The Dark Side of DROBO


IMPORTANT NOTE: This post was updated on Wednesday; November 4, 2009 with new information regarding resizing partitions on the Drobo using iPartition.

As brought to my attention by reader Bradley Davidson (thanks Bradley), iPartition does not actually support the method that I mentioned, and neither does drobo directly.

In my testing, I performed the resizing operation on a newly formatted drive that didn’t have any data (since I had just lost all of my data that was on the drobo). If you try to resize a partition as outlined in this post, you WILL LOSE YOUR DATA. So don’t try it. In theory it was a great idea, but apparently this too will cause problems.

You can find more information on the iPartition website, as well as from Drobo. Like we’ve pointed out many times, we’re also learning here at SuiteTake so thanks for the feedback.

Before I start, let me just say that I am a Drobo fan. I have 2 of them (an original USB and a newer FW version) and plan to purchase more Drobo’s in the not too distant future. Overall I’ve had a great experience with the units and when I needed assistance their tech support was very helpful.

All of that being said, there is a dirty little secret that they don’t warn you about and if you’re not careful you can have your Drobo crash beyond recovery, which is what happened to me this past week. I lost nearly 4 TB of files and there was nothing I could do to get them back. If you own a Drobo, this is a must read.

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OPINION: Even If You’re Cheap, Don’t Cheap Out On Your Hard Drives


Hard drives the single most important piece of tech we use as digital media professionals. When you think about it, every bit of work you do is saved to these mechanical/magnetic devices spinning at thousands of RPMs. You may spend hours, days, weeks or even months on a project – and all the time you’re trusting that the drives do not fail you. If you really let your mind dwell on it you may actually start to lose sleep!

Having regular backups is important enough (that’s for another day, another post) but how about starting with a quality drive system? I’ve seen too many people buy drives for their edit systems based on price and price alone, only to be burned and burned bad. It’s like shopping around for a heart surgeon and going with the cheapest guy.

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“Hi everybody!” “Hi Dr. Nick!”

I was told a story about an editor that was working on a big show for the Discovery channel for over 3 months, and 5 days before he was to master the show his drive system went down and all was lost. Every bit. There was no way to recover 3 months of work in time to make the broadcast date so they not only lost the job and all future work from Discovery, but 3 months of revenue that they had already worked for. Just pause and think about that. That’s the kind of thing that some companies can never recover from.

At Edit Creations we have a job that we do every year that lasts from January through the end of June (2 rooms, 5 days a week), creating multiple videos and various programs that all play at a show in July. Whenever we start to come down that home stretch I remember that story and start to get a bit nervous. I’m always making sure that our backups are in good shape.

This post is all about making sure the drives you buy are worthy of the work that you’re doing. Or more importanly, that you avoid the drives that are not.

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From the Assistant’s Chair: The Little Things

This is an ongoing study into the mind of an assistant editor, and the various small tasks he is assigned to.

An editing facility is a lot like an underground fight club. Except it’s cleaner. And more work gets done. And there aren’t any fights. It’s actually nothing like an underground fight club. But that would be awesome if it was.

Aside from misleading people with opening sentences, an assistant editor has many responsibilities that go beyond actual editing work. It’s these little things that are required of the job that not only make this place run infinitely times smoother, but they are also the reason that clients keep coming back. Having this delusion that these minor things are the most important aspect of the office is important in not only ensuring that you keep doing them, but it also boosts your ego and enables you to brag about your job to attractive women at parties.

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Keeping your sanity…Working with Producers, Clients, and other “experts” at your job.

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If you’re an editor you work for somebody.

Even if you’re just a one man freelance shop – Johnny’s Productions – if you have work, you are working for somebody. You, or your sales staff, or your producer closed a deal and got you a gig, and that means you work for somebody. That person is your client.

Whether you just landed your first real job and are scrambling to actually learn how to use After Effects by tomorrow morning, or you’re “celebrating” your 20th year in the biz by reminiscing about the good old 1-inch days, the manner in which you interact with your client will determine whether or not they will be your last.

It’s no secret that being polite, listening, and working cooperatively are all necessary when working with clients but to keep the passion alive and the creativity flowing year after year you really need to develop relationships that work in harmony together and truly mutually benefit each other. We may hate to admit it but we do actually need our clients input and direction if we are to create a successful piece for them.

During my career as an editor I have found that there really are 2 primary ideas that need to be balanced when dealing with a client. No matter what your skill and experience level, and, more importantly, no matter their skill and experience level –  keen attention to these ideas can make all the difference between a great working relationship that brings you work for years to come or just another edit from H – E – Double Hockey Sticks.

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