I still remember the glorious day when I first encountered writable CDs. It was in the early 1990s in a $100,000 system designed by Kodak to produce its Photo CDs, discs that worked with its CD/DVD player and with computer software to provide galleries to few and high-resolution scans. It took years before CD burners were cheap and then included in inexpensive PCs (and, late to the party, Macs), and the CD media dropped in price.
Then the DVD format went through a similar, but much more rapid cycle, and then on to Blu-Ray, the winner in the high-definition home video format years ago. But I haven’t owned a computer that can burn DVDs for years and I’ve never even considered writing to Blu-ray. Once hard drives outstripped the capacity to back up to more than a handful of discs and drives also became cheap to use for backup, coupled with cloud storage and online sharing, it all seemed pointless.
I’m not alone in feeling this way, but two questions from readers sparked this walk down writable memory lane.
Last time, I talked about the “dark matter” of your iOS devices and OS X systems: stuff that seems to occupy space without offering up information about why. In this Mac 911, I’ll answer more questions about storage and backup.
As many as grains of sand on the beach
Doug Eldred writes in with a concern about a form of file bloat—but not about bloated sizes. Rather, the sheer number of items that seem to appear on his drive.
Greetings! You may be used to a much thicker mane of hair occupying the Mac 911 seat, but as you may have heard, one Mr. Chris Breen has gone on to greener pastures as an orchardman, and I’ve been tapped to take your questions.
I started using a Mac in 1985 and never stopped. I even owned a G4 Cube. My first smartphone was the original iPhone; my current, an iPhone 6. (Is it my last? As they say in Maine: Not yet.) Your problems are mine, and I feel your pain, and want your questions.
You can email things that perplex you or need solving to firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet them at me (if brief) @glennf, or call 206–337–5833 and leave a voicemail message. (We’ll be experimenting with some audio in the future, and may put your question “on the air.”)
Writer Chris Breen is looking at a big change and has something to say. He writes:
After decades of offering advice to Apple users in the pages of MacUser and then Macworld, I‘m making a career change and heading off to a fruit-flavored tech company sandwiched between Santa Clara and Sunnyvale. As this will be my last word from Mac 911, is there anything I can say to put this whole “Ack, my tech isn‘t working!” thing into perspective?
I’ve found these three broad principles to be the most helpful.
A number of us probably have multiple libraries to minimize the iPhoto slow-downs. If what I read about Photos is correct, it will alleviate much of that sluggishness and allow working with much larger libraries. What is (are) the best way(s) of combining the individual libraries in order to have one consolidated library for use with the new app?
Reader Dave Inglis has The Question about the upcoming Photos for OS X app. He writes:
I read your article about Photos for OS X and the app looks great. What can I do with my current iPhoto library to get it ready for the transition to Photos?
The glib answer is “nothing.” When you finally get your hands on Photos for OS X (which is slated to be released sometime this northern-hemisphere spring) and launch it, you’ll be asked if you’d like to import your iPhoto library. (If you have multiple iPhoto libraries, you can hold down the Option key while launching Photos and then, in the Choose Library window that appears, select a library to use.) Note that cloud syncing works only with the default System Photo Library.