My Head Hurts

Here is a good article at the iPod Lounge for Mac users who are interested in ripping your legally owned DVDs so you can watch them on your iPod. (They also give info for Windows users.) The article includes settings and information related to format. Handbrake, a great little application which I’ve used many times, is not completely intuitive. The step by step directions, presented by the iPod Lounge, along with some explanation of what the settings all mean and do is very helpful.

I’m in the process (this very moment, actually) of setting up a media server for the house that will provide access to all of the digital media content to any television or computer in the house. Regrettably, I can’t find a single comprehensive solution to address all of the digital assets: TiVo, AppleTV, iTunes, Podcasts, Photos, the Verizon DVR, etc. I suspect that Apple has been developing this for the last few years, but that will probably be a completely proprietary solution.

And the thought of ripping all of the DVD content I own is just too overwhelming, especially when the new BluRay format is getting ready to pounce and make all of the lower resolution DVDs look less than desirable on the large HD flat screen TVs. And then there is the hard disk space requirement. For standard definition alone the space required is insane!

And then you have the issue of developing an affordable digital media backup strategy. I’m already dealing with a LaCie HD failure at the moment—a 1TB drive. When drives contain that much data, losing one is no small concern. And yes, they do die! This is the third hard drive failure I’ve experienced in 2008! That’s a huge issue.

I have two 4 TB Drobo’s with a network interface on the way to address the backup and redundancy issues. But what of catastrophic loss like fire or theft? I’m curious about off site backup. But .Mac, now MobileMe, limits backup capacity to 60 GB, which doesn’t even cover my documents folder, let alone my digital media assetts: 20,000+ photos, then thousands and thousands of videos, podcasts, and music files…

I’m curious about Amazon’s S3, with JungleDisk, which, as inexpensive as it first seems at .10 per GB per month plus bandwidth usage, adds up quickly when you’re talking about terabytes of data. Redundancy is good but is also both very time consuming and expensive.

Then how do you fully and completely automate the backup/redundancy process? I certainly don’t want to spend any of my time checking to see what new files have been added to iTunes to back up just those, etc. This must be completely and reliably automated.

Who has explored solutions? Has anyone found anything you really like that works well?