Archive the year

PowerBooks are great for storing music and photos, but do you really need every piece of music you've ever ripped? Archiving some of your media is a great way to get better performance out of your Mac.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

One great thing about the Mac is the excellent iLife suite of applications. iTunes is a top top notch music player, ripper and online store. iPhoto is an excellent vault for the thousands of digital photos that I shoot each year. The problem is that both music and photos can fill up your hard drive pretty fast. In fact, I've argued before that PowerBook hard drives are the only things that seem to be immune to Moore's Law. As my music and photo libraries get larger I find myself constantly running out of hard drive space.

Part of the problem is that I tend to be a data pack rat - I don't like to archive things. It also doesn't help that I rip songs at higher resolution and that my photos keeps get larger (I just just can't bring myself to shoot at anything other than the highest resolution!). This all changed recently when my drive was getting too full and my appetite for storage outstripped the available options. That's when I changed from a data pack rat to a data archivist.

Archiving is your friend. You really don't need every MP3 file you've ever owned on your HDD. Many people also carry a complete duplicate of their music library on their iPod. Ditto for photos. You probably won't be looking at your photos from four years ago any time soon, except for maybe a couple of special occasions.

With the end of the year almost upon us, take this time to archive some of your data. Grab some blank DVDs and burn off all your iPhotos and just keep the ones from 2005. Same with your iTunes. Granted music can be a little harder as most people listen to a lot of their old tunes. A great way to archive your music is to look at your iTunes music library and sort it by "Last Played." Take a long hard look at all the music with no "last played" date - most of it can probably be archived too.

One important tip: burn two copies of everything. Store one copy at home and keep one in off-site storage. A safe deposit box is your best bet, but a desk drawer at your office or in a safe place at a relative's house is almost as good.

The end of the year is a great time to evaluate all the stuff you've picked up over the past year. Use the time to archive some of it and remember that your machine runs best with about 20 percent of the hard drive devoted to free space. When was the last time your PowerBook had that?

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