Category Archives Photography

 

Scott, thanks for the opportunity to put a few of my thoughts down for your readers. Not exactly the circumstances under which I envisioned being your guest blogger, but now I have a goal to do this again under different conditions.

First of all, I'm of the belief that direct customer input (any kind) is good, so I don't mind all the comments and ideas - they are all part of the journey to keep improving. We constantly strive to deliver the best customer experience to protect data, and we take this very seriously.  Better to know than not knowing.

Regarding your case Scott, the bottom line is that we made a bad judgment - our agents are trained to immediately swap or upgrade (regardless of warranty condition) if they see what you saw on your video - but we made a rookie mistake this time. I traced the call logs.  100% our bad this time.  As I mentioned on the phone, my apologies and it should not have happened. By the way, if any of your readers (or their readers or colleagues or friends or whatever) experiences what you saw on your video, just contact us or ping me directly (tom@drobo.com) and we will take care of it immediately.

Just to clarify, we currently offer a standard one-year warranty, and many of our customers opt for the extended care package. We are, of course, working on much faster, "next-gen" Drobos that take into consideration all of the customer feedback we've gotten since day 1, and we've been debating the 1-year vs. longer standard warranty period as part of these soon-to-be announced new products. This is where there is (!) a bit of a silver lining as the timing of your input could not have been more acute - vote(s) recognized, taken, counted!

Readers, the only comments that I want to strongly dispute are the ones that suggest that I only followed up with Scott because he is Scott. I (we) call customers every single day - small, large, happy, frustrated, domestic, international. We have a couple of hundred thousand to choose from, and there's always someone who wants to talk about their Drobo and/or their challenges of data protection and management. I enjoy it, I learn a lot, and it is important that our customers know that there are real people out here trying to help them figure it out. I ALWAYS end my emails (and my guest blogs) with an invitation to send me (tom@drobo.com) your thoughts or to drop me a line at 408-276-8621 (I am hardly ever at my desk, but leave a VM and I will get back to you).

OK - thanks again - I'm glad to have the opportunity to meet you all "directly," despite the circumstances. My personal goal now (mark it down) is to re-appear as Scott's guest blogger the day after he writes the "Drobo - I'm BACK" post. It's on us. I know what is coming, and I like our chances.

Best regards everyone,

-Tom
408-276-8621
tom@drobo.com

 

I’ve finally reached the point that I’m done with my drobo, which I use for the archiving of my photos. I actually use three drobos: one in my office, one in Brad’s office (onsite backup), and one at home (offsite backup). Now sadly I’m going to have to move to a different platform altogether because drobo finally pushed me to the point of no return.

What I love about drobo
What drew me to drobo in the beginning was the fact that it constantly monitors the health of my hard drives. So if one starts going bad, or gets full, my drobo will warn me, and robotically shift my data to other drives installed in my drobo until I can replace that drive. Keeping a photo archive intact is very, very important to us photographers.

Why I’m done with drobo
Because for the fourth time one of my drobos is a brick.

Wait, are all the hard drives installed in my drobo still working? Yup. Can I access my photos? Nope. Not a one.

When I came into work a couple of days ago, I cringed when I saw an all too familiar problem — my drobo cycling on/off over and over again. It doesn’t mount, and I can’t access my photos — essentially it’s a brick. Again. (see the video of my drobo below, and you’ll see it cycling on/off in what we now call “The drobo death spiral.” Note: This is not an exciting video).

http://youtu.be/VdEpS1LvTkE

Scott, can’t you just pop those drives into something else and get your photos back?
Nope. It’s a proprietary system that only a drobo can read. Sigh.

I went to their site, followed their troubleshooting guide, and it still just cycles on/off (by the way, as I mentioned above, this isn’t the first time this has happened — drobo has had to replace my entire drobo unit [not including the drives] before).

In fact, this was the fourth recorded incident Brad and I have had with drobo so far. And while you’re waiting for your new drobo, you cannot access any of your photos or files on your bricked drobo. You’re basically locked out.

