Figuring out where stuff is

My external drives accumulate lots of data over time mainly due to photos and presentations. The other culprit is my redundant backup procedure – that often leaves me with multiple copies of some folder I am reluctant to toss until I am really sure! However, the archiving habit has allowed me to pull up and use files from a decade ago fairly often – I have found a photo from an extinct field site that someone needs, updated and used an old briefing procedure for a public activity or revamped a presentation I only delivered once before. Essentially the equivalent of dusty photo albums and old journals of the pre-digital world.

With hardisk space was getting scarce, housekeeping beckoned, so I brought most of my external drives home and linked them up to a hub. The JETDRIVE – M9-DX is a 3.5″ casing which I got earlier this year from Memory World at Sim Lim Square. It handles the cheaper (and slower) IDE drives, not SATA but that’s sufficient for archiving data. What attracted me was the many ports which turned out to be critical for housekeeping. It is a Mac Mini mimic which sprouts three USB2.0 + three FW400 ports – the latter can daisy-chain even more hardisks! Hence I was able to view six (or more) externals on the MacBook Pro’s Finder during housekeeping:

Cheeetah is a 7,200rpm drive; Amblonyx, Lutra and Lutrogale are types of otters
and Buffalo is the brand. One FW and one USB2 drive were left out of the mix as their data
is untouchable for now. I never connect those in combination to avoid mistakes.

Firewire’s daisy-chain capability is lovely – you just need dual FW ports on the hardisk casing and a FW cable. These FW casings are more expensive than USB casings, with the cheapest probably going for around $100. And they are not as common. Two good shops to go to these days apepar to be SGL Marketing and Memory World in Sim Lim Square.

Of course, you must check the ports on your Mac first – you might have FW800 which is even faster or, like the new MacBooks, no firewire port at all!

I have always thought the Jetdrive hub was unable to connect both USB and FW400 simultaneously (I think it was the sales person who told me that) but happily all the disks popped up at once! How useful! With some quick cross-referencing, I was already able to free up 100GB of space for current needs. I was very careful though, and in doubt, postponed a decision. I would have hated to have hastily tossed out a critical version of some document or reduce myself to just one copy of a photo album on one drive. That’s considered a highly endangered status and never a good situation for an animal or your data to be in!