Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oh the Joys of a High-Tech World

I really have a love/hate relationship with high-tech devices. Much of the time, I know just enough to be dangerous. I hinted at a serious problem I was having in one of last week's blogs and promised to talk about it later....when I COULD talk about it. Last week, I thought I had somehow lost my entire iPhoto library...7000 photos....gone! I was loading photos from my camera to my computer  and had just ejected the camera (properly, I might add!) when something crashed. I got a message saying that a device was improperly disconnected and data may have been damaged. The hard drive was still connected via the hub and the camera was unplugged correctly. But the pictures were gone. I was speechless, then tearful, then speechless again. Finally, I calmed down enough to reassess, call my son who also uses a MacBook, and then follow his advice.

Here's what lead up to this catastrophe. I had too many photos stored in iPhoto on my computer and not enough storage space. First step was to add extra memory. Then we realized that wasn't the kind of memory needed. The internal memory, the start-up disk, was nearly full. I already had my photos backed up on an external hard drive but,  to my dismay, they were on there in wildly random order, not in neat folders, so it was formidable trying to find anything. I did not realize that I should have moved the entire iPhoto library, not just pictures, to the hard drive. And besides, that hard drive was too big to carry around in a purse or bag if I wanted to show my pictures to someone while traveling. I needed to get the entire library off the computer's internal hard drive.

The next step was to get another, smaller external hard drive, one that could easily fit in my purse or even a pocket. This time I tried to carefully follow the directions Dave gave me. I loaded the pictures from the bigger, bulkier hard drive back onto my laptop, which caused the "warning! start-up disk nearly full!" messages to pop up again, but had to be done so that I could then load everything onto the new, smaller hard drive. But, somehow, I messed that operation up and started reloading iPhoto back onto the laptop, so I cancelled that operation. Back to the instructions and finally, I had everything copied onto the new hard drive and eliminated the library from my computer.

Everything was working just fine until the connection to the hard drive crashed and the pictures disappeared. Whenever I tried to open the library, I would get a message saying "rebuilding thumbnails". This was probably a good thing, I reasoned, but alas, it was not. I made the unfortunate decision to just eliminate some extra stuff that showed up on the new hard drive when the library was trying to duplicate itself and then when I opened up the library, I got messages saying "rebuilding the thumbnails" but no pictures. And, to make matters worse, I was still getting messages about the start-up disk (internal hard drive) running out of space. Aiyiyi!

I called Dave who suggested that I go online and search for solutions since he doesn't use iPhoto (probably for a good reason, huh?) .  So I searched and read and was finally ready to act. I then discovered that I still had 3 copies of the iPhoto library, two of them on the start-up disk and one on the external hard drive. Good grief!! I just really wanted one! But, after carefully reading sage advice from Mac experts, I knew how to eliminate the two on the start-up disk, so I drug them to the trash and then emptied the trash. I was feeling pretty good at this point. I was learning.

Then I opened up the library via the external hard drive. Ah! all the thumbnails had recreated themselves; surely everything was ok. Nope. It wasn't. The thumbnails were mostly all there, but many of the photos were not. When I clicked on a thumbnail (tiny picture), it produced a dotted outline with an exclamation point in the center. Turns out that when I made that unfortunate decision to eliminate some "extra" stuff, I actually eliminated some of the links to these photos. Permanently. More agony.

But! Remember the other, bulkier hard drive? Left that back home in the States. I also had most of those older photos additionally backed up on CDs, also back home in the States. My hope is that when I return, I'll be able to reload those photos and re-establish the links to the thumbnails and then everything truly will be ok. Oh, I hope so.


  1. What a nightmare! It's frustrating knowing that all those pictures are out there somewhere floating in the ether just beyond your reach!

  2. I think you need to stop using iPhoto:(