This is the moment that I knew I was done with drobo
When my photo assistant Brad called their tech support for me, they told him my dead drobo is out of warranty. To get my photos back, I would have to pay nearly $300 for drobocare (an extended warranty program). So basically, while my drobo is supposed to protect my photo archive, what it has actually done is hold my photo archive hostage for almost $300.

I know what some of you are saying right now: “We told you so.” When Brad told drobo how supremely unhappy we were with that $300 hostage-situation, they eventually emailed back and lowered the price to $100. We passed on the “deal.”

At this point, I’d rather give that $100 to you. Seriously.
Rather than sending $100 to drobo on a solution that I’m going to abandon shortly, I’d rather just give the money to you to help me find a better solution.

To that end I’m offering a $100 bounty to whomever can help me choose a new photo archival storage system now that I’m “dumping drobo” (by the way, that would make a great slogan for a t-shirt).

I need about 12 TB of storage, which sadly may be conservative thanks to my 36-megapixel Nikon D800 which eats up drive space like a plague of locusts.

Just leave me a comment here with any advice you have for big storage, and if I go with your suggestion I’ll cut you a $100 check for your time and research (I’m only doing this for one person, so if 50 people say “try dropbox” I’m only cutting one check to one person. Just so you know).

My plea to drobo
I’ve been using drobos for a few years now, and have recommended them to a number of my personal friends. A lot of photographers out here have drobos, and we count on drobo to keep our images safe. But obviously there can come a point where our hard drives are actually OK but our drobos have failed.

If the drobo is a truly well-made product, shouldn’t it work reliably for more than a year? We don’t expect it to last 20 years, but it should darn well work perfectly for at least two or three. In short, drobo (the company) should have enough confidence in their technology and their product to stand behind their product for more than 12 months

My plea to drobo is simple… If our drobo’s power supply goes bad, or our drobos won’t mount, or whatever the problem is (unless we caused it by immersing our drobo in water, or dropping it off a counter, etc.) — we need you to replace it free of charge for a more reasonable amount of time than just one year. Otherwise the whole thing is worthless. Like my drobo is now.

So, that’s my story
While I love a lot of things about the drobo (the industrial design, the idea behind it, and the ability to easily swap drives in/out as needed), I hate that often I can’t get it to mount (ask Brad about this one). And worse than that, I can’t have a solution that protects me when all is well, but when it gets a cold (which it clearly often does), it locks me out and then holds me hostage. That I can’t live with.

UPDATE: I wrote this Wednesday night and planned on releasing it today, but when I went to save the post as a draft, I accidentally released the post instead (not the first time I’ve done that sadly). Even though I immediately changed the post release status as soon as I realized the mistake, by Thursday morning news of it was already bouncing around the web, and it quickly made it’s way back to drobo. They contacted me directly to see how they could resolve the issue and I even talked with drobo’s CEO a number of times during the day. He really seems like a very down-to-earth guy who seems genuinely interested in addressing his customer’s issues, but of course just fixing my problem won’t fix the bigger problem of their warranty policy, so I once again declined. However, to his credit he listened to my ideas (and rants) about how drobo might address this going forward so other photographers that get in this situation might be protected, and I even offered him the opportunity to respond directly to my readers here on blog. Hey, it’s a start. :)

http://youtu.be/UwgTg-mLHAM

Hey gang, Brad Moore here with some great news! If you missed the Connecting with Cuba live webcast with Scott Kelby on Tuesday, it’s now available to watch at your convenience (as you can see, just above this).

It was a great hour+ packed with beautiful photos, of a beautiful country, taken by a beautiful man ;-)

Seriously though, Scott was joined by RC Concepcion, and they had an engaging conversation about Scott’s recent trip to Cuba and what it was like to do street photography there. They also discussed the logistics of traveling to Cuba and interacting with everyone there, among other things.

Give it a watch above and feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section!

Tonight I’m trying something I’ve never done before — a live online photography talk called “Connecting with Cuba” which is about my recent photo trip to Havana, Cuba (see yesterday’s blog for some shots from my photo book).

