My First Test of Life in The Cloud

posted in: Desktop, Digitizing Life, Mobile | 0

It’s not the sort of thing anyone wants to have happen, and wasn’t a specifically stated goal in the manifesto, but one of the benefits I’d assumed through this project was faster and easier recovery from digital disasters.

Last night, unfortunately, I had that put to the test, when the hard drive took it’s final spin in my main graphics computer.

At first, the recovery seemed to be fairly painless (the Windows 7 installation & update process notwithstanding). When Windows was ready, I installed Chrome, logged into my Google account, and I suddenly had all of my documents, spreadsheets, presentations, email, music, and my calendars back – Instantly!

Next, I installed Dropbox & Evenote, and (quite literally) within 15 minutes of starting the recovery process, I had 90% of my “things” back. I was patting myself on the back about Operation Cloud being a success so far when it hit me…

I’m a serious amateur photographer (who’s even done a few paid shoots), and had hundreds-upon-hundreds of Gigabytes of image files – Digital Negatives (most between 8 & 16 Megapixels), countless multi-layered Photoshop files, and so-forth.

My images are the one part of my life I’ve yet to find a (practical) way to move to and work with in the cloud.

Not a big deal in my life (at the moment), as I have them all stored on a NAS on the network (although if the house were to burn-down, I’d be in trouble), but I got those back rather easily (though not as quickly as I would have liked).

The problem turned-out to be the software. The last traditional, desktop software I rely on is Adobe Creative Suite 5 (Photoshop, Bridge, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, and the like):


Fortunately, I had ISO images of the master discs in my Amazon S3 account, and the serial numbers were all safe in Evernote, but the painfully slow, seemingly unending process of re-installing Adobe Creative Suite (and its countless updates), and restoring files from the NAS, took what seemed like an eternity – Hours, upon hours, literally.

In the end, in all honesty, it was my graphic-related work — perhaps 10% of my “digital inventory” — That took the overwhelming majority of the recovery time & effort.

While a part of me was frustrated by that, another realized that (perhaps?) it’s not practical (yet) to expect there to be a suitable cloud-based alternative to high-end graphic tools, like Adobe Creative Suite.

And I imagine people who work in video would face a similar plight.

In the end, while the cloud isn’t quite ready for heavy-duty graphical projects, it sure saved me a lot of time & stress with the rest.