Is it Time to Make the Switch?

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We may not have a choice on making a switch from Windows XP to Windows Vista.  Currently, we can still buy XP computers through companies like Dell.   Originally Microsoft had planned to cut off sales of Windows XP to equipment manufacturers in January of 2008, however they extended it until June of 2008.  This means, we only have a few more months to purchase a computer with Windows XP.

I remember going through similar pains switching between each version of Windows, ever since Windows 95.  But, the switch from Windows XP to Windows Vista is much more critical then ever before.  Before digital photography the worse problem we may have had is compatibility issues with a printer.  Now, with digital, the whole business is dependent upon computers to operate.  Like I mentioned in here before, many cameras and ID card printers are no longer supported by their manufacturers for Windows Vista.

Does this mean that we don’t move forward and dig our heels in with Windows XP?  Should we go out and buy XP computers now to stock pile for later?  Many businesses are still running on Windows 2000 because the had custom software built for them that still works years later, not to mention the cost of upgrading a large number of computers to a different operating system.

I’m very sensitive to the budget mindedness of most photography studios, but I think it would be as big of mistake for a photography company not to move on to Vista as it is not to move from film to digital.  A company who holds on to what they have for years to come will be left in the dust.  Equipment is antiquated these days almost as soon as you purchase it.

More then likely your cameras will have a shorter life cycle then your computers.  When you replace your camera, it will most certainly work on Windows Vista any way.  If by chance your computer goes before your camera, then you may not have a choice, but to upgrade cameras at the same time.  But, putting everything into perspective, how much were you spending on film cameras?  If it was a long roll camera, probably about the same as it would cost to purchase 5 or 6 cameras and laptops to go with them.  The film camera did have a much longer life cycle, but then you also had to pay for the film.  In the end, it all evens out.

Check to see if your equipment is Vista Compatible.

Drobo Storage Solution for Your Images

Continuing with the theme of managing your digital files. An alternative for Windows Home Server for you may be Drobo. Drobo doesn’t do everything that Windows Home Server will do for you, but it is an easy way to manage your storage. It starts at about $500.

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This information is directly from Drobo’s website, but it explains it’s usefulness for storing and protecting your images really well:

-Drobo guards everything on it.
Drobo combines up to four hard drives into a big pool of protected storage. Start with two, grow to four, then upsize smaller drives-get Terabytes of protection.

-Drobo manages storage, so you don’t have to.
Just connect Drobo to your Mac or PC. No RAID levels. No management or configuration. Drobo does everything for you. Get rid of multiple external drives. Avoid the complexity of RAID. Attach a Drobo storage robot to your system and let it manage your storage so you don’t have to.

-Drobo upgrades capacity on-the-fly.
Add drives to Drobo at any time. Mix ‘n match capacities, brands or speeds. No downtime, data migration, or waiting to access new capacity. Drobo works the way you do.

-Drobo lets you “pay as you grow”
Hard drives get bigger and cheaper all the time. Don’t buy storage capacity until you need it. Buy capacity “just-in-time” possibly saving you hundreds of dollars.

-DroboShare it on your network
Connect your Drobo to a DroboShare and share your data over Gigabit Ethernet (GigE). With DroboShare, everybody on your network can benefit from the storage capabilities of Drobo.