It’s free and everyone’s invited to join me live tonight at 6:00 pm ET as I talk about everything from the challenges of shooting in Cuba to my impressions of the Nikon D800 after my first serious shoot with the camera (along with my one major gripe with it).

My friend, photographer RC Concepcion will be interviewing me as part of the presentation, and I’ll be talking about lens selection, travel photography tips, how to get to visit Cuba yourself, the wonderful spirit of the people of Cuba, the music, the food, the images, my Lightroom post processing of the images from the trip and the frustration of being surrounded by such incredible subjects and scenery and not being able to capture it the way you want to (not because of any restrictions other than the limits of my talent). I’ll be taking your questions live on the air as well, so I hope you’ll join the discussion.

Here are the details:

When: Tonight LIVE from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm ET (world time zone converter)
Where: kelbytv.com/onair/
Cost: Absolutely Free

I hope you can join me for, “Connecting with Cuba” tonight (and I hope you’ll help me spread the word as well). Many thanks and we’ll see you esta noche.

 

It’s a place I’d never thought I’d actually get to go, but when a good friend invited Kalebra and I to join of group of their friends (14 of us in all) for a Cultural Exchange trip to Havana, we were all over it.

I always just thought it was all but impossible for an American to visit Cuba without skirting all sorts of official rules (going through mexico or Costa Rica first, and then kind of slinking in without the US State Dept. knowing), but there were Americans EVERYWHERE down there. I even ran into a National Geographic Photo Tour down there, and once we were there we learned that our tour guide had taken our friend Laurie Excell’s photo workshop there earlier this year. Small world, and getting smaller every day.

Havana is such an amazing place!
Absolutely beautiful and very different in so many ways than we have always been led to believe. Havana is one of the most beautiful, vibrant, happy cities I’ve ever visited. The music, the food, and the warm Cuban people make it hands-down my all-time favorite island (well, not including huge islands like the UK). Truly authentic. Often breathtaking. Definitely enchanting. Charming, romantic and hopeful all at the same time in the same place.

I have so much to share about the trip that I’m going to try and arrange a live Broadcast just to share more photos and stories and just  talk about the experience, the place, and its people (and how you can get to Cuba now before there’s a Starbucks on every corner). If I’m able to arrange it later today, or tomorrow (more likely), I’ll post it here and invite you to join me online to hear about this incredible place which in many ways has one foot stuck in the 1950s and one in 2012. I’ve got some great Cuba travel tips for you, too!

A peek at my Photo Book from the trip
Until then, here’s a peek the photo book I always make from my trips (our flight home was delayed by more than eight hours so I had plenty of time to put it together). You know, Jay Maisel always says “Shoot what turns you on” and the thousands of 1950s classic cars on every street really turned me on so you’l see plenty of them throughout the book, just like you see them all over Havana. I have so much more to share (including more photos), and I hope I get the change to share Cuba with you soon! (click the images to see larger versions).

P.S. All shot with a Nikon D800 with just one lens: a Nikon 28-300 f/3.5 to f/5.6 VR lens. No HDR at all  (though I did shoot a bunch of bracketed shots so I will tone map a few soon).  — the post processing was done in Lightroom 4, except for Panos, I added extra contrast to a few shots, and I removed a couple of spots and a distracting sign here or there, but 98% was done in Lightroom 4 itself.

More to come during my photo talk. Gracias mis amigos!

 

 

When I take a vacation (or working trip in this case), I always try to make a photo book from the trip, and here’s a look at the one I made from my “Week in Paris with Jay Maisel” online class taping trip. Because I was either interviewing Jay or taping my own class on travel photography, I didn’t get to shoot all that much, but at least I got enough to make a small book. Here are a few of my favorite pages from the book.

I have so much more I want to share about the trip, but I’m on a tight timeline right now, so I hope to have some behind-the-scenes stories and photos on Friday (well, that’s the plan anyway). Hope you enjoyed the layouts here, and I wish you a fantastically French Tuesday. :)

 

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