Potentially Useful Tool For The Font Junkie

Potentially Useful Tool For The Font Junkie

Ok, so if you've read my older posts, you know that besides being a real content collector, I am also a Font junkie.  If it looks cool, I like it.

Here's the biggest issue with being a font junkie: when you switch computers, or a computer refresh is necessary, or … well, you've probably noted how many “new” installs of Windows I've managed over the years, when these unnatural phenomena happen, all those fun, beautiful collected fonts have to be reinstalled.

It's a huge pain in the butt.  And a great reason to not hoard fonts.

But I still do.

So, probably the most useful way I've found to manage my fonts is FontCloud.  This site is super cool because they'll give you …

  • a place to store all of your hoarded fonts (in case you need to reinstall them after some catastrophic event), AND
  • they give you a really easy way to see WHAT you have, and
  • they show you HOW it will look in your application without the work of just adding it to your project.

The best part is, it's free.  There's no fee for the first 2 Gb of font storage, which goes a LONG way.  My current stash of 270 fonts about fills that up, and if you have more fonts than I do, well, maybe you want to be selective, or maybe you just want to purchase some font storage.  But really, maybe this is just a great tool to really SEE which fonts you really want, and which ones you may be able to let go.

Yes, you can have too much of a good thing.  Even fonts …

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Thanks for reading!

More Thoughts On Forever Permanent Storage

More Thoughts On Forever Permanent Storage

I've heard people mention that the permanent storage offered by Forever has a big price tag for what you get.  But after yet another hard drive failure, and moving numerous memory vaults in the past few months for both myself and others, here's how I look at it now:

If I keep all of my photos on a computer, let's say a laptop, that laptop probably costs between $500 and $1000 when I buy it.  We'll call it $750 for a decent machine.  It may have 1 Tb of storage on the hard drive, which is room for a lot of photos, right?

Of course, we all know that a hard drive will fail eventually, so I get an external hard drive so I can have a shadow copy or backup.  Just a mid-range drive is probably $100 to $150.  Of course, those fail, too, so I either need a second one, or I need to subscribe to a cloud backup service.  There are some great ones out there, and let's say I subscribe to a backup service for a year for $59.

So far, I've paid $750 for the laptop, $125 for an external backup drive, and $59 for the first year of a cloud backup service.  That's $934.  Of course, next year I'll have to pay $59 again to keep up that cloud backup.  (You ALWAYS want to have an offsite backup option.)  And the year after that.  And the year after that.

After this many years, suddenly, the laptop hard drive fails.  I can still sleep easy because I have a shadow copy on my external drive and my cloud backup, so I pick up another laptop for let's say another $750, and I pay $50 for the computer guys to try to recover my files from the old hard drive.  So this year I've tacked on another $859 to my running total, but I still have my photos.

Next year, the external drive quits working.  It's just a hard drive, too, and they have a limited shelf life.  Now I need to shell out another $125 for another external drive.  And the $59 for your cloud backup service, of course.

Do you see where we're going?  Just over a five year period, according to this scenario, I've already paid $2,095 for the equipment to keep my photo files protected.  And this is just five years.

Let's look at the Forever alternative:

Forever Permanent Storage is meant to be a permanent digital home for your photos.  The base guarantee for the permanent storage account is your lifetime plus 100 years.  But really, that's meant to be their minimum guarantee.  They intend to make it last for as long as possible.

Currently, you can store full resolution images in .jpg, .png, .tiff and .pdf formats.  My understanding is that they are hoping to add video and audio files to your permanent storage options in the future.  Plus, part of the Forever Guarantee is future file conversion, meaning that they promise to migrate your digital files to new file formats in the future to keep them compatible with whatever file types are available.

Forever is also concerned with backup.  They make sure that all of your content is triple backed up and encrypted.  Your access always remains private, and you can share access to friends and family as you wish.  Forever will never sell access to your photos or data mine them to sell you something else.

The starter permanent storage account is 10 Gb for $19 a month for one year, or $199 for the one-time payment option.  This initial starter cost mainly goes into Forever's endowment fund to maintain the permanence of the systems securing your photos over time.  But once you pay for it, you are never charged again for this storage space.  You “own” it.

After that initial starter storage, you can add storage any time you want in 10, 50 or 100 Gb increments.  Or, you can jump to 500 Gb more or even 1 Tb.  Here's the thing: I currently have 200 Gb of storage that I have accumulated over time that is only 31% full and holds 38,320 files as of today.  I purchased my storage over time, often when there were specials on the one-time payment options, meaning that I saved even more.

At this rate, let's take this just one step further: if you live another 30 years (which I hope you do), the computer scenario could cost you $12,570 to keep and maintain the computers and equipment necessary to maintain your photos and organization.  And that assumes you don't accidentally have a digital snafu that wipes everything out and makes it unrecoverable.  You could purchase about 2 Tbs of storage for that.

Ok, I will recognize that most people use their computers for more than just their photos.  But realistically, in my case, the only thing on my computer right now that I would be upset about losing is not just my photos, but the organization and information I have saved with them.  I can do that, too, in my Forever storage account.

After so much time spent recovering photos and vaults for several people in the last few months, including myself, I am hard at work modifying my photo organization plan.  I love Historian, but I am beginning to love my permanent storage more.  And time is not something I have in unlimited supply.  More to come on this soon.

Hope I've given you something to think about, if nothing else.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Until the next time, Enjoy!

~ Deb

Why Historian Is Still The Best Photo Management Software

Why Historian Is Still the Best Photo Management Software

(This post was originally published on 6/8/2016.  Updated 9/20/2020.)

A few days ago, I was wavering in my loyalty to Historian.  I have used this software (in its varying versions and names) since it was first released, which I believe was around 2007.  I have taught it to others for that long.

And since that very first version, I have begged and pleaded with everyone to use Historian, if for nothing more than the easy timeline and the shadow copy feature.
The shadow copy saved me again today, and it's for that reason that I still believe in Historian and use it as my tool of choice for my library of photos almost a decade later.

Yes, I've been a consultant or affiliate or now an ambassador for whichever company has owned this software since that start date, which means I received a commission for teaching about it.  And I can tell you that this software is so stable, built so well, and does it's job to the point that it hasn't even needed an upgrade for years.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

I've seen other software come and go over the years, but Historian has held strong.  It allows me to find the photos I want, when I want them, and then gives me the peace of mind knowing that when my computer fails, I don't have to worry about a single picture.  The only photo solution I trust this much is Forever's Permanent Storage, which is a subject for another day.  There are great reasons to use both.

Get Your Shadow Copy Set Up Today

While the shadow copy feature is an absolute life saver, I know that less than half of the people I work with understand it or have it set up.  Let me see if I can try to simplify it, because really, it's that important.

To set up a shadow copy, you need an external drive of some sort.  It can be one that you plug in directly to your computer through a USB cable, or it can be a personal cloud drive (not to be confused with cloud storage services), which is an external drive that plugs into your modem or router instead of your computer and can be accessed remotely via wifi.  (I have been using this set up for a while because it allows me to be lazy … it will shadow without me having to plug a cord into my computer to get the job done.)

Let's say that you're planning to use an external drive that you plug into a USB port on your computer.  You'll want to make sure that's plugged in.

Now, open up Historian and click on My Media Library.  Along the menu ribbon on the top, you'll see a tab marked Vault.  Click on that tab to open it.


In the Vault ribbon, click on the icon that says Shadow Copy.


Next, you'll see a box that pops up.  If this is the first time you have set up a shadow copy, it will look something like this.


Click on Start protection.

Next, you'll get another box that will let you browse to where you want to save your shadow copy.  As I mentioned before, picking a location on a separate drive like an external drive is best.


Once your location is selected, the hard part is over.  You'll see this box:


You can either choose to Update now if you want to start the shadow copy immediately, or go ahead and hit Close if you have other things you want to do in Historian.  Once you start the process, you'll have to let it finish before you can do anything else in Historian.

But the cool thing is, once you have the shadow copy in place, it's a set-it-and-forget-it system.  As long as your external drive is plugged in, Historian will automatically update the shadow copy when you close the program.  If your external drive isn't plugged in, Historian will keep a list of the items that have changed and update them all the next time your drive is plugged in.

It's really not that hard.  Please give yourself (and me) some peace of mind, and make sure you have your shadow copy set up right now!

Until the next time, Enjoy!  (And rest easy …)



Organizing Your Digital Content For Success in Artisan 5

Way back in the prehistoric days with Storybook Creator 2, we started managing our digital content.  The awesome thing then was that we could add keyword tags to our content to make it easier to find.

Then, along came Storybook Creator 3, and suddenly the new content we purchased was already keyword tagged for us!  That was amazing!

And that's when I stopped worrying so much about organizing my digital content.

Fast forward to the present day when we have Artisan 5.  The Content Manager changed a bit in Artisan 5.  We don't have the content carousel anymore, which is a little sad because it was nice to pull up one kit and see all of the content in it.  It was a fun visual.  But the carousel was really a big memory sucker … at least it sure was if you had more than a handful of art kits.

Now we have a streamlined Content Manager that groups everything in the sidebar on the left.  You see a Library section that lists the types of content you have: Built-in Kits, Commercial Art Kits, Font Kits, and Personal Art Kits.  This is where you can view the lists of everything you have in each of these content types.  These really don't change … when the content comes in, it gets assigned to one of these spots.

The next way to organize in the sidebar is My Categories.  This is what I'll be explaining more today.

And the third way to organize is Tags (which used to be Keywords in earlier versions, but it's the same thing).

Why You Should Use “My Categories”

In earlier versions, I really didn't see the point in categorizing my content.  I relied heavily on the Tags.  When I wanted something particular, I would filter through the Tags for what I wanted.

In Artisan 5, I just don't find my Tags to be the most useful way to find what I'm looking for.  Maybe with all of my recent re-installs, I've realized just how much awesome content I forget that I have!  It's way too cumbersome to scroll through my Commercial Art Kits list, and they are all listed in alphabetical order, which really is no help at all.

Categories allow me to loosely group my content by its use.  I say “loosely” for a reason.  Categories are not meant to take the place of keywords/tags, so I'm not going to get really specific with them.  That would just create another huge list.

Here's how easy it is:

When you open your Content Manager, the My Categories folder is below the Library folders.  When you first look at it, you see just two options … Kits not in any category, and Sample.  I clicked on the drop down next to Sample and deleted it.


To create your first category, click once to select My Categories and you'll see an arrow on the right side.  In the drop down box that appears, select Add a category.  Then just type your first category in the box.


Once you have some category folders set up, click on Kits not in any category.  This will show all of your uncategorized kits in the field on the right.


You can select and drag kits individually into categories, or select multiple kits and drag them all into one category.  The cool thing is, you can add a kit to more than one category.

Once you've worked through some kits, go ahead and click on Kits not in any category again and it will remove the kits you've already categorized.  This way you won't have to keep scrolling and scrolling.

Now that you have some kits categorized, this is what it looks like when you want to search by category when you're working in a project.


Instead of scrolling through all of your Commercial Art Kits or scrolling through Tags, you can select a category and search content from there.

This isn't a completely necessary task, but one that I plan to complete this evening before I go to bed.  I want to make better use of my content.

Hope that helps a little.  I'm getting my audio problems fixed, so check back because I may have a video up soon to show this in action.

Until then, Enjoy!

~ Deb