Friday, November 20, 2009

Backup Backup Backup


If my back up strategy for my photos is to be described in a single word, I would choose the word paranoid.

I have about 30 thousand photos taking up about 65 Gigs of disk space. I keep 4 copies of these photos across two external disk, one PC and a laptop. As the amount of data is huge keeping the four backups in sync is a tough job and manual copying is impractical. For a brief time I used a software called Areca for backup and it worked perfectly fine. In fact I used Areca till I came across rsync.net backup agent from rsync.net.

Rsync.backup agent was much faster than the version of Areca I was using. It so easy to set up and in 30 minutes I was using a profile the exact way I wanted. I was so amazed by the capabilities of this software and it looked like this piece of software was written for me.

The Rsync.net backup agent builds a database with the details of the files of the files to back up and uses this database when the back up is performed. The back up process is very fast. It takes about less than a minute to identify the files that are changed.

To set up back up, the backup profile need to be set up. Switch to wizard mode and select the "Create a new backup profile". The next screes will take you through the necessary steps. In these steps you can select the left hand side folder, right hand side folder and the direction in which the back up has to happen. Once the destination and the direction of sync is selected, the back up mode can be selected. Rsync.net provides 3 types of backup operations namely "Standard copying", "Smart Tracking" and "Exact Mirror". The smart tracking option provides a choice of moving the deleted files to a predefined folder. So if a file is deleted by accident, in the back up, the file will be moved to the predefined location. Masks can be used to include or exclude files and folders in the backup. The profile can be set up to be executed automatically at predefined time as well. Profiles need to be saved with a name and if multiple words are given for profile name, first word of the profiles are used to group them.

Another interesting feature is the partial file update. For very large files, Rsync.net backup agent can identify the changed location and copy a subset of the file and keep them in sync between source and destination.

For individual usage the rsync.net backup agent is the perfect choice and they offer a paid on-line backup option as well. Going by my experience with the rsync.net backup agent software, I would imagine that the on-line backup will also be equally good.

Edit (26-June-2012)

I switched to the real rsync a while ago when my primary laptop died due to hardware issues. Needless to say, no data was lost since I had the backups. Now my photos take slightly more than 250 GB disk space.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Watermarking photos using GIMP

Some of my friends were interested in knowing how I add my name at the lower right side of the images I post here. The short answer is that I use a GIMP script to get this done. The long answer follows:

Few years back one fine day I decided to put my name in some photos and started editing the photos with GIMP. However, manually adding a text in the images turned out to be difficult and the text position were inconsistent across images. So in lines with Unix philosophy of "if you have to do something twice, write a script", I ventured into writing this script. I read few Script-Fu tutorials and managed to write this script. Please excuse the usage of my name all over the script.

Follow these steps to this script.
  1. Download GIMP from http://www.gimp.org and install it.
  2. Download the script Prime.scm
  3. Save the script in the script folder of gimp installation. In GIMP select Edit->Preferences. In the preferences window expand the "Folders" in the left pane and select Scripts. You will be able find the scripts directories listed in the right pane. Make sure that the file is saved with the extension .scm.
  4. Restart GIMP.
  5. Open an image using GIMP and the menu Prime will be visible. Select the menu item Prime and the text will be added at the bottom right hand.
Some changes will be required to get your name in there. Follow these steps to get it done.

In the script, change the words 'Your text goes here' to the text you want to put in the image.
Adjust the numeric values in the following lines so that your text is at the right position:
(x (- width 175)) ; Set the x coordinate.
(y (- height 40)) ; Set the y coordinate.

To change the color of the text, change the RGB values in the following line :
(gimp-context-set-foreground '(120 120 120)) ; Set the text colour

Restart GIMP once these changes are done.

It is a pain to open individual files, select the menu and save it. So I wrote another script that will make changes in all the files in a given folder. Things worked fine till the Script-Fu syntax changed in a newer version of GIMP and the scripts stopped working. I managed to rewrite the above script for the new version of GIMP one day but didn't get a chance to fix the other script. If I get enough time and patience, I will fix it one day and post it here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) License

Creative Commons License
The images and photographs posted in this blog by Prime Jyothi are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) License.