is on Dropbox (in at least three locations), and now theres an actual backup in the cloud.
- Second, I have a cronjob running which looks for media files in certain locations, identifies their modified-on date, and copies or moves them into sorted directories on my main external drive. The directory format is Media/YYYY-MM/, with movies, screenshots, gifs and photos all treated separately. This is the main archive where I do basic editing.
- Third, Crashplan runs again and backs up my external hard drive. Now the photo can be removed from Dropbox with impunity, which is good because I have a script clean out Dropbox/Camera Uploads and Dropbox/Screenshots of files older than 90 or 15 days, respectively.
- Fourth, I do a brute force rsync between my primary external drive and an identical secondary local drive once a week to snapshot everything and guard against disk failure.
Clunky? A little Rube Goldberg-like? Yes. But effective.
Living in the Finder has some disadvantages – mostly because I havent gotten out any Christmas photobooks in 2 years – but it has a lot of advantages, too. Speed, ability to arrange photo collections as desired, editing on iOS devices at will – did I mention I can actually page through photos again?
Well, I can. It’s pretty dang neat.
Goodbye, iPhoto. I don’t miss you at all.