Christine Park

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What do I do with all these photos on my phone?

I am so tired of getting this message on my phone -- reminding me that once again, I've clogged up my memory space. I can't launch my camera. I can't launch apps. Then I'm desperately trying to delete non-essential photos and videos so I can create even more memories I'll eventually have to delete. Repeat.

OK, so I have over a thousand photos and videos on my phone. Is that excessive? This, despite the fact that just last month, I transferred what I had onto my laptop. For most of us, our phones or tablets have become our go-to devices for documenting life. A small percentage of those digital memories actually get printed or shared. The other day, a friend of mine told me she lost thousands and thousands of her photos when her computer crashed. My heart sank. When was the last time I'd backed up my pics? I would be devastated if I lost my daughter's first piano recital, my son's first T-ball game, my anniversary in Napa.

To ease my mind, my hubby bought me an external hard drive years ago. I have always had an inherent dislike for the thing. It's inexplicable, really. But my two biggest beefs: It's not automatic (I have to be reminded to sit down and back up my stuff) and I can't access my content unless I'm hardwired to it.

For that, there's always a "cloud" service like Apple's iCloud which gives you 5GB of free storage (you can buy more storage). iCloud lets you access your photos, documents, and music from whatever device you're on. It's easy to set up and use. iCloud automatically backs up your phone daily over Wi-Fi when your device is connected to a power source. There are a ton of cool features, including the "find my iPhone" feature and the password keychain to help you remember everything. 

There are a lot of cloud storage options: Google Drive offers 15GB of free space. Dropbox only 2GB. Amazon Cloud Drive 5GB. All offer premium upgrade options, if you want to buy more space.

But with convenience also comes concern. I've always been uneasy about the idea of my personal photos and documents floating around on a server somewhere. There for the taking by hackers or even the government. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but privacy advocates warn cloud security is a challenge.

For me, the perfect solution is Western Digital's My Book Live Personal Cloud Storage: essentially, your own personal cloud. You can save everything in one place and access it from anywhere with your PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet. Protect your files with automatic file backup for all your computers. And with direct file uploads from your mobile devices, all your important photos are safely stored on your personal cloud. Their consumer version "My Cloud" costs $150 for 2TB to $180 for 3TB and $220 for  4TB. In my opinion, a small price to pay for a ton of space and the security and privacy and convenience of your own personal cloud.